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Music sparks Graeme's career

Posted on 23 August 2019

Graeme Music Spark

Graeme has been part of the Sage Gateshead family for 10 years. He has additional needs and has suffered with depression. While at college he showed a great passion for music. So Northern Counties College recommended he go along to Sage Gateshead where he joined Music Spark…

Music Spark is a programme of training and work experience for young people and adults aged 15 to 25 years old with additional needs to help them become musicians. It is part of CoMusica at Sage Gateshead – a programme that engages children and young people in challenging circumstances through music and creative arts.

Graeme, 29 from Ashington, said he was inspired by his brother’s love of music. “My brother died in 2000 and I found all his decks and LPs and went through them all and digitised them. There was lots of old school rave and so Sandy from the Sage introduced me to more and I learnt to beatbox. I loved it.”

At Music Spark Graeme learnt how to lead a music workshop and went onto become a volunteer, supporting new trainees and working in schools and at private events and conferences. The skills he gained helped him to go on to achieve his Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award and he set up the Alligator Klub – a nightclub for people over 18 with additional needs.

“As part of my DoE I had to set up my own service. I know a lot of people with learning difficulties who just want a good night out and to socialise. I set it up on the last Friday of every month and now it’s in its eighth year,” Graeme said.

Now Graeme is an employed musician. He has gained an NCFE qualification in personal and social development, a Silver Arts Award and lots of experience in different sectors of the industry such as production, promotion and film-making.

“Coming here has changed my life. I feel happier, I have matured and become more confident,” he added.

Louise Duff, CoMusica Manager at Sage Gateshead, said: “Graeme is an amazing part of the team. He is always here supporting other young people and the different activities that are going on. He is an inspiration.”

The Music Spark traineeship starts from Friday 27 September and places are still available. Find out more about Music Spark.