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The Bedlington boy who has joined a musical journey

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A local boy has overcome challenges with the help of a music partnership with schools in Northumberland.

15-year-old Ben from Stakeford has faced many challenges throughout his life, including a heart murmur, fainting fits, asthma and hypermobility in his fingers.

Ben’s life was turned around when he began learning to play the cornet, which helped strengthen his fingers and has drastically reduced the impact of his hypermobility. His musical journey began at the age of seven when his class at Stakeford First School took part in cornet lessons. Ben continued to play cornet when moving onto Meadowdale Academy, where he joined a mini brass band. Now a pupil at St Benet Biscop High School, Ben has been an invaluable member of the Bedlington Brass Community Band since 2014.

Northumberland County Council’s Music Partnership North service has benefitted from three grants from Youth Music over the past six years to run a building brass project with schools in Northumberland.

Ben said: “I feel my self belief has gained a lot throughout the project and being in the band because I have met new people who have faith in me to play my part and also help me when I need it. My musical ability is really good now thanks to the project and looking back to when I first started I didn’t understand music at all. Now I really understand it.”

Ben’s mum, Lynne, added: “I was amazed to see how much effort and determination Ben put into his first solo in school at the age of seven. I knew then that music was something that he needed to pursue. Ben continued playing and with the help of the free teaching Music Partnership North provided, I have watched his confidence grow over the years and his musical ability increase.

“Being part of Bedlington Community Brass Band has given him even more confidence and has grown friendships. Ben has had many obstacles in his life but the consistency of being able to play an instrument and play in a band has really helped him overcome these. It’s wonderful what this project has done for children in the North East. I hope it can continue for many more years.”

Cath McEvoy-Carr, executive director of adult social care and children’s services at Northumberland County Council, added: “It’s fantastic that Ben has been able to benefit from our music service in such an incredible way, and it is great to see him flourish in music. We want as many children as possible to expand their horizons by participating in music services on offer as Music Partnership North.”

Ben is currently studying for his Grade 5 theory exam, and is an invaluable member of his school brass band as well as the community band. Ben also performed with his school brass band at Brass in Concert at The Sage, Gateshead.

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