NYJO Learning Holiday Projects

April 14, 2023

In 2021-22, NYJO Learning ran three holiday projects with featured educators including Jas Kayser, Blue Lab Beats, Byron Wallen, and FLOetic Lara. These projects were designed to encourage young people who live near NYJO’s home of Woolwich Works to engage in new music-making opportunities, meet other like-minded young musicians, build confidence, and have fun exploring their own creativity.

In October 2021, Byron and FLO worked together with a group of young musicians from Greenwich who were all fairly new to instrumental learning. Byron led on creative content that helped the young people to explore rhythm exercises, ensemble playing, and improvisation. FLO focused on performance skills, building the group’s confidence in singing, using a microphone, spoken word, and songwriting.

I learnt more about improvisation which is useful and fun. As well as how to make a song using lyrics and the keyboard.

October 2021 Holiday Project Participant


In February 2022, Jas Kayser delivered NYJO’s second holiday project at our Woolwich Works home. Over three days, young people with varying levels of skills and experience explored the influence of the female jazz greats, alongside experimenting with Cuban rhythms, pitch, tempo, and ‘feel’.

I enjoyed having fun with everyone, making friends, feeling confident about soloing, biscuits & Uno, improving my listening.

February 2022 Holiday Project Participant

I feel more comfortable playing in a group, I have progressed to feeling confident in soloing, by not needing to always use written scores I find it easier to play music on the keyboard.

February 2022 Holiday Project Participant


NYJO Learning’s four-day Summer Lab project in August 2022 was led by Grammy Award-winning producer duo Blue Lab Beats. The project allowed young musicians – including producers, vocalists, digital music makers and instrumentalists – aged 14-18 the chance to develop their skills and experience in the merging of live and digital music-making.

The best thing about the project was getting to work with a mixture of musicians and producers, combining electronic music with jazz instruments.

Summer Lab 2022 Participant

We created a track together which I loved doing because it mixed beats with digital and we all got to have our say in the track.

Summer Lab 2022 Participant


We would like to say an enormous thank you to everyone who worked on or supported one of NYJO’s Holiday Projects in the 2021-22 period. In particular though, we would like to celebrate the enormous creativity, enthusiasm, and openness shown by all of the young people who took part in these Holiday Projects. It was so wonderful to see young musicians from across Greenwich and the surrounding areas explore music-making together, taking creative risks, and embracing new ideas. We hope that we’ll see you all again very soon!

If you’re interested in attending one of our Holiday Projects in the future, please contact NYJO’s Learning Programmes Manager Beth Ismay at [email protected] to be added to our mailing list.

Lucy-Anne (EP quote)

“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 Emerging Professional (Vocals)

Georgia (EP quote)

“It’s hard to just learn this music in the practice room but being immersed in the music at NYJO is a great environment to really push my playing. ” 

Georgia Ayew, NYJO Emerging Professional (Drums)

Sam Eastmond (MD quote)

"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

Jazzwise quote

"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

Lydia (EP quote)

"The past year has been an absolutely incredible experience, pushing me way out of my comfort zone into playing with some of the greatest young jazz players of my generation and getting to call them my colleagues and friends has been beyond inspiring, and also an obscene amount of fun!"

Lydia Cochrane, NYJO Emerging Professional (Saxophone)

Anna (Learning national quote)

"[The NYJO residential in Cumbria] helped me to make friends with other young musicians. I enjoy playing a lot more and I’m quite proud of what I’ve accomplished. I feel more confident now. I have learnt different ways of coming up with solid melodies and also a little bit on harmonies. I think it’s been one of the best experiences I’ve ever had."

Anna, NYJO Learning Widening Access participant

Briony (Learning U18s quote)

"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 Under 18s

Oscar (Learning U18s quote)

"I think I’ve progressed a lot in my piano-playing. NYJO has helped me to flourish and really enjoy it. I’ve really enjoyed being engrossed in a high level of playing and learning things in a hands-on-way. I also like the diversity of perspectives and abilities of all the players and teachers which enables me to try things I might not normally."

Oscar, NYJO Under 18s

Jennie (Learning U18s quote)

"NYJO has got me listening to more jazz and learning more changes. It has also helped with working as a band. I’ve really enjoyed the free jazz, learning by ear, the people, and the atmosphere."

Jennie, NYJO Under 18s

Leah-Anais (Learning U18s quote)

"I love the people at NYJO. Everyone here is so encouraging and lovely and it makes the experience worthwhile. Though I have fun I’m still learning on the way which makes me feel productive too."

Leah-Anais, NYJO Under 18s

Support us

Support the future of jazz

Can you help us nurture a nation of young jazz musicians?

Join our passionate community of Friends, grant-making organisations or corporate sponsors at a level that suits you and share your love of jazz with the next generation.