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Barbican partners with Native Instruments and Swifta Beater for music education programme

Music technology company Native Instruments and Grime producer Swifta Beater will work with more than 100 secondary school students aged 11–16 in London as part of the fifth annual Barbican Box Music programme, produced by Barbican Guildhall Creative Learning.

Barbican Box Music is a creative education project in local schools that provides the ingredients and tools for students to create original music. Each participating school receives a box of creative starting points curated by an invited artist or artistic company. This year’s Box is curated by Native Instruments and includes a range of electronic and digital tools, inspired by the Barbican’s 2019 season theme Life Rewired, which explores what it means to be human when technology is changing everything.

From January to March, Swifta and Native Instruments will work with students from The Sydney Russell School, Stratford Academy, Islington Arts and Media, COLA Shoreditch Park, Bridge Academy, Brampton Manor, Barking and Dagenham College and The Petchey Academy.

Using the contents of the Barbican Box, students will produce their own music shows, culminating in a final showcase in the Barbican Hall on 24 April 2019 which will include a performance by Swifta.

The Box will inspire students to consider the ever-increasing rate of technological development in the 21st century, and will include pad controllers; old tech objects to upcycle into instruments; and tablets to sketch ideas and sample and manipulate sounds.

Native Instruments is a leading manufacturer of software and hardware for computer-based audio production and DJing. Swifta is an established producer from Birmingham, producing tracks for the likes of Jme, AJ Tracey and Mist in a range of musical genres, from Drum ‘n’ Bass and Hip Hop to Grime and UK Garage.

Swifta said: ‘I’m looking forward to working with the students and inspiring them in their musical journey. Music class was very different when I was at school; I never had access to tools like this when I was their age. It’s exciting to see how they will create with non-traditional means of music production and even how they will influence my own creativity.’

Daniel Haver, CEO and Co-founder of Native Instruments added: ‘For over 20 years Native Instruments’ mission has been to democratise digital music creation and make it accessible to everyone. Removing traditional barriers to entry like cost and product complexity helps open up the community, but education remains at the heart of the challenge. By partnering with prestigious institutions like the Barbican and artists like Swifta Beater, we hope to inspire the next generation of creators and encourage new thinking around music education.’

Jenny Mollica, Director of Creative Learning (Interim) for the Barbican and the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, said: ‘We’re very excited to be welcoming both Native Instruments and Swifta Beater on board for Barbican Box Music. With technology impacting every aspect of our lives, including the ways in which artists create and innovate, this is a fantastic opportunity for students to make music using the latest cutting-edge technology with mentorship from one of the most exciting and influential producers in the Grime scene today.

‘This year we’re encouraging students and teachers to push the boundaries of what is possible in the music classroom, and I can’t wait to see the results!’

Past artistic mentors for Barbican Box Music have included composer Max Richter, beatboxer Bellatrix and saxophonist Soweto Kinch.

Barbican Guildhall Creative Learning supports people of all ages and backgrounds to engage with world-class arts for free and is jointly run by the Barbican Centre and the Guildhall School of Music & Drama.

Last year, Barbican Guildhall Creative Learning reached over 100,000 people.