Burnt Mill recruit their first rap tutor

A SCHOOL which offers free music tuition to young people is bringing its lessons bang up to date with the arrival of Essex’s first rap tutor.

Rap Burnt
Burnt Mill Academy prides itself on offering its students – often from deprived backgrounds – opportunities to learn to play musical instruments and perform to live audiences.

With music lessons focusing predominantly on traditional instruments, the school was keen to find new ways to reach those young people who might only have an interest in modern music genres.

Rap tutor Lemzi, real name Alex Lemom is now working with a range of students to inspire them to develop a love of performing and to boost their confidence.

He said: “Wealth Esteem, my general name for workshops and tuition, is accentuating the unlimited potential each young person has in their lives. Through the cliched terms of determination, hard work and focus, a lot can be achieved. However, through a willingness to grow, graciousness and showing spirit, anything can be achieved.

“The Wealth Esteem workshops are simply ways to engage that part of young people.”
Cristin Casey, director of performing arts at the Burnt Mill Academy Trust and chair of the Essex Music Hub board, said: “We are finding more and more that children want to rap. So, I took that to the Music Hub and they recruited Lemzi. As far as we’re aware, we’re one of the only schools in the country employing a rap tutor. We are moving with the times.

“We noticed the impact Lemzi had on the first two students he worked with in just two weeks; they were holding themselves differently and had more confidence. One of them had not wanted to perform in front of anyone; he went from being a really shy boy to asking for opportunities to perform. He got up and performed in assemblies and that is not something he would have done before. Another student who could not keep eye contact when he spoke to you before can now look you in the eye with confidence.

“Lemzi is good at building relationships and boosting confidence as he has extensive experience of mental health and youth offending work with young people. Plus, he is very cool with his own album on Spotify and runs club nights, so he is an inspiration to our students. He is teaching them high level performance skills which gives them confidence to do it.

“There was a worry that students would want to use the bad language often associated with rap music, but Lemzi spoke with them about why that language is in rap and urged them not to use language they would not use in their every day speech. He has such a great way of speaking with students about the industry; he’s like a mentor to them.”

Lemzi is working with students in Year 7 to 11 each Tuesday at the school.

Mrs Casey said: “This is an opportunity to open up music to those who may have felt a barrier before.

“The impact it is having on our young people is remarkable. Performing arts is vital to the whole child.”

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