The Jamming Station Story
HOW IT ALL STARTED
Having two drummers in the family Jacqui was accustomed to noise! But it was only when her son kept bringing home a gang of friends who crammed themselves into a very small attic room to ‘rehearse’ that Jacqui Perks realised that there was nowhere in Totnes for kids to get together outside of school to chill and make some music.
So she set her mind to find somewhere that she could hire. Along with Lee Friese-Greene and later Beth Coombes they loaded up their cars every week with drum kit and amps and hired the local Youth Club. It soon became evident that they needed some decent PA and new instruments so in 2013, thanks to the Big Lottery, they went shopping and hired a bigger venue.
Four years on and Jamming Station has grown into a highly respected youth music project which is still expanding enabling young musicians to come together on weekly basis to meet, to jam, to write, to gig. Weekly sessions take place at The Civic Hall and local venues such as The Barrel House support the project with regular gigs and Jam Open Mic Night sessions.
Look out for the new 2016-2017 programme of Workshops.
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Meet the team
Jacqui Perks, the daughter of Italian and Irish immigrants, was born in Liverpool in the ’60’s. Her father’s love of Country music, in particular Johnny Cash, still influences her passion of close harmony work and a song that tells a story.
As young singer herself she graduated from Dartington College of Arts and spent most of her twenties writing and gigging until she moved back down to the South West to have a family. She continues to enjoy songwriting and loves both working solo and collaborating with other artists locally and across the UK.
Her most recent projects include a female a cappella band called Strange Angels and Lazy Grace with co-writer and singer/guitarist Roger Wells.
Beth Coombes is a Music Leader, coach and musician.
She has been teaching piano and vocal skills for ten years, helping her students compose, sing in harmony and perform their
Beth was inspired to start playing piano at the age of seven. She worked with the Suzuki Method and all the grades, and started writing basic compositions. Life would been amazing for her as a teenager had she been in a supportive musical environment
with people her age.
Beth joined the Jamming Station platform soon after it had begun to continue to support young musicians as a collective and give them the opportunity to thrive.
Inspired by folk, blues, gospel, fusion and classical music. She loves campfire singing, performs regularly with a whole range of artists and has recently toured England and Scotland with a musical theatre company.
Beth also runs a local choir and she’s aiming to record some piano tracks for a film, write some songs and improve
her accordian playing.
Lee Friese-Greene has been making music for as long as she can remember!
In her work as an early years teacher, and as a parent to three, almost grown-up children, Lee has witnessed the ability of
music making to empower young people and enhance their wellbeing and self-esteem.
Active in the nineties 'Riot Girl' scene, she also brings to Jamming Station her experiences of rehearsing, touring, writing and recording as a rhythm guitarist and singer in a working band, and she is particularly passionate about encouraging young women to find their voice and make some noise!
More recently Lee has given herself the challenge of learning to play folk fiddle, and plans to introduce a folky tune or two to a Jamming Station session very soon!
Jamming Station In A Nut Shell
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- Playing music as part of a group
- More inspired to make music at home, practicing and developing own ideas
- In-session informal music tutoring
- Regular performance dates to aim for
- Performing to small and larger audiences
- Peer support and mentoring
- Initiating and leading with own ideas
- Improved improvisation skills
- Technical experience in stage and PA setup
- Singing in 2, 3 and 4-part harmonies
- Support and strength with the voice
- Learning by ear
- Combining jazz, classical and popular musical instruments and styles within an ensemble
Statistics gathered from our end of term Survey Monkey state:
- 95% (up 5% from 2015) of our members agree that Jamming Station provides a great place to make music
- 85% agree that they are more inspired to make music in their own time and have developed their music skills
- 80% (up 10% from last year) of our members agree that they have developed their music performance skills, built confidence in performing to public and consider performing an exciting part of their life.
- Invested in new instruments and sound system, computer, drums/percussion
- Facilitated 40 young people through a course of music making in ensembles
- 150 participants, all ages, for Our Big Gig Community music events in central Totnes
- 6 Barrel House Gigs each year, with 10 ensemble performances at each event
- Collaboration with King Edward VI Community College
- Developed significant partnerships with local and regional organisations including Devon Music Education Hub and Dartington
- Supported high profile artists Courtney Pine and Ryan Keen
Stored in our present at home at Totnes Civic Hall, we have an Allen and Heath desk and full PA system set up on stage each week. For the technically minded, Andy our tech guy is always keen to guide members through setting up and using the system each session so they can practice the craft of stage management.
- We have a full rock drum kit as well as a set of Cajóns and range of percussion.
- There are a variety of guitars available for members to try, including both an electric and a bass guitar, an acoustic 12-string and a small classical guitar.
- We even have a semi-acoustic ukulele!
- We have a range of amplifiers, a small selection of effect and loops pedals
- There is a five octave Yamaha keyboard.
- We also have a drum kit available for members to try out at home, and it is always possible for other instruments and equipment to be loaned to members for half a term or so.
Of course we encourage members to bring their own instruments when they can and to remember to include capos, straps, plectrums etc although we do also keep a small supply of these too!
We've had some amazing feedback from our young musicians and from their audiences.
Dylan, Singer songwriter, Age 15 ½
"Jamming Station has given me motivation, plus space and time to do more with my music. I’ve made new friends and had the opportunity to perform”.
Tommy, Sitar player, Age 14
“Jamming station has really opened my eyes to making our own music. . .it’s a great platform for performing and I have learnt a lot about performance from just one show with them.
This will help not just with my music but in other aspects of life such as confidence and expressing yourself."
Amber, Singer, Age 16
“I have most enjoyed the atmosphere of the group which is very relaxed and welcoming”
Chloe, Singer, Age 15
“Jamming Station has given me the opportunity to do what I most love and to do that with others, to develop my skills and to have the chance to form friendships with people outside of school. It has built my confidence as a performer and as a person."
Izzi, Songwriter and multi instrumentalist, Age 14
“It’s given me the chance to get to know people and make friends. I’ve really enjoyed having a space to hang out and make music”
Anna, Singer songwriter, Age 14
“It has given me the courage to perform to friends and I would like to rehearse more, there's nothing I would change!”
India, Singer, Age 13
"I have enjoyed singing with other people and building my confidence and would love to do song writing workshops and more gigs."
Oscar, Drummer, Age 12
“I really enjoyed the performance as I usually just practice my drums on my own. It was brilliant and we all did really well."
" I've just received a distinction in RGT grade 8 guitar"
The best 3 quid i've ever spent...
"That was the best 3 quid I've ever spent in the Barrel House', and 'I love how the adults are invited into a youth music night, instead of the other way round"
Lizzy, audience member from Totnes
"It was brilliant. People really enjoyed seeing the young musicians performing and then having the chance to perform on the Barrel House Ballroom stage. I hope these evenings will continue to happen" Mike, audience member, Ashburton.
If you are between 13 and 21 and want to take part in Jamming Station we would love to hear from you.
If you're a little older and want to support Jamming Station we would love to hear from you too!