Animate @ SoundSkool

July 19, 2022

In collaboration with the Orpheus Foundation, NYJO were thrilled to introduce the Animate Composer Programme in 2021. We know that many young people across the UK are pushing the boundaries of music-making with dynamic, exciting digital music that they are creating within their own homes, but many young composers never get the chance to explore the incredible possibilities of working with live musicians. Learning to take your ideas and translate them into a format that can then be interpreted by experienced players opens up a whole new world of creative opportunities, and we want to support passionate young composers and producers to stretch the possibilities of their own creativity and up their aspirations! This project was specifically designed to redress imbalances within the music sector, supporting young women and young people from Black, Asian and Diverse Ethnicities to develop new skills.

In 2022, we were lucky enough to partner with SoundSkool to deliver one strand of this project. Soundskool is an incredible specialist music college with a ‘vibrant, exciting and creative learning environment’. We were also delighted to have Sam Eastmond on board to lead the work: ‘interweaving improvisation and intricately arranged composition, Sam’s sound world transcends traditional concepts of genre boundaries.’. Over multiple sessions across a term, he encouraged a small group of young producers to compose an original piece of music. These were initially built using digital software, and then charts were created which allowed the young musicians to lead recording sessions in a live studio. Working with NYJO musicians, they learnt how to write for and record players in real-time, layer these recordings together, and understand the full process behind building the final tracks. As the project drew to a close, Sam celebrated the achievements of the students involved; they

all have finished tracks and have worked in new ways learning new skills and broadening their outlook. Helping them integrate live elements into their work and using new processes was a joy to watch. Giving them space to create whatever they wanted, and to guide them through that without setting parameters of idiom or style helped them to conceptualise how they could bring these new concepts into their work without scaring them off, ring-fencing them into styles they didn’t empathise with, or mystifying the process. As a result they were inquisitive and experimental, able to step outside their previous experience with confidence.

Sam Eastmond, NYJO Educator


It was also brilliant to hear this from the young people in their own words; ‘I progressed a lot as I learnt how to do many things involving composing for horns which opened up many possibilities’. I discovered ‘different things horn players can do that Midi can’t including sounds they can make and the limitations of horn players that Midi doesn’t have’. Partner working is at the heart of much of NYJO Learning’s work. It is always a privilege to share knowledge and experiences with other organisations, and to explore ways in which we can support the growth of each other’s learning and outcomes. Our partnership with SoundSkool has been an absolute joy to develop, and we look forward to working further with their incredible group of young musicians.

We are delighted to announce our next upcoming partnership with Cardboard Citizens! Cardboard Citizens create ‘work with and for people who experience homelessness, inequity, or poverty.’ They ‘provide theatre/art/training that explores, interrogates, and challenges the injustices that are most alive in our world.’ We are really looking forward to getting involved with their Cardboard Collective project. The talent of NYJO musicians has been spotted and supported early. They have benefitted from some of the best music education resources in the country.

Many Cardboard Collective participants will not have shared in these opportunities and support until now.  We will be bringing NYJO’s musicians along to jam sessions with the Collective to develop a creative meeting ground between these young musicians – a shared space that is enriching, rewarding and creatively exciting for all; where they can come together to enjoy the educational and social benefits – and the sheer joy – of creative music-making. Watch this space to see how this project progresses! If you work for an organisation that is interested in exploring a partnership with NYJO Learning, then please get in touch today.

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Quote 1 (Jazzwise)

"NYJO has never been conformist, never hewing to one particular line, never known for fawning replications and very deliberately these days a vehicle for new possibilities."

Jazzwise Magazine

Quote 2 (Lucy-Anne)

“Since joining NYJO, I’m so much more confident as a performer. Especially in terms of being able to entertain and keep the crowd engaged with you. It’s really nice to be able to feel that difference.” 

Lucy-Anne, NYJO Singer

Quote 3 (Academy)

"I’ve felt very fortunate to be surrounded by amazing musicians, and I think that the environment at NYJO – which has fostered creativity and improvisation – has allowed my confidence and musical ideas to grow."

Briony, NYJO Student

Quote 4 (Emma)

"The JX programme has been hugely helpful to me so far, consistently pushing me to explore new areas of composition, playing and collaborating with others, in many different formats."

Emma Rawicz, NYJO Musician

Quote 5 (Sam)

"Giving them space to create whatever they wanted, without setting parameters of idiom or style helped them to conceptualise how they could bring these new concepts into their work without scaring them off, or mystifying the process."

Sam Eastmond, NYJO Educator (Animate project)

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