Early Years Music Making activity

This is the Place

Using early years music-making to help build relationships and attachment.

About This is The Place

Making music together can help babies and children – even tiny babies, who are just a few weeks old – form an attachment with the adults in their lives.

That’s why Darlington Borough Council and Blue Cabin teamed up in 2023 to create a special programme of music-making for babies, children and their foster carers, hosted in partnership with the wonderful Theatre Hullabaloo. The programme was funded by Youth Music, Darlington Borough Council and Creative Darlington.

Following a successful first year, the programme is now being rolled out in Redcar as well, in partnership with Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council, made possible with funding from Youth Music, Darlington Borough Council, Creative Darlington and Redcar & Cleveland Council.

What does This is the Place Darlington & Redcar & Cleveland include?

Music-making sessions for babies and children

This is the Place includes small group workshops tailored for children aged 0 to 5 years and their carers, and events held at various cultural venues, giving care-experienced families the opportunity to experience the town’s cultural offer together, perhaps for the first time.

Led by Carol Bowden and Katie Doherty, in partnership with staff from Darlington Borough Council’s Fostering and Supported Lodgings team, the sessions are underpinned by social pedagogy and help care-experienced babies and children build stronger relationships.

Early years music training for foster carers and council staff

Training for foster carers and council staff will allow them to continue music-making with children at home and during their daily lives, and children are given a song bag and song book which they can take with them if they transition to a new home.

Free early years music-making resources available online

We’ve developed a set of early years music resources, including podcast episodes, a short film and a playlist of songs arranged and performed by Carol Bowden and Katie Doherty which are available to all.

See the resources here.

Free music-making kits

Every baby and child aged five years or younger, who is in care in Darlington, has been given a pack of free music-making resources to help them form an attachment with their foster carers. Over the next three years this process will be rolled out for babies and children aged five or under from Redcar & Cleveland too.

Find out more here.

What people are saying about This is the Place

“Music helps evoke creativity, positivity and happiness which will help our families, some who are newly formed, develop and improve trusting relationships. I look forward to joining in the fun and experiencing the good times!” Councillor Jon Clarke, Darlington Borough Council’s cabinet member for children and young people.

“It’s crucial we enable more young people to make, learn and earn in music, whatever their background or goal. That’s why we’re excited to invest in progressive organisations like Blue Cabin, who lead the way with their innovative approach and dedication to diversifying music.” Matt Griffiths, Youth Music CEO.

Find out more

If you’d like to know more about this project, or ask about doing something similar in your area, please email lucy@wearebluecabin.com .

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Photography by Jamie Sproates