Arts Award

We are very proud to announce that four Soundmix students have  been awarded the Arts Award Bronze. These are the first Soundmix students to enter for this award and it is a huge achievement as it is very difficult for our students to attend sessions regularly.

Congratulations to them all!

As part of their Arts Award project, the students reviewed a musical performance. This is one students critique of songs from the Soundmix performance in Croydon Town Centre over the summer.

“I enjoyed the song ‘Top of my charts’. Her voice was amazing. It’s good that we wrote the song “Under Green Trees”. I like the drums. Some of the performers should enjoy the song more.”

Summer concert success

The young people of Soundmix and their tutors performed at this Summers Croydon Live Music and Arts Street Fest on 28th July.

It was the second edition of this local festival, and the stage was set beautifully for the young people of Soundmix to perform first on the bill. They played a set of songs which had been worked on during the summer term, and went down a storm to a home crowd on Croydon High Street!

Come to our summer concert

Soundmix students to wow Croydon audiences with a performance:
Where: outside the Nando’s in High Street (St George’s Walk shopping arcade), Croydon
When: Saturday 28th July 2018 at  3pm
Organised by: Croydon Council Music and Arts and Soundmix
Please come and support our enthusiastic young musicians and introduce yourselves to our tutor team.

An original Soundmix song

During the winter half term break this year, Soundmix held a Band Session. This was an opportunity for our members to attend a music workshop away from the usual location at the Refugee Council and enter a professional rehearsal complex called ‘Scream Studios’.

There, the young people were able to try out full sized acoustic drum kits, amplified guitars, keyboards and vocal microphones. We had greater facilities and space to work on song writing. A group of our dedicated and talented members fully took advantage of this and wrote a cracking song!

When we used this new song as part of the group session back at the Refugee Council, the full group of young people were super-engaged by it. Those whom were not at the Scream session quickly learnt the song and we all performed it together at our in house end of term performance.

What songs are the young people learning this term?

Over the course of each term, every student attending the Soundmix sessions will work towards learning a set of songs. The songs are chosen to provide the right level of engagement and learning from the young people, and are used in our performances during the term.

There are three ways we generate songs:
1) Chosen by tutors
2) Chosen by students
3) Writing our own Soundmix songs!

Previous terms song choices have included bangers such as ‘See You Again’ by Wiz Khalifa and ‘Three Little Birds’ by Bob Marley.

At the start of this term, the tutors chose the tune ‘You’re all I need to get by’, as produced by Mark Ronson. The thinking behind this choice was:
– A contemporary sound with a catchy, appealing hook
– A clear, plain English chorus that can be sung by everyone
– A strong beat and chord progression to learn from.

What makes this song a particularly strong choice is that it samples the almost universally appealing sound of Motown along with original raps by African and American vocalists.

At the start of term, students are often hesitant to share their own song choices. Now at the mid-point of term, we had a great sharing of song choices within the group, spawning our second cover song of the term ‘Let her go’ by Passenger. We look forward to working on this in the second half of term, along with the creation of another Soundmix classic!

Welcome to our new Project Manager

At the end of the summer term, we were sad to say goodbye to our PM, Andrea Kempson, who worked so hard to build the project to where it is today. Thank you, Andrea and good luck with all your new ventures.

But everyone at Soundmix is excited to welcome Sasha Leacock, our new Project Manager. Sasha hit the ground running at the start of the new term in September and quickly got to know the tutor team and the Refugee Council staff as well as the young people at the weekly sessions. We look forward to her taking Soundmix into the future, now with the generous support of Children in Need. Read more about Sasha in Meet the team.

Big thanks to Children in Need!

In July we had the fantastic news that we had been offered a second grant from Children in Need that will run until the end of 2020.  Soundmix chair, Nishi Tailor, commented, “Our grant is huge for us. The fact we know we’ve got funding for three years means we can commit to a project, rather than focus on raising money. It brings a peace of mind and, going forward, the space to do what we want to do.”

Songwriting and friendship

At Soundmix, the young people we work with have the opportunity to not only learn musical skills but also to broaden their experience of musical engagement in all its forms.

An important part of this is songwriting. Each term, our young people collaborate to write a song, which they will perform as a group once complete. The songwriting exercise not only gets the creative juices flowing, it also helps achieve our broader aims for the sessions: to increase confidence, maintain opportunities for interaction, and reduce social isolation.

For our most recent songwriting exercise, we started with the theme of friendship. Here’s the word “Friendship” translated into 5 different languages: Arabic, Vietnamese, Spanish, Albanian and Farsi.

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