Early in August, Community Music In Action invited two artists, Sarah Weiler, a ukulele singer/songwriter and Rob Grundel, a multi instrumental musician who plays in a Hip hop band called Unexpected Guests, to meet some young carers from Carers Bromley for two days of music making.
On Thursday 4 August, seventeen young people aged 8–10 years attended the first ‘Song in a Day’ workshop. The following day comprised of twelve of the older age group (12 -18 years).
Using a mixture of ukuleles, piano, a digital beat maker and singing, Sarah, Rob and the young people spent the mornings playing games, learning the ukulele and getting to know each other by playing a few songs together.
“It was great to watch two groups of children, most who had never met before,
have an opportunity to work together, encourage and learn from each other and produce a small piece of art that was authentic and true to them.”
Rob Grundel, Workshop Leader
By the afternoon the young carers were all in full creative mode writing lyrics and putting them to music.
It was great to see how quickly everyone picked up the chords and
strumming together, although there were some sore fingers by the end of the day! The musicality achieved in such a short time was fantastic.
At lunchtime, new friendships were forming as the young people sat in the sunshine and got to know each other and by the end of both days they were able to deliver whole songs performed with pride.
“At the end of each session we had participants share one thing
they liked that someone else did. It gave a huge amount of confidence to
those participants who had not been sure about their own
contribution to have it validated by their peers”
Rob Grundel, Workshop leader
As the youngsters left at the end of the day they were talking happily to their families about what they had been doing. It was great to see young people with very responsible roles at home enjoying themselves and having some well earned ‘me time’.
Q&A with Sarah Weiler
How do you think the beneficiaries for the project responded to the activities? Can you share any moments that stand out for you?
Really positive on both days. On the first day everyone participated the whole time and the staff were commenting how well the children were all getting on. They were volunteering to do solos and write raps and we could see them grow in confidence over the day. We ran a gratitude circle at the end and pupils had to say something they liked about another group member – this was a real confidence boost for them eg. One girl said: “I had no idea people liked my playing that much.”
On the second day the young people responded really well to writing their own song and they were buzzing with ideas. Three girls in particular stood out because they led the whole rehearsal: delegating parts to different performers and suggesting ways everyone could be involved.
One of the main outcomes is that everyone got to shine doing something they loved, whether that was singing, song-writing, leading or rapping. We created a safe atmosphere for everyone to take part.
Has this project had an impact on your own personal or professional ways of working?
It was great to have a whole day to run the workshop and see what could evolve. Most workshops I’ve run recently have been for half a day or over a series of weeks. It’s amazing what can be achieved if you have them for a whole day. I will definitely get more groups to write their own songs (rather than re-write lyrics) as I have seen that it’s definitely possible!
- to provide musical activities for Young Carers at Carers Bromley during the summer holidays that young people are enthusiastic about and enjoy being a part of
- to provide a time of respite for the Young Carers and allow them to socialise with other young carers, and build friendships through learning a skill and making music together
- to inspire young people and enable them to express themselves
- to encourage the enjoyment of making music as a group, and have fun
- to learn a new skill and improve rhythm techniques, learning from a professional
- to include everyone and make activities inclusive to all participants
- to document the project through film / photos
- to encourage collaboration, community spirit and a sense of achievement
“A moment of the project that stood out for me was watching the 8-12 year olds as they were learning Titanium by Sia on the ukulele, singing along without any
self-consciousness and creating a beautiful sound’
Rob Grundel, Workshop Leader
Sarah Weiler has an eclectic set of skills which include teacher, coach, workshop facilitator, trainer, stand-up comedian, songwriter, musician and events organiser. She is passionate about helping people reconnect with their inner child and enjoy life a little more!
Rob Grundel is a software designer, musician, writer and improviser and the founder of Somekind, a London-based story consultancy. He has over 10 years’ experience in the computing industry and more than 20 in music and writing. He performs regularly with Unexpected Guests and Abandoman.