Awards for Young Musicians

Giving talent a chance

Marvellous mentors making music

On Sunday 29 January 45 young musicians supported by AYM travelled to Richmix in London, for a day of mentoring and musical exploration.

In 2016, with funding from Arts Council England’s Grants for the Arts programme, we launched a three tiered peer-to-peer mentoring programme called Talent to Talent.  15 members of our Awards Programme Alumni – many of whom are now studying music to the highest level or developing a performance career – have been mentoring 15 of our current Award winners, whilst they have in turn been mentoring 15 younger musicians from our Furthering Talent programme.

The project grew from the findings of the AYM hosted Musical Progression Roundtables, (part of our Innovation and Research strand,) in which over 300 organisations came together between 2009-2014, to share expertise and explore how the sector could better support young people’s music-making. Consensus emerged that young musicians need to lead their own learning, which led to the creation of the peer-to-peer approach which Talent to Talent is taking.

Mentors on the programme received expert training from our project facilitators, Ben Sandbrook of World Pencil, Darren Lynch-Burton and Hans Soghe from Aspiration, Creation, Elevation and Paul Sherman, one of the UK’s most-in-demand Double Bass players. Throughout the year participants on the project have come together at various times, to share experiences and make music together.

The day included 1:1 mentoring time for each pair, plus the challenge of creating new music based on themes that had emerged from the project.  We were delighted to be joined by AYM supporter, singer-songwriter, cellist, pianist and recording artist Ayanna Witter-Johnson for the afternoon.  She performed one of her original songs and answered questions about the musical journey she had made to reach her music career;  she then supported our young musicians as they devised their new compositions, which were performed to friends and family at the end of the day.

Here are some of our favourite photos from the day.

Paul Sherman leads an invigorating musical warm-up

Ayanna Witter-Johnson performs and shares her musical journey

Three groups devise and perform pieces based on mentoring themes