Music Makes Lives Better Because… is YYM’s series of articles on why we choose music education as a tool to improve the life chances of children and young people in Yorkshire.

Here at YYM, we know that music can makes lives better (so much so that it has become our charity’s slogan) and we also know, in order to engage with young people on THEIR musical level, that we need to keep up with the changing times.

Our playlist this month is inspired by Delia Derbyshire, one of the creators of the Doctor Who theme in the middle of the last century and a person very much in tune with pushing the boundaries of what was musically possible. She was experimenting with loops and other musical effects to create the iconic theme tune that we know and love today and was consequently pioneering in her field.

Similarly, our facilitators (who work with us to educate and engage the children we work with) are well versed with the newest bits of technological kit. Most recently, we’ve been using Orbas to allow children in Kirklees to make their own music easily, quickly and incredibly effectively.

Orbas are mini synths, loopers and musical controllers that sit in the palm of your hand. They are easily programmable and are, effectively, a new kind of digital musical instrument. We use Orbas to help children and young people get to grips with new music tech and as a way to create their own music, which builds their technical skills, their confidence and is an effective way to give them their own musical voice. We encourage experimentation, and Orbas allow our facilitators to do this in a very short space of time, which allows more time for music making! This is vitally important for young people, as we know from experience that open experimentation with new technology builds a whole range of both musical and life skills that are incredibly important for the children's development.

We also know that young people who are given the chance to have their own musical voice feel like they are being heard (many for the first time) in other ways about their experiences and the challenges they have faced, helping them to process the past and improve their chances for the future.

Whoever would have thought that looping would become such an influential and pivotal key to the music tech we know and covet today!