Gig School 2022: Young Leader Blog Post

8 September 2022

Gig School 2022 was one of a number of fantastic schemes that Newham Music initiated over the summer. Our Young Leader, Nathan, recaps his version of events as they unfolded. For more information on our Young Leaders scheme, click here.

Hello! My name is Nathan-Asher Oriakhi, and I am 14-years-old. I was a Youth Leader at the Newham Music Gig School during the holidays. I was informed about this event by Jill when I was helping as a Youth Ambassador for the Newham Music Summer Concert. She asked me to be a Youth Leader and of course I said yes.

The day before the first day of Gig School, we had a brief meeting with the organisation we were working with (YouMeUs). It was just an introduction – who we are – and basically just preparing for the days (preparing meaning we were talking about the layout of the room, or like a small idea of how we think the days will go).

The Gig School was available for vocalists to come and some of the instruments that would be there included pianos, drums, guitars, brass & wind instruments, and more. Me being a Youth Leader meant that, although I was participating as a pupil, I also had a second hat to put on, by also helping out and being a leader. This meant that I was encouraging the students and also helping them out with anything. This also meant I would be helping set up, and even learned how to use a PA system.

On the first day, we thought about things we may want to do. We looked at a couple of songs and learnt a 4-chords sequence that are used for over hundreds of different songs. This was just the first day, although everyone had seemed to enjoy just the rough idea of what we were doing.

On the second day, we developed the 4-chord sequence by looking at a couple of songs that fit into the 4 chords. We chose five or six of them and rehearsed the songs. They were varied genres, from pop to reggae. We also looked at some other songs generally for different groups. We had four mini bands each doing a different song.

The final day was mainly running through the order of songs and making sure everything was ready for the performance. Everyone seemed excited and prepared to play to family, friends and even other people who may walk in and watch.

It was finally time for the performance. Everything went really, really well, and everyone had a smile on their faces while playing songs that they actually chose and enjoyed, rather than being given a piece by the staff. There were spectacular performances and also a variety of different styles in the solos as well.

I’d say that I found the performances the most exciting out of everything we did because it feels good performing to people, sharing work that we were proud of. Another thing I really enjoyed was listening to B Polymath’s performance and meeting new people. I really enjoyed his rap songs about East London. I’d say I also enjoyed bonding with everyone, but I had already met basically everyone before. I can’t wait for the next Gig School!

Jack Petchey FoundationNational Foundation For Youth MusicArts Council England
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