The National Youth Concert Band was founded to nurture talented young woodwind, brass and percussion players of all backgrounds from across the UK, and as a flagship for promoting the wind band and its vibrant and varied repertoire. Click here for more information about the National Children’s Concert Band.
Founded by Jonathan Parkes, Kathryn Wood and Jonathan Watkins in 2018, our first course was held during Easter 2019 at the Old Swinford Hospital school in Stourbridge. The annual residential course is open to musicians aged 12-18 with a minimum of Grade 6 standard and concerts are held in venues around the country.
Our young musicians are tutored and conducted by some of the UK’s leading professional musicians and educators, who are all specialists in their field and have a broad range of experience teaching at highly respected institutions and playing in professional orchestras, as well as the West End.
We also take great pride in our team of qualified pastoral staff, who are on-site 24/7 to make sure everyone is happy and healthy, putting on entertainment in the evenings and providing any support that’s needed.
The main band rehearsals will make up the bulk of the week, working towards the final concert which is open to family, friends and the general public. When players arrive on the first day, they are registered and then shown to their rooms before the first full rehearsal. We always accommodate our young musicians with others of a similar age, and it doesn’t take long for new friendships to blossom!
Specialist sectional tutors will take intensive rehearsals during the first two or three days and we have lead wind, brass and percussion tutors on hand throughout the course. Many of our pastoral staff are also highly qualified musicians and they love to get involved too!
A variety of creative workshops are also included in the week, such as jazz and composition, as well as masterclasses and other performance opportunities. Players can work individually with our accompanist in residence, Hannah Mitchell, and perform to their peers in a solos concert held in the stunning Great Hall.
Members have the option to join a chamber ensemble, such as a saxophone quartet or wind or brass quintet, which many of them may not have featured in before. Later in the week, we take these groups off site to perform at a local care home and share our music-making with the community. Older students can use this time for extra study or revision if they wish, as we’re aware it can be a stressful time with GCSE and A Level exams just around the corner!
Between rehearsals, there’s something for everyone – we have a movie night, games night with karaoke and sports events throughout the week, ensuring players can relax and get to know their band-mates socially as well as musically. At NYCB, our young musicians develop skills and friendships that will last a lifetime.