Using drumming as a tool to inspire young people creatively, give them confidence in their ideas and empower them to direct their own futures.
In 2016 Drum Works became the Barbican’s first-ever spin-out Community Interest Company. The project began in 2007 and has grown into a hugely successful programme reaching over 1,000 young east Londoners in the past decade. Drum Works is now a Barbican Artistic Associate and continues to work closely with Barbican Guildhall Creative Learning.
Drum Works currently reaches around 450 young people in seven east London schools on a weekly basis. Participants have weekly sessions with professional musicians where they create their own material and work towards high-profile performances. There are opportunities to progress into two senior ensembles, which meet fortnightly at the Barbican and perform regularly around London and further afield. The Drum Works Assistant programme offers some of the older more advanced players the opportunity to develop their music leadership skills through taking paid placements in schools and receiving mentoring from Drum Works Leaders.
The primary aim of Drum Works is to achieve social change through tackling some of the key issues facing young people in east London today. It confronts disengagement within schools and youth culture by using fast-paced, high-energy teaching processes and culturally relevant material to engage and inspire all young people from any background. Leaders build good relationships with participants over time, creating a safe environment where every individual is empowered to contribute their own ideas. Once engaged, participants then begin to develop their musical, technical and leadership skills through sustained involvement. Regular collaborations across the project bring together young people from a variety of cultural, religious and socio-economic backgrounds to meet on an equal footing and work together. Performance opportunities at high-profile events allow participants to showcase their work, demonstrating that positive action, hard work and commitment achieve amazing results everyone can be proud of.
Additional Activity In response to popular demand, Drum Works has recently started running a wider programme of activity alongside the core work in schools, including bespoke schools workshops, corporate training and an adult ensemble. For further information visit the Drum Works website.