Young people tell their stories
Read about the impact our projects have had for children and young people and their families and carers, as well as the music leaders and youth workers who support them.
Pembe was one of the first people to join the Five O Band, a ground-breaking project which saw police officers and ‘at-risk’ young people form a band together.
Nate first attended a Youth Music project aged 15. Now aged 23, he earns his living from performing and vocal coaching – and he’s sung live on both the X Factor and Eurovision.
Shallise is a 22-year-old singer and songwriter from south London. Making music helped her cope after the loss of her dad.
Jonny is 20 and has Down’s syndrome. He’s also a talented rapper. A music-making project in his home city of York has become a huge part of his life.
From a young age, Ben’s loved making music. He’s also had to face the challenge of being labelled as a young person with autism and mental health issues.
Mike used to have trouble controlling his behaviour. A music-making project run by the Castaway Music Theatre has helped him settle and discover his talent on the bass guitar.
Hayley was bullied at school for being ‘different’ to other girls. With the support of a music project at her local youth centre, she’s discovered her potential on the bass guitar and found a new self-belief.
Jordyn is transgender, and had a really tough time in school. Things got so bad at one stage that they attempted to take their own life. But being part of a music project has transformed their confidence.
Mollie, a talented singer from Derby, has faced many difficulties in her 17 years. Living in care. Running away. Being arrested. Becoming a mum. It’s no wonder that getting an education has been a challenge at times.
Sian has had to spend a lot of time in hospital as a teenager. A Youth Music project helped her forget about her health worries and gave her a new belief in her abilities.
Growing up in a military family has sometimes made life extra challenging for Beth and Jack. The Connect-Create project has helped them develop musical skills, make new friends and meet other young people in the same situation.
Deaf children like Isma and Aisha don’t always get the chance to make music. A project run by Yorkshire Youth & Music has given them the opportunity to learn to play instruments and boosted their confidence.
Lydia has a rare brain disorder that means she can’t walk or talk. She’s had to spend a lot of her life so far in hospital. The Songbirds project has helped Lydia learn to communicate with her family through music.
14-year-old Joanna wasn’t sure what to expect when she walked into a music studio for the first time. But after taking part in the Here Come the Grrrls project, she’s learned new skills and now feels confident about pursuing a potential career in music.
Reece experienced bullying at school, depression and social anxiety, which stopped him singing. The Outburst project for LGBT young people in Nottingham helped him to express his personality, make new friends, and begin to consider a career in music.
Being a teenager is never easy, but for Viv it was a particularly difficult time. Music-making helped him turn his life around.
At two years old, Jaxsen’s language skills were behind for her age. But since attending the Grove Community Project’s music-making workshops supported by Youth Music, she’s begun to love chatting – and singing – with her family.
David dreamed of learning to DJ, but most of the courses he found were too expensive. The fact that David has autism also made the idea of learning and performing with strangers extra challenging.
Mum-of-two Helen had a tough childhood and then had to escape an abusive relationship. Since attending music-making sessions she’s grown in confidence and learned to laugh with her children again.
At 15, Siân was going through a difficult time. A year earlier, she’d dropped out of school because she was being bullied. Her parents had just split up, and she was suffering from depression and anxiety. SoCo Music Project helped her to rebuild her confidence.
At age three, Daniel was referred to the Sinfin Children’s Centre in Derby because his language and communication skills were developing at a slower rate than other children’s. Mr Mangle’s Magical Music Factory helped change that.
17-year-old Kallel has loved music for as long as she can remember. Developing her technical skills at songwriting sessions with the SWIPE project has helped her feel more confident and contented.
When Kim was 12 years old she was painfully shy. So when the opportunity to make music arose, at first she was reluctant to get involved. A dynamic drumming project won her over.
“I had just started hearing voices, and I asked the voices to leave me alone, I said to them, if I get the power to rap, then you can chat all you want. I started using music as a way to help me deal with the fact that I was mentally ill.”
Rianne’s lack of confidence kept her from making music in public. With the support of a music-making project in Norwich, she was able to come out of her shell and develop her talent.
Joe has Cerebral Palsy and doesn’t speak. A Youth Music project gave him a chance to make music in the way he wanted to, without his communication aid.
13-year-old Lila had never even seen music production software before, let alone used it. Youth Network Milton Keynes helped her lose her shyness and develop new skills.
Darren was 16 when he had to leave home to live in a hostel. He became lonely and depressed. Learning the bass transformed his life.
Lewis, 16, who has Down’s syndrome, and Jenny, 13, who is a carer for her brother who has learning disabilities, both have a great love of music and performing. They formed a firm friendship at a Youth Music project.
Like many young people in long-term foster care, Alex, aged 16, struggled with anxiety and confidence. He’d been bullied and had few friends, and became angry easily. Singing in the Carefree Music Choir allowed him to “be who I really am”.
Alfie, 15, was angry and disillusioned after being excluded from some lessons at school. But African drumming has helped him find a new sense of calm and an outlet for his musical creativity.
After being rescued by ECPAT UK, Grace found herself living in foster care in London with very little trust in anyone. Through singing in a choir, she’s grown in confidence, made new friends and started to adjust to a new life in a new place.
Every Youth Music project measures its impact, helping us build a unique national overview.