The following story is written by a social worker at Kirklees Youth Justice Service, with further observations from musician and facilitator, Jess Armstrong.

This is D's story...

This young person, who I will refer to as D for the purposes of the case study, was allocated to me in February 2022 after being caught in the possession of an offensive weapon and using threatening and behaviour with the intent to cause fear.

At the time of my involvement, this young person had been through several placements moves, had only been placed with his grandmother for a matter of weeks and they were trying to build up a relationship.

Music was a passion for this young person, but his choice of music was a concern for all professionals involved, as it contained violent and sexual content. It had such an impact on the young person, that he was starting to imitate what he was listening to and was becoming increasingly violent both at home and school. This included several episodes of going missing.

This young person was not involved in any positive activities outside the home, and when I found out about the Music Project, I felt that this project would be a great opportunity not only to build up D’s confidence, but also enable him to broaden his horizons in terms of the music he listens to.

Although D was initially nervous about attending the session, he has fully participated and has even called in to the office in between sessions to check what time he is being collected, or to let us know the change of address. D has moved placements on two occasions during the time that the music project has been running, so the project has offered him some consistency, in what has been a very uncertain time for him.

D has grown in confidence and interacted well; he has begun to settle down in school and his episodes of going missing have decreased.

D is also learning about the content of the music he was listening to and is now listening to a wider variety of music which is more appropriate.

When I asked D what his views are about the music project, he tells me that it’s the best day of his week, that he really looks forward to it. He never wants it to end because it makes him happy.

I hope the project continues and that D can attend sessions in the future.

Jess Armstrong, musician and YYM facilitator, has also made the following observations about D's progress:

Working with D was initially non-existent, as he chose to interact with the male member of staff that was supporting me with the session. After two sessions like this, week three saw D coming to sit by me at the laptop, where he began to open up about the songs (that he likes) that aren’t full of violence and oversexualised lyrics.

From week three, D and me have developed a healthy space where D is open to talking about why he likes to listen to music of any kind. We can now have conversations that allow him to think about music (specifically song lyrics) from other points of view.

I am encouraging D to write his own lyrics and I have seen a huge increase in his confidence. We have reached a point where D now requests to use the microphone every week so that he can practice his freestyling.

With more sessions, I would encourage D to actively write songs (of a different nature than those he regularly consumes) and work towards making a professional recording.