The National Children’s Concert Band held its first course during Summer 2021 at the Old Swinford Hospital School, Stourbridge. Directed by the experienced and inspirational Sarah Hind , the young players learnt challenging repertoire and developed their instrumental and ensemble skills.
The annual residential course is open to musicians aged 10-14 with a minimum of Grade 4 standard and all orchestral wind, brass and percussion instrumentalists can apply.
This band has been specially created for younger musicians to stretch them beyond their usual one-to-one music lessons and introduce them to the huge range of opportunities that ensemble playing can offer.
Running at the same time as the NYCB course, participants will experience the same level of tuition, share the stage during our solo and chamber event and have the opportunity to attend workshops given by some of the most respected names in the music world.
Our dedicated team of qualified pastoral staff are also 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 week ahead
The National Children’s Concert 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.