Orchestras for All

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Job type: 
Project Management
Closing date: 
Mon 2 Apr 2018
Job type: 
Closing date: 
Fri 2 Mar 2018

Do you know a dedicated and committed young musician aged 11-18? We're now accepting nominations for the 2018-2019 National Orchestra for All, a unique non-auditioned, free to participate, national youth orchestra.

Calling all music teachers and community music leaders! Give your young musicians the chance to perform as part of a large-scale orchestra on a world class stage.

The project will increase the impact of Teach First music teachers and National Orchestra For All (NOFA), nominating teachers across 25 challenging schools in London and the West Midlands through a networked programme of support and training, particularly conductor training which will also include some young people.

Orchestras for All has a big vision: music without boundaries. Our mission is to unlock access to the life-changing experience of ensemble music-making for 11-18 years olds with complex lives.

The challenge

The importance of access to high quality musical experiences is widely accepted. Research shows us that music making transcends educational ability, socio-economic status and disability; gives young people a unique way to express themselves; brings multiple benefits, including confidence and self-esteem, self-efficacy and cultural awareness; can provide a safe space for young people with complex lives possibly even an escape from challenging home or school lives. Playing in an ensemble or orchestra provides additional proven benefits. It gives young people access to a broad and diverse social networks, increases teamwork skills and improves communication skills.

Yet access to high quality musical experiences, especially ensemble music-making, is inconsistently resourced across the UK. Young people with complex lives are often the first to miss out. Opportunities for orchestral music-making too often go towards those who are already privileged in some way. A 2014 Youth Ensembles report conducted by the Association of British Orchestras concluded that 92% of British Youth Orchestras set a minimum standard required to get in and 80% charge an annual membership fee.

This is deeply unfair. It means disadvantaged young people repeatedly miss out on the unique opportunity of ensemble music-making and cannot realise all the non-musical benefits that flow from it.

The solution

In 2011, Marianna Hay, former Director of Music at Highbury Grove School, set out to address this social injustice and Orchestras for All was born. She started by forming a national orchestra for 40 11-18 year olds, in 2011. Since then Orchestras For All has evolved into a three distinctive and innovative activities:

National Orchestra for All

A unique, mixed ability youth orchestra comprising 95 young musicians with complex lives from across the UK, who come together throughout the year to learn, compose, rehearse and perform ensemble music. Find out more about the National Orchestra for All!

"It’s made me more confident in everything I do. I'm not as shy and held back any more…When I start new things outside of NOFA I find that the confidence is still there" – Emma, NOFA member

Modulo Programme

An innovative in-schools programme which supports under-resourced schools and community groups to run ensembles (‘Modulos’), regardless of level of skill or instruments available, brought together regionally and nationally twice a year to form large scale symphony orchestras.  Find out more about the Modulo Programme!

"There had been such a lack of opportunity for ensemble work in school prior to the Modulo Programme…this has really inspired lots of change in the music department" – Charlotte, music teacher

Conductors for Change

A training programme for early-career music teachers and community music leaders to develop their conducting skills and musical ensemble leadership skills so that they can help transform young people’s chances in life through music. Find out more about Conductors for Change!

"I now have 100% confidence in conducting at school as previously I hadn’t had any experience of doing this" – Rebecca, music teacher

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