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Jazz lessons for BAME young people

A collaborative project: Jazz and Blues Music lessons for BAME young people in Leicester aged 7-18 years

Following a successful application for EMJAZZ/ LJH funding in November 2019, an initial programme of jazz and blues lessons (managed by Cosmopolitan Arts CIC ) was delivered from January to the end of March 2020 at the Leicester Caribbean Centre. 35 students regularly attended sessions in trumpet, saxophone, drums, keyboard, guitar, bass and singing. 

Interim support from the Leicestershire Music Hub (LMH) and in-kind contributions from Cosmopolitan Arts permitted the lessons to continue as online Zoom sessions into the Autumn 2020. The Music Hub also agreed to provide a significant amount towards the cost of further tuition from January 2021.

The funding from EMJAZZ, together with the money from the Music Hub and Leicester Jazzhouse, allowed the music lessons to continue through to the end of March 2021, online via Zoom until such time as a relaxation in the Covid 19 restrictions permitted a return to live rehearsals.

The key benefits of the tuition were:

· It has successfully engaged Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic children and young adults in learning and playing jazz music.

· It provides vital continuity of their lessons, to help keep them playing and developing their skills base.

· It helps to keep them occupied during lockdown restrictions, giving them something to look forward to participating in and something to do between lessons as they have to practice.

· Working towards creating a music video helps keep them focused and engaged, as it helps raise their self-esteem and gives them a sense of empowerment.

· The sessions help with their mental health and wellbeing during lockdown restrictions as many suffer deprivation, poor conditions and lack of stimulation.

Here is a link to one of the videos that the young people created, composed, wrote the lyrics for and performed during the Leicester lockdowns in March to July:

 It is hoped to be able to develop this and other such projects further, and, in particular, encourage collaboration between organizations to provide jazz experience for young people.