Click below to play our volunteers' protest songs from the workshop.
Brooke and Troy's protest song:
Candice and Hayley's protest song:
Cody and James' protest song:
Goda and Jessica's protest song:
Soeta and Binita's protest song:

1960's Music Workshop at the Institute of Contemporary Music Performance

On Saturday 2 April ten talented young musicians from across London came together to explore the influence of American popular music on British popular music in the 1960s. The workshop, held at the Institute of Contemporary Music in Kilburn, is the fifth training course offered as part of the Hanging Out project, an exciting exploration of youth cultures of the 1950s and 1960s, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.


 “A good experience to learn more about the changes in the music industry over the years…”

Course leader, Jay Stapley, who has a long pedigree in the music industry, spent the morning enlightening his young audience on the origin of the Protest Song; from Woody Guthrie, who travelled America in the 1930s singing songs to encourage workers to form Trade Unions to protect themselves from exploitation, to the anti-Vietnam war protest songs of the 1960s.


“It was great to meet like-minded, creative people.”

The period was brought to life with iconic You Tube clips, such as Bob Dylan singing Blowin’ In The Wind and With God On Our Side. Especially surprising was an early film of rock ‘bad boys’, the Rolling Stones singing the blues.


“I understand more about protest songs over the years.”

“We had no such burning political issues: ‘She Loves You, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah’ was the main message from our pop musicians of the day.”

The contrast between the American music scene, which took on issues such as racial segregation and the Vietnam War, and the British scene, offering light relief from post-war austerity, was huge.  “We had no such burning political issues,” said Stapley: “‘She Loves You, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah’ was the main message from our pop musicians of the day.

Never-the-less, the relative innocence of English youth was stirred, when, in 1963, a group of American Blues artists including Muddy Waters, Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Sonny Boy Williamson, performed on a rainy station platform in Chorlton, near Manchester. This concert, televised by Granada TV, has entered UK music legend. British musicians like Fleetwood Mac, The Rolling Stones, and The Animals started learning how to play this music and writing their own songs in the style.


  “I have gained a lot of confidence in communicating with different ages.”

“The media are a worthy target of scorn and ridicule”

After this fascinating exploration American influences on the 1960s British music scene, the young musicians were given the challenge of writing and performing their own protest songs. They split into pairs and came up with issues that are relevant to their lives today.


James and Swoeta chose the emotive theme of the rise in college tuition fees; Cody and Benito moved into global territory, choosing to pen their frustrations about the War in Afghanistan; Brooke and Troy focussed on the media, taking an interesting line on the danger of the ‘cult of celebrity’ becoming the new moral code; and finally, Candice and Hayley wanted to explore their feelings about the perceived narrow-minded of Americans who ignore what is happening in the rest of the world.



“I learnt how to work with other musicians.”

Stapley played ‘devil’s advocate’ with the group, challenging their reasons for protest and advising them that in order to write a good protest song you must ‘know your enemy’. However, he did concede that the media are a worthy target of scorn and ridicule.


“...you get an opportunity to work with amazingly, inspiring people.”

At the end of the session, Stapley reminded the group to keep their songs simple and true to the message. Blues and protest songs are simple in musical structure, the lyrics are about real-life everyday concerns, and the performers were motivated by something other than stardom.



 “I learnt how to reach a common solution and how to collaborate.”

Next week the musicians will write and compose their songs, in preparation for recording them in week three. The finished pieces will form part of a sound track for the Hanging Out Display at the V&A in 2012.


Full Spectrum is delighted to be working with such a talented bunch of young people, many of whom have already written and performed their own music and are well on their way to becoming the musical stars of the next decade.

Photographer: Damian Walker

Music Workshop Last Day Volunteers Report

On the 16th of April several Volunteers came together to complete the final part of a three day placement. Throughout the day they explored the roots and influences of Popular music of the 1960’s. With assistance from The Institute of Contemporary Music Performance, the volunteers recorded their songs in the studio they had written in the previous workshops.

