NYJO in Hull: Creative Composition

April 14, 2023

From January – November 2022, NYJO were delighted to partner with Hull Music Service on a new creative composition project, led by NYJO Emerging Professional Myra Brownbridge!

The project was designed to develop young musicians’ confidence in their own creativity and support them to feel confident expressing their own ideas through music-making. Myra was chosen to deliver the project because the young musicians really connected with her ideas for composing a piece that focused on their experiences of living in Hull. Together, they created a brand-new piece from scratch that was performed at Hull Jazz Festival.

My aims at the beginning of the project were to create a composition which reflected the NYJO Academy members’ personal experiences of their life growing up in Hull and Humberside, connecting to the history of Hull and what life in the city and surrounding areas means to them.

Myra Brownbridge, Composer


The final piece that the group created together was 20 minutes long, featuring four sections with titles taken from poetry extracts that the group connected with:

  • Chaos, Industrial Shadows
  • Change, Seed Sown into Concrete
  • Regeneration, Colours in Art We Cannot Hide
  • Pearl to go, Two Pound Strawberries for the Road

I think we were able to use the idea of a ‘sense of place’ as a thread throughout the project. Whether this was the Music Centre building, the City of Hull and its history or the wider cultural history of the region; all were explored at a pace where ideas could form, develop and change without the rush for a final product or deadline.

Sean Miller, Partnerships and Community Engagement, Hull Music Service


The piece is all about Hull’s journey through time. So it starts out in the beginning with a sort of dark section, and then by the end of it, it’s this more open, free, uplifting section.

Henry, young musician


Ideas of place are central to NYJO Learning’s Widening Access programme. It is always important to us that the work we create in these communities feels rooted in the local areas, and that the projects centre the voices of the young people taking part. For many young musicians that live in our Widening Access partner areas, opportunities to play in groups with other like-minded young musicians can be more difficult to access – often because they live rurally or because of issues with public transport links. Through our Widening Access programme, we support Hubs and Music Services to try out new ways of supporting young people to overcome these barriers to accessing music-making opportunities.

My music service in Grimsby is inaccessible for many – this gives an opportunity for people to develop skills.

Thomas, young musician


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!

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

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