Photo by Simon Infanger on Unsplash

Here at YYM, we know that the work we do can make a huge difference to the lives of very challenged young people in our region.

Often, this change doesn’t manifest in a big, showy way – it grows gradually over time as the relationship between the young people and our professional musicians builds and strengthens. As the young people gain more trust in the facilitators we work with, their confidence grows and this is reflected in their ability to engage in sessions and their increased musical skill, amongst other short and long term benefits.

Just this week, one young participant in our Music and Young People in Youth Justice settings programme has recorded his own voice for the first time. He has been participating in the musical sessions he has attended up to this point, supported by FarangDan, one of our experienced facilitators, but hasn’t (until this week) had the confidence to record his (self-crafted) lyrics to fully create his own track. The results are that he is exploring and revealing the struggles within his life, expressing them though the lyrics he has written and gained enough confidence to say it all to a microphone. Our goal is always to improve the life chances of the young people we work with, and this young man is building his confidence, sharing his struggles and gaining musical ability, which all strengthen his resilience going forwards.

Music is the tool that allows all of the other benefits to slowly develop over time – and thankfully, at the moment, we have the time with this individual to build each week towards an improved headspace for this young person (which hopefully makes life a tiny little bit easier to manage). Music sessions also are often cited by these young people as the one thing they enjoy, and the one thing they are willing to engage with and commit to, week after week (unlike their engagement in mainstream schools, which they have often been excluded from for a variety of reasons).

Again, none of this presents as a flashy, rags to riches, headline grabbing storyline for these young people. What actually manifests are small (baby) steps towards a better attitude towards the challenging circumstances that these young people face each day. Little by little, we support them to take steps towards the reintegration into an improved life – or at least, a much better chance at a better life.

As we always say, folks, #musicmakeslivesbetter...