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Sage Gateshead to host music industry conference supporting young people to engage in music technology

Posted on 3 January 2023



  • Exploring Inclusive Approaches to Music Technology with Children and Young People will mark the seventh in Sage Gateshead’s MC² (Mini Conference) series for music educators working with young people experiencing challenging circumstances.
  • The event follows the launch of Sage Gateshead’s new Making Tracks programme, a practical mentoring initiative for young people interested in music production.
  • The conference will take place on 26 January 2023. Tickets are free and can be booked here.

As part of their commitment to widening access to music, Sage Gateshead is delighted to present the seventh in their MC² (Mini Conference) series for music leaders and educators working with young people experiencing challenging circumstances, taking place on Thursday 26th January 2023.

Like previous conferences, Exploring Inclusive Approaches to Music Technology with Children and Young People will offer delegates the opportunity to discuss different barriers and solutions for delivering inclusive music education, this time with a focus on the transformative role of music technology.

The National Plan for Music Education writes that ‘music technology is now an integral part of the landscape for those teaching, learning, composing and performing music’, and that finding ways to embed technology in the classroom can result in a more engaging, accessible and inclusive learning environment. However, recent studies have highlighted that music technology is often an area that music leaders feel less confident in. Recognising technology’s important role in music education, this event will facilitate discussion about how it can be used to make music-making accessible to more young people.

The event will open with a keynote from Dr Pete Dale, Lecturer at York University and Principal Investigator for the AHRC-funded CUMIN network (Contemporary Urban Music for Inclusion Network). CUMIN is a collective of organisations using contemporary urban music (such as hip-hop, grime, EDM and house) in inclusive ways, recognising that whilst contemporary urban music is one of the most-listened-to genres in the world, it is frequently excluded from mainstream music education.

Delegates will then have the opportunity to explore practical approaches to using music technology with children and young people through workshop sessions led by the Making Tracks programme at Sage Gateshead and DJ Schools UK based in Leeds.

Sage Gateshead’s Making Tracks programme, which is delivered in partnership with Access Music Production CIC, is aimed at young people aged 16-25 who are interested in music production and recording. Since launching in September, the programme has offered young musicians and songwriters the opportunity to immerse themselves in the recording studio environment and work with producers to create, write, record and produce their own music.

Lisa Murphy, creator of Access Music Production said:

“Making Tracks is an incredibly important programme in addressing the accessibility of music technology for young people. A recording studio can be a daunting and overwhelming place at first, so it’s important to us to show participants how easy it is to get started and be creative using some of these tools. We’ve purposely designed this programme to be taught by industry professionals in a professional recording studio environment in order to be as inclusive and immersive as possible, and the feedback we’ve had from young people so far has been really positive.”

“It’s also important to recognise that barriers for young people entering the music industry extend beyond just technology, which is why we’re excited to talk at MC². Conversations about how to diversify the music industry are crucial, particularly when it comes to gender balance in music technology roles, and events like this are vital in making our local music industry more sustainable, accessible, and diverse.”

Exploring Inclusive Approaches to Music Technology with Children and Young People will take place on Thursday 26 January at 1.30pm at Sage Gateshead. Tickets are free of charge and can be booked at Places are limited, so advanced booking is strongly recommended.


