Music Spark at The Sage Gateshead #MyArtsAward

Published: 6th February 2018

It’s Day two of #MyArtsAward Week organised by Culture Bridge North East part of our national campaign to raise awareness and celebrate Arts Award whatever the art form from music to circus skills, glass to writing. Today’s theme is #TheWholeChild.

Elizabeth Kane Learning Officer asked Paul Martin from The Sage Gateshead to talk about Music Spark at Sage Gateshead. Paul is the Music Spark Project Leader. He works with Matt Sokell Programme Leader and a team of project musicians together with dedicated CMS volunteers. Together with the project participants they are the ‘Music Spark team’.

What is Music Spark?

Music Spark is based at Sage Gateshead. We provide training in community music for young people and adults with additional needs. We promote equality and diversity in the workplace by providing supported pathways to employment and work experience.

The project is a weekly training programme during term time for Young people and Adults with additional needs aged 16 and over. Music Spark’s works with Thomas Bewick School, ESPA College, Hilltop School, Collingwood Arts and Media College, Percy Hedley. These partners act as feeder schools and signpost students to our project.

You can find out more about the programme at

Music Spark

Music Spark

What Do You do?

Trainees on the programme are introduced to Community Music Leadership through practical sessions. These are led by Sage Gateshead Project Musicians and supported by volunteers.

We deliver a broad range of activities  from music making, singing, beatboxing, song writing, creative ice breakers, drama games, graffiti art, film making rapping. The young people are encouraged to identify specific musical interests and develop them through playing, practising, building repertoire and group trial delivery.

They learn about all aspects of community music delivery. This includes planning, reflection and evaluation. At the end of the course, we support the group to plan and deliver a 45 minute music workshop.

So, What is The Music Spark Show?

The Music Spark Show is a well attended, high quality show in our performance hall Sage Two. The CMS team deliver their own annual event “Music Spark Show”. They plan, host and perform at this event. It offers them another perspective to music delivery and builds their confidence.

Trainees are encouraged to progress at a pace that is manageable for them and given every opportunity to challenge themselves in a safe and supportive environment. #MyArtsAward

Can You Tell Us Why You Include Arts Award?

Arts Award was included as we saw the value in the creative process and the accreditation. We wanted to offer additional projects/qualification and value to our core programme for Music Spark.

Currently, we deliver three levels of Arts Award. During the introduction phase for new members we begin with a Discover Arts Award. We then progress onto Explore and Bronze. We aspire to work towards Silver in the future and possibly Gold.

An hour of every session is dedicated to Arts Award every week. #MyArtsAward

How has Arts Award Helped Your Young People Grow as Artists, Leaders and Musicians…

As the young people make new friends they develop their creative and musicianship skills. There are many opportunities for everyone to strengthen their leadership skills including planning, delivery and public speaking.

The team enjoy reflecting on what they’ve learned and celebrating what they’ve achieved. The group embraces new experiences like visiting other cultural venues such as our neighbor BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art. Arts Award develops participants confidence and self-belief but most importantly its fun. They really enjoy doing Arts Award and it feel like its part of their education and training with us.

The Music Spark team have got to experience new activities and different challenges. Arts Award is a truly unique experience, as they are doing the same work/and achieving the same accreditation that those who attend regular mainstream education.

There are no barriers or ‘differences’ in Arts Award, our young people value the experience and opportunity. We try to make each arts award experience bespoke to the individual as well as supporting engagement in group work.

We have seen confidence grow, aspirations rise, new skills learned and a huge sense of pride and achievement from all our young people who do Arts Award.

The team are proud to be able to deliver Arts Award on our programme and enjoy the different projects and creative outcomes we see every day.

Get Involved with #MyArtsAward

Paul is an experienced  Arts Award Adviser. It’s clear that the Music Spark team believes in the benefits of Arts Award for every young person.

Do you have an Arts Award story to share? Be sure to search twitter for #MyArtsAward to find out more and visit Culture Bridge North East  for more news. The Learning and Participation Team will also be tweeting more about Arts Award this week from @CustomsHouseLP