How Does Music Junction Work?

Currently, each year’s Music Junction starts with an LCO visit to each regional centre for an “Inside the Orchestra” session. Participants are invited to take part in a range of different ways: through playing alongside the orchestra, listening to the music from amongst the musicians, directing the orchestra to create improvised colourscapes of sound or joining in with the rhythm section. For those who have never encountered an orchestra before these sessions offer a chance to experience live orchestral music-making at very close quarters – a chance to look around, meet the musicians, think about getting involved, and even to try some orchestral instruments with under the guidance of the musician team as well as their own peers.

Creative work in each season takes place in a series of workshops hosted by a partner organisation in each area, and led by the Music Junction workshop leader and the LCO musician team. The sessions include a variety of activities, such as physical and musical warm-up exercises, improvisation, the production of original material and informal ensemble performances. More accomplished students mentor beginner and less experienced instrumentalists and singers. At the heart of the workshops is also the opportunity to work alongside a composer on a new commission, which is inspired each year by a different artistic theme. The theme for the 2014/15 season is ‘transformation’, and will be inspired in part by the WW1 commemorations and in part by the individual journey of each participant, building on their work inspired by their emotions last season.

Each year the Music Junction participants work with the artist-in-residence for the season, exploring ideas within the workshops, and in this way contributing to the process of making the new work. The new piece, commissioned by the LCO, is premiered in a showcase performance as part of its concert season. The groups from each region come together as an ensemble of 150 participants to rehearse before performing the new work with the LCO, and their Music Director and Principal Conductor Christopher Warren-Green, in an internationally renowned London concert hall. This extraordinary and exciting performance is shared with an audience of friends, family and supporters, many of who are completely new to the concert-going experience.

Instrumental sessions are interspersed with the creative workshops, and these provide an opportunity for Music Junction’s ‘fledgling’ instrumentalists, whether they are young people, staff or teachers who are learning an instrument as part of the project, to seek encouragement and practical tips to take their instrumental skills forward. The structure of these sessions is informal, and the young people work together to mentor, encourage and inspire each other on their musical journeys supported by the LCO musician team. Side by side sessions, for those whose existing musical skills are more developed, focus on taking further skills in coaching and group leading. Everyone involved in the project is encouraged to share their existing skills and learn new things in a way that strengthens the connections between individuals and empowers them to engage further in their learning.