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We recently wrapped up our REMIX project for young musicians in Moray – so what better time to review the projects we’ve been running through the Youth Music Initiative (YMI) programme, and look at what’s coming next.

Music is the Answer

Music-making is an integral part of our work with young people.

In 2017, we embarked on a three-year project called In the Mix. Aimed at 10-25-year-olds, In the Mix focused on connecting with young people who were at risk of isolation, being excluded from school or work, engaging in illegal activities, or living in rural pockets of deprivation.

Our In the Mix project fed into our Youth Music Initiative (YMI) funded project REMIX. Designed for Moray music-makers aged 12-21 years old, REMIX brought young people together through their shared love of music.

REMIX – Extended Play

Each of the three REMIX phases ran over twelve months, enabling us to engage directly with wide number of young people as possible, build their confidence and develop their skills and talents.

In the first phase, six professional musicians were employed to create and produce videos to encourage young people to join the project and inspire them to make their own music. The videos have now been viewed over 2,300 times on our social media platforms.

The second phase involved working online with seven young music-makers to teach them essential music production techniques. These included creating original music from found sounds, conducting field recordings, recording interviews and instrumentation from objects found at home, and using software samples and synths.

In the recently completed final phase we worked with two groups: a younger group of 12-16-year-olds and an older group of 16-21-year-olds.

As with many projects planned for the past year, Covid-19 forced a major rethink in delivery. We rose to the challenge and took the project online to create a new and engaging programme with a significant positive impact for those involved.

With the younger group, we created music and a music video using everyday objects found around the home. Participants also learned finger drumming and discussed different types of music.

With the older group, as well as creating music we brought in industry professionals to run sessions on different aspects of the music industry, such as navigating the music business, creating music videos, finding funding, and educational pathways. We also teamed up with multi-arts venue Eden Court in Inverness for an online weekend festival featuring music created and performed by the young people.

Through our trainee programme we worked with one young person to help develop their knowledge and understanding of essential industry skills, such as event preparation, facilitation, session design, working with children and child protection. Through the Moray Employer Recruitment Incentive (2021-2022) – a fund to support businesses seeking to employ young people – we helped set up a work experience opportunity for our trainee at Drum Fun, a local music business. Drum Fun has now made an application to MERI to employ the trainee longer term.

Music: Response

Over the three phases, our REMIX project:

  • engaged with 21 young people in Moray, building confidence and developing new skills.
  • held 24 online music production sessions, in addition to an in-person studio weekend.
  • created 9 original tracks, a music video, and a bank of sample tracks.
  • employed 6 professional musicians to create video content aimed at young people.
  • contributed to an online music festival hosted by multi-arts venue Eden Court.

Most importantly, with Covid-19 deepening the emotional, social and geographical isolation of many young people in Moray, REMIX helped provide a regular place for them to feel safe, connect with their peers and build a social network around a common affinity for making music.

Here’s some feedback from those involved:

I felt that having the weekly sessions were great as it gave a sense of community. That despite everything that was going on there was still somewhere I’d feel welcomed.”

It helped me re-connect to the outside world and learn new things about the subject I love. I met new people and made new friends too! It was a chance to talk to people and engage in a level of sociality that I had not done in a long while.”

“It’s being going great, I haven’t really been able to connect with people musically through projects as much as I would like to, and this has been a great opportunity to meet new people, connect through music and be able to create something.”

“It’s really fun, I like collaborating with young musicians, especially when they’re near me and I know that when the project is over I could always go back and collaborate with them again, and yeah it’s been really fun. I’d like to do more in person stuff though. I find I get more musical ideas when I’m in person, so I’m struggling online, but… it has been amazing.”

“It’s been great fun. We’ve been doing this for a while now – since September really, so, just been playing and making music with other people – and that one session we had back in December was quite something – in person!”

Music is a great way to learn and express their own feelings and in doing so it lets them escape from everyday pressures they find themselves under.”

Richard Campbell, Senior Project Worker, Moray Youth Justice

Listen to the Music

Pump up the Volume

We will soon be making an announcement about our new Youth Arts Access fund project – AMP: Music – with applications for the mentoring programme to open very soon.

All programmes are due to start at the end of August/early September 2021. Keep an eye on our website and social media for updates – and don’t forget to sign up to our newsletter.

To find out more please contact Project Coordinator Steve Gasgarth on or call us 01309 673137.

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