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Mayor's scheme to make 5,000 young musicians

8 October 2010

More than 5,000 youngsters across the capital will be supported to develop their musical instrument playing with the help of professional musicians from world-class orchestras, as part of a major scheme launched by the Mayor of London Boris Johnson.

Boris playing cello with children watching

The Mayor’s Music Education Fund has delivered £250,000 to fund partnerships between local authority music services and top orchestras and institutions across the city, including the London Philharmonic and the BBC Concert Orchestras.

Six new partnerships have been created, involving 13 local authority music services, six orchestras and a music college. Over the next two years, these partnerships will give over 5,000 young people from a diverse social background and at different levels of learning, the chance to develop their skills on a musical instrument, play in a group with other students, and work and perform with some of the UK’s finest professional musicians in one of London’s many inspirational venues.

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said:      

‘There can be no greater joy than being able to pick up an instrument and bewitch others with music, but many youngsters in the capital don't get the chance to develop their musical skills. Although there are a great many examples of early and free access to music in London, ongoing affordable tuition is often disparate and patchy. As one of the world’s great cultural powerhouses, it is our responsibility to ensure that youngsters growing up in this city today can benefit from the world-class facilities and institutions we have based here.

 ‘I hope that this fund will ensure that young people growing up in London get a musical education of a high standard across the board, with instruments generously thrust into the hands of young people irrespective of musical achievement or parents ability to pay. Musical exploration should not be for the few, but for everyone. ‘

Timothy Walker AM, Chief Executive and Artistic Director of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, who will be working with young people from South London at  a workshop at the Royal Festival Hall said:

 ‘Through our outreach project The Band, the London Philharmonic Orchestra works with teenagers from our local community in South London and any young person who is passionate about making and performing music is welcome to join.  The LPO believes that all young people should have access to music-making opportunities and we strive, through our education and community programme, to engage with the widest possible audience. ’

‘Thanks to the Mayor’s Music Education Fund, the LPO has been able to forge a new partnership with Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, Greenwich and Lewisham Music Services, Southbank Centre and The 02 to create Animate Orchestra a new ensemble and a new musical pathway for talented young people in the London Boroughs of Greenwich and Lewisham. We hope to support children who have participated in wider opportunities, Saturday centres and other instrumental learning schemes and nurture them as young musicians through transition into secondary education.’

Graeme Smith, Head of Croydon Music and Arts said: ‘Music services are where the world of education meets the world of music.  This funding will help us to draw upon the expertise of our local professional orchestra to enable our young musicians to feel part of the world of music; an experience which will be of great benefit to their education.’

Currently music is a compulsory subject up to the age of 14, but fewer than one in 10 students takes the subject at GCSE level.  It is hoped that with the Music Education Fund and through the work of the Music Education Strategy, more and more young people will be encouraged, not only to take up a musical instrument, but to continue their instrumental learning  with opportunities to take part in orchestral, band and inspirational projects with professional musicians.

The Mayor is keen to build on the many excellent initiatives for affordable music in parts of London and develop a coordinated approach through better partnership working so that all young Londoners have access to high quality music education.


Notes to Editors:

The six new GLA funded music partnerships are:

Greenwich Music Service, Lewisham Music Service, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and the London Philharmonic Orchestra (LPO). Over 1,200 young people will take part in Trinity Laban and LPO workshops in schools and music service centres. They will have the opportunity to develop their skills with projects including the Animate Orchestra – a brand new orchestra of the 21st Century, led by 10-14 year olds, involving classical instrumentalists and electronic music artists working alongside musicians from the Trinity Laban and the LPO.

Kingston Music Service, Hounslow Music Service and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO). Over 1,000 primary school students from areas of high poverty, low social mobility and limited access to cultural activities, will receive sustained instrumental tuition, take part in range of specially formed ensembles and perform alongside members of the RPO. The project aims to become rooted in the local community with the RPO performing special community concerts at the Rose Theatre.


Brent Music Service, Enfield Arts Support Service, Haringey Music and Performing Arts Centre and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO). Up to 2,000 young musicians, from beginners through to advanced players, will take part in a series of workshops resulting in the formation of a ‘World Orchestra’. The orchestra will devise and perform their own music with the help of RPO musicians and composers. Performances are hoped to take place at the Royal Albert Hall and the Wembley Arena in 2012.

Croydon Music and Arts, Sutton Music Service and the London Mozart Players (LMP). Up to 2,200 young people age 8-18 will attend LMP open rehearsals and free performances at Fairfield Halls, and take part in master classes, join youth orchestra rehearsals with LMP players, and a series of creative workshops for beginner and intermediate players in schools and music service centres. The project will culminate with a performance of a new piece devised and performed by the young people with LMP players and composers.

Camden Music Service, Merton Music Foundation, Wandsworth Music Service, CEA@Islington and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment (OAE). 400 children age 8-14, and 40 instrumental tutors, will take part in termly workshops with OAE players. New borough string ensembles will be formed enabling students to perform specially commissioned, mixed-ability music. The new ensembles will involve students performing side-by-side with OAE players at the Southbank Centre and Kings Place. Students will also take part in special OAE concert visits.

Barnet Music Service, Harrow Music Service and BBC Concert Orchestra (BBCCO). Over 300 students arriving at secondary schools in some of the most deprived areas of Barnet and Harrow will be able to continue learning a musical instrument through music service support, weekly in-school ensemble sessions, plus workshops and performance opportunities with BBCCO players. The BBCCO will offer access to live concerts as well as creating a new youth ensemble so that students can pursue their interests further.

  • The Music Education Fund includes £100,000 of direct funding from the GLA plus additional funding of at least £140,000 from the partner organisations, which include local authorities, orchestras and music colleges.
  • Alongside the Music Education Fund, an audit of music education provision across the capital will also be carried out. This comprehensive research will enable providers of music education, such as schools, colleges, borough music services, charities and arts organisations, to better coordinate their activities, address the gaps that exist and direct young people, parents and teachers to exciting opportunities.
  • Rhythm of London is the public face of the Mayor’s Music Education Strategy. This year's Rhythm of London featured:
    • Young musicians from across London performing in front of over 25,000 people during St George’s Day celebrations on Trafalgar Square
    • The public were given one-off access to piano showrooms where they could receive a special lesson on some of the world’s finest pianos worth up to £100,000 each
    • In July, up-and-coming musicians aged 16-25 competed to be crowned ‘Busker of the Year’ in the annual Rhythm of London Busking Underground finals.
    • The winner of Busking Underground 2009, Jamie West, has just released his first single ‘Give Me Everything You’ve Got’. It is available on iTunes and proceeds were donated to the Evening Standard’s ‘Dispossessed’ charity appeal. This year’s winner is Hackney musician Noemie Ducimetiere
    • More information on the Rhythm of London can be found at