Working in Partnership

July 19, 2022

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!

In 2022, we were lucky enough to launch a new partnership with SoundSkool. 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’.

In 2022, we also launched a new 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 were delighted to work with them on 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 have not shared in these same opportunities and support until now.  We brought NYJO’s musicians along to jam sessions with the Collective to develop a creative meeting ground between these young musicians – a shared space that was enriching, rewarding and creatively exciting for all; where they were able to come together to enjoy the educational and social benefits – and the sheer joy – of creative music-making.

In 2023, we are delighted to be bringing these two partnerships together for a new project! Cardboard Collective members – some returning from term one, alongside some new young people – will have the chance to develop their lyrics, their spoken word and creative original tracks for a new album. Young producers from SoundSkool will work with Cardboard Collective musicians to create beats, backing tracks and loops for them to sing or rap over. A live NYJO musician will also work on the project, allowing the young creatives to bring live musical elements into their mixes.

We are very excited that this project represents a joint collaboration between two organisations that we have worked with previously, and brought together to the mutual benefit of all involved!

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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