YOUNG musicians out of work and school are being offered free professional classes to unleash hidden talent.

Oxford-based charity Fusion Arts is offering the 10-week course in the Witney area to get young artists into the studio.

The Beat This programme will see 12 budding musicians between the ages of 14 and 25 take part in 10 workshops led by industry experts.

Witney project co-ordinator Andy Hill said the course was aimed at vocalists, and those not in employment or education would be given priority.

He said: “It is aimed at those who probably fall into a camp where they don’t have access to studios. It’s more vocalists, MCs and singers – people who are perhaps inspired by music but don’t know about improving or getting started.

“It’s mainly people sat at home thinking ‘I really wish I could do this but I have no idea how to’.”

The course will be launched with a special gig at Fat Lil’s in Corn Street, Witney tomorrow night from 7pm to 9pm.

The weekly sessions will take place between 4pm and 6pm at the Witney Hub in Witan Way from Thursday, January 23.

Mr Hill said: “We will have a series of experts to come in and teach them about writing lyrics, performance skills, and producing.

“It teaches them not only about how to produce creative things but also how to improve and research.”

He said at the end of the course those involved would put on a concert at a professional music venue in April.

He also said the students would get the chance to pick up an Arts Ward qualification. The young people will be guided by a course co-ordinator, two professional artists and a learning assistant. The course is open to those interested in all music genres.

Mr Hill added: “It is amazing. The whole thing is free. It is a fantastic opportunity. It’s something I am proud to be a part of and I am slightly jealous because there was nothing like it available when I was younger.”

Lizzy McBain, Fusion Arts project development officer, said the charity would run the course in Oxford from May with the students performing at the Cowley Road Carnival in July.

She said: “Lots of people are making music in their homes and their bedrooms and this is a chance for them to improve their skills and have an audience for the first time.”

The charity is funded by Oxford City Council but grant-givers Youth Music provided £24,385 for the courses which will include an advance course later this year. Oxfordshire County Council gave £1,250.

Those interested are urged to attend tomorrow’s launch night before signing up .

The course is open to artists from outside of Witney and travel expenses will also be available.

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