Off the Beat

2016 - 2018

A digital music-making programme with young people in South East Northumberland.

Off the Beat was a two year project delivered in partnership with Cramlington Voluntary Youth Project and Cramlington Learning Village and funded by Youth Music.

Watch the More Doors short film

Young people who attended sessions at Cramlington Voluntary Youth Project (CVYP) took part in a range of taster sessions exploring digital music, including push pads, making music from fruit, sampling, found sound and electronica. There were opportunities to work with a range of professional music artists, with visual artists and film-makers and collaborate across different groups including Young Carers, refugee groups, young people with a range of SEN/D and young volunteers.

Sessions in the core programme included song-writing, rap, instrumental, playing as a band, singing (solo and group) and sampling/mixing. Young people took part in weekly music workshops and worked to complete Arts Award at Discover/ Explore levels and produce tracks that were shared using Soundcloud (with all tracks written/performed/recorded by young people at CVYP.

Young people from various SEN/D groups at the centre worked alongside a music and visual artist to make a sound-board using spoons, copper tape, and electronic paint. They made two music videos having taken part in skills sessions with an animator and film-maker.

The programme culminated with an inclusive music residential attended by a mix of young people from across groups (a first for CVYP) to record and perform EP tracks which showcased the talent and development of the young people’s skills across the project.

Listen to Off the Beat EP

This was a fantastic milestone achievement for the young people involved, some of them had issues which meant they had never been way from home previously. As well as engaging with music activities all groups took part in Arts Award activities including trips to cultural venues like Sage Gateshead, Star and Shadow Cinema, professional music studio and BBC Newcastle.

After further partnership work with Cramlington Learning Village we delivered an 8 week project with 34 x Year 9 Music students, introducing a variety of musicians into the school setting to empower young people to write lyrics/compose music for a pop song, perform to peers in a public venue and complete Bronze Arts Award.

Helix Arts and CVYP won ‘Partnership of the Year’ at NE Youth’s Projects with Pride Awards 2018 — you can read about it on CVYP’s blog.

“This partnership has inspired our young people, valuing their contribution to sessions and creating new opportunities for them to shine… confidence levels have risen, communication has improved and they have gained new friendships.”


Thanks to our Project Funders

This project was funded by Youth Music.