Made with Music, an award-winning charity based in West Yorkshire, which provides accessible live music for families of all ages and abilities, has celebrated its 10th birthday with a family-friendly mini-gig at Brudenell Social Club, featuring local musicians Leeds City Stompers, Ubunye, Beth Mackay and Jenny Hobbins. The 10th birthday gig also featured songs written by and for children. These songs will be released as part of a new songbook containing eleven original songs, with multi-sensory activities to accompany them. The songbook will be given away for free to children and parents in hospital.
The Made with Music birthday songbook celebrates the children, families and groups that Made with Music has worked with over the past 10 years. The charity works with the NHS, running music sessions for parents experiencing postnatal depression and children receiving cancer treatment. It also delivers music sessions for families with disabled children and children with additional needs, in addition to running early years classes, gigs and intergenerational music sessions for older people and under 5s to make music together. Not only have most of the song lyrics and melodies in the songbook been written by children, but they also decided on the musical styles and instruments featured in the songs!
Hannah Dilworth, co-director of Made with Music says:
“The birthday gig just sums up why we do what we do. It is so hard for some families to enjoy activities together, for reasons like mental ill health, disability, and financial barriers. This was an example of an event which does all it can to remove these barriers; we saw families, some with four generations, enjoying live music together, dancing, singing and having fun. We’re so proud to be celebrating 10 years of Made with Music and look forward to the years to come.”
Songs in the songbook include; ‘Colours’, where children under 5 described colours to a visually impaired person using senses other than sight, ‘Everyday Superheroes’ written by Burley Park Children’s Centre to thank all the people who help us, and ‘It’s Christmas Time’ written by young people from Sunshine and Smiles, the Leeds Down Syndrome Network. The songs were recorded by Small Press Music and feature musicians working regularly with Made with Music. A free download of the songs comes with the songbook, which also includes ‘karaoke’ versions of the tracks so that you can add your own lyrics (which Made with Music would love to hear!) In addition to the songs, there are multi-sensory learning activities to try, including scented ice painting and making instruments from ‘treasure’ that you find outside on a walk. The activities were designed by Alice Spencer, a specialist in teaching phonics and maths through play.
Sunshine and Smiles, whose young people wrote one of the songs in the songbook, also run 21 Co. in Headingley, a cafe & shop run for and by people with Down Syndrome. The café sold cakes and biscuits at the 10th birthday gig, part of a series of mini-gigs which run four times a year and showcase musicians from West Yorkshire, who perform short sets for a family audience. The gigs won an award from national charity Attitude is Everything for their accessibility for disabled people.
One audience member said:
“As the parent of a disabled child, it’s really difficult to get out the house, let alone to gigs, so this is just perfect. Everything has been thought about for the children, so as an adult you can really enjoy the experience too”.
The 10th birthday gig saw families dancing and enjoying music together, they also got the chance to try out instruments, chat to the musicians and sing along. It was a party, so there was cake, face painting and balloons, with a relaxed and informal atmosphere. The Brudenell Social Club Community Room made for the perfect setting, with professional lights and sound making the event really special. The charity also launched a Friends Scheme on the day, so that they can continue to provide music for everyone. If you join before 1st January 2023, you get a free songbook and digital downloads of the songs, or you can donate them to a child in hospital. For more information, see www.madewithmusic.co.uk/friends
Made with Music will be continuing the birthday celebrations into the new year, look out for events on the website, madewithmusic.co.uk