Music activities at Forest High show that the music really does work
The Music Works, a key partner of Make Music Gloucestershire, the county's music education hub, is helping improve the confidence and aspirations of students who struggle the most in school.
An afterschool club has opened to Forest High students and other local schools, based at The Music Works' SoundSpace studio and rehearsal space, which is on the school site [(and which was developed many years ago as a result of fundraising by students at the school).]
The club is part of a programme using music as a tool for school improvement. Other activities provided by The Music Works include music technology tasters and live performances, one-to-one and small group instrumental and vocal lessons, a KS4 BTEC course, and presentations from local musicians, including a past student at the school who now works for The Music Works.
The work has been funded by Make Music Gloucestershire, Forest of Dean District Council and the school.
Associate Head, Gareth Reynolds, said: "During my time at the school I have been delighted with the progress made and subsequently the opportunities provided by The Music Works.
"I am keen to continue to build on this relationship to provide a legacy for a high quality music curriculum and extra-curricular opportunities. Their work is providing a tangible music presence in the school. The value and positive impact this has made and will continue to make to the school and community is really exciting."
Rhys, a student in year 10, said: "Getting positive feedback for my singing and song writing has really boosted my confidence. I performed recently at an open mic night in Cinderford."
Rhys has talked to other students about his experiences, how he struggled with confidence and bullying and how music has made a difference to his life.
Cllr Paul McLain, cabinet member for children and young people, said: "This is such a wonderful idea for students who may currently be struggling.
"Hearing Rhys' story makes me feel proud that groups that we fund really can change someone's life."
Cllr Terry Hale, cabinet member for the Forest of Dean District Council added: "The district council is delighted to have been able to support the Make Music initiative with Forest Youth Activities Funding, through the Forest Youth Forum. It's great to see the funding is being use to boost the musical ability of the pupils in the school and nurturing talent which previously may of remained unnoticed."
The afterschool club takes place on Mondays and costs £3. Recording sessions in the studio are also available to young people from all schools in the area. These are available on Mondays and Wednesdays and cost £2 per hour - email MBick@themusicworks.org.uk for more information or visit www.themusicworks.org.uk.