Cassie Tait, Head of Creative Learning and Community Engagement, reflects on a buy season of virtual learning for our youth ensembles

Despite the challenges for young musicians during the last few months, we were delighted to work with over 80 young people in November and December through our online courses and ensembles.  We are learning in every session how to maximise further this new form of learning.  While playing simultaneously is tricky, we can focus more on the history and context of repertoire, recording skills and challenges, technique, active listening and creativity. 

In our Wiltshire Youth Jazz Orchestra Autumn course, we focused on works by Nikki Iles and Charlie Bates.  We were so lucky that both composers could join us on the course, and the group recorded a fantastic version of Yes, Please by Charlie.

Wiltshire Youth Jazz Orchestra - Yes Please (Charlie Bates)

In December, the West of England Youth Orchestra dived into Mahler’s 2nd Symphony, playing alongside the Berlin Philarmonic, with masterclasses from Clare Duckworth, Sub-Principal First Violin for London Symphony Orchestra; Cormac Ó hAodáin, Principal Horn for RTE Concert Orchestra and mezzo-soprano Jennifer Johnston, as well as sectionals with five regular WEYO tutors.

Lastly, we were so happy to welcome young singers to our first Wiltshire Youth Choir course, a day packed with repertoire, choreography, song-writing and technique. 

Working with these young people has proved to me the great potential in online provision and we look forward to embracing it even more in 2021.  Thank you to all our amazing tutors, staff and special guests who brought these courses to life. We are also extremely grateful to our Friends, Patrons and supporters for making these projects possible!

Cassie Tait, Head of Creative Learning and Community Engagement