Youth Orchestra and finding other opportunities to play(35 Posts)
How do you find out about orchestras/ensembles and other opportunities for playing together in your area? Dd, just 10, is around grade 5 standard and she is too young to join County Youth Orchestra (12+). We also have Ds, just turned 8, grade 3 violin - we tried a Saturday school (also County Music run) but it was not great for either of them as most children were pre-grade 1 standard. We have a great privately run orchestra near us for grade 6+ but most members are much older (age 14+) so it could be tricky socially. If children are young but on higher than average grade level then it seems tricky.
You might find the minimum age requirement is flexible is they are good enough and they need people (seems to be near me) although perhaps easier with less popular instruments than violin. Otherwise are you within driving distance of one of the Centres for Young Musicians? They run on Saturdays and standard will be reasonably high.
You could see if the county offers any sort of in between opportunities that's what we did for ds when he was 9 / 10 as he was too advanced for Saturday music school but too young for the youth orchestra. he now plays in a wind orchestra and a jazz band . as he plays trumpet all of the trumpets in the county orchestra are grade 8 plus ( and mostly over 16) so he will need to wait a bit to do that. To get over this he also auditioned and got into the nco this year which means that he gets to play with people his age rather than being the youngest maybe that's something you could consider ?
Thanks, what are Centres for Young Musicians? Not sure she is good enough for NCO, it sounds so competitive and difficult to get in (also not sure we would cope with the residential).
My daughter is part of the hampshire music service orchestras. I don't know if you have a similar set up where you are. But they have a training orchestra, then a youth orchestra (grade 3 and up) and then a senior orchestra. Ir is based entirely on ability, not age and the younger ones are fully supported.
She found about about all this through her school music teacher.
it is a commitment though because she is in two orchestras at one time and each have rehearsals each week, plus performances and residentials (but these are not compulsory).
Echoing what others have said,my ds is 10 and around grade 5-6 violin and is part of the Southend Music services. We found out about the Southend Music academy through his teacher and then the two other orchestras through the academy. He has outgrown music school now which is a shame because it's so local but the council have cut the funding and it's only 2 hours and they don't do any theory,choral or any of the other stuff. Both county orchestras ds is in have a training orchestra and then the main one is from grade 4.
We're now looking at Junior Guildhall in London for Saturday music school. Hell of a commitment but I know ds wil love every minute.
Does your council / LA have an arts officer?
They may have a list of all the opportunities.
And check the neighbouring county / LA too, if within reach.
Ask your regional arts board - find them on the Arts Council website. They should know what provision there is in the area for young people www.artscouncil.org.uk/about-us/your-area
Start a thread on MN asking in the title for junior orchestra opportunities in or near your town!
Secondary school music teachers may know - if you have any access to them. Will your 10 year old go to secondary in September? Secondaries are generally much better for music than primary, with a range of orchestras, ensembles and small groups. After school music clubs etc.
Good luck - I hope you can find something suitable.
Well done Blu,that was a far more useful post than mine!!
In my County, the LA Music Service still runs strings orchestras and ensembles based on ability, not age. The orchestra you describe is "Beginner's Strings" here but the children progress to other ensembles once they start passing exams. If they are quicker to learn, they progress. I would contact the Music Service for your LA and see what they offer. Here we have amazing jazz bands, choirs and orchestras. There is something for everyone at every grade.
I think the CYM is London-based and has no regional centres?
Blu I believe that CYM does have some regional centres. We dismissed it for ds as both the London one and the one in our county are still a long way away (over 90 mins drive each way) do not doable which is why we looked at Guildhall. Obv totally depends on your area. I do think it's silly that so many orchestras have age limits. I'm continually bowled over by the standard reached by the children in the orchestras that ds is in. Some of which are still in primary school. It's like so many things,they need the orchestral experience to progress so if you put the age up,you won't get enough kids going through. This is especially noticeable when they leave school at 16 or 18 and go off to university.
So they do: if you just google 'Centre for young musicians' a list comes up. The website itself could be a lot more helpful.
I agree about ages and orchestras.
The First Violin in DC's (very good) school orchestra is a mere 12 years old, Yr 8, having had access to great teaching and orchestral / ensemble playing from a young age.
Yes absolutely,it really is all about the teachers/access to ensembles. One ds's best friends also plays violin and goes in for all the music festivals and wins them all however isn't so keen on orchestra. Consequently her sight reading isn't as good as it should be considering her grade and age (according to her Mum)Ds otoh doesn't like doing festivals but adores orchestra and his sight reading is starting to get quite good. However he has bowing issues which I won't bore you with here!! From what I've been told by Guildhall,county orchestras are so critical for providing kids with all the tools required.
I'll get off my soapbox now!
Thank you, this is helpful and I'll look up that list! We do have County Music Service orchestras. We have Grade 3-5 which we applied for our children to do this year but sadly it is so expensive (8 rehearsals and then a concert cost £325 per pupil), then there is a residential option which is £525 including the rehearsals during the year. Our next is for age 12+ (grades 5-7) and then there is the best orchestra (age 14+ for grade 7+). There are chamber groups (by invitation only) for high grades.
Is the Guildhall thing like the RCM Junior dept? Our eldest would love that kind of thing but not sure she is good enough (grade 5 ish cello, grade 4 piano). Thank you everyone for helping out.
Spaghetti, It is the same idea as RCM. Ds sounds like he is at the same level as your ds. He is around grade 5/6 violin. If you go on the website and then along the top click on Youth/young adult learning and then it has the page for Junior Guildhall. They ask for min grade 5 by age of 10 but it's not set in stone. We went and looked round in December and then ds had an assessment with the Head of Strings who is himself a cellist. I don't want to bore everyone again as I posted at the time but feel free to PM me if you want any further info. Ds understands that when he auditions there may a good chance that he won't get in this time but he's so desperate to go that it will all be good experience for him.
OMG I've just re read your message and seen the cost . How do they justify that.
All the Junior depts have bursaries and scholarships. They are means tested.
I was wondering about the cost of the county stuff too the county youth orchestra here is expensive ( but they go away on tour and play some quite high profile concerts so it's a great experience) all of the other music activities cost £50 a term for however many you choose to take part in. There are bursaries out there for example future talent which can be used to pay for any type of musical activity maybe you should look into these spaghetti
We seem to have chosen the least affordable UK city to live in! Guildhall and RCM junior seem like amazing opportunities, will read more - they sound like a big commitment and we have 4 children so it would be a big decision for us. Future talent is for household incomes of under 30,000 and we are just over this plus I could not spend £325 on 8 rehearsals...just crazy. I can't seem to find the list online for Centres for young musicians to find out if there is one in our area.
I couldn't find a list in google either but there's definite a cym in saffron Waldon ( lovely people) and one in Norwich don't know if either of these are close enough to you ?
Disorganised - just a slight amendment to your post as may help others; not all JD scholarships are means tested. DD has a non-means tested one.
CYM may well be our back up plan if ds doesn't get into Guildhall. I did the application online yesterday so we have to just sit and wait. Ds practised for 45 minutes and then played for around another 20 or so mins doing a "recital" to ds2 and I! Bless him. To be fair,one of his audition pieces sounded bloody awful (Ladies in Lavender). He finds playing slowly very difficult. We have time though.
Stringchild,thanks for the correction. That's really interesting. I wasn't aware of that. Do you mind naming the JD your dd is at? I appreciate that's putting you on the spot and you may not want to name which is fine.
I am shocked at the prices!
Our ensembles are all free. It's about the only bit of the music service left...
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