Summer time, and the giving is easy!!!!

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The Nathan Timothy Foundation, the Songwriting Charity, is signed up to the online fundraising portal TheGivingMachine™. We hope to raise much needed income to support the charity’s wellbeing work which is centred around the delivery of songwriting workshops in schools and community groups for children and young people from five to 25 through the innovative online shopping scheme developed by four dads in Bishop’s Stortford.

A member of the Institute of Fundraising, TheGivingMachine™ taps into the multi-billion pound online retail market by providing a website for shoppers to buy from over 100 leading retailers. Every time they shop, a percentage of the sale is turned into a donation on behalf of the shopper and given to their chosen UK charity and/or school – at no cost to the shopper. The not-for-profit scheme launched nationally in 2007 and is already raising regular income for over 600 charities and schools across the UK.

The work of the Nathan Timothy Foundation – ‘The Songwriting Charity’ addresses the emotional health and wellbeing of children using songwriting and music technology. All of our one-day workshops are unique, presenting children with opportunities to sing, write lyrics, perform and record their ideas both individually and as a team – evaluating their progress and actively supporting the progress of their friends every step of the way. We are the #1 charity in the world dedicated to the empowerment of youth through the art and craft of songwriting. We were attracted to TheGivingMachine™ because of its ease of use, guaranteed regular income and the organisation’s transparency.

We also love the choice of retailers, the special offers available for our supporters and the fact that the team at The Giving Machine are friendly, helpful and always very supportive in their efforts to help us attract more support.

The fact of the matter is that we are all doing so much shopping online. If just 100 of our supporters shopped via TheGivingMachine, we could raise well over £1,000 a year of additional income! We have over 2000 Facebook supporters and if they all shopped via the Giving Machine…. well, it would make a huge difference!

To raise money for our charity, simply go to http://www.thegivingmachine.co.uk then join as a Giver/Shopper & select the Nathan Timothy Foundation as one of your beneficiaries. You can then shop via TheGivingMachine™ and support the wellbeing of children in your local schools, communities and beyond! 

Six degrees of separation

This week, we welcome Mark Fishlock as our guest blogger! A good friend of the Songwriting Charity, Mark was originally a sound engineer, working with Haircut 100, Modern Romance, Psychic TV, Juliet Roberts, Dave Ball and the film director Derek Jarman. His work includes television (Flesh and Blood, The Adventure Series, Eldorado, The Wars of the Roses), video (Heart of the Nation, Patrick Moore’s Guide to Astronomy, Paul McKenna’s Hypnosis series, A Thin Red Line), radio, library music and commercials. Mark also voiced the telephone-based Bizarre Jukebox for nearly 10 years and in 1998 was co-host of the Accumulator Quiz on Talk Radio. Mark is the Chair of BASCA’s Media Executive Committee. Biography taken from the BASCA website.

Over to you Mark, and thank you ……………

I sometimes get asked to speak to students on songwriting or music technology courses. The students look at me, their faces tense with anticipation, their pens hovering expectantly over blank sheets of paper, ready to record the magic formula to a career in the music business.

This optimism turns to disappointment the second I mention the “N” word – networking. It’s a modern, business-speak way of expressing what my well-intentioned mum, in an attempt to steer me away from a music career, summed up as “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”

Except it isn’t … it’s much more fun than that.

It’s not a case of getting a foot up at the bank, thanks to Uncle Eric who plays golf with the manager. It’s simply about meeting people and leaving some sort of impression … even if it’s just that they know your name and what you do. I tell students it’s like planting seeds. You never know if they’ll flower, lie dormant for 10 years – or indeed for ever – or if they’ll grow into a magnificent Redwood.

The more you do this, the more you start to construct a kind of web, where a series of connections is made. The more links there are, the more chance there is of connections being established among themselves, without you having to play any active part. People talk to each other and you can also tap into other people’s connections. The UK music business is relatively small, so the Kevin Bacon game, Six Degrees of Separation, can involve many fewer degrees once your web has grown to a reasonable size.

