“Music is a very important passion of mine where I can express my views, the things I like and it makes me feel inspired. Without music, life would be boring.”

18 year old Len has always loved performing. He says:

“Ever since I was a kid I wanted to try to find a way to entertain people, whether that was drawing, cooking or performing arts. I spent my first few years in school trying to focus on one of these areas, but in my last few years in KS4 I decided I wanted to try to focus on music seriously. I remember being in groups of creative minds, but this didn’t always work out.”

As many of us, Len got through the lockdowns by following creative pursuits.

“In lockdown I was left with my own thoughts running wild and trying to make the most of the time I had indoors. This is when I started writing my own songs. They weren’t perfect, but I did the best with what I had. This led to me learning to play the ukulele, as I could already play guitar.”

Awards for Young Musicians and Sunderland Music Hub began supporting Len in September 2021 through our Furthering Talent programme. As well as having free ukulele lessons, Furthering Talent has helped Len to turn his love of music into a possible future profession.

“Furthering Talent has helped me take music more seriously and extend my music knowledge. It has also helped me to expand my ideas to more than just my family and friends. Working with David, my music teacher, has helped me to improve my knowledge of how to structure songs; he is also a great source of inspiration.

“Before Furthering Talent it would have been very difficult for me, as I would not have had the funds to go to a recording studio. I now know what I can do professionally, so I can continue doing the things I love.”

As Len mentions, he used his Furthering Talent bursary to record two of his own songs in a professional recording studio where he was joined by Dave Brewis from the Mercury nominated band Field Music. His grandparents also came to this session and his gran said:

“Len was over the moon and elated! I was amazed at how professional Len was in the studio. Dave Brewis would ask him about the song, and Len would demonstrate examples and then they would record it.’

Len’s teacher, David, says:

“Len continues to make amazing progress with his song writing on the Furthering talent programme. Each week he brings a host of new ideas to the table and finds great enjoyment in seeing these come to fruition. Len also holds great interest in learning numerous instruments, which he then likes to use within the performance of his song ideas. Furthering Talent has allowed Len to creatively express himself by removing barriers and providing exciting opportunities.”

Len’s talents and achievements have also been recognised in his local community. Last month, he won the Music and Performing Arts Award in the Sunderland Young Achievers’ Awards!

Len was nominated to join Furthering Talent by his music teacher, David, who spotted Len’s potential.

If you work with a Music Hub in England, you can also discover how you can spot and nurture young people’s musical potential by booking our acclaimed Identifying Musical Talent and Potential training. This training is available to Music Hubs for free and is funded by Arts Council England through their Hub Support Programme.

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