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April 2017

SoCo supports Future Bubblers!

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SoCo Music Project chosen as official partner as Gilles Peterson-backed Future Bubblers project announce third year of programme supporting unsigned musicians.

Southampton and Liverpool chosen as new focus cities New round of applications opens on 3rd July

Future Bubblers have announced details of the third year of their England-wide talent development programme. Started by London-based, BBC Radio 6 Music DJ Gilles Peterson, it’s a grassroots scheme which complements his independent record label Brownswood Recordings (who are currently celebrating their tenth birthday). Receiving support from Arts Council England, their goal is to develop unsigned talent and build new audiences for leftfield, boundary-pushing music.

Following Year 2’s two focus cities of Hull and Sheffield, Year 3 sees the focus shifted to Liverpool and Southampton. The team’s logic behind the focus cities is simple: the more opportunities there are for local, open-minded music makers, the more that alternative, experimental music culture will flourish in those areas. Tapping into those vital local networks (including with partner organisations, listed below), there will be a year-long programme of events and opportunities. For example, the return of popular staples the Future Bubblers Block Party—with their free-for-all daytime admis- sions policy, it’s a way of removing barriers to experiencing new music.

The other side of the programme is providing individual support for unsigned musicians. With sub- missions open to any new artists in England, successful candidates are offered a whole range of support. Pairing each with an industry mentor, it ranges from one-to-one production workshops from premiere music software company, Ableton, live Future Bubblers showcases, and — beyond this year — long-term backing as they develop and grow.

With Gilles Peterson’s roots in underground, alternative music culture, the brief for new Future Bubblers is undoubtedly wide open. Previous years’ candidates include Nottingham grime MC Snowy, Hull’s sample-heavy ambient experimenter Revenu and soulful, stripped back singer Yazmin Lacey. As their website makes clear, “Future Bubblers is all about things outside of the box — musically.”

Matt Salvage, Director of SoCo Music Project said “There’s so much talent in the city, and it’s not all visible. Future Bubblers is all about bringing that talent to the forefront, supporting artists and taking them to the next level.”

Submissions for new candidates are open from 3rd July to 18th August. Prospective candidates can enter their submission by heading to, or by going to a partner organisation in one of the two focus cities.

The partner organisations for Southampton are:


SoCo Music Project

SoCo Music Project has been delivering engaging and inspirational music making activities in Southampton and Hampshire since 2008. We believe everyone has the right to take part in music making, no matter what your ability, age, background or circumstances. At SoCo we are passionate about changing lives through music… our positive and creative opportunities help people discover something new, learn new skills and nurture their creative potential.

Newtown Youth Centre

In May 2015, the YMCA Youth & Community Centre re-opened providing a community hub for the area, with services for both the community and agencies across a range of ages. There centre is a hub of lots of emerging musical activity.

For more information, please contact:

Jake Hulyer | Communications Manager, Brownswood Recordings


Accessing thoughts, feelings and emotions in young people with autism and learning difficulties using songwriting

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My name is Jim Chorley and I work for SoCo Music Project. I’m a community music practitioner with my specialism being songwriting. I work with groups of vulnerable young people and adults across Southampton and Hampshire. I see my role as being a facilitator, enabling people to connect with their innate and inherent musically creative selves.

I have been working in a specialist secondary school in Basingstoke for young people with learning difficulties for the last five months. Along with three other colleagues, with have been delivering a tailor made 10 week music programme for the full year 8 cohort. There are four cohorts in total and at present we are teaching the third one. The programme consists of songwriting, drumming and percussion workshops, singing lessons and music production using relevant iPad apps, with the tenth and final lesson culminating with a live performance of their original songs and music.

I am aware that there is a pervading assumption and stereotype that people with autism cannot understand emotion and lack empathy, but there are up to date findings and research that offer a very different picture of an autistic individual’s response to emotional stimuli. This post offers an insight into using songwriting as a vehicle to both elicit and discuss these emotional responses, and how they can then be understood and utilised creatively and musically.

We start each cohort with a songwriting workshop and this songwriting thread is followed throughout the course. In the first lesson we encourage the young people to listen to an original song I’ve written called ‘Gabi and the Crow’. I play the song live using my acoustic guitar and for many this is the first time they have heard live original music in their classroom. The song is written about a young girl who every day would feed the crows in her back garden. One day she goes to feed them and discovers that they have brought her trinkets and treasures in return for her kindness.

Before I play the song I, ask the young people to listen carefully and try to find ‘what they think the song is about’ ‘What the title could be’ ‘Any lyrics they hear’ and most importantly ‘how does the song make them feel’ ?. These questions within this starter activity are to initiate a deeper and more profound listening experience. Asking these questions, as we listen to a song we’ve never heard before, isn’t usually the way we listen to music, but this task is designed to encourage the young people to begin accessing and understanding the thoughts, emotions and creative motives within and behind the songwriting process.

In the feedback element of the workshop the young people are encouraged to share their findings and talk about the meanings and motifs they have uncovered from their listening task. As mentioned previously, I am aware that there is an assumption that people with autism cannot understand emotion and lack empathy, but we find the young people will readily tell us how the song made them feel and how they related to the songs content. They will inform us that the song made them feel a variety of things, ranging from happy to reflective to interested to a feeling of sadness. At the beginning of this listening and speaking task we make sure to tell the young people that there are no ‘wrong’ answers and that because they are all individuals they will all respond differently. This encourages them to share their thoughts and feelings without the pressure of there being only one ‘right’ answer. This is a very different way of viewing ‘answers’ in an educational sense for many of the group, as they have grown up understanding that in other subjects there are hard and fast rules. Being right, isn’t what is required in these sessions. It is about being an individual and having faith and trust in your own personal feelings, emotions and responses. These discussions are an open forum where we as practitioners are also stimulated to view our songs from the young people’s perspectives and it is interesting how the songs can be seen to have very different meanings than we first imagined.

In the creation of their own songs the young people are encouraged to use the feedback process as a motivation to access and connect with their imagination and intuition.

In this connection they write lyrics, melody and music which are individual, emotive and relatable.

Songs and music play an important role in our culture. We listen for enjoyment and pleasure, we are elevated and enlightened and our thoughts, feelings and emotions are heightened. The young people with autism and learning difficulties that we have worked with, access all of these feelings and emotions and in educational settings can be inspired to create and write meaningful, moving music and songs.