On 21 February, I took part in an NYO Inspire course in Liverpool which was especially dedicated to stringed and brass instruments. As I play the violin and viola, it was especially interesting for me to see how the different instruments in the orchestra work together and how we all, as musicians, can blend our sound and work with each other as an effective ensemble and try to create the best sound possible. This, along with many other activities, was something that we all worked on during the course and aimed to achieve.
NYO Inspire Ensembles was the first NYO Inspire activity I took part in and it gave me the chance to see and experience for myself how NYO works together; how the orchestra produces its sound and how they all help each other to improve their playing. NYO is formed of brilliant musicians, incredible tutors and wonderful staff and the atmosphere throughout the course was heart-warming and incredibly welcoming.
The intimidation of Grade 8+ standard musicians criticising your playing and belittling you was nowhere to be seen. As soon as I arrived, I was welcomed with smiles and by the time we all got to our instrument sections, we got to know each other as NYO Inspire musicians. The NYO musicians who were there to take part, helped and answered our questions about auditions, music, the atmosphere of NYO, as well as gave us tips on improving our playing. I really enjoyed making new friends and having these conversations.
The wonderfully experienced tutors were also happy to help. As a musician in the violin II section on the course, our tutor welcomed the questions we’d had about the pieces we were playing, or how we can improve our technique, as well as guiding us through the course and helping us to understand how we can play together as an ensemble.
I also enjoyed the various opportunities and experiences the course offered us apart from playing in an ensemble. One of the sessions that we all got to take part in, was a creative session we shared with the NYO Inspire Brass Ensemble. During this session we had to compose a piece of music in separate groups which included string and brass musicians, based on one of the seven dwarves from Snow White. At the end of the session, each group performed their composed pieces to each other, and we had to guess which dwarf each piece was based on. This session allowed me to contribute towards creating a piece as well as work with other committed musicians and get to know people from the other sections who play other instruments, which is important and really helped build my confidence.
Throughout the course, I had the opportunity to meet new people and friends from across the UK from different musical backgrounds. This meant that everyone had a different insight and perspective on the music we were playing. Exploring these different views on the same topic proved to be very interesting. NYO Inspire Ensembles also showed me the importance of playing with new musicians in order to learn from each other. This helped us find new ways of playing our instruments, as well as introduced us to techniques to improve our playing and discover the various different genres of music that we can play on our instruments, such as Welsh folk music, jazz, classical, Irish folk music, chamber music, Scottish folk music, rock music and much more!
Taking part in NYO Inspire Ensembles has definitely inspired me to explore more music, improve my playing and carry on taking part in music workshops and orchestras as well as audition for NYO. I would encourage more people to take part in the NYO Inspire activities in order to gain more music and playing experience. I really enjoyed the course because it offered so much to my playing and my music and has allowed me to socialise with people who are as passionate as I am about music as well as teaching me how we can all work together towards the same goal.
This is Lleucu's story. What could yours be? If you are, or you know, a committed teenage musician who needs access to further orchestral opportunities, find out how you can learn with us in exciting NYO Inspire activities across the country. You can also take part in one of our Come and Play activities where you’ll learn alongside NYO musicians before enjoying an evening performance.