Flawless: Writing East Midlands Writer's Den, University of Derby, 16 June 2018

We were invited to run our unique Music Journalism workshops at the Writing East Midlands Writer’s Den at the weekend. This year’s event took place at The University of Derby on Saturday 16 June. We chose the mighty Beyonce to inspire and guide the young writers taking part in the Writing East Midlands Writer’s Den. But we found that this team of 40 young writers were pretty much #flawless already.

Rockhaq Community founder Michelle delivered the music journalism workshops, and used Sam Brookes’ review of Beyonce’s game-changing Lemonade album as a perfect example of how to write a music review. Thanks to Sam for such a brilliant and accessible piece of work. Although Michelle was teaching fairly young writers from 8-14 years of age, they all understood the basic mechanics of Sam’s review and found their mojo pretty quickly.

We cannot overstate how impressive these young people were. There was some brilliant work being written at the Writing East Midlands Writer’s Den. Some reviews were shared at the end of each workshop. But there were plenty of writers who didn’t share their music reviews who had also produced fantastic pieces. Everyone who came along and took part in the Writing East Midlands Writer’s Den really should keep up the great work they started on Saturday – it was inspiring to be a part of it. Big thanks to Sian at Writing East Midlands for inviting us to take part in such an awesome day!

Any of the young writers can continue working on their music reviews and join the Rockhaq Community here. In the meantime here are some of Michelle’s comments on the best reviews from the Writing East Midlands Writer’s Den. Enjoy!

Writer’s Den: Music Review Comments 2018

Andrew: Sucker for Pain by Imagine Dragons: A lovely piece of work. Andrew showed imagination and a great flair for writing. He really took on board what I said about writing honestly from the heart and using hooks. A very believable and engaging first piece of work. Must continue!

Lucas: 7 Years by Lukas Graham: I’m shocked at how much Lucas has improved since our first workshop earlier this year. He was almost like a completely different writer. He delivered a dedicated and impressive effort with his review and I feel he could go far if he wants to keep this up.

Mary: Evolve by Imagine Dragons: Mary is one of the only young writers who took on an album review, which is brave but she clearly has a writing ability that extends far beyond her years. Her work was outstanding. She wrote the longest and most coherent, impressive review. It was full of hooks, very down to earth, she isolated her favourite songs and she gave some great musical analysis which added depth and imagination to her work. She absolutely should continue with this and share her writing on The Rockhaq Community and see how far she can go!

Henry: Jurassic Park soundtrack: This was a remarkably brave choice from such a young writer. However, Henry managed to summarise exactly what he loved about this soundtrack perfectly. This is a very hard thing to do when the music you’re analysing has no lyrics, so I hope he realises that his imaginative writing skills really came into play here. He mentioned how much he had enjoyed the workshop at the end too, so he should certainly consider doing this again.

Sam: Michael Meets Mozart by The Piano Guys: Very interesting song choice, it shows that Sam has a mature music taste. Again, another writer who chose a piece of music with no lyrics to review, but he did a stellar job. I loved his use of everyday, genuine language to emphasise how passionate he is about this track. He also gave us an insight into the emotions he feels when listening to this. Keep this up, Sam!

Emily: Rise by MDK: Another young and impressive female writer. She chose an electronic track from an upcoming Canadian producer – again with no lyrics – but was superb in her analysis, showing some musical maturity. She isolated samples used from video games (Pikachu!) and told us the track made her want to run a marathon. I loved her honesty and how deftly she used words throughout her review. Must continue and finish this music review!