Monday 22 October 2012

First Live - how to interest young people in live orchestras?

First Time Live - Orchestras Live
How do you interest young people in live classical music. One admirable way is of course to encourage them to play an instrument. Though not every young person actually wants to do this and frankly there just isn't the capacity. Many local authorities are hard pressed to give access to music to those children who want it, never mind the ones who are less interested. Another method is to widen the idea of what we mean by music, so that young people get involved in live musical activities but with a more popular bent. But this still leaves them without any knowledge or interest in live orchestral music. So the charity Orchestras Live have come up with a new idea, First Time Live.

In 2013/14 they are arranging two orchestral tours. One by a large orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, which will tour to Hull, Scunthorpe, Doncaster and Grimsby, the other a medium-size chamber orchestra, the City of London Sinfonia, touring to Luton, Harlow, Fenland, Peterborough, Thurrock and Mansfield. 20 concerts in total, with an audience of 14,000 young people.

All very admirable, but what's new? Well, first off the locations. As you can see, they have been chosen where there is little or no orchestra provision; former mining areas, developing towns, diverse cultural areas and rural communities. But the other key strand in the provision is that young people will be involved in programming and presenting the concerts. The programmes will be chosen by young people including a range of genres including film and TV music, and computer games.

There will also be  workshops to enable the young people to engage with musicians and with programming the concerts, also to encourage young people to be ambassadors for the concerts. There is a partnership with Radiowaves, a network platform aimed at the 'target group', which will enable them to provide resources to young people and their schools to encourage them to learn and share.

The idea is to build lasting relationships, involving Music Education Hubs and other organisations. The intention is to encourage skill sharing, with the young people working alongside professional musicians, managers and venue staff, programming and presenting the concerts, gaining event management skills. And the hope is that the links forged will work towards further concerts.

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