I was lucky enough to participate in the National Youth Orchestra Inspire day this September.
I was sent the music in advance to prepare so that the focus on the day was solely on making music rather than just playing the notes. After a short introductory full orchestra session we had full sectionals, so strings, woodwind, brass and percussion were in separate rehearsal with their respective tutors, all of whom were experienced musicians and conductors themselves.
These tutors were able to give us valuable insight into how a professional orchestra rehearsal is run and although it was hard work, I thoroughly enjoyed the rigour with which we worked through the pieces. In the afternoon we had individual sectional rehearsals with the NYO musicians themselves, which gave us the opportunity to work on more technical and specific aspects of the pieces such as bowing and fingerings.
Finally everyone came together for a long full orchestra rehearsal, where we were able to work on bringing everything we had learned over the course of the day together to create one great musical sound. We then performed our programme – selected works from Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition – to parents to demonstrate the amazing difference 5 hours of concentrated rehearsal time had made.
Overall I am very glad I took part in this day as it helped me to appreciate just how much work can be done in a few hours of focussed rehearsal, and how hard it is to work in such an environment for a longer period of time. When I came home later I was exhausted, not only from playing for a long time but the sheer concentration and focus demanded was very draining, though very worthwhile!
I would recommend NYO Inspire to anyone who is interested in music even if they are not considering a professional career as it was a rewarding and incredibly enjoyable experience to meet likeminded young people playing music at an exceptionally high level. I feel that I have learnt a lot about orchestral life and that my musicianship benefitted greatly from even just one day of working with the talented and engaging musicians and tutors of the National Youth Orchestra.
Helena Millet, Year 11. November 2017