A local youth arts organisation are giving young people in Burnley the opportunity to develop their confidence and skills through a new urban music project that is free to take part in.

Funded by the Youth Music Trailblazer Fund, 'Music or Lose It' by Blaze Arts provides 13 to 25 year olds with the opportunity to work with professional musicians, develop their DJing skills, learn about digital music production and get involved in organising music events.

Blaze Arts is a youth-led arts organisation, based in Burnley, who works across Lancashire supporting young people to develop their confidence, creativity and transferable skills through youth led creative projects.

Local musicians and artists, Leon Akbar and Beki Hughes, had the original idea for the project after experiencing the challenges young people can face when pursuing formal music education.

Leon said: "Growing up I never saw myself as a musician, I didn’t enjoy music lessons as I felt they weren’t aimed at my music abilities.

"I couldn’t write music, didn’t play instruments, but had a strong passion for rap. Now I have a 2:1 in music and teach music to young people."

The project is rooted in the community with workshops taking place in community centres across Burnley so that young people can access high quality opportunities on their doorstep.

Beki said: "Growing up, I didn't even know being a music producer was an option, I joined choir, took keyboard lessons but didn't really utilise those skills until I decided to take singing as an option on my theatre degree and started to produce some songs seven years after graduating.

"Women in production are a very low population because we don't get told we can produce. You can either sing or play an instrument. It's a very male dominated field."

Beki and Leon collaborated with Blaze Arts to secure funding from the Youth Music, Trailblazer Fund to deliver the Music or Lose It project in Burnley.

Weekly workshops give young people the opportunity to have a go at different urban music skills but there’s no pressure to perform.

Helen Thackray, Blaze’s Director, said: "Young people arrive at the session with different levels of confidence.

"If someone wants to come along and just listen or talk about music that’s fine. We’re trying to create an informal and inclusive space where young people can explore their own interests and skills at their own pace."

The project will culminate in an urban music event at Burnley Mechanics in October, which will be organised by the young people involved in the project with support from the project team.

Helen continued: "It’s not just an opportunity for them to perform, it’s an opportunity for them to create something for their community and learn how to plan and deliver an event in a professional venue."

The next block of Music or Lose It workshops will start at West End Community Centre on Thursday evenings in January.