NYOS Engage | East Lothian Residency Launched with Over 150 Young Musicians


On Friday 29 September, the National Youth Orchestras of Scotland launched a new co-delivered initiative in East Lothian, where young people from P6 to S3 were able to come together to play in an orchestra setting.

NYOS Engage, which connects NYOS musicians, tutors and ambassadors with a different Local Authority each academic year, kicked off with an enthusiastic and ambitious full-day session of music-making for young people from across East Lothian.

The brand-new project which offers bespoke workshops, ensemble music-making and performance opportunities has been designed to inspire young people to develop their musicianship and share in the experience and excitement of making music with their peers. It is hoped that the project will eliminate barriers and encourage a wider group of young musicians to access opportunities with NYOS.

The first day of activity saw over 150 young people from across 26 East Lothian schools form one of the largest school-age orchestras the region has seen. Supported by the combined expertise of the NYOS instrumental tutor team and local East Lothian tutors, under the leadership of conductor Susie Dingle – it was a fantastic opportunity for the young musicians to grow their ambitions and unlock their potential.

With a range of experience with ensemble music-making, and attendees who play from Grade 1-5 or equivalent, the session helped the young people to feel a sense of achievement, sharing a special performance with family and friends at the end of the day, including a rousing performance of Jean Sibelius’ Finlandia, Op. 26. For many of the young people, this was a highlight of the day.

NYOS Engage will return to East Lothian for four further sessions, where the young musicians will continue to benefit from the unique combination of sectional rehearsals with specialist tutors and full orchestra sessions which develop further skills to help them to aspire to progress onto the NYOS programme pathway, as well as support their achievements in other areas of their lives.

At the end of the year, there will be a final performance, showcasing the development of the orchestra, both from a musical, and personal development perspective. Feedback from the first session showed that many young people were nervous about the new experience, but a large majority felt they had overcome challenges in the space of the one session.

Jonathan Gawn, Team Manager at East Lothian Council Instrumental Music Service, said: “We are delighted to be running the first NYOS Engage residency in East Lothian in the 23/24 school session. A project like this can only happen through partnership with a national organisation like NYOS. It not only encourages and inspires our local young musicians, it ensures lasting links with NYOS and increases the awareness of national opportunities available within Scotland.” 

Some of the feedback from the young people included:  

“It was a very joyful day and great bonding experience and I enjoyed it a lot”

“It was a great experience, loved it. Everyone was so helpful and friendly.”

“I now feel more inspired to do my practice more regularly and it was amazing to hear and play with all the other instruments

Jonathan added: “It is a fantastic opportunity for the young people to work as part of a progressive project. We’re lucky to have a tremendous tutor team in East Lothian, but to strengthen that with the breadth and depth of talent of NYOS tutors is really important for us, and today’s first sharing performance is testament to that. I think that NYOS are in a really unique position as ambassadors for youth music-making in Scotland to lead the way and pioneer new projects like NYOS Engage and find new ways for young people to get involved with orchestral music.

If you would like to see more from the NYOS Engage sessions, be sure to follow NYOS on social media where we will be sharing updates from our programmes, as well as information about all the incredible ways to get involved with the National Youth Orchestras of Scotland. 

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