Sony Music UK celebrates second year of Beyond the Instrument youth initiative

Beyond The Instrument – a Sony Music Group youth programme designed to promote music creativity, education, and career development in the industry – has celebrated its second year by donating DJ equipment, musical instruments, and PLAYvirtuoso access to the Walker Riverside Academy, in Newcastle upon Tyne.

In partnership with grant-giving music charity Restore the Music, the co-educational secondary and sixth form school was selected for this year’s scheme due to its location in an area dealing with high levels of social deprivation and unemployment. The Beyond the Instrument package was meticulously tailored to meet the specific needs of the school. As well as a range of musical instruments and DJ equipment, the school was granted classroom access to over 100 courses on PLAYvirtuoso – an educational platform loaded with video courses from the world’s best electronic and rap producers, DJs and songwriters – alongside personal logins for students to further enrich their music education experience. In addition, PLAYvirtuoso will deliver a number of workshops to students and staff at Walker Riverside Academy, ensuring the new equipment is fully utilised and embedded into the curriculum.

In celebration of this year’s programme, Ministry of Sound artist Schak visited the school. The DJ, dedicated to the youth in his Newcastle community, created a real buzz – performing to 200 students, hosting a Q&A, and running a workshop.

Ministry of Sound artist Schak visited the school

Schak commented: “I’ve been wanting to give back to my community for a long time. It’s massively important to me to help others from the region as they’re the ones who basically gave me this career that I love so much! If I can help somebody change the direction of their life, that would mean more to me than any accolade or award.

Gareth Smith, Headteacher at Walker Riverside Academy, said: “We are delighted and thankful to Sony Music and Restore the Music for their investment in the Academy. The impact of their support is palpable, with a thriving music department now at the heartbeat of the school again. The visit of DJ Schak culminates a remarkable 18 months in music development at the Academy and his visit to the school has helped to further spark the interest of our students in our music curriculum.

Charlotte Edgeworth, Sony Music UK’s Director of Diversity, Inclusion and Social Impact, added: “We’re proud to bring Beyond the Instrument to Newcastle and as we reflect on the achievements of the initiative, we are reminded of the power of music to change lives. The dedication of artists like Schak, and the ongoing support of partner organisations are pivotal in our ongoing mission to make music education accessible to more students.

Polly Moore, CEO and Founder of Restore The Music added: “We are honoured to partner for the second year running with Sony Music UK, to deliver a package of music support to Walker Riverside Academy, a school that we identified most in need in Newcastle. Beyond the Instrument is a perfect collaboration of music partners aligning to deliver one single vision: access to more music for more kids.

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