I have been a member of Aldeburgh Young Musicians since 2020. I found out about the programme from previous members who highly recommended it to me, and now being an AYM myself I can absolutely see why. I was really interested in becoming a member so that I could work with other young musicians who were just like me and understood my lifestyle. Moreover, I was not only interested in gaining new skills, but also sharing my love of music with others.

Before joining AYM, I didn’t have much confidence in who I was musically, but since being around others like me, I have drastically grown to believe in myself more. I have learnt so many valuable lessons in my time on the programme so far. I have especially found that you cannot place a rule book on music - it can be shaped for an individual to express themselves however they would like to and it is supposed to be fun and freeing.

The Residential scheme is such a prominent part of being an AYM. I found that staying with everyone overnight allows you to connect and make lots of friends very quickly - we all understand each other. Whatever background an individual comes from, being musicians, we speak through music and this knocks a barrier down at Aldeburgh Young Musicians. I cannot wait to see where my future takes me and what paths I will walk. Music will be such a prominent aspect in my life, and I would like to thank all the leaders, professionals and mentors that have shaped me to believe in myself and what I can achieve. My aspiration is to become a Music Therapist to help give back to others what Music has given to me.

The Easter Course was an enlightening insight into the world of contemporary classical music, as we were shown the diverse spectrum of musical thinking. Also, it showed me as a young musician how this nature of music can be interpreted by different people and how it can be projected into compositional and performance styles.

We studied 3 compositions in depth: Earth Ears (Pauline Oliveros), Workers Union (Louis Andriessen) and Les Moutons de Panurge (Frederic Rzewski). Earth Ears comes from the philosophy of Deep Listening, where you immerse yourself in listening to the sounds around you. Workers Union is focused on rhythm, and we created our own pieces in response to it. Les Moutons de Panurge explores the potential of a single melody.

Focusing on a single musical element at a time, these main elements of the course were beneficial as they allowed us to think deeply into interpreting what music means to us as young musicians, and; therefore, how it impacts our compositional skills and styles.

Our tutors for the Classical Contemporary project were Mark Bowden, Stephen Upshaw, Oliver Pashley and Héloïse Werner. They showed us examples of their professional lives as musical artists and how still being in the contemporary category - were so different from one another yet equally as inspiring.

Jessica McInnes, Aldeburgh Young Musician