E's story is written by a social worker at Kirklees Youth Justice Service, with further observations from musician and facilitator, Jess Armstrong:

This young person, who I will call E for the purpose of this case study, was allocated to me in January 2022 following her assault of a Police Officer in November 2021. The young person has faced some adversities and extensive trauma in her life. The young person was not involved in any constructive leisure activities within the community and showed an interest and passion for song writing and listening to music. E wanted to get involved in an activity for herself, so that she was able to feel that she had some control in her life and follow her passions. This is when I found the Music Project run by Kirklees Youth Justice Service. I felt that this project would be perfect to refer E to as it offered her a chance to get involved in writing and producing her own songs.

E has attended every session given to her so far and, since starting these sessions, there has been a huge change seen in her by me, other staff members at the Youth Justice Service and staff at the Residential Home where she is currently residing. The residential manager stated that over the past few months E’s behaviour has improved. In fact, E has been living there for nearly two years and she has made a vast improvement in relation to her behaviour. The Music Project is felt to have contributed to this positive improvement. Every time E attends the sessions, she has a huge smile on her face and has formed a positive relationship with the person running the sessions. E has stated that she loves the session, as well as being able to write and produce her own songs and has shown such enthusiasm.

I feel that E gets a lot out of these sessions as she can express her emotions through music. E has struggled to express her emotions in the past before, but this is a way that she feels able to. I hope that E can continue to attend these sessions in the future, so she can continue to make music and express herself.

Jess Armstrong, musician and YYM facilitator, has also made the following observations:

Upon meeting E, she was a little nervous and timid. She quite quickly became comfortable as we went through some deep breathing and singing exercises that allowed her to sing a song she loved.

E gets so much from singing out loud; so much so that we are working on her confidence level. I want her to be able to (more easily) turn that switch on and find that confidence in herself more quickly, so that she has that regular musical release (which will improve her mental health in both the short and long term). E has gradually become more open in letting me know how she feels on the day of a session and she now can find a relevant song that she can sing. She visibly looks and has verbalised that she feels lighter as a result.

E has begun to write her own songs, with her own production. With more sessions, I would continue to work on building her confidence (through singing), and then channel that growth and confidence into her own creations.