This week I had the satisfying experience of seeing my web operate in a fascinating way.

My brother is a music publisher in South Africa. One of the bands he represents has a large local following, selling platinum albums and performing at major venues. However, he wants to launch them in the UK and Germany and as a result, some of the material needs rearranging and remixing for the European market.

He asked me if I knew a producer who could take this on. No one came to mind immediately, but I said I would give it some thought. Last week I was MD-ing a session and during a break was chatting with one of the singers. She mentioned her boyfriend who was playing in a band with a drummer I used to play with (another connection). It turned out he’s a producer who has just finished reworking some tracks for an opera/crossover artist. It sounded like a potentially perfect match. Emails went to and from Cape Town and I hooked my brother up with the producer.

As I was checking the CV on his website, something began to sound familiar. In 2008, I had been involved with the organisation of the BBC New Talent competition, a nationwide event that culminated in four two day workshops/masterclasses in Manchester, Bristol, Glasgow and London. The producer had been one of the finalists.

So, not only had I met him four years ago, but I still had the CD he’d given me after the workshop.

In a very gentle British way, the network had worked its magic. What would now be great is if the producer reworked the South African band’s songs and delivered massive hits across Europe. When the band go on MTV to explain how they got to conquer Europe, they can say it all started with a chance conversation between a singer and an MD during a break in a session.

I love it when a plan comes together.

Mark Fishlock is a songwriter and composer  writing mainly children’s songs for the language teaching market. He is a director of BASCA, the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors.

Reasons to be cheerful …. two

Imagine our surprise and excitement to wake up one morning and find a very public gift on our social media doorstep! Bea and Andy Marshall are the Web Design Family and run the wonderful and highly regarded web design studio called Moogaloo. Moogaloo have pledged 10% of their turnover to support our work. In one word, amazing! Such an exciting level of engagement and opportunity beckons. One look at their own website (see screen grab above) and you begin to appreciate why they’re special. After you read their guest blog below, experience the delights of their home page and savour the kind of web design journey they will take you on!

What does this kind of support mean to us? We’re a small charity and support like this can literally make all the difference, enabling us to deliver work in areas we haven’t been to yet, reaching even more children who are disadvantaged in some way, are being bullied or are nervous about transitioning from primary to secondary school. We can equip ourselves with specialist equipment such as SoundBeam or a couple of iPod Touches that we can use in our workshops with children with Special Educational Needs. The charity is also of the size where such injections of support filter right on through to the frontline. Every penny and every pound helps us deliver.

Bea & Andy, we send you much love and appreciation. Thank you for your openness, tribute and support.

“Isn’t it wonderful when you come across something that puts a smile on your face?  A thing which is a joy to explore. One of those moments in life when you remember that people really are good and, armed with creativity, can bring about transformation.

This is how we, at Moogaloo, felt when we discovered the Nathan Timothy Foundation.  There is so much passion behind the work of this charity and it excites us that their shared passion is working towards the emotional health and well-being of children.

Moogaloo is run by Andy and Bea Marshall.  We are a Web Design Family and we seek to create websites that customers enjoy visiting.  We know that when creativity and strategy come together all manner of things can transform.  This is how we go about designing and making such visually stunning and effective websites.

From the age of 11, Bea was bullied for several years while at school.  The bullying got so bad that one day she found herself crying at the top of the multi-storey car park getting ready to jump.  Fortunately the security guards for the car park heard Bea crying and rescued her.  After that the school took the bullying more seriously but the damage from bullying takes a long time to heal.

We believe that children should have every opportunity available to feel empowered in their sense of self worth and in their relationship with one another.  The video on the Nathan Timothy website shows just how powerful this way of working with children is.  We have been inspired by the testimonials of staff, parents and children themselves, showing the incredible impact this project is having already.  We want to be part of all of this and that is why we are giving 10% of our turnover to The Nathan Timothy Foundation.  We believe that it can make a difference and that difference can last a lifetime.”

