Vocal Workshops (June half-term)

August 14, 2023

During the June half-term, the NYJO Learning team ran a two-day vocal workshop, aiming to engage more young musicians (aged 11-18) in the Woolwich area, and introduce them to new artists and different approaches to creative music-making, as well as building their confidence and skills.

The first day, led by vocalist, multi-instrumentalist, composer, and arranger, Scarlet Halton, introduced the young people to improvisation practices. On the second day, Ranjana Ghatak brought her experience studying under Maestro Pandit Ajoy Chakabarty to teach traditional Hindustani vocal techniques, taking them on a journey that juxtaposed sacred vocals with contemporary instrumentation.

NYJO Holiday Projects are a safe, fun, non-judgemental environment where young people can be themselves. We run at the participants’ pace, ensuring each young person’s individual needs and musical skills are understood and properly supported. At the end of each session, the young people are encouraged to showcase what they have learnt during the day to an informal audience of family and friends.


All the staff were really welcoming. I’m most grateful to have had such a good first experience to jazz – I would definitely like to learn/do more jazz singing. This project has showed me that jazz is something I definitely want to start doing more of – before, I had never done it so I didn’t know for sure.

Danya, young participant


One of the main advantages of focusing on vocals in our Holiday Projects is that there are fewer barriers to access (like purchasing an instrument and the cost of lessons), which allows us to reach young people who may have never taken part in group music-making before but might have experience in singing with their family or community. We’re excited that this gave us the opportunity to work with some young people that we might not have met otherwise!

At the end of the workshop, all participants reported feeling more confident, as well as supported and welcome throughout. It was incredibly encouraging to see young people who, even so early in their musical journeys, showed a true willingness to move outside their comfort zone, and a real excitement for the learning process!



The NYJO Learning team runs workshops at Woolwich Works during half-terms and the summer break. Keep an eye out on our News page and our What’s On page to keep up-to-date with future opportunities to join us.

If you’re interested in finding out more about our Learning programme, and how you can get involved, please get in touch at [email protected].

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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