The Gazette’s Give Us a Tune campaign has won the backing from a series of Fylde coast stars – with one popular female singer the latest big name to support the appeal.
Victoria Hesketh – better known by her stage name of Little Boots – has given her backing to The Gazette’s bid to leave a lasting musical legacy in the resort.
Famous names including DJ Danny Howard and stage star Jodie Prenger have already pledged their support to our appeal, which hopes to provide 50 instruments to Blackpool Music Academy, as well as raise £20,000 to subsidise lessons at the Waterloo Road-based centre.
The 30-year-old singer-songwriter, who is from Thornton, said: “I think if you have an interest in music learning an instrument is an indispensable skill to help you evolve your passion.
“Being able to perform and create music yourself is such a great feeling and way to express yourself, and I really think it’s important to have those building blocks and foundations.
“Learning an instrument requires self-discipline and dedication, it’s a great focus and way to structure yourself and a brilliant outlet for your emotions.
“Once you start progressing it’s so great for your self confidence, you feel a sense of achievement and it can also be extremely social, you can perform in groups or bands or orchestras which can give you an amazing buzz of being part of something and creating something bigger than you could alone.”
For nine years the academy has helped people of all ages to learn music. Despite sizeable donations to support the centre, the academy needs help to continue teaching others – something Little Boots is very supportive of.
She added: “I think it is so important the arts are accessible for everyone, and something like learning an instrument is affordable for anyone who wants to try it, especially young people.
“I know how vital and defining it was for me to be able to learn piano and eventually use those skills to become a songwriter and performer, so I am extremely pleased to support this campaign and try get more people making music.
“I think it can make such a difference for young people to have a positive outlet for their emotions and creativity and to have structure and focus, and build up a sense of self confidence and achievement whatever their passion is. So many kids complain they are ‘bored’ when really all they need is a focus or an outlet.
“Music can often unfortunately be an expensive hobby, with lessons and instruments to pay for, so I think a scheme like this will be a huge help to people who maybe feel they are very interested in music but are perhaps put off by the costs involved or see it as something unaffordable.”
If the £20,000 is raised, it will help subsidise 10 classes of six musicians for a year, with lesson fees which normally cost £10 dropping to £4 per person. Founded by John Shaw in 2006, and funded with Lottery cash, the academy was created with the aim of making music accessible to people from all walks of life – young or old, experienced or novice.
And Little Boots added the Give Us A Tune appeal could be a springboard for future stars from across the Fylde coast.
She said: “Blackpool has a great history of entertainment and wonderful venues like the Tower Ballroom and The Grand through to the places I cut my teeth like West Coast Rock Cafe.
“It’s bred many successful musicians from The Pet Shop Boys through to Rae Morris so there is clearly something in the water. It would be great to see more young people learning instruments and forming bands contributing to an exciting local music scene.
“I think a lot of young people talk about wanting to be future stars or famous but actions speak louder than words and really you have to do the ground work and start somewhere, so for me learning an instrument is doing just that.”