Opera North Continues to Inspire Young Musicians

Opera North has launched three initiatives to ensure young musicians can develop their skills, together and in their own homes.

The Carriageworks Theatre is the venue for Opera North’s first Percussion Academy, which will be led by two members of the Orchestra of Opera North. This will provide the opportunities of both skills development and learning of the experiences of professional orchestra percussionists.

The Percussion Academy is open to any child playing at Grades 4 – 8 currently. The three days will include body percussion, Latin percussion skills, drills for drums, creative composition, and the experience of playing as part of an ensemble. Students will take part in a liver streamed performance for family and friends to close this three-day event.

Senior Strings Academy begins on 8 November, and being held because the Summer Academy highlighted the importance of being able to play instruments together. It is designed for young violin, viola, cello and double bass players who have already achieved Grade 6 or above, and will take place for three hours each Sunday morning at Opera North’s studio space on Whitehall Road in Leeds. A relaxed and supportive learning environment will be led by Opera North Conductor Oliver Rundell, together with string players from the Orchestra of Opera North.

Jacqui Cameron, Opera North Education Director, said: 

“It became very clear during the two camps that we held over the summer that there was a real appetite amongst young musicians to start playing their instruments with others again, and just how much they had been missing the invaluable social and musical benefits which  being part of an ensemble brings. 

We decided to hold a Percussion Academy in the first instance as young percussionists can often find it more difficult to access good quality training as they seek to develop their technical skills. We hope to follow this with targeted academies for other instruments within an orchestra, while ensuring the needs of talented young string players continue to be met through our Senior Strings Academy.” 

Numbers are restricted to 15 participants for each academy, and they will work strictly within government guidelines.  It will be necessary to submit an online video to apply. More details on this, fees and the Covid-19 precautions being taken, can be found at operanorth.co.uk/participate. The deadline for applications for the Percussion Academy is Monday 19 October, while would-be Senior Strings Academy participants have until Wednesday 21 October to apply.

Alongside the two academies, Opera North is also seeking to enrich the musical lives of home-educated children through the launch of an online Home Music Programme which includes the opportunity to learn a musical instrument. The programme will follow the national curriculum for 7 to 11-year olds, whether they have any pre-existing musical knowledge or not, with staff on hand to advise on the most appropriate instrument for each participant to try. The programme includes live digital calls with specialist tutors as well as opportunities for group coaching sessions in Leeds. Bookings should be made online by Friday 23 October.

Opera North’s Education Programme is supported by The Emerald Foundation, The Liz & Terry Bramall Foundation, The Whitaker Charitable Trust and Opera North Future Fund. 

Feature photograph provided by Opera North.

Leeds Living