Young Warriors

Young Warriors is a guided and mentored program that enables youth to participate in safe and nurturing music making experiences in groups.

Young Warriors is a new program with the aim of getting young people involved recreationally in making music. It’s a six-eight or ten-week program (dependant on the setting) providing aspiring musicians aged 12-19 with the experience of rehearsing, playing in a band and performing in live gigs.

Young Warriors is all about providing professionally supervised and mentored programs, which provide opportunities for youth to participate in live music. Experienced industry people (and music therapists in the case of headspace programs) mentor the musicians, through to performance with all equipment provided.

Active music making has been shown to provide significant benefits to participants. Young people can greatly benefit from making music together in a band. Among the individual benefits that collective music-making provides are: confidence, development of a sense of aesthetics, teamwork, problem-solving skills and deep focus, discipline, striving for excellence, leadership, determination, self-worth, perseverance, cooperation and coexistence, competitive spirit, and academic success.”

These benefits can disseminate to families too and that many studies have revealed that music making can have benefits to a student’s overall learning and behaviour.

Being a part of a musical program can make young people develop a heightened sense of self-esteem.

A successful pilot program funded by the Australian Music Association with support from the NAMM Foundation – (a US foundation that supports music making initiatives) has been conducted by the Gold Coast City Council which supported the event with funding, venue space, access to recording studio and music equipment as well as general community networking.

The program has also been trialled in a school and after school environment, with results that see engagement with school and family enhanced, and providing a pathway for students to continue making music in the community.

The program is designed to be a demonstrable and enjoyable seeding program, providing impetus for broader engagement in after school activities, and this ongoing support utilising school resources forms part of the agreement with schools.

The long-term outcome is we have people making music beyond the school environment in much great numbers, because of the support of safe, positive activities in schools.

As the positive outcomes of these programs become apparent, more schools use the methodology and fund music making activities. No student should miss out on music in school.

The benefits of group music making can be illustrated by the example of Young Warriors programs in headspace centres to support students/young people with mental health issues.

A recent study by Hense (2015), identified a lack of community-based music opportunities for young people after periods of music therapy in mental health services

Young people in this study described wanting to use music to connect with their local community but lacked the social and musical capacities, as well as opportunities to do so. Thus, the study highlighted the need to establish new music-based opportunities that support young people to build social and musical capacities for sustained music engagement in the community.

Perceived Benefits of Supporting Young Warriors headspace

The Young Warriors headspace activities had clear mental health benefits for the young people who participated, as evidenced by improvement in goals that they themselves identified as important. The Young Warriors headspace program fills an important gap in bringing music therapy and recreational music making to young people in ways that carefully supports those with mental health issues, and promotes ongoing music engagement for continued well-being. No other program currently meets this demand in Victoria. The program also promotes the health of the music industry by getting young people involved in music lessons, promoting others to remain engaged ingroup music making and linking young people in with local music scenes and stores. While these pilot programs show great promise, the model requires further interrogation as we settle on a model that works in the headspace context and can be effectively rolled out across headspace centres nationally. Further support will allow us to trial the recommended changes and settle on a model that best supports the mental health of young people and music culture in Australia has the potential to greatly impact the life of many young people and support music communities to flourish.