Local DJ Schak holds session in Newcastle school as part of music education funding boost
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North Shields' Schak, who built up his popularity thanks to a series of guerilla shows across the city, was on hand to deliver a workshop to students at Walkergate Riverside Academy to celebrate the funding.
Supported by hard-won grants from national charity Restore the Music and Sony's Beyond the Instrument fund, the academy was able to invest in a range of new musical equipment, which it hopes will redefine the learning experience for students in the local area.
As part of this ambitious push in its music program, the academy saw one of the region’s fastest-rising musical stars lend his support to the charity-backed campaign.
"It's been fantastic" explained the DJ. "It's my first time in school since I left and that was nearly half my life ago!
"What is really heartwarming is seeing the next generation come through and seeing how they're adapting to life, how they're learning and fulfilling their dreams.
"I was trying to reach out to them today and say 'look, whatever it is you want to do, don't give up on your dreams and don't tell anyone what you can and can't achieve.'
"I was asked before what it means for the region and there's a plethora of talent coming out of this area. Now look at how well we're doing and that's really important because it gives hope to other people.
"The facilities we had [growing up] were very limited. What's here is amazing, I'm really jealous to be honest!"
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The equipment is something not lost on the school either, as the Academy's headteacher Gareth Smith explained: "It's a brilliant space we can use, and we're incredibly lucky that the backing we've had from Restore The Music and Sony means we've been able to equip the space with some of the latest technology.
"The students and the staff are absolutely delighted. To have a music department where you've got mixing desks and digital music technology as well as the traditional instruments, it shows how the music curriculum has moved on.
"The students were delighted Schak was coming in today, he's well known in the local community and is definitely the right demographic to engage and promote a real excitement.
"Having a local link and a local lad done good and doing well for himself means students can relate. He's able to talk to them about his own journey and how it doesn't matter what your postcode is, there are no limitations.
"Every school needs a place where a student feels safe to express their own talent and investing in the arts is something we're passionate about. It's an essential part of the curriculum."