NYOS Ambassador Programme

21.01.2022

Introduction

The National Youth Orchestras of Scotland (NYOS) recognises the challenges many young people face in building a career in the music industry, and the need for paid work experience and training opportunities. That’s why we have created 18 Ambassador roles to provide a structured programme of training and work experience suitable for young people aged up to, and including, 25 years old.

NYOS has appointed 6 Jazz Project Ambassadors to support the delivery of our outreach work in local authority schools in Glasgow over the next 10 weeks. 

The Jazz Project Ambassadors will work with teachers and instrumental tutors in Bannerman High School, St Andrews Secondary and Hillhead High School in Glasgow to deliver a 10-week programme of jazz-based project work to pupils. The Ambassador team will be supported by the local authority teachers, as well as receiving direction from NYOS Jazz staff. As the project develops, the Ambassadors will become more involved in developing the project delivery and responding to the needs of the participants. Below you will find weekly updates from our Jazz Project Ambassadors including images, videos and blog posts. Enjoy!

Jazz Project Ambassadors:

From left to right:

Chun-Wei Kang, Bearsden, East Dunbartonshire

David Flanagan, Orkney (Project Coordinator)

Rachel Tait, Strathaven, South Lanarkshire

Jack Cruttenden, East Kilbride

Matt Carmichael, Glasgow

Amelia MacPherson, Glasgow

 

WEEK EIGHT, 14 - 18 Feb

We are only a couple of weeks away before we finish up the Glasgow Schools Jazz Ambassadors project, and we still have so much to do in so little time! We're proving that time flies when you're having fun!

Amongst focussing on pentatonic scales, off-beats & on-beats, and working on chord voicings, this week we are lucky to have our Director of Jazz, Andrew Bain, visiting the schools. He introduced to the students a different way of imagining music - have you ever tired improvising short musical stories? Give it a try and see where your musical creativity takes you!

For a great way to start the weekend, here is a recording of Herbie Hancock’s 'Chameleon' that the students have been playing through. Quiz - How many instruments can you count on the stage?? 

Stay safe this weekend as the wild weather sweeps through!

 

WEEK SEVEN, 7 - 11 Feb

Having the continuity we’ve had with the students, and the time with the Jazz Ambassador team has been so valuable. This past week was filled again with new concepts and challenges. Reading notation and phrasing melodies, experimenting with soloing and getting comfortable with playing in contrasting rhythms to name a few.

A soloing challenge! Using your instrument, select your favourite note to play – one that’s not too extreme above or below the stave! – and without changing the note, try make it sound as interesting as possible using different rhythms.

To close off the week, here’s a message from the Project Coordinator about the past 7 weeks!

''Being and ambassador has been a hugely rewarding experience. Being able to help the students and seeing them develop their improvisational skills and musical confidence has been a privilege to see. The challenges we’ve faced in how to best teach jazz has been an excellent opportunity for myself and the other ambassadors to grow both as educators and performers. The whole experience has been a wholly positive one and I am continually impressed by the talent of the students and their dedication to learning.’’

 

WEEK SIX, 31 Jan - 4 Feb

Welcome everyone to week 6! It was another fantastic week, and we even got treated to a flurry of snow on Friday.

We’ve just past the halfway point, and the students have really stepped up a gear. The pieces are becoming more familiar which means everyone is feeling more confident when trying new rhythms and free improv.

We spent time on subdivision, and introduced triad pairs, modal improv and chord voicing with pianists. A really fantastic effort from everyone – watch this space for next weeks update for a sneak peak of the pieces!

 

WEEK FIVE, 24 - 28 Jan

What a week it was! It's been great seeing the students grow more confident each week and we can't believe we're already at the half way point of the project! It was time to up the ante.

We're talking MODES: dorian, ionian, mixolydian; FORM: AABA; IMPROV: group and solo; and... playing the trombone is harder than previously thought :) 

Jazz is the most accessible musical style, and for those who haven't tried improvising before, don't be nervous! Any musicians reading this right now who haven't played improv, go grab your instrument and work out a few bars of the melody to your favourite song. After playing it through a few times, play it again but this time change any 2 notes that you think could also work in the tune. Then next time change a few more notes. Maybe try change the rhythm or note lengths. Just give it a go! And there you have it... the beginnings of improv and using your own thoughts to create a melody. Try another song!

 

 

Phase 2 - WEEK FOUR, 17 - 21 Jan

And we are back! Welcome everyone to a new year and the beginning of our next phase.
We hit the ground running this week, meeting new students, starting new charts and getting stuck into modal improv and free jazz – yes!

For those pupils working with us last year, well done jumping back in! We were glad to see how much you remembered - especially the Chameleon melody!

This week we also got everyone to improvise, it was brilliant to see all the students give it a go. A challenge for next week? A full chorus to your favourite tune!

See you next week!

 

WEEK THREE

This week was the last before the Christmas break, we’ve had such a brilliant time these past 3 weeks meeting the students and getting stuck in rhythm, melody and improv. 

We revisited Sonnymoon for Two and started a new chart - Chameleon – for them to work over the festive break. It’s been great to see all the students develop their improv playing and becoming more confident playing new music out of their comfort zones. Well done everyone! 

Have a lovely break, see you on 17 January 2022!

WEEK TWO

It was great to be back at the schools for week 2. This week was all about finding the groove, playing as a group, and giving improv a go! A good recap of C Jam blues and got stuck into Sonnymoon for Two.  

We know it can sometimes be a bit nerve wracking at first to solo, but the students got started by playing a simple rhythm on a couple of notes, took turns leading on some call & responses, and then for those who wanted to try gave a few bars improv a real go! Well done everyone!!

It is always amazing to see the growth in confidence, we’re looking forward to what we’ll cover next week! Have a fantastic weekend everybody!

WEEK ONE 

Wow! What a great week and fantastic start to the 10-week Jazz Ambassador Schools Project. We’ve had so much fun meeting all the students, and we’re really looking forward to being back next week.

This week we started with a fun introduction to rhythm and melody, it’s never too early to learn about the pentatonic scale! We also spent time watching Oscar Petersons C Jam Blues.

Next up is exploring playing in a group, and maybe, a touch of improv… let’s go!