Notable release from trials of life

30th May 2008 at 01:00
Troubled teens write lyrics to gain closure

Troubled teens write lyrics to gain closure

Alex saw a gang attack his friend. BJ spent years battling his alcoholic father. Jamie struggles with the fear of underachievement.

Their experiences may be very different, but they have chosen to confront them in the same way: by writing song lyrics.

Self Songs is a CD that aims to help teachers understand what it feels like to have educational and behavioural problems.

The collection of songs, which will be released on June 16, has been written by pupils in collaboration with professional musicians, as part of a two-year collaboration with Artists in Residence, the outreach organisation that uses art to work with disadvantaged children.

The pupils, who attend Pendragon School in south-east London, have given their names to the songs that describe their own lives. So "Alex" deals with gang attack, while "Rachel" pays tribute to a long-suffering mother.

The pupils wrote the lyrics, while the soundtrack was provided by Chris Bangs, a composer and producer. "Providing a platform for the students' self-expression and creativity has allowed something unique and richer than I would have imagined to emerge," he said.

Pancho Martinez, Pendragon's headteacher, said the CD contained "brave, honest and emotionally charged songs that reflect the depths of our students' feelings".

Schools interested in creating their own CDs should visit:


The hunt is on for the best young composer from across the country's secondary schools.

The Sibelius Student Composer of the Year Competition, now in its second year, has been expanded to three genres, including film, classicalcontemporary and jazz.

For the film category, pupils should compose music for a one-minute film clip. For the other categories, students should compose a one to four- minute piece for up to eight players.

The competition, run by Sibelius, the music notation software firm, is open to 10 to 18-year-olds.

Prizes include a live performance of the winning compositions and masterclasses with leading composers and musicians, plus cash and Sibelius software.

The judging panel will feature well-known figures in the world of composition, including music ambassador Howard Goodall and Dario Marianelli, who wrote the score for the film Atonement.

Entries can be created using any music software brand and the final deadline is October 31.


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