Saffron Walden songwriting project targeted at finding the next generation of young musicians

09:00 02 March 2014

Acclaimed singer-songwriter Boo Hewerdine.

Acclaimed singer-songwriter Boo Hewerdine.

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Internationally acclaimed singer-songwriter Boo Hewerdine will lead a workshop as part of a community project aimed at encouraging the next generation of musicians.

The Acoustic ProjectThe Acoustic Project

Hewerdine has carved out a successful solo career and worked with the likes of Eddi Reader, Darden Smith and Danny Wilson. His songs have been recorded by KD Lang, Natalie Imbruglia, Paul Young, Suggs and McAlmont, as well as collaborating with Neill MacColl on several film scores including Fever Pitch and Twentyfourseven.

The songwriting workshop – on Saturday, March 8, from 2-6pm at Fairycroft House, Saffron Walden – is open to all ages and suitable for amateur and professional musicians, students, teachers and those interested in music education. It will involve a mixture of one-to-one work and group work, with exercises to kick-start creative thinking. Places are limited to 25 so early booking is recommended.

Hewerdine’s visit is part of The Acoustic Project, a year-long pilot initiative. The series of monthly, open-mic style songwriter sessions led by professional musicians offers young people aged 13-19 a chance to perform in a relaxed supportive atmosphere and develop their songwriting skills. Sessions are held at The Croft Youth Centre.

The project is a partnership between Hertfordshire, Essex and Cambridgeshire Music hubs, and delivered by Clare Hayes Music Services.

Clare Hayes, a musician, singer and song-writer who worked on the popular Fiver Unplugged at The Junction in Cambridge, said: “Every open mic session around is really aimed at people in their 20s upwards.

“This is about giving young people an opportunity to perform, a place to improve their performance skills and techniques, and boost their confidence. It is a safe environment and there’s no pressure

“We provide advice and it usually ends with us all jamming. The format develops as we go and there are break-out spaces for one-on-one work.

“We’re hoping to build a bit of identification for the group, and there are lots of progression routes for those who want to push on, such as slots at festivals and gigs. The project will culminate in a big showcase gig at The Junction in Cambridge.”

The project offers other opportunities, such as sound engineering for the more technically minded, as well as the elements of putting on a gig for wannabe promoters.

Organisers are also keen to recruit music leader trainees and adult volunteers to be part of the project

For more information, or to book a place on the Boo Hewerdine workshop, e-mail acousticproject2013 to book.

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