With a little help…

We’ve just provided a little help that will make a big difference to 16 young musicians.

Under lockdown, these young people have lost access to equipment, and expertise that has meant they were stuck, unable to be as creative as they wanted to be.

We’ve redirected some of the budget, that we should have spent on our Masterclasses, into small grants of equipment and music lessons. We’ve even had volunteer helping to fix a hopelessly out of tune guitar. Whatever we can do to help people get unstuck.

School music lessons, and instrument classes provided affordably through school have stopped, so reconnecting young people to a regular activity, and giving them a chance to learn through private lessons should see them through to when schools return in September.

Small bits of equipment, like a microphone, and audio interface, or midi keyboard are enough to get many of the young people into a position to record at home. This is a key skill for today’s musicians, and access to equipment is a real issue.

Here’s what the young people had to say about the help they have received…

“Had first vocal lesson today. Went well. Enjoyed . Did some scales and breathing exercises. Thank you BCB for organising.”

“[…] has a weekly drum lesson at school but obviously hasn’t had one since the schools closed. He would really benefit from it…”

How will you benefit from gear?
“I’d be using it for performing from home and recording my own songs.”

“I’d use it for solo projects such as solo EP id use it with my Band id also use it to record and produce other artists and maybe create some podcasts in the future but I would mostly be using it for music recording on the go and at home.”

“I’d like to use any equipment provided for me to record from home and to also help me become more comfortable with recording and producing.”

“I’d use it for composing my own music and getting my ideas down all in one place.”

“I’d like it because it will be crucial in honing in my production skills while at home. I’d have the ability to record instruments instead of just sequencing so it would help my mixing.”

Why do you need this gear?
“I’ve got a mic, but I can’t record my electric guitar from home, so this interface is just what I need”

“Stuck in the house, I haven’t been able to create at all, but now I can”

“I use Reaper and it requires an audio interface, so I was stuck without it. Being able to record with instruments will allow me to mix and use VSTs and so on.”

“The only thing I had was a mic stand, nothing else! To have this to record with is really handy.”

“I’m a vocalist and I don’t have a mic!”

“I can use this equipment to put down music I’ve created and record it.”

“I can use the equipment to record some songs and finally get them done. I used to use college equipment but I can no longer access that.”

“I’d love to have my music out there. I express my emotions and feelings through music, but I didn’t have any equipment until now.”

“The plastic microphone I use was just not up to the job. Now I’ll be able to belt it out in my bedroom!”


Most people just needed one or two items. The bulk of the equipment came from the following list.

Microphone package: AKG P120 Condenser mic, stand, cable, and pop shield

Audio Interface: Behringer UMC2020HD

Headphones: Behringer HPX4000

Midi Keyboard: M-Audio Keystation 49 MKIII USB Controller

Livestream Top Tips

Lukas from FUSE (who you might remember from Masterclass 1) posted some tips on Instagram about livestreaming, and said we could reproduce it here. It something that they have a good deal of experience with at Fuse.

If you’re thinking about doing your own livestream, here are a few things to consider:

Part 1 – Quality. 

  1. Light. Illuminate the subject well with a bright clear white light. Fairy lights or dim colours in the background are ok but keep to minimum. 
  2. Sound. 
    1. Keep the microphone (might be your phone) close to the sound source. This eliminates background noise. 
    2. Keep your window closed to eliminate traffic noise. 
    3. Ask a friend to check on the sound quality once live. 
    4. Choose a small cluttered room over a large empty echoey room. 
  3. Connection.
    1.  If you’re using a phone, 
      1. close down other apps 
      2. find a good strong signal spot. 
    2. Home broadband
      1. try to keep connection sharing to a minimum, no Netflix etc.

Track of the Week

BCB Radio is pleased to announce a new push on Youth Music across the station.

As such, we are featuring a track made by young people (aged 12 – 25) in Bradford as the ‘Track of the Week‘ across our schedule.

You’ll be able to hear the track in our About Bradford shows between 11am and 12 noon, and 5pm and 6pm during the week.

It will also be featured on the BCB Home Page, and listed on this site under the On Air This Week page. We’ve also got a list of all the tracks on the Track of the Week programme page.

If you have a track that you think we should be featuring, then fill in this form and contact us and let us know.

Be prepared. You’ll need to…

  • Send us or point us to a track that we can download.
  • Provide some information to go with it. Our presenters will use this in their shows, so the only information they will have is the information you give them!


  • your name
  • your age (at least on of your band should be in the 12 -25 age group)
  • the artists name (if different)
  • a sentence or two about yourself, your band, the band members, etc
  • any social links,
  • where to get (buy) the track,
  • an image that we can use on our website and social media (not necessarily a photo)
  • how to contact you

What’s next in Covid times?

It looks like it may still be a long time before we can run our Masterclasses again. So, in the meantime we’d like to hear from you about we can do to help young musicians in the district at this time.

BCB Radio is still broadcasting, and we continue to broadcast a show made by young people everyday at 6:30pm.

We’re also doing some online youth sessions, where we’re doing a little bit of songwriting.

Our funders, Youth Music, are happy for us to alter our Youth Music Live! project until things ‘get back to normal’ and we want to make sure we make changes in consultation with young people and parents/guardians.

To help us work out the best way to support young musicians, we want to know what you think. We have the survey: https://forms.gle/SWU1qJUyLzhqN8xV6 and/or you can contact us directly.

Masterclass 5 -Play at Prospect

Last Sunday we all met up at Prospect Studios, a professional recording studio & rehearsal facility located in Allerton, Bradford.

