Aspiring Shirebrook musicians who turned to music during lockdown secure places at performing arts college

Two Shirebrook students who turned to music to get them through the difficult and dark days of lockdown have secured places at a performing arts college to help further their musical aspirations.

Kelsey Hind, who has just left Shirebrook Academy, has been given a place at Confetti, the Institute of Creative Technologies in Nottingham, and says she cannot think of anything else she would rather do after she sought solace in playing her guitar to help her deal with the mental health challenges associated with remote learning.

The 16-year-old, who will be studying for a BTEC Level 3 in music song-writing and performance, is one of three students from the school heading to Confetti and will be accompanied by former classmate Gracie Dexter.

Gracie overcame her insecurities to enter the school’s annual Shirebrook’s Got Talent show after she was encouraged by her support teacher and ended up winning the show with her rendition of Lewis Capaldi’s song Hold Me While You Wait.

Shirebrook Academy students Kelsey Hind (left) and Gracie Dexter are looking to turn their passion for music into a career after winning places at Confetti Institute of Creative Technologies in Nottingham

Kelsey said: “Music is more than a hobby, it’s always been a form of therapy for me. It’s got me through some difficult and dark days, especially during lockdown, because whenever I’ve ever felt low I can work through it by playing my guitar.

“Performing, even to myself, allows me to get any negative emotions out, while I’ve had a huge confidence boost from learning to play the guitar because it’s very complicated and it feels brilliant to be able to have achieved it.”

Gracie also wants to pursue a career in music, albeit either as a performer or as a teacher the music therapist, so that she can use its power to change people’s lives in order to help others.

She said: “Kelsey and I have been performing in school and it’s been really enjoyable bringing people together to listen to music. Like Kelsey, music became really important to me during lockdown because it’s like a friend when you’re lonely, so I’d love a career working in music somehow.”

Adam Case, head of arts at Shirebrook Academy, said: “Both Kelsey and Gracie have shown a real passion for music and it’s had a positive impact on their lives, so it’s great to see them both take their next step by winning a place at Confetti.”