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About Sage Gateshead

  • Sage Gateshead is an international music centre for the North East and wider North. Through music, creative learning and artist development, the organisation demonstrates what music can achieve for communities.
  • Since opening in 2004, Sage Gateshead has worked side by side with partners and the wider community to help address the complex blend of social and economic challenges the region faces.
  • Sage Gateshead continues to be a major employer bringing investment and tourism into the region. We’ve generated a c. £500 million contribution to the local economy.
  • Sage Gateshead has brought social, cultural and educational value to over 10 million people and millions more via digital and broadcast activity. The scale of its artistic, learning and artist development activity places Sage Gateshead amongst the UK’s largest cultural organisations, while reaching a substantially more socially and economically diverse audience.
  • Pre-pandemic Sage Gateshead attracted 2 million visitors; 5,000 people took part in weekly music classes; 17,854 school children experienced live orchestral music and we worked with a further 2,418 vulnerable young people; more than 2,000 adults a week took part in music making designed to tackle social isolation.
  • The North East region is one of the worst affected by Covid-19. The region will be one where the recovery is slow and hard. Arts and culture have a pivotal role to play in regional and nation-wide recovery.
  • Covid-19 presents a major financial challenge to Sage Gateshead. 80% of its income has been affected, and in 2020/21 £10 million in revenue was lost. The organisation has taken swift action to overcome this crisis. 90% of the workforce was placed on furlough, significant cost savings have been sought and found, and it launched a fundraising campaign to raise £3 million to help secure the organisation during the next three years. Further challenges lie ahead; in 2021/22, Sage Gateshead estimates box office and trading income to be less than half of what would be expected in a normal year.
  • Sage Gateshead temporarily closed to the public on 17 March 2020, five days ahead of the announcement of the national lockdown. Performances recommenced in October 2020 with a season of socially distanced concerts featuring Royal Northern Sinfonia and artists across types of music, made available by live stream. Audiences were able to be present in the hall for two weekends of those performances.
  • In 2020 Sage Gateshead received a grant of £2.8 million from the Culture Recovery Fund Round One to help it through the pandemic and associated financial crisis. In 2021 the charity received a loan of £3m from the Culture Recovery Fund Round Two to support recovery. It has thanked the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and Arts Council England for this vital support.

About Dr Pete Dale

Pete Dale is a Lecturer in Music Education at the University of York. He has been researching the use of DJ decks to boost engagement and attainment in school and extra-curricular settings for many years and was formerly a Head of Music in an inner-city secondary school himself (2003-12). He is the author of Engaging Students with Music Education: DJ Decks, Urban Music and Child-Centred Learning (Routledge 2017) and has written several journal articles and book chapters on similar themes. Previous to his tenure at York, Pete was Senior Lecturer in Music at Manchester Metropolitan University (2013-2021) and an Early Career Fellow at Oxford Brookes (2012-13). He is currently the Principal Investigator for the AHRC-funded network CUMIN (Contemporary Urban Music for Inclusion Network) and co-editor with Pamela Burnard and Raphael Travis of the forthcoming collection Music for Inclusion and Healing in Schools and Beyond: Hip Hop, Techno, Grime, and More (Oxford University Press, 2023).


About Making Tracks

Making Tracks is a programme for young people between the ages of 16-25 to develop their songwriting and music production. The programme, run in partnership with Access Music Production, supports young people with an opportunity to immerse themselves in the recording studio environment and work with producers to create, write, record and produce their own music. Speakers from the Making Tracks programme include:

  • Lisa Murphy – manager at Blanks Studios and created Access Music Production, a community interest company which aims to improve the opportunities for people to work with music technology in their music making. Lisa has 20 years of experience as a producer and educator in the music industry.
  • Holly Rees – is a musician, songwriter and music producer. Holly is passionate about breaking down barriers to songwriting and music production, working on several songwriting projects across the region.

About DJ School UK

DJ School UK is a not-for profit organisation that aims to support young people to develop their skills in DJing across various contexts, alongside supporting training music leaders to develop their knowledge and skills in DJing. Jim Reiss, the Founder and Managing Director, will explore DJ School UK’s approach to working with children and young people to develop their DJ skills. Jim is an advocate for the use of DJing to engage children and young people facing challenging circumstances. He is also pushing for the recognition of DJ equipment as the equivalent to traditional instruments at all levels, especially in mainstream education. He is a consultant to the AQA exam boards preparation for the use of DJ equipment at GCSE level, Industry consultant to the Leeds Conservatoire Foundation Degree in DJ Skills, has developed other AQA Unit Award Scheme accreditations in DJ skills and is on the Contemporary Urban Music for Inclusion Panel (CUMIN).