School of Beatbox is a social enterprise. A core part of our social mission is to have a material positive impact on children and young people's self-esteem and confidence. Over 50% of profits are reinvested into the business to ensure we fulfil this purpose. We run other projects that have a positive social impact too. We are currently running one called 'Stammer Project'. Find out more below.
Hi, I'm Danny Ladwa, the founder of School of Beatbox. I used to stammer (stutter) as a child. This happened when I was 9 years old. It affected my confidence and self-esteem in a big way and I didn't understand why all of a sudden the words I wanted to say just wouldn't come out. Often it would be my own name that I couldn't say. This lasted for 2 years until I was 11 years old.
When I was 11 I discovered that I could make some pretty realistic drum sounds with my mouth and I had gotten into this off the back of an already running passion for singing, rapping and writing lyrics. I noticed that I never stammered when I sang, rapped or beatboxed and when I saw the reactions from my friends I felt like a superhero. I could use my voice in a way that allowed me to express myself without fear of judgement and it was something that no one else around me could do.
I latched on to my creative outlet and never stopped. I closed the door on my stammering past and never looked back as I was so relieved that it wasn't a cause for concern any more. Although I realise that my creativity was not necessarily a cure for my stammer, it was something that gave me back my confidence.
Years later (in 2017) when I had the idea to set up School of Beatbox, I knew that I wanted to give something back to the community and I decided that School of Beatbox would be a Social Enterprise. A Social Enterprise is essentially a business that makes a profit but does so while making the world a better place through having a positive social impact.
Thinking back to how my stammer affected my confidence and self-esteem as a child, made me realise that a core focus of School of Beatbox's work would be to help children and young people with their confidence and self esteem through creative expression.
This goal is mainly achieved by running workshops and teaching 1-to-1's participants learn how to beatbox and also how to use beatboxing as a tool to write music and songs. During the first national lockdown due to Covid-19 we ran 16 weeks of free online beatbox classes for children to keep them engaged in something fun. You can read about that here.
Using the voice is something that many people fear, whether it's speaking or presenting in front of a group or simply speaking up about what they believe in. The voice is also a gateway to real empowerment too. Music is an incredible way in which we can express our emotions without feeling the weight of those emotions.
In 2018 I formed an idea to put together a group of people, all of whom experience a stammer, to deliver a cappella performances with the ultimate goal of raising awareness about stammering.
Approximately 8% of children worldwide will experience a stammer at some point, but most will go on to talk fluently. For up to 3% of adults worldwide, stammering will become a lifelong condition.
In 2018, I was looking back at my stammer as a child and I wanted to know more about stammering. To this point, stammering was something that I experienced for 2 years but I had no idea why. I got in touch with the The British Stammering Association and they invited me to their annual conference in 2018 to tell my story.
It was a cathartic experience meeting so many people that stammer and remembering the challenges that it brought me.
I succeeded in forming the a cappella group and to date we have delivered performances at The UK Beatbox Championships in 2018 and London A Cappella Festival in 2019.
The song 'Free' was written by Danny Ladwa, Aoife Geary and Pippo De Palma and comes from the perspective of someone that has broken free from something they used to let hold them back.
Thanks to Arts Council England's support we have been able to take the Stammer Project to the next level. In 2020, during a global pandemic, we filmed a documentary 'Titled: STAMMER PROJECT'.
Synopsis: An uplifting and inspiring story of 6 people living with a stammer. This film captures their profound mission to raise global awareness about stammering through the power of music - using their voices. Watch their journey unfold as they undergo vocal training and prepare to head into the music studio together for the first time. This is a story of courage, strength, trust and the incredible power of the voice.