They explored their musical talents throughout the day improvising and free styling lyrics, with singing, piano and electric guitar playing. They were able to look at the comparisons between music of the 60’s to present day.

Volunteer One
'Cus there’s more to live than you see on the magazines on TV. Could you believe. There is more about what’s inside, don’t be afraid and don’t hide, behind what you buy. There’s more to life.'  Lyrics from the Song that the volunteer had written.

"It was the first time I had to Co-write a song in a short amount of time, it was amazing and I was just in the recording of that song, so I’m really looking forward to see how I did"

"Oh it’s really amazing because people are from many different areas and backgrounds, that’s really interesting to try and work together, so it’s been a new experience for me. Writing a song with someone, they bring something new into the project"

"Well I never heard about the ‘British Invasion’ on the American music and that kind of stuff. I mean I knew about the ‘Rolling Stones’ and ‘The Beatles’ from that era. But I didn’t know the whole influence of where that came from"

Volunteer Two
"The first week we learnt about the 1960’s music and the history of the songs, and the next week we started writing the songs, and had to do it in a day and then today we are recording"

"I got a real insight to how music has changed, I obviously did a bit of research before, but yeah I’ve learnt allot more. We watched some clips on Youtube and it was quiet different"

Volunteer Three
"I’ve really enjoyed it, it’s been fun meeting new people and getting involved with different aspects of music that I don’t normally do.

Normally I write Hip Hop, Grime and Dubstep sounds that I go for. It’s nice to get more of the acoustic side of things.

I think the 60s was one of the greatest Eras of music of all time, because it was so raw and there was so much passion that changed people’s ways"

Volunteer Four
"I learnt that they did all lot of protest music, and there’s things to protest about at the moment and there’s not enough of it. Currently It’s all just about mainstream Pop Music, so we need a bit more protest music, so we’re trying to invent something new"

Report and photography by our volunteer Elam Forrester.


 Meet Our Volunteer

Lovely Brooke Lawrence will be one of the volunteers joining us for our 1960s Music Workshop at the Institute of Contemporary Music Performance, which will be held over 3 weeks from 2-16 April 2011.

Our volunteers will get the opportunity to research musical influences from the 1960s, learn more about anti-war protest music and iconic album covers, compile albums of selected 60s music, and finally, personally create a soundtrack for our documentary project.

Brooke says:

"I attend piano and vocal lessons outside of school. I absolutely love songwriting. I use my lessons to experiment with my musical arrangements. I have also attended songwriting workshops to develop my knowledge. 

I've had such great opportunities working with different musicians. Through this, I have recorded and produced a number of songs with their assistance. I have also worked on Logic Pro, Garage Band and Sibelius software, and find it extremely fascinating. 

As a member of "I gospel choir", I have sung as a soloist at the Royal Festival Hall. I also sing in a girl group, which has given me great experience singing harmonies. We also perform in a local theatre.

I had great experience singing at a wedding reception where I planned and sang 3 sets. And the couple has now asked me to sing again at their anniversary next year! 

I have also sung at cabarets through Centrestage, where I have sung across a variety of genres. I really enjoy jamming with local musicians a various open-mic nights in cafes and bars.

I entered "Open Mic UK" with my original song and am now through to the final area! I have also sung at East Barnet Festival, and have performed in showcases, singing both my original material as well as covers. I also performed at the award ceremony for Centrestage. 

At school, I collaborated with two other pupils - a guitarist and a pianist - and we won "Southgate's Got Talent". I have also performed at a charity event at The Bedford in Balham, where I performed my own song with experienced musicians. 

I have also recently started experimenting with congo drums so I can add percussion to my own material. 

For singing, I recently obtained a distinction award at Grade 5, and am now working towards Grade 6. Over the years, I have been in love with many different genres of music, and am now experimenting with mixing different genres together. 

Music is what motivates me and drives me to achieve everyday."

Listen to Brooke's original material and find out more about her on her MySpace page here

brooke 1 brooke 1 (6415 KB)


brooke 2 brooke 2 (3503 KB)

Thank you, Brooke! We really look forward to working with you at the 1960s Music Workshop!

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