SPaRK of musical innovation at Selkirk High School
His exciting return comes as part of a host of innovative projects funded by Harris Trust. This particular venture is the concept of fellow Borders musician Sam Johnston who is front man of rock band “Three out of Four”.
The Songwriting, performance and recording Kickstarter or S.P.a.R.Ks for short is a unique 12 week project giving students the opportunity to learn songwriting, performance and recording techniques.
Sam said: “This project is aimed at students who walk a path of their own, who are different to the crowd. We want to give them a creative outlet where their uniqueness can be supported in a person-centred environment. It gives students a flavour of aspects of the contemporary music business. They can tap into songwriting, performance and recording skills whilst also building aptitude in confidence, collaboration and creative thinking”.
Billy is joining the project in a Patron and mentorship role. His experience and skills are going to be invaluable to everyone involved and we are hugely excited and happy to have him on board.
Commenting, Bill said: “I met Sam and Kirstin after taking part in a talk show at MacArts. They told me all about the Harris Trust and the project they had set up to take place at Selkirk High School. I was instantly taken by their enthusiasm and thought the SPaRKs project sounded like a brilliant idea.
“Having experienced loss to suicide and mental health, it’s something very close to my heart. I often felt like a bit of an outsider in school, not always learning as fast as other students and sometimes trying to use my own technique but this may not have been an orthodox approach 20+ years ago.
“I don’t think there’s a right or wrong way to teach or learn, but I believe you can achieve more and get great results by engaging and listening to students to find out what makes them comfortable and works best for them”.
Harris Trust is also funding Erin Highton, a singer/songwriter and small business owner based in the Scottish Borders, who aims to enrich people's lives through music.
Erin said: "I use music to support people who have learning disabilities and/or struggling with certain aspects of their life whether it be mental health, school life, identity etc. My hope for these sessions at Selkirk High School is to support junior students to develop a new positive coping strategy using song writing”.
Look out for a fundraising concert for Harris Trust at MacArts, Galashiels on 3rd March 2023 which will showcase the students work and will be supported by Billy Kennedy and Friends.