Summer study challenge set to tune up musicians’ skills

Music leader Zahra Tehrani and, right, Fusion’s artistic director Tara Stewart are using a £19,000 funding pot to provide creative masterclasses in lyric writing, music production and performance. Picture: OX68940 Andrew Walmsley

Music leader Zahra Tehrani and, right, Fusion’s artistic director Tara Stewart are using a £19,000 funding pot to provide creative masterclasses in lyric writing, music production and performance. Picture: OX68940 Andrew Walmsley Buy this photo

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering East Oxford and Cowley. Call me on (01865) 425430

YOUNG musicians across Oxfordshire could benefit from a free summer music programme to develop their creative talents.

East Oxford-based charity Fusion Arts is offering their BEAT THIS! project to 12 young people.

The charity is encouraging musicians aged between 14 and 25 to apply for the chance to join the intensive five-day course.

Music leader Zahra Tehrani, 26, said: “There isn’t much of an outlet for young musicians at all, especially over the summer.

“I think music is such a great way to express yourself. It helps people who don’t have a voice to have one.”

Places will be reserved for NEETS – those not in full time education, employment or training – as well as young people in challenging circumstances.

Ms Tehrani, from East Oxford, has been involved with coordinating the charity’s previous creative courses.

She said: “At 16 I was part of a similar project. It made a massive difference to me – it gave me somewhere safe to go and express myself.

“I’m just returning the favour to spread the same sort of message.

“So many of the young people that come to us are excluded from school and they have difficult home lives and school lives.

“It’s really good for them to take part in something they want to do.”

The project is being funded by children’s charity Youth England after Fusion Arts received about £19,000 of funding.

Project members will spend the week with professional musicians at the East Oxford Community Centre, in Princes Street, from Monday, August 11.

A series of creative masterclasses will focus on lyric writing, music production and performance skills.

Participants will also learn about event management and promotion before staging their own musical performance at the Old Fire Station on Friday, August 15.

Mary James, from Wolvercote, got involved with the charity around four months ago after joining a course hosted by Fusion Arts.

The 15-year-old Cherwell School pupil said: “It allows you to meet lots of people and be inspired by lots of diverse ways of thinking.

“I think there are so many young people that could really benefit from having this sort of thing available to them.

“Too many people are not doing anything, or are having ideas and not expressing them.”

Course participants will also have the opportunity to undertake the nationally recognised Silver Arts Award, equivalent to one GCSE.

Fusion’s artistic director Tara Stewart said: “I think a lot of the young people that do come on our courses might have challenging situations of all sorts and this is one way that they can actually achieve something that is recognised.”

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