Inclusive and open access family music groups which grow from communities over an ongoing period of time.
The Embed model is at the heart of Soundcastle and from the start, connecting communities has been our driving motivation. Through the Embed approach, we facilitate ongoing creative music sessions which connect communities across age, cultural and educational backgrounds, enabling them to come together to make their own, brand new music. The music groups are devised with the ultimate long-term aim of the community taking autonomy for their own music making.
We collaborate with community members to ensure that an Embed model matches their exact needs, growing and evolving with the community over time. For example:
- Working together to find a community’s own unique sound and celebrating community voice.
- Exploring how to enhance community connectedness through music making.
- Empowering community members to continue making music autonomously at home and in the wider community.
- Finding ways to strengthen family relationships through music making.
- Coaching young people through Arts Award qualifications.
Example – Musical Beacons
Musical Beacons is an inclusive and open access family music making group in Bow, East London. (Funded by Youth Music).
Brief: To devise and deliver an ongoing creative music group which brings families in Bow together. To enhance creative music and instrumental skills in both children and adults, whilst making space to hear, listen and amplify Youth Voice. To empower families to continue making music both at home and in their wider community beyond the Musical Beacons group.
Soundcastle Response: Soundcastle facilitators collaborate with the community in weekly creative music sessions in order to create brand new music. We run sessions in more than one location, in this particular case, at an after school club nearby and for the whole family at the local community centre.
We work to foster community connectedness across age and cultural barriers through the creation of new music and promote local performances to celebrate unified local voice. The music created is recorded and shared every week on a blog so that community members can continue to practice at home. Further, we enable families to continue making new music at home together, beyond the organised group, through accessible games and activities. Professional musicians visit the project, introducing community members to a wide range of musical and instrumental styles and we provide mentoring pathways, advising people of progression routes beyond the project. Importantly, the project is free for community members to attend in order to maximise the diversity of those present and to ensure that we advocate inclusive music making for all. The long-term aim si for autonomy for the project itself to be transitioned to the community, enabling community members to facilitate activities, organise events and promote music making in their local area. For more details on the intricacies of this process, please see the Soundcastle Theory of Practice.
To find out more about Embed, please contact Hannah at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Feedback from the community
“Our family has participated in Musical Beacons for over 4 years now. When the sessions are on it is always one of our favourite times of the week… it is a great learning and bonding experience for both children and adults. The positivity of the whole Musical Beacons staff is infectious and they are all very knowledgeable musicians and perhaps more importantly are skilled at getting people from all age ranges from toddlers to adults to get involved and make music together.”
“Musical Beacons has brought us into contact with other members of our community from different ethnic and religious backgrounds that we almost certainly would not have come to know otherwise. Music is a great way to foster community cohesion and bring people together and the Musical Beacons team has done a great job of trying to include as many people as possible. To my knowledge, there is no other group quite like it.”
“Musical Beacons is a moment to share with your family, friends and meet new people. It’s a sort of party where we can meet in a friendly and happy environment. I don’t think there is anything around like Musical Beacons. It is not a simple playgroup where children have to follow instructions with the assistance of parents or carers. Musical Beacons means express yourself through the music using words; sounds; instruments; and movement.”
“It was a great opportunity for us to be together as a family and have fun with others from the local community who we didn’t know but we see around our streets.”
“After attending Music Beacons… [my boys and I] are more confident with people and music.We keep singing all the songs we made… and it’s amazing how they remember the melody and words.”
“We’ve been coming to Musical Beacons as a family for a number of years and it has given us an opportunity to come together as a family to share our love of music in a fun, safe and professional environment. To us as a family, Musical Beacons is a huge part of our community… We look forward to coming to the next session, catching up with families we haven’t seen, enjoy singing new songs and learning new instruments or a different way of doing something. We’re always singing songs from Musical Beacons sessions in the street or at home.”