The idea was to get a feel for what it takes to run a professional rehearsal and recording space in Bradford, but also to simply have another chance to play together.

We heard from Luke who had started the place when he was just 19, as a space to play in with is band. Over time it’s grown into 3 rehearsal spaces with recording facilities, with much of the improvements done in house.

We split into 3 groups to work, and with a little bit of help from our volunteers, Mike, Jonathan, and Henry, ran through some songs together (I heard Smells like Teen Spirit, Sweet Child o’ Mine, Fade Into You, The Middle, Blitzkrieg Bop and 505 among others).

At the end of the day each group was asked to perform their favourite/best song of the day to be recorded on video.

Brooke was also on hand to record some interviews and audio that we’ll put out on the radio.

Again, people seemed really keen to play. Everyone looked like they enjoyed themselves, and we got good feedback in terms of the event being what people wanted.

Suggestions for next time were things like ‘to play longer’, so we’ll see what we can do.

Here’s some audio from the day.

There is more audio from across the entire project on our Soundcloud and Mixcloud pages.

Big thank you to our volunteer, Syed, for editing the pictures.

Masterclass 4 – The Big Jam at Kala Sangam

We gathered at Kala Sangam on Sunday 2nd Feb, for a big jam in the large theatre space. We also had some tuition in how to use the lighting rig and gig photography.

Suggy showed us how to take photos with a DSLR camera, and some of the results are shown below. One of his top tips was to always send the band both the colour and the black and white versions…

The space was great, and Sam gave us a good idea on how the lighting rig worked, allowing some of us to get hands on and light the jam as it happened.

For the Jam we tried to create a supportive atmosphere that would give to the opportunity to try something new. Many people had a go on a different instrument, or joined in with people they don’t usually play with, or tried a new scale or chord progression.

In general, I think people just loved the opportunity to play with each other.

In other news, our latest Youth Music Live! showcase show aired at the end of January:

Computer Music – Masterclass 3

Our third masterclass was a collaboration with Shi and Kriss Blank from Wierdspace, hosted by the people at 30 Chapel Street.

Using paper, pens, dice, laptops, midi controllers and a whole bunch of experimentation, the group created a three track album, and released it on Bandcamp during the session.

Working in pairs, Shi and Kriss led participants through a number of creative ideas to get them working with freely available software (LMMS and Audacity) to produce a track that worked with experimental melodies, rhythms, and self recorded samples.

The goal of the masterclass was to allow people to create and experiment without judgement or pressure, in a supportive learning environment. As such the techniques are more important than the tools, so by giving everyone access to the same free tools, we level the playing field, and enable people to follow up in their own time.


Weirdspace is a makerspace in the city of Bradford with a focus on using technology to produce experimental and unconventional projects and art installations. Shi and Kriss have toured with musicians from acclaimed German electronic music record label Raster around 8 cities in the UK and worked with musicians on art installations in museums and art galleries with the current one being shown now at the Royal Festival Hall in Southbank Centre, London.

Kriss and Shi Blank

30 Chapel Street is an upcoming hub for arts, enterprise and tech in the heart of Bradford’s historic Little Germany district. In October 2019, 30 Chapel Street brought Red Bull Amaphiko to Bradford, for an ambitious week-long bootcamp offering aspiring social innovators the chance to connect and collaborate with some of the world’s leading entrepreneurs and storytellers..

Featured Artist

Featured Artist is a new show on BCB Radio that promotes young musicians from the district.

Our first show went out the other day and is available to listen again below.

If you would like to be the presenter on a show like this, check out our radio page for more details.

If you are a young musicians and you’d like to be our featured artist on one of the shows, then please contact us. And, if you have music that you would like us to play on the radio, visit our Promote Me page for details.

Performing in a small space – Masterclass 2

Our second Masterclass took place last Sunday at the Brick Box Rooms in the centre of Bradford. The venue has a capacity of about 60 people, with a small area that can function as stage. Eleanor, from the Brick Box, explained a little about the philosophy of the place, and how it was a space that was open to people and their ideas.

Bradford poet, Kirsty Taylor, came along to share her expert advice on performance and the use of words. By the end of the day, everyone had created their own poem. They had also had a chance to explore their own creative ideas, and done a number of exercises to examine how it feels to be stood in front of audience.

Dom Sheard, came along to helps us with all “the tech stuff”. He has a background in DIY grassroots gigs and running events around Bradford. His session allowed everyone to work together to set up a PA, soundcheck guitars and vocals, and have a rig ready for our poetry performances at the end of the event. Using a problem solving approach, he enabled people to learn for themselves by doing the job.

Feedback from the event has been good. We’ve had requests to look at focusing on songwriting in the future. People also seem to be keen and excited about our next Masterclass about using computers to make music.

Our Youth Music Live! Showcase show, went out on BCB Radio on Thursday 7th November at 10pm, with a bit of a review of the event. We had conversation with Joshua and Ewan, feedback interviews from the day, and we showcased young local musicians. We’ve also had an interview and music from the folk from the Music, Performance and Production course at Bradford College.

Our Youth Music Live! Showcase shows are all on Mixcloud if you want to catch up.

Radio Promos

A bunch of our young presenters have been working to put some promos together for the project.

The promos will be used on the radio throughout the schedule over the coming months.

We’ve got 4 different types that give a general overview of the project, put a call out for musicians and presenters, and advertise the masterclasses.

We’ve put them up on our Soundcloud page, and posted them below for you to have a listen.

Top photo: Danny Ryder
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

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