For two days only, 200 young musicians from schools across England get together and perform as a pop-up orchestra thanks to Camden-based youth music charity
Since 2011 Orchestras for All, a youth music charity based in Camden, has been on a mission to help more young people, whatever their circumstances, access the often life-changing experience of group music making. Performing, learning and playing music together has been shown by multiple research studies to have a huge impact on young people – developing social skills, team work, discipline and confidence.
One of the charity’s programmes – the Modulo Programme – supports schools and community groups across the country to form small instrumental groups, or ‘Modulos’. Each year, these groups join together for National Modulo Meets, giving young musicians aged 11-18 the opportunity to share the music they have been working on with each other, work with professional musicians and perform as part of a large-scale orchestra.
This year the National Modulo Meets are coming to Cecil Sharp House in Camden on 26 and 27 June. Each day 100 young musicians will form a pop-up orchestra and take part in rehearsals and composition workshops. Each Meet culminates in a free final performance in front of friends, family, members of the local community also streamed live on the internet - a great way for the young musicians to showcase their talent, dedication and hard work. This year will see the orchestra performing music including Mambo from West Side Story, Shostakovich’s ‘Second Waltz’, made popular by André Rieu and Korobeiniki (better known as the theme from vintage computer game ‘Tetris’). The young people will also take part in sessions run by special guests from the English Folk Dance and Song Society and the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire’s LEAP Ensemble.
In only its fifth year the Modulo Programme has already made a big impact on hundreds of disadvantaged young people across England, by helping to kick-start music-making in under- resourced secondary schools and community groups. For 50% of the young people taking part in Modulo in 2018 this will be their first experience of playing in an ensemble and over half of the Modulo groups have been established in schools where there are no other music groups whatsoever.
The programme, shortlisted for ‘Best Musical Initiative’ at the 2017 Music Teacher Magazine Awards for Excellence, aims to help music teachers lead a dynamic and inclusive instrumental group for young players of any instrument or skill level who are keen in play music. The programme also provides teachers with bespoke arrangements of music that cater to all ability levels and instruments, rehearsal plans, resources and hosts two ‘Meets’ per year, regionally and nationally, including these National Meets.