The Youth Enquiry Service is a charitable organisation which holds twice-weekly free music workshops for residents of all ages, through their project, The Edge Acoustic Band, giving them an opportunity to learn music of their choosing from a variety of genres and on a range of instruments, supported by experienced music practitioners in Brixham, Devon.
According to Age UK, 1.4 million people aged 50+ living in England are socially isolated and often feel alone. Older people who experience social isolation are likely to experience other additional physical and mental health issues, leading to a 25% reduction in life expectancy. Music at the Edge is creating an intergenerational space for music lovers to come together, develop their performance skills, and build relationships between members of the local community.
The group takes part in four annual live music events as well as performing at a range of community activities within the town, including local festivals and in care homes. Not only does the project support a community of musicians to build confidence, wellbeing and new friendships but they also tackle loneliness and encourage participation in the wider community.
After a few early live performances members decided that performance was at the heart of what they wanted to do and began to use the workshops as rehearsal spaces to choose, arrange and prepare pieces of music to perform. All of the music played is chosen by participants with each member encouraged to suggest material, creating a wide range of music performed, and allowing member to share their favourite pieces of music with each other.
The group has gone from strength to strength and are now on their way to smashing their records with their newest musical offering, a cover of The Darkness’ ‘I Believe in A Thing Called Love’. The music video has now racked up over 2,500 views after a month online.
Tom Crump, Project Coordinator, said, “The funding we have received has allowed us to hire the space to play, buy new instruments and employ two Music Leaders to help learn, arrange and teach the music the group chooses to play. All the creative choices the project makes are made by the group, from the material we cover to the activities we engage in. Highlights of our year to come will include continuing to release our now famous music videos and performing at Brixfest, our largest local music festival.”
The project has created several music videos featuring their members, exploring a variety of styles, including the rocking Runaway Sue, the heart-wrenching solo, Home, and the upbeat golden oldie Ghost Riders, which can all be viewed on the charity’s Facebook page. Choosing which songs they want to cover, creating the music, and then filming the videos to go alongside them, is a great way for the local people to connect and build social connections through their shared interests.
“Our project continues to grow, and we are delighted to see our participants developing into a real community – meeting independently of the sessions, taking part in local jam nights and events and taking the skills they have learned out into the wider world!”
To see more from the project, visit their Facebook page.
The project has been funded by the Trust with money raised through Health Lottery South West.
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 Age UK (2018b). Later Life in the United Kingdom: April 2018. <https://www.ageuk.org.uk/globalassets/age-uk/documents/reports-and-publications/later_life_uk_> Accessed: 14.10.2019
 Holt-Lunstad, J., Smith, T. B., Baker, M., Harris, T., & Stephenson, D. (2015). Loneliness and Social Isolation as Risk Factors for Mortality: A Meta-Analytic Review. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 10(2), 227–237.