October with Aldeburgh Young Musicians

October has been full of activity for Aldeburgh Young Musicians, with an Apprentice Day led by Matthew Jones, an Open House weekend, an induction to this academic year’s mentor scheme, a project composing the music for parts of Aldeburgh Music’s Britten Weekend, and a preparation weekend with folk trio The Young’uns (the beginning of a very exciting collaboration – more news to come next year), all before we reached the main activities of the month.

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The day with Matthew Jones focused on the importance of a musician’s health, using his training in performance wellness alongside aspects of disciplines such as yoga and Alexander technique to demonstrate to our musicians how best to maintain their musical health, both in terms of posture and physicality and in preparing for performance. They developed methods to raise their performance level without disadvantaging their productivity, energy and stress levels.

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Half term was particularly busy with two very different full courses running throughout last week, followed by 2 contrasting Open Sessions on Friday, filling the buildings here at Snape Maltings with young musicians creating diverse and vibrant sounds.

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One of these full courses was based around song writing, led by Pete Churchill and the Mishka Adams band (Mishka Adams, Ben Barritt, Adriano Adewale and Mark Lockheart). They joined us here at Snape for the week during their tour to work with 20 of our AYMs. Intensive sessions concentrated on creating melodies, lyrics and instrumental sections to build a song, using the varied instrumentation of this group of AYMs to the advantage of creating really distinct songs. The Open Session at the end of the week showcased some really meaningful lyrics written over the last couple of days within songs that showed off their compositional and technical talents. Out of the week grew a whole range of genres, such as a folk-inspired song, some jazz, and a power ballad.

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Elsewhere on the musical spectrum sits John Cage and his twentieth-century contemporaries. These composers and their work have been the basis of our other full course this October, run by cellist Anton Lukoszevieze with violinist Mira Benjamin, singer Loré Lixenberg and composer Tim Parkinson. Including, for example, discovering unprecedented timbres on their respective instruments, musical responses to sounds an audience subconsciously creates, and trying out each other’s instruments in unconventional ways, the week was intellectual, challenging and really exciting. It culminated in a superb Open Session, in which the young players demonstrated their adaptable technique, performed with conviction, and showed off their ability to compose in and react to any number of new and varied styles.

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At AYM we’re looking forward to further exciting projects before the year is out, including a weekend working with House of Bedlam in December as preparation for a full course in February. Read our next blog post on last weekend’s London Jazz Festival, and watch examples of other activities we’ve been up to, as well as October’s Open Sessions, on our YouTube channel.

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“What a wonderful concert on Friday… we were all really pleased with the results.” Pete Churchill (Course Leader)

“They are all wonderful musicians, with a great range of capabilities and potential.” Anton Lukoszevieze (Course Leader)

“What a tremendously wonderful opportunity for everyone to meet each other and gain experience … everyone rose to the challenges and blossomed in different ways during the week … having found last week so fulfilling, I would be more than happy to return.” Tim Parkinson (Course Tutor)

“I don’t think I’ve ever been on a course where everyone has been quite so complimentary and enthusiastic about each other’s compositions; and the passion of the artists both in the music they’re making and in the AYMs made it a very special week.” Finn Collinson (AYM)

“Thank you so much for a really lovely project. It was so inspiring to work with those wonderful young musicians again.” Loré Lixenberg (Course Tutor)