Howdenhall Project 2021


2021 brought us another fantastic partner project with Howdenhall School who provide secure residential care and education for young people aged 10-17 with significant social, emotional and behavioural needs.

Over the last few years we have developed a project that uses rap writing, computer game design, music production, composition and songwriting to produce a whole load of creative outcomes in a really accessible and fun way that can engage people who often struggle to have the self confidence and emotional ability to make the most of these kinds of activities. It really helps to have our own orchestra to pull it all together at the end!

Game Design

Composer, broadcaster and game designer, Luci Holland, was working with pupils to design their own games using online software called Construct.  Over 8 weeks each pupil designed their own level. They started off with their own overall idea that Luci was then able to support them to translate into code and help troubleshoot and polish up.

The pupils were able to upload their own images, artwork and music into the games to bring them to life and make them totally unique.


Take the challenge and have a go at trying the finished games at this link. The password is Howdenhall.

Creative Writing

Rapper, MC and Producer,  Matt Tulloch (aka Mercurius) was working with pupils to develop their lyric writing skills. Having just released his first album Matt was in a very good position to inspire the pupils and share his creative passion. The rap writing really gave pupils a chance to express themselves with honesty about their own life experiences which led to a lot of very interesting and important discussions about life and making positive choices.

Musician and Tinderbox Assistant Director, Jed Milroy, used music production apps on the ipad to help pupils to create their own pieces of digital music. This was mainly using a sequencer app called launchpad.

Once the pieces of music and lyrics were finished the pupils helped Matt to record performances of their lyrics along to the music they had created.



One pupil even incorporated some artwork they had done that illustrates their lyrics and we spontaneously made this music video!



Jed also worked with the pupils on composing melodies using the ipad app ‘Medley’. This amazing app makes it really easy to create melodies using a grid that represents each bar of music. The settings in the app enabled us fix the same tempo and key for all the pupils to work in which meant that we were able to put all of their melodies together at the end to make one piece.

This was then given to composer, Sam Irvine, to tweak and arrange into a piece of music for the Tinderbox Orchestra. The piece ended up being incredibly tricky and quite wild! Here’s a video of the final result.


It has been another fantastic project. Thanks again to all the amazing staff at Howdenhall and the YMI for their continued support. But above all, thanks to the pupils at Howdenhall who were so up for participating and sharing their talent!