The Music Man project is a service for people who have a disability and interest in music. So far they have held concerts and performed in front of thousands of people, and are even known by the Prime Minister.
At the Music Man Project I learn how to sing, how to play the drum kit, the ukulele and all sorts of different instruments.
We don’t just have fun playing music, we also learn about how music is put together, how music can be about your feelings and how we can help other people through music.
We also have visiting musicians who come to our sessions to play their particular type of music and show us new and interesting instruments. When we do really well or reach a certain level then we receive a certificate which can even help us achieve the Trinity Arts Award.
I have helped raise money for Southend Mencap by taking part in a 24 hour Music Marathon on the end of Southend Pier and by walking 12.2 miles in a special charity music march. These were all unforgettable moments for me. Samantha Marsh on her experience at the Music Man project
I have been studying music with David Stanley since 2003 at the Southend Mencap Music School. I was so excited when he started The Music Man Project in 2012 because it meant I could do the thing I love many more times a week at the daily adult classes.
I even get to work with pupils at The Music Man Project’s special schools. It’s been so nice to be with the children and to share with them all the skills I have learnt.
I have had some amazing experiences as a Music Man Project Student Ambassador. I was even in a documentary called The Music Man which was watched by the Prime Minister! I also visited the Houses of Parliament to tell MPs about the project.
I have helped raise money for Southend Mencap by taking part in a 24 hour Music Marathon on the end of Southend Pier and by walking 12.2 miles in a special charity music march. These were all unforgettable moments for me. Just a few months ago I had a photo shoot with the singer Pattie Boulaye for The Music Man Project’s celebrity fundraising calendar.
Performing is my passion and I have sung solo in front of thousands of people at concerts. Some of my friends used to be really nervous about performing in front of other people, and I can remember one or two screaming with fear when they first started coming to the music sessions.
But now they sing, play and dance with confidence and enthusiasm, and entertain audiences throughout the year just like me. We have performed with local musicians and professional orchestras in concerts, fundraising events, church services and even restaurant openings.
The Music Man Project performed again at The Cliffs Pavilion Theatre on Saturday June 28 2014. I was one of over 150 people on stage, of all ages and abilities.
The concert will also included children from the special schools that The Music Man Project support every week. We also had a local adult choir, a folk orchestra and a mainstream primary school choir with us at the end. What I most looked forward to was the performance with the animals on stage as we sung one of our new songs called ‘It’s Animals I Adore’. This has words written by another one of our students, Rebecca.
At the Music Man Project we are all musicians first and foremost, and no matter what people can or cannot do there is always an important part everyone can play in a musical performance.
I enjoy being a helper to the staff and encouraging all the students, especially the new ones. We are all musicians together.
Samantha Marsh, Music Man Project Student Ambassador
This recently updated article first appeared on 23/6/2014 on the official Mencap website: https://www.mencap.org.uk/blog/how-music-can-inspire-music-man-project