Music Matters: The search for young talent begins

Thomas Dunleavy
Thomas Dunleavy
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Whilst I have never been tempted to write a song – and sadly not talented enough to even contemplate writing a piece of music - it is clear when talking to friends that actually I might just be in the minority.

Songwriting, it would seem, is often the start of a life-long relationship with music, providing a creative outlet for individuals of all ages. Certainly the current generation of young people seem ready to share life’s angst and joy through writing and posting lyrics (and music) addressing a whole raft of social issues, moral dilemmas and affairs of the heart.

This is nothing new of course, but whereas, in the past, writing songs was largely a solo activity and the varying outcomes of these efforts most often consigned to both literal and metaphoric bins, today’s song-writers make full use of technology to share a personal back catalogue of work with the world. Indeed, such is the infectious nature of this activity, one associate of the Peterborough Music Hub composes and posts a new piece of music every day.

Local young songwriters and composers have a wonderful, opportunity to share their musical composition skills as part of the forthcoming Peterborough Festival, by entering the New Youth Music Showcase. The competition (now in its second year) is sponsored by Peterborough Music Hub, to celebrate and acknowledge the superb quality of the city’s writing talent. The 2016 winner, 10-year-old Thomas Dunleavy – set the bar high with a fantastic performance and high-quality original songs. But, all the entrants displayed a fine sense of performance and creative skill, wowing the audience and evaluator, professional singer/songwriter Hayley Sanderson.

The 2017 New Music Showcase will be held at the Key Theatre on March 17. With cash prizes, a free recording session and the chance to be mentored by a professional composer/songwriter, the rewards for winning entries are significant. The competition is open to solo or duet singer/songwriters, solo instrumentalists and bands (of up to 8 members). The music must be original composition but all genres and styles are welcome. For more go to The deadline January 31.

Last month’s Music Matters column invited parents and guardians to support children and young people in taking up instrumental tuition. With Christmas just around the corner, what better time to treat your budding maestro to a musical instrument, a series of lessons – or for those already equipped and tutored, membership of the Peterborough Centre for Young Musicians!

Peterborough Music Hub is there to offer advice and guidance to make 2017 a year of first-class music making. Email or visit

Michael Cross is Peterborough Music Hub Programme Coordinator