BullyBeat

This year, Anti-Bullying Week will fall between the 19th to the 23rd November. This year’s theme – ‘We’re better without bullying’ – highlights the effect bullying has on achievement. We thought it would be a good idea to draw your attention towards our very own BullyBeat Songwriting Workshops and share a little about the process and the reason why it’s needed and also valued by our school partners.

BullyBeat has been designed to enthuse children about the process of lyric writing, singing, music arranging and contemporary production whilst promoting a serious anti-bullying message. Children that take part in these workshops are not just taught how to sing and write a song together but they are also encouraged to express their thoughts on ‘bullying’ and its effects. Many months after we’ve visited, BullyBeat songs are still featured during school assemblies and other anti-bullying events.

 “Possibly one of the best visiting workshops that I have participated in in over 10 years of teaching. Pupils were open in discussing experiences and were able to show a better undertanding of what bullying is. Well planned, fantastic delivery and a great connection with the pupils. Thank you!” Faye Blain, Sherington Primary School

BullyBeat remains one of our most popular programme after our Sports Tracks Songwriting Marathon. We have already booked up great chunks of the new school year between September and December with BullyBeat workshops and interest has spread as far as the West Country and East Anglia, where we now have a physical presence.

Why do we need BullyBeat?
Bullying remains among the top concerns that parents have about their children’s general safety at school, and increasingly their journeys to and from school. Bullying is not just a school issue, but one that affects children and young people anywhere. Bullying makes the lives of its victims a misery, it undermines their confidence and self-esteem, can destroy childhoods and lives. Bullying can negatively impact on young people’s ability to form healthy and fulfilling relationships with their peers, siblings, even their parents. Bullies are also impacted in a damaging and lasting way; attendance, levels of attainment, relationships, future prospects. They too need to find ways to channel their energy into positive and emotionally healthy activities, all the while, improving their ability to form healthy relationships with their peers and significant others.
There are no hard and fast answers. However, there are opportunities for creativity to be brought to bear and to help create the calm so often needed when bullying seems to be the all-consuming storm, touching everything and everyone in its path. Our songwriting programmes, give children and young people the time to stop, take stock, enjoy the time to be creative, and during BullyBeat workshops to consider the impact and consequences of bullying behaviour on those around them, and themselves.
Facts about bullying:
Bullying thrives in a culture or atmosphere that tolerates it; where there is little or no authority, hardly any adult supervision, no culture of respect or celebration of diversity. Bullying can also lead to short, medium and long-term school absence – school refusal.
According to the Red Balloon Learner Centre Group, providers of intensive care education centres for children so badly bullied that attendance at mainstream school is no longer possible, some 16,000 children may be absent from the mainstream education system altogether. This is a conservative estimate on the numbers of school refusers, but is a disturbing indicator on the direct affect bullying has on the education of thousands of school aged children.
Beatbullying found a direct correlation between bullying and truancy in their ‘Bullying and Truancy Report (2006) with 1 in 3 young people who experience bullying truanting from school (42% of young people who have been bullied truant).
Further facts about bullying;
  • Almost half (46%) of children and young people say they have been bullied at school at some point in their lives.
  • 38% of disabled children worried about being bullied.
  • 18% of children and young people who worried about bullying said they would not talk to their parents about it. Chamberlain, Tamsin, George, Nalia, Golden, Sarah, Walker, Fiona and Benton, Tom (2010) Tellus4 national report (PDF). London: Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF).
  • 30,439 children called ChildLine in 2010/11 (11% of calls) about bullying.
  • Between 1 April 2010 to 31 March 2011 ChildLine carried out 30,439 counselling interactions with a primary concern of bullying. NSPCC/ChildLine facts and figures. 
During a BullyBeat workshop
When children are asked to explore the range of issues that arise when discussing bullying, through songwriting, something significant happens. Lyrically compelling, melodically expressive and highly charged performances are drawn out from the perspective of both the bullied and the bullies. The behaviors are highlighted and responded to with passion and sensitivity in equal measure. As with the uniqueness of every child, each song written by the children reflects a wealth of individual experiences to move even the hardest of hearts. In the face of growing bullying trends, this innovative engagement tool supports school awareness raising and offers an emotional outlet and support forum equipping children to deal with bullying behaviors in a safe, non-judgmental and empowering environment.
Children that take part in our BullyBeat workshops are taught how they all possess vocal ability (symbolic of ‘speaking up’), and that they can write a song together (working together not apart). They are encouraged to express their thoughts on ‘bullying’ and its effects in deep and meaningful ways through creative expression. By listening to one another, respecting their friends and working together as a team the children create something that has an immediate and lasting impact on their peers. BullyBeat gives them the opportunity to think about the problem in a number of different ways, ways that resonate, that are credible.
If you’d like to enquire further into our BullyBeat songwriting workshops, then contact us via our website enquiry form or send an email directly to ben@songwritingcharity.org.

Sign of the Times

We’ve had another one of those roller coaster weeks at the Songwriting Charity; administrative work, making some very cool new friends (that deserves an entirely new post!), writing policies, delivering workshops, chasing funding, conducting funding prospect research, writing bids, talking to potential sponsors using every conceivable method of modern day communication, and cursing as Skype stutters and fails at crucial times when talking to new volunteers. I haven’t even mentioned a possible charity single. Keep an eye on our Twitter (@NTFoundation) feed for updates on that possible game changer.

We’re also waiting on some news about some new music tech, plus the roll-out of our music studio installation services; now that’s caught your attention hasn’t it?! Imagine a mobile Apple Store with a couple of Genius types and you’ve got the picture! We have team-building songwriting workshops and inset training modules; all logical extensions to our front line offerings to schools and groups. We want you to let us help build your capacity, working with you to ensure there is a ripple effect and legacy.

Trying to keep calm when so many plates are spinning is tricky at times, certainly not impossible. I think it’s a sign of the times for sure. Since we started our Songwriting Charity journey, we’ve told our story to hundreds of interested people, shared key information across our social media channels and most importantly of all, we’ve had a great deal of fun – and NO STRESS! But we’ve worked really hard to lay strong foundations upon which to build this fine charity that we’re all so proud of.

Of course, all our big plans need fuel, and whilst the current macro and micro-economic climate is still a shocker, we can’t wait for opportunities to fall into our lap, we have to create them. Nearly a thousand kids have worked together and with us and have written a staggering range of original songs and music in the last four months alone. There are thousands more out there who until now, may never have had this creative outlet and opportunity offered to them.

I love this phrase, because it is so true of our charity, but we run on the smell of an oily rag. Granted, it won’t be like this for long, but the early days are always challenging ones. So if you would like to help us in some way, for example sponsor a programme, or make a donation towards our work, get in touch.

We are the Songwriting Charity, thank you so much for supporting us.

John

The D of E

of the NTF

john@songwritingcharity.org