Reasons to be cheerful …. one…

Back in May of last year, we didn’t have a base for our charity, no home, no where we could all meet. Apart from funding, crucial in itself, we needed a home, somewhere we could get together and make plans and preparation for the months ahead. Working from home, whilst something I’m glad I can do, can be a little isolating at times. Then there’s the added distraction of a two month old with the sweetest cheeks and all the home comforts and distractions that a lack of discipline can ruthlessly lay bare! Two people came to the rescue; Nathan and his old friend Mike Richards, MD of MR Recruitment. So there it was, the worlds number one global treasury recruitment consultancy kindly offering the number charity in the world dedicated to the empowerment of youth through the art and craft of songwriting a place to stay. And the rest, as they say, is history.

I asked Mike if he would blog about why he chose to help his friend as he went about establishing the only charity of its kind, anywhere! He hasn’t disappointed. MR Recruitment is committed to sustainable CSR and we’re very fortunate to be in a position to share all the energy, excitement and buzz of starting up a new charity with Mike and his colleagues Mike, Debbie and Matt.

Over to you Mike ……..

I was recently asked by one of my clients what we do / have done for charity as he himself was looking at giving up some of his spare time as an Interim Treasurer to an organisation he’s known for many years and he wondered what we’ve done and whether we would be interested in the Charity?

As I explained to him as well as Mike Tucker completing the Etape De Tour a stage of the Tour de France a year or so ago for Mencap, incidentally it was something like 110 miles up a mountain – mental if you ask me.

We as a team also do the London to Brighton Bike Ride the 60 mile bike ride that will be on 17th June this year and I will be Swimming Across The Solent in aid of the Isle of Wight Samaritans on the 29th July a busy time in store and yes we will be asking for your support!

In addition to all this we’ve been actively supporting The Nathan Timothy Foundation – the Songwriting Charity for the past 8 months.

The work they do addresses the emotional health and wellbeing of children using songwriting and music technology. Their workshops present children with opportunities to sing, write lyrics, perform and record their ideas both individually and as a team and it involves the children in actively supporting the progress of their friends every step of the way.

I became involved in the Charity through Nathan the founder of the Charity and a close friend of mine from University. In May 2011 he posted onto Facebook that he was looking for office accommodation and a central London location to try to get his Foundation started.

Nathan, despite being Welsh, has a heart of gold, a passion for music and a vision to help kids develop through the application of music and song. So we met and offered him the use of our offices. His immediate question was “OK, Mike but what’s the cost? We’re a start up with very shallow pockets – how will it work?”

My response was it’s free!

I felt that I wanted to be able to give back and support the charity as the work they do is fab. With 4 kids myself, I hope they get a chance to do some of the courses one day!

So they’ve shared the offices over the past 8 months for free as our bit to give back, once they’ve secured funding and I might add they’re nearly there! Then they can pay us back for the tea bags and start to make a contribution to our costs.

Until then we wanted to give back and support them! And you can too! Have a look at their website: http://www.nathantimothyfoundation.org/

Or who knows you might think hang on we’ve got some Corporate Charity cash sitting around that needs to be used up and I’d love kids to really benefit from their Anti-Bullying Workshop, Bully Beat or their Olympic Sports-based program, Sportstracks

Then click here and have a look: http://www.nathantimothyfoundation.org/get-involved.html

I’d say we’ve done our bit to try and help why don’t you?

