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Performer Interview: Norfolk Students' Jazz Orchestra

The Norfolk Jazz Orchestra is a branch of the Norfolk Music Hub which offers a variety of services including instrumental tuition, ensembles and whole class teaching.

Performer Interview: Norfolk Students' Jazz Orchestra

The Norfolk Music Hub has a vision to release the musicianship in all children and young people by understanding and enhancing their musical capabilities” and receives funding from the Department of Education and Arts Council England, enabling them to support children throughout the service, providing opportunities where there would otherwise not be. Music Hubs like these play a vital role in the development of young artists throughout the country and the National Plan for Music Education launched on 25th June 2022 will hopefully ensure every child has the opportunity to learn an instrument.

The Norfolk Music Hub has an assortment of ensembles for young people, including wind bands, orchestras, choirs and the Jazz Orchestra who have joined us at the Music for Youth Proms to perform on Tuesday the 15th of November 2022. This wide-ranging variety of ensembles ensures every young person can find their place and assists in the development of well-rounded musicians who are competent in many genres.

I spoke to two musicians who came along to the MFY proms with the Norfolk Jazz Orchestra, Rosie who plays flute and Chris who will be playing alto saxophone about their experiences, Chris noted his development as a result of many years in the Music Hub. Both young musicians have been involved in music for youth and Chris has played at the proms in the past. Chris has been playing clarinet since he was seven and always dreamed of playing the saxophone, “I had a bit of an obsession with the saxophone as a toddler…what leads me to play music is the emotional outlet, it’s nice to play with people, to be a part of the community.”

Rosie began flute in year 3 and found it to be a real keyway to develop her confidence from being a shy kid, “music was a really good way for me to express myself when I was quite a shy kid and for me music over the years music has been a way of expressing confidence when I might not have felt it, so for me it really has been an integral part of my life and something I want to keep doing as I go into sixth form.”

Both Chris and Rosie are teenagers, a stage in life where the ability to develop social skills and strong friendships has a significant impact on mental-wellbeing, and this becomes even more important in a time where we are seeing more and more young people struggle to catch-up with the interpersonal skills they could not develop during the coronavirus pandemic. Chris and Rosie both agreed that music has been beneficial to their friendships, “music has helped me to grow lots of relationships with other people who play musical instruments in my school, it’s like a common connection you can find with other young people your age and its like we both love this same thing, and we can play together and appreciate it.”

Music for Youth provides performance opportunities for thousands of young people every single year and particularly post pandemic when performing live was an impossibility, the enthusiasm from young people shows just how important opportunities like this are, “it’s a different experience all together getting to perform and I’m really looking forward to doing it again.”

About the author

Erin Black

Erin began her musical studies at a young age, and is now studying classical piano at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama where she is supported by a generous Guildhall School Scholarship. Outside of musical activity, Erin is a enthusiastic academic. Erin’s research focuses on the relationship between music and law in Renaissance Florence. A keen writer, Erin is undertaking a diploma in Music Journalism at the London School of Journalism. 

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