Connecting young people with sound opportunities


Curtis’ story

Sound Collective, creative music-making in Whitby

All pictures are for illustrative purposes only as these stories have been anonymised.

“Honestly, I feel safe inside the music. It’s like a special house where nothing can get at me.”

Curtis (not his real name) came to a Sound Collective session after his mum heard about them from a friend – she wanted something for him to get involved with outside of his school experience. Curtis had suffered a sibling bereavement, and this was impacting his ability to build trust and to feel safe in situations away from his mum.

His first interactions within sessions were passive, and then became oppositional – he was finding it so hard to allow himself to feel ok. We allowed him to control as much of the session as was practical, and the other young people were incredibly supportive of this strategy, which was just so lovely to see. He was happy enough to tell the others what he thought they should do, and resisted making music himself until we brought a new synthesiser to a session – a Korg Opsix – and this really unlocked his participation in the sessions. Because the synth had such an immediate and impactful sound, once Curtis had been introduced to the arpeggiator function he was able to explore the pre-sets and begin to make music that he was really proud of – and that the other young people could appreciate and join in with.

Using this one instrument really helped him to fully engage in music making in the sessions. He began to sing and to experiment with other instruments, but he still returns to the Opsix and continues to use it to develop his songwriting skills.

He tells us that music makes a safe space for him – and that he ‘quite likes it’ – and we think that’s amazing.