• Tila Morris

Tweeddale Youth Action's 'Sound Scene' gives confidence to perform

What has CashBack for Communities helped to fund?

There have been eight Sound Scene band nights within our Innerleithen youth club to date. There have been 83 young people involved, broken down into: Musicians: 24 Technical: 7 Audience: 52

The weekly drop in has provided a valuable opportunity for young people to gain skills and engage in small group or 1:1 work with youth workers. During the sessions we workshopped a number of different skills based around setting up, running and promoting events including, stage management, working with a P.A and mixing desk, microphone applications and techniques, poster design and recording and mixing music.

Peebles High School asked the Sound Scene tech team to run an event at the High School for Health and Wellbeing week catering for years S1-S3. This enabled these young people who are all relatively disengaged with school to feel a sense of achievement among their peers. They successfully ran an event comprising seven different acts in front of an audience of approximately 300 of their peers. We have managed to attract disengaged young people who have never set foot in our youth clubs previously. Our band evenings have encouraged other community groups to use our space for music events and have provided young people in Tweeddale with the opportunity to access live music in a way that has been impossible before.

From our anecdotal observations, we have seen a definite increase in self-esteem, self-confidence and a sense of cohesion within our young people. At our most recent night the young people who have been attending the band nights as an audience, got up as a group and sang a song/ played the drums.


There has been reintegration into the community and into school for one of the young people who had become increasingly isolated and marginalised previous to Sound Scene input. Following his involvement with the tech side of Sound Scene, he is now passionate about his direction in life and has a focus and has managed to attend a course at our local college. Having really struggled with the school environment since entering High School and with very poor attendance he was supported to run the technical side of things at a few events within school and has now begun to re-engage in ways that would have been inconceivable even six months ago. His mum said “thanks to TYA staff and their ability to engage him in ways that school couldn’t. He now knows where he wants to be and knows what he needs to do to get there and arrangements are being made with school for him to complete his English and Maths qualifications that he left behind a year ago.

"I am delighted. The band night has given me a place to go on a Saturday night as opposed to out on the streets” (17 year old)

Parents have been delighted that their young people have been offered the chance to perform at Sound Scene

“We think it’s great that they’ve been given the opportunity to showcase their hard work. Their commitment to Sound Scene has been a diversion from other, less positive activities”. (Comment by parent)

"Kaden" Before joining TYA at Sound Scene Live Kaden was both geographically and socially isolated due to living rurally. Kaden has ASC and thus found social interaction and making friends very difficult. Working in an environment which involved a large number of people was a massive challenge, he told staff that “I can only do 2 people at a time”. As his confidence has grown he has become a valuable member of the Sound Scene team, able to communicate with both peers and adults and express his own thoughts and needs. His self-esteem and belief in his own abilities have grown massively enabling him to take initiative and be comfortable making his own decisions. Kaden was previously quite withdrawn and disengaged socially, preferring to be invisible, he now shows obvious enjoyment at events.

Kaden’s skills have increased immensely through his time with Sound Scene from the initial 1:1 workshops to the responsibility of actual band nights, hehas shown great commitment to and interest in the things he has learnt and has flourished in the informal youth work environment. He is now competent at setting up a PA system, working a sound desk, microphone techniques and application and working with lighting rigs. he has also gained knowledge of more peripheral yet important foundations in things such as health and safety regulations and how they apply to his role. All of these skills have increased his interest in stage management and he has recently volunteered as assistant stage manager in the production of our local pantomime. Being able to take ownership and responsibility has empowered Kaden and opened up other opportunities for him to explore with new found self-belief and confidence. Henow attends TYA’s Craft Punks group and has a group of friends within TYA apart from his band night colleagues. Kaden is currently working towards a Youth Achievement Bronze level award.


Janie has played guitar for many years and has a real natural talent. Unfortunately her lack of confidence meant that she felt unable to perform in public. Initially Janie would tentatively play around staff in the youth club, but never during a session with other young people. Following the inception of Sound Scene Live, staff and peers were really keen to see Janie perform at one of the band nights. In order to help Janie feel a sense of belonging and inclusion within Sound Scene, staff involved her as much as possible with promo and preparation for the first band night. Janie came to watch others performing but did not participate. With much encouragement and positive reinforcement from others, Janie gradually gathered the confidence and self-belief to seriously consider performing at Sound Scene events. It took Jamie a number of weeks and a lot of reflection to break down her barriers to performing. Coming off the stage following her first performance Janie told staff:

“That was brilliant. I think it was brilliant. I felt awesome!”

With each event it has become noticeably easier and more enjoyable for Janie to perform. There has been an obvious increase in self-esteem and a much greater belief in her music, which is a massive part of how she views herself as a person. Feeling good about herself in front of her peers and strangers has given her more assurance in relationship building and increased resilience. An unexpected outcome from this is that Janie has returned as a volunteer at our Thursday night drop in.

#schoolintegrationreintegration #engagementinpositiveactivities #increasedconfidence #increasedaspirations #improvedwellbeing

Created by Catch the Light 2019.


This work is commissioned by YouthLink Scotland and funded by the Scottish Government's Cash Back for Communities scheme.