Heaps Decent is an Australian based dynamic arts organisation working with young people & emerging artists from marginalised & disadvantaged communities, providing a means by which they can tell their story in their own way. Heaps Decent supports change, positive futures & the development of high quality Australian music with a unique identity.
hey (at) heapsdecent.com

Petersham project

April 3, 2012

Here’s a post from our amazing facilitator Kristy Lee on her first few weeks of workshops this school term.

“My first fortnight for 2012 – Key College, Petersham and Campbeltown.

So far this year I am involved in 4 different workshops each week for Heaps Decent – that’s quite a lot of young people and more importantly – quite a lot of music!!

The first is on a Monday at Key College in Redfern, which an accredited independent high school that operates under the auspice of Youth Off The Streets (YOTS). It caters for approximately 9-12 students at any one time, and this year we have so far 4-6 of those students who are keen to work with us each week. Nina, Rowan and I spent the first week meeting all the students and having a chat with them to get an idea of what type of music or creative arts they were into, and together we set some term, 6 month and yearly goals that they can work towards.

On Thursdays again I see Mr Rowan Dix (that’s us in the picture before we go in to start), but this time we head to the Department of Juvenile Justice Community Office in Petersham. In week 1, two girls I worked with finished a whole song (and it’s rad!) and Shantan (filling in for Rowan) started working with a young boy who was keen to freestyle, but was aiming to start writing his lyrics out so they could be practised, perfected and then recorded. Week 2, we had some fresh faces, one who sat with myself while we made a ‘hard style’ piece of music. I had no idea what this genre sounded like till he explained it to me – and I think it actually sounds quite good to be honest! While I as being educated in ‘hard style’ Rowan started to work with the rappers and reign in a little of their freestyle so it could start to be recorded. Last day of the week for me is a big one!

On Fridays I head out to Campbelltown with Shantan and Pablo Calamari (Adam Stivala) to do two workshops. The first being at a facility in Campbelltown with some young woman who are so full of life and so as a result, we already have 2 completed songs and 2 in the works – in only 2 WEEKS!

On Friday afternoon, after a quick drive through to some kind of horrid fast food outlet (yep, the boys do this every week!) we head to Reiby Juvenile Justice Centre – which is the maximum security centre for young people primarily under the age of 16. Week 1, we had about 6 boys and with with their combined energy, completed a whole song in 1 day. It is sooo catchy I had it in my head for weeks – can still recite all the lyrics now. By week 2, some of the young people had actually been released so we only had 3 in a workshop. You would think that made it easier but in fact I think that without the group enthusiasm, it was a lot harder to keep focus and get everyone involved and staying on task. We did however start some fresh songs which we can hopefully continue to develop. Bring on week 3!”