Widening access to musical education...why it's more than important than ever

The Guardian recently published a comment piece, ‘Music education is now only for the white and the wealthy’ about the increasing lack of access to music education in the UK. Sadly this is something that we at SoundsCreative Projects have witnessed first hand. As priorities and budgets have dwindled, music education is being pushed further into the private sector – which in turn narrows access for all but the most privileged.

Tara Franks, Founder and Creative Director of SoundsCreative Projects has worked from many years with organisations including Music First and CIC Arts First Islington, and recently on a Conjure Your Own project with National Orchestra for All, all of which place an emphasis on widening access to musical opportunities and experiences more traditionally associated with privilege.

Tara’s work history has helped shape SoundsCreative Projects and how we operate. SoundsCreative Projects is a social enterprise – a not for profit organisation with a social mission – to connect people through creative musical experiences. We are currently developing our referral partner scheme – working with partner organisations to provide subsidised places on certain Neighbourhood Projects. For the past two years Music First has funded 25% of places on our SoundsCreative Ensemble workshops.

SC Ensemble.jpg

We are also pleased to announce that our partner the Vortex Foundation has been awarded Paul Hamlyn Foundation funding and will be working with SoundsCreative Projects to fund Tots Tunes ‘on the move’ sessions, reaching new audiences by running classes in local Children’s Centres in the weeks leading up to the Dalston Children’s Festival.

We are always open to new conversations, and would love to hear from you if you work for an organisation that might want to become a referral partner for a Neighbourhood Project, or if you can get involved and support in any other way.

Our new and improved website

If you have been on our website lately, you may have noticed a few changes. We have been tweaking it for two main reasons.

1.  Getting around

Firstly, we want to help you find the information you’re looking for a little easier! Among the changes, we have revamped the drop down menus for easier navigation and introduced a What’s On section, which maps all upcoming events and projects on a calendar so you can quickly and easily find dates, times and booking information. 

2. Getting to know the family

Secondly, we know that many of you come to know Tara and SoundsCreative Projects through one of our Neighbourhood Projects only – that might be Tots Tunes, Tea + a Gig or Vox Voices. We hope that the new website will make it easier for you to find out more about what we do – from commissioned work, to other Neighbourhood Projects which might be just perfect for your friends, neighbours, or your own families as they grow! We’ll be sending a few more joined up newsletters too (but not too many, don’t worry) so we can keep you updated about the exciting projects we are working on, and share a few other things that inspire us.

If you haven’t already, come and have a look around, and do get in touch with any feedback, questions or suggestions.

Welcome to the SoundsCreative Projects family :)

(Iced) Tea + a Gig - The Summer Programme

We’re still reeling from some great performances this winter from artists including Moira Smiley and Pat Dam Smyth. Thanks to all those of you, big and small, who came along.

We are pleased to announce to the line up for our summer programme, taking place, as ever, on the first Tuesday of the month at The Old Church, Stoke Newington. Get these dates in your diaries, and don’t forget, your little ones go free.

 May 2nd – The Magic Lantern

 Currently recording his third album 'To The Islands', Jamie Doe (The Magic Lantern) is a rising star of London's diverse music scene with 2016 seeing him performing with Jamie Cullum at the BBC Proms; singing on Mercury Nominated folk artist Sam Lee's 'Lovely Molly' and winning 'Best Traditional Track' at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards.

“Very, very special” – Lauren Laverne, BBC 6 Music

June 6th - Breakfast Club Duo

Breakfast Club Duo is an ensemble of recorders (Rhia Parker) and cello (Natasha Zielazinski). This talented duo explore the richness of wind and strings through performing and arranging music spanning the centuries, from the middle ages to the present day. 

July 4th – Samantha Whates 

Samantha Whates is a London based singer and songwriter. Despite living in the capital since her mid-teens, her heart, voice and songs retain a strong affinity with her Scottish roots, cultivating a sound that is thoroughly contemporary, rooted in tradition yet uniquely her own.

“Just gorgeous” – Tom Robinson BBC 6Music

Singing on the Green

 The Garden Classroom connects urban children with nature

The Garden Classroom connects urban children with nature

An ensemble of our regular Vox Voices singers will be performing at The Garden Classroom’s Mildmay Festival of Nature on Newington Green on Saturday 6th May at 1pm.  

The Garden Classroom is a great local organisation that aims to connect urban children and families with nature. The Mildmay Festival of Nature will be Islington’s first nature festival, celebrating all that is great about Mildmay’s green spaces with live music, talks and workshops, food & drink and children’s nature activities with a chance to connect with a collection of London’s nature providers including London Wildlife Trust, Green Wood Workers, and LBI’s Greenspace team.

The Vox Voices performance will be a small handful of songs we have been workshopping in our regular sessions including Down in the River to Pray and an a cappella arrangementby Tara of Bill Withers’ Ain’t No Sunshine.  There will also be a free for all Tots Tunes session on the same day - Saturday 6th May - on the green at 11am.

As well as live music there will be outdoor yoga, a tractor visit, tree surgery demonstrations, Morris dancing, and a visit from some Freightliners Farm animals.

Come along for a day out in the green spaces of our neighbourhood and to see what Vox Voices is all about. Don’t forget to come and say hello!

Half term haikus and ouds

In February, our spring SoundsCreative Ensemble half term workshop was two days of words and music as we welcomed guest workshop leader Saied Silbak, a talented Palestinian Oud player and composer, alongside connected artist Filipe Sousa and creative director Tara Franks

The workshop used words as a starting point to inspire composition. First of all the ensemble composed a soundscape to accompany Saied’s telling of story set in the desert and then the ensemble broke into groups to make up their own haikus, learning to create rhythms from words, and composed sound postcard to share with their family and friends.

An old silent pond
A frog jumps into the pond
Splash! Silence again

Next project May half term - "The Language of rhythm'  with guest artists Bernhard Schimpelsberger, connected artists Preetha Narayanan and Tara Franks