When 21-year-old Teekz first walked into a studio, he didn’t know anything about the music industry. All he knew was that he wanted a better future, away from the risk of becoming involved with gangs.

He became involved with the Beatsabar Music Project, a community interest company that uses music to reach disadvantaged and disenfranchised young people.

John Paul, 36, is one of the founders of the project which launched in Wolverhampton in 2014. “We wanted to help the community. Luckily people believed in us and gave us the keys to make it happen.

“We need to help any young person who is on the wrong path. If they have potential then they should get the chance to be the best they can be. If they are willing to listen, we are here to help.”

Based at the Newhampton Arts Centre, Beatsabar is a commercially run studio that also provides the local community with affordable musical experiences and education. There are two rehearsal rooms and a recording studio with a sound booth.

Their goal is to give young people a focus which will increase their confidence, raise their self-esteem and help them make positive changes.

They offer free music workshops for youth groups, ex-offenders and young people who are not in employment, education or training. They also offer free open mic nights.

Workshops cover a range of activities such as DJ-ing, songwriting, music production and sound engineering.

Young people who have taken part have developed creative and musical skills, and some have continued to further music education.

John says: “Teekz is one of our many success stories. He is amazing and has been with us just over a year.  He didn’t know anything about the industry when he came to us, but he was very keen to learn and it was clear he had talent. He started to work with one of our producers, and soon he had recorded some songs. We helped him make a music video as well.”

Beatsabar also work with a local radio station, and some of their most talented students get the chance to highlight their work to the wider community.

“We just thought rather than just shuffle them out the door, they should be given the chance to actually get their music out there,” says John. “We got Teekz’s music playlisted on the radio, and he even had an interview which was very successful.”

So successful, in fact, that Teekz recently performed at the ‘Beatsabar Presents’ annual gig, which featured a night of music from artists who have either rehearsed or recorded at the Beatsabar Music Project. It was his first ever stage performance, and he loved every minute of it.

He says: “From the moment I walked in I could see it was a professional set up. They built me up, and taught me so many skills.  I knew I wanted to go into music, and they showed me how. I am now in college studying electrical engineering because I know I need something to fall back on but I hope music is my future. Either way, I want to stay out of trouble and be a success and realise my dreams.”

Beatsabar also deliver musical workshops to schools. Whether they are singing over the top of a track they have created themselves, making a layered drum beat using percussion or creating a melody using simple instruments, the whole class can be involved in all stages of the music making process, regardless of ability. They also work with teachers and help them plan end of term plays, write original scores and musicals.

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