Regards

Mike Richards

MR Recruitment



Britain’s Got Talent

It seems every week, every Monday at least, is destined to be an exciting and thoroughly entertaining one. Our leader NT has been formerly recognised by the MBA students at the Kent Business School as Sir Nathan Timothy… quite right too! The man delivered another solo masterclass in recycling rhythm and rhyme with the 2011cohort and next generation of sharp-minded and business savvy investment bankers and hedge-funders! Considering these guys had very little time to ‘gel’ and form a bond, they were thrown in the mix and came out the other side, compact, lean, smiling, full of beans you might say and ready to take on the world! Listen to their track via our SoundCloud link: http://soundcloud.com/the-songwriting-charity/kent-business-school-250911

Mind you, every songwriting charity workshop goes this well, each one being pure magic and perhaps those in charge of music education policy and practice should take a closer look at the magical ingredients; genuine enthusiasm, knowledge, technical skill, people skills, can-do attitude (you can always create something out of nothing), energy and an unwavering commitment to those that you work with and teach that is honoured. The students at KBS had their very own Sir Nathan Timothy guiding them, letting them rip up the rule book, embrace creativity and expression with abandon – in three hours!

What’s my point…. oh yes, Britain’s Got Talent alright, not just at the Songwriting Charity, but within every individual we work with, school, college, university, no matter the background, skills, experience, technical know how – regardless. The catalyst, change agent, whatever, is the workshop and the talented Sir Timothy and Mr O’Sullivan Esq. mixed in with a little self belief!

2011/2012 is shaping up well for the Songwriting Charity. Our website is live, people are talking about us, commenting about our work and picking the up the phone to speak with us. Ducks in a row and all that…… and like I’ve blogged before, we haven’t really started yet!

If you’d like to experience a little Songwriting Charity magic in your school, college or university, then visit our website http://nathantimothyfoundation.org and go to Programmes to see what we have to offer.

Thanks for stopping by!

John

The D of E at the NTF

john@songwritingcharity.org

@NTFoundation

Anxiety and peer tutoring

As a parent, I have many anxieties!

Anxieties that are beginning to dominate include the notion my son won’t settle in school, won’t find it easy to make new friends, won’t make friends, may experience bullying, may bully another child, just won’t be happy in himself and his unhappiness taint what everyone says should be the best days of your life!

I suspect this is why I’m so eager to continue working in this field.

As parents, we nurture, guide and love our children, helping them to be the best that they can be. We trust that when they’re in school, the professionals there will do the same to a degree. It’s a partnership, where we all take a significant stake in the upbringing and education of the next generation of young citizens.

We have a duty to try new approaches at home and at school. There is a national curriculum, but there’s also room for opportunity to learn and experience in new and invigorating ways and much like peer mentoring is used as a way to deal with bullying and also conflict, peer tutoring brings ‘learners’ together. What a great way to generate positivity and inclusivity in the class room. What a great way to create a culture where positive peer-to-peer relationships and respectful behaviour can flourish.

A report on the BBC about research conducted in Scottish Primary schools by Professor Peter Tymms, head of Durham University’s School of Education about cross-age peer tutoring made for interesting reading this morning. What a brilliant way to break down barriers and form caring and sensitive relationships fostered through a positive set of learning experiences and exchanges.

I’m struck by why peer tutoring isn’t more widespread. After all, we learn much from our friends and relationships with associates and significant others! In the world of work, if we can’t solve a problem or technical issue, we’ll ask a  colleague, picking their brain and seeing if it will help inform and solve whatever issue is stopping us making progress.

Watching our team go about working with mixed age/gender groups, some disengaged, disillusioned, shy, introverted, insecure and some for whom plain old fashioned boredom has set in, is really quite something. Observing these young people collaborate, learn from one another and enjoy the process of songwriting and singing together, that really is something! That’s magical. We may be there, providing structure, twiddling the knobs and sliders, clapping our hands and stamping our feet to establish a beat, or warming up the vocal chords, but it’s the children and young people we are working with that are creating the magic; they’re writing together, reading back to one another, encouraging one another, listening to one another (some, the very first time ever!) and celebrating together.

Yes, that’s why I’m here at the only songwriting charity in the world, and why I hope George will be lucky enough to participate in our work at his school and also to be encouraged and empowered to help and be helped in this way – lessening his father’s worry and anxiety at the same time? Who knows……..

John Quinn

The D of E of the NTF