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An inspiring, shared experience at the Royal Albert Hall for young people from neighbouring authorities

This blog is part 7 of a series of case studies about the work of hub partners in reaching more young people with music in Gloucestershire. Case studies are taken from our most recent annual report so some programmes will have ended, but they are representative of the work of the hub that is ongoing.

Gloucestershire Music (GM) has had a close relationship with Music for Youth (MfY) for seven years, hosting and providing support for its regional festival at Cheltenham Town Hall, and taking invited groups to it’s National Festival and Schools Proms at the Royal Albert Hall, London.

The Festival has featured performers from Gloucestershire Music, Bath and North East Somerset music education hub, and South Gloucestershire music education hub for many years, and being based in neighbouring authorities, it seemed only natural for the three to work in partnership. They began discussing how to showcase many of their top musicians and singers and an idea formed to create a massed ensemble which would perform at the 2016 MfY Schools Prom.

Gloucestershire Music was the lead organisation, commissioning a 10- minute piece suitable for a 150- piece wind orchestra and a 450- strong choir from local composer Philip Harper. Funding was provided by the three music hubs and by contributions from participants.

The choir was formed from existing secondary-aged pupils chosen by the three participating hubs/services. Students were  chosen from school or community groups (e.g. the Beauregard Youth Choir and Chamber Choir who had participated in MfY in the past) on the basis of their commitment, drive and passion for singing at a high level. Recordings as well as notation of the piece were available online, ensuring that all singers – from those who had learned traditionally to those who were self-taught – could learn the music.

The collaborative nature of this project, in bringing together three music hubs, MfY and the National Concert Band Festival, was a driving factor in its success.

Cllr Paul McLain, Gloucestershire County Council’s cabinet member for children and younger people, said at the time: “What a venue and what a mightycollection of musicians! This is such a great opportunity for Gloucestershire Music and the young musicians that it represents. Gloucestershire Music has won a number of national awards in recent years, and to now be playing at the Royal Albert Hall really is outstanding.”

You can read more case studies in our Annual Report

From first steps, to becoming a leader: Oliver and Eden find their way in music with Gloucestershire Academy of Music

This blog is part 4 of a series of case studies about the work of hub partners in reaching more young people with music in Gloucestershire. Case studies are taken from our most recent annual report so some programmes will have ended, but they are representative of the work of the hub that is ongoing.

An inspiring experience and financial support leads Oliver to take his first steps in music

Oliver was in the audience at Calton Primary School when a string quartet from Chineke!, Europe’s first black and minority ethnic orchestra, came to play in July. He saw professional musicians play violins, cellos and violas, alongside other young people, and he and his classmates were invited to take part in Gloucestershire Academy of Music (GAM)’s summer holiday ‘Try an instrument’ course. Oliver was keen, but his parents couldn’t afford to pay for this themselves, so they applied for a bursary to cover the course fee and transport. Each morning for a week, Oliver learned how to play the violin, culminating in a performance alongside GAM’s Junior Orchestra, in front of family and friends.

The experience inspired Oliver to want to continue, and so he was offered a bursary for Saturday morning violin lessons at GAM’s centre, Barbican House.  Oliver is enjoying his lessons, and when he’s ready his teacher will encourage him to join one of GAM’s ensembles through which he’ll have many opportunities to progress and advance his skills.

Leadership and professional experiences help Eden to advance his skills

Eden, has attended classes and ensembles at GAM since he was very young. He currently has viola lessons and attends Stringzone on a Monday evening, as part of the advanced ensemble, Prima Corda. Through Stringzone, Eden gets to meet other advanced musicians and has helped to establish a student-led ensemble, Discord Datcord. An important function of this group is to perform new works by young composers and a highlight for the next academic year will be a performance in the Royal Albert Hall in November as part of the Music for Youth Proms 2017.

Eden takes advantage of every opportunity available, and has played at a Severnside Composers workshop with the Carducci Quartet; with Chineke! when they performed at The King’s Theatre in Gloucester in July 2017; with Gloucestershire Youth Orchestra; and with the CBSO Youth Orchestra. His musical progress is supported by South West Music School who fund his lessons and give him opportunities to attendworkshops and ensembles. He’s also recently successfully applied to become an associate member of the management board of Gloucestershire Academy of Music, where he’ll be able to influence future provision for the next generation of young musicians.

You can read more case studies in our Annual Report

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