‘The Sound of the Next Generation’, published this year by Youth Music and Ipsos MORI, is a new research report about children and young people’s relationship with music.
Youth Music, a national charity investing in music-making projects that help children and young people develop personally and socially as well as musically worked with Ipsos MORI to conduct online surveys with a representative sample of 1,001 young people aged 7 to 17 across England, as well as in-depth interviews with participants involved in Youth Music projects.
This was followed up with a series of in-depth expert interviews with industry leaders, psychologists and academics to understand the context of their findings and the wider impact of music on society.
85% of participants said that music made them feel happy. Large numbers also said it made them feel cool (41%) and excited (39%). When asked how they would feel if they had to go without music for even one day, overwhelmingly they said they would be sad. You can download the report here::
To go without music for one day would I am sure be unthinkable for the young people I interviewed on 23rd June at the Jack Hazeldine Foundation Sports Day. Check out the Jack Hazeldine Foundation here::
Let me introduce you to The Mallards: Hayden who plays baritone sax, James the pianist, Will on trombone and tenor sax, Ollie on guitar, Charlie the bass player, Jack who plays the trumpet horn, Sam the drummer, Isaac the lead vocalist who also plays alto sax and his twin sister Evie who has a fantastic voice and is starting to have her own songs, and last but by no means least Joe their Manager. Joe is a musician himself and drummed for the band in the first couple of months.
Music is the glue that binds these young people together and has established them in the heart of their community. Many of them have been friends from primary school, they all did GCSE music together and they all share this incredible passion for music. ‘Music means everything to us; it’s our lives’
Isaac, Hayden, Charlie and Sam do A level music and Charlie is looking at Royal Welsh College and Birmingham Conservatoire to study jazz on piano and double bass.
They all operate in a musical sphere and between them are involved with numerous musical organisations in the south – west. Isaac has grown up with musical theatre in the home and is part of BMYP which is a multi-award winning theatre club boasting 9 Bowl Awards and two NODA regional awards for excellence. He is also part of a chamber choir and a barber shop choir and……….he dances! Evie is also passionate about musical theatre and is part of a chamber choir. Check out BMYP here:
Will and Sam – play in symphonic orchestras, jazz big bands and the Lions 4 Youth Brass Band. Check out the Lions 4 Youth Brass Band here:
Jack also plays in the Lions 4 Youth Brass Band as well as taking part in military marching bands and jazz bands.
Charlie and Hayden play in a jazz orchestra, Charlie on bass and sometimes percussion and Hayden on his sax. Charlie also plays piano in a swing band and they both do some teaching.
Joe, their Manager and Sam work closely with the Lions 4 Youth Brass Band – Joe is their principal percussionist and Sam second percussionist.
Many of their musical opportunities come through the Music Education Partnership: North Somerset – check them out here::
I’ve seen first-hand the positive benefits of music in the lives of children and young people and it saddens me that it is a subject which in some areas is being squeezed out of the curriculum. The introduction of the EBacc which does not include music, and an increase in GCSE courses starting in Year 9, means that in some areas provision is suffering. This at a time when the mental health of young people is giving such great cause for concern. Happily this is not the situation at Gordano and Clevedon School.
According to the ‘Sound of Generation Report’ :
‘Over the last five years, 90% of school leaders reported an increase in the number of students experiencing anxiety or stress, and low mood and depression and an estimated three children in every 20 have a diagnosable mental health problem’
Interviewing The Mallards was an absolute pleasure; you would be hard pressed to find a better example of the positive impact of music. As a group of young people I would describe them as confident, witty and empathetic with a great sense of responsibility and commitment to their peers, family and the local community.
The band formed in Year 9 and The Mallards emerged in Year 10. They are all great friends, supporting each other and working towards the same common goal: to have fun with their music and to entertain. They’d also like to make some money but as yet they’ve offered most of their time for free because they know that the schools and charities they have performed for are financially challenged. They all had their instruments for their studies but any other costs which are not huge come out of their own pockets.
They have great support from their friends and families, Sam’s Dad of Somerset Sash Windows fame transports them back and forth to their venues and helps them set up. There is always someone at the end of a phone to help them, on the day of the Jack Hazeldine gig, an emergency call was made for a gazebo which promptly appeared.
There was such a sense of camaraderie between the group, when they introduced themselves, they spoke warmly about Jack and Charlie who had not been able to make it that afternoon. The rare tension between them is borne of creative differences some preferring jazz – funk, whilst others prefer pop. That’s where Joe comes in, his task being to diffuse the tension and restore harmony!
In terms of music, the Mallards play by ear and are inspired by performers such as Jacob Collier, Bruno Mars and Stevie Wonder. At the moment they do cover songs which are tribute to the people who inspire them even though they do put their own twist on them. They also have two or three original songs in the pipeline and plans for a music video are afoot.
Joe is an interesting character with a heightened sense of responsibility and commitment towards the band members. The band are currently really well known in Portishead and Clevedon but would like to get known on the Bristol music scene and Joe is determined to make this happen. He enjoys the admin side of the job, setting up a shared calendar, finding and booking events and venues, promoting the band, sorting out publicity….. he admits it’s been a steep learning curve for all of them, daunting at times and a challenge, but as he says ‘you can’t grow without a challenge.’
I was curious about which gig they had enjoyed the most and the consensus was the 2018 Lido Music Fest at the Open Air Pool in Portishead. This event was organised by Gordano Breakfast Rotary Club to raise funds for the Disabled Facilities within the cafe and the pool. They played alongside a couple of other local bands surrounded by their community who are so appreciative of their music.
Their latest gigs were at Portishead’s Annual Gin and Sausage Festival and the Portishead Raft Race, a family fundraising event for the whole community. They also perform regularly at local pubs and bars.
These young people are an inspirational, aspirational group of musicians who have already made a fantastic impact with their music. Each one of them has a bright musical future in front of them either with The Mallards, with a musical career or simply as a leisure interest. I am sure we will be reading about them either individually or collectively in some musical capacity in the future. At the risk of sounding cliched, the world really is their oyster.
I am in no doubt that Joe will make those valuable contacts and The Mallards will become better known and make it on to the Bristol music scene. They are a very talented, committed group of young people who have forged great relationships within their community and who love what they do. Understandably they are keen to spread their wings, who knows how far they will fly!