B Sharp PROGRESSION STORIES by Dan Da Cunha Blaker
Mixed Race (British-Brazilian)
Participant since 2008 & Young Music Leader technician since 2012. Sits on the B Sharp Board.
In September 2014 going to study speech and drama at London Central School of Drama.
“For me, music is both a way to relax after a long day or week of school or work, but also to express inner emotions and expel negative energies.
I started playing the piano aged 6, and the cello aged 8. I learned the cello at JCYM (the Junior Centre for Young Musicians) where I won an award for ‘Most dedicated musician of the year’.
During my primary school years, I was one of those people who practised ridiculous numbers of hours per day. When I started secondary school aged 11 near Oxford, I lost confidence in myself. I also really struggled to have any motivation to practise. Since joining Bsharp in 2007 when I moved to Lyme Regis aged 14, all my enthusiasm for music came flooding back. I really came out of my shell as it were.
I joined Bsharp when it first started in 2007/8, simply as a participant. In 2010, I became a trainee music leader. I was appointed as tech trainee, so I was in charge of setting up the sound system for rehearsals and some performances. In 2012, I started helping out with admin/logistics tasks such as databases of contact details of all the participants of the project.
This has been the core of my friendship groups, and always the highlight of my week. Bsharp is extraordinary in bringing together with young people of all ages and different social backgrounds. We all feel involved and are listened to. Each and every one of us has a valuable part to play. There is a lot of respect amongst/between the young people, and between the leaders and us, so we can all grow.
It has hugely developed my confidence in and understanding of music. It has extended my repertoire from early beginnings with more classical training. I now have a voracious appetite to explore music of all genres.
My immersion in music sparked by Bsharp, and was extended in and outside of school. Until recently I was thinking of pursuing a science-related career, but I am now committed to following a music-related career!
B Sharp immersed me in music of various kinds, and inspired me to study music AS and Music tech A level. I have achieved a place at university to study Creative Sound Technology. Even though it is miles away and I don’t know anyone else going to Leicester, I am so focused on the course and determined to overcome any natural reticence I may have in new situations.
I gained a lot of experience in Music tech as tech trainee for Bsharp, where I had to set up sound systems for rehearsals and performances. This inspired me to have work experience with a company called DJAY southwest, and even do odd jobs with a top-level music producer.
I have always had difficulties with communicating with others, partly due to my stutter, but also my dyspraxia. I suppose more to the point, I am just a shy guy. I have found my friends through B Sharp and also my voice through music. Being a trainee with Bsharp was an immense help with my confidence and communication.
Working with professional music leaders and musicians such as John K Miles and Billy Bragg has really inspired me and helped me to develop leadership skills. Furthermore, I have become very interested in music performance and how instruments within a band link together. I spend many hours in my room at home experimenting with my eclectic selection of instruments and computer music software learning how different styles work.
I cannot imagine a life without Bsharp!”