Between November 2022 and March 2023, NYJO partnered with Durham Music Service to deliver a Creative Composition project culminating in a performance of the group’s original composition at Sage Gateshead.
We wanted to create a project that would welcome young musicians from around the county – from Darlington to Durham – whatever their instrument or skills level. With this in mind, NYJO Educator Olivia Murphy, with the support of NYJO musician Fergus Quill, worked closely with Durham Music Service to create a meeting ground for musicians coming from brass, orchestral, and pop backgrounds to write and play together.
Hear what Olivia and the young musicians involved in the project had to say about their experience:
The final piece created was all from the young people – I only combined all of their ideas on paper! The finished piece showcased all of the brilliant musicians in Durham Music Service and featured some incredible / creative improvisations alongside a brilliant composition.
Olivia Murphy, NYJO Educator
I felt that the environment created in the workshops by Olivia, Fergus and Myra was fantastic, it was relaxed and very welcoming. Each workshop gave participants the opportunity to offer their ideas and ensure that every individual had a say in how the piece was created.
Amy Leggett, Durham Music Service
During this project, the young musicians (some of whom had never played jazz, or engaged with any county ensembles before) developed key jazz skills, experimented with improvisation, created their own composition, and improved their technical jazz knowledge. It was brilliant to see them grow and develop as confident young jazz musicians!
I’m better at improvisation since I have had more of a chance to practice it.
Tom, young musician
I have played jazz for the first time.
Amari, young musician
The rehearsal venues for this project alternated between two locations, in Durham and Darlington, meaning that young musicians who lived near each of the locations would travel shorter distances alternately, rather than every day. This resulted in the attendance of participants from a wider geographical reach across County Durham, including South Hetton, Peterlee, Sedgefield, Chester-le-Street, Durham, and Darlington. This new format was part of our joint strategy with Durham Music Service to widen access to their jazz ensembles across the county as a whole. It was brilliant to see how successfully it brought together a group of young musicians from across a wide range of influences and experience too!
If you work for a Hub or Music Service and are interested in getting involved with our Widening Access programme, please get in touch today!