As One celebrates ten years of NYO Inspire, which provides musical opportunities to underserved young people at a time when music education provision is declining


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The National Youth Orchestra (NYO) of Great Britain is launching the As One project to connect young people across the UK by inspiring them to pick up an instrument and play music together.

The project will be brought to life by NYO musicians at schools, music hubs and across social media. 

As One celebrates ten years of NYO Inspire, a programme that has provided musical opportunities to thousands of young people who face barriers to making music a bigger part of their lives. Participants from the programme will embark on a national school tour for the first time.  

For the first time in its history, NYO will welcome aspiring musicians from across the UK to join the ensemble for its performance at this year’s BBC Proms on Saturday 10 August 2024, including 100 participants from NYO Inspire.  

Over the last ten years, NYO Inspire has supported 5,000 young people to make music a bigger part of their lives. Last year, 82 per cent of participants were state school educated and 41 per cent were Black, Asian or ethnically diverse. Many musicians go on to secure a place in the Orchestra with programme alumni making up 39 per cent of the current Orchestra.

Alongside on-the-ground engagements, the NYO community will take to social media to bring a specially composed melody to life. The melody of the summer will be composed by NYO resident artist, Dani Howard. The NYO musicians will share their interpretations of the As One melody across TikTok and Instagram and invite other young people to pick up an instrument and play along, in their own unique way.

 As One comes at a difficult time for music education provision: 42 per cent of schools in England no longer enter any pupils for Music GCSE, and the number of pupils opting to take Music at A-Level has fallen by 45 per cent between 2010 and 2023.

There has been a 15 per cent decline in children learning an instrument and 80 per cent of young people believe more should be done to get their generation into orchestral music. NYO believes its work is crucial in providing young people with opportunities to develop their skills as a musician and to the future of music education in the UK. Over 50 per cent of the musicians in the orchestra are state-educated, with musicians from every region in the UK represented. In 2023, NYO welcomed 10,000 teenagers into their community through musical performance and sharing.

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