To keep young people inspired and engaged with music, Opera North is launching a trio of initiatives over the Autumn months which will enable young musicians to develop their skills both together and at home.

From 26-28 October, the Company will hold its first Percussion Academy. Taking place at the Carriageworks Theatre in Leeds, the Academy will be led by the two percussionists from the Orchestra of Opera North. They will help budding percussion players to develop their technical skills while also sharing the wealth of experience they have gained as members of a professional orchestra. Open to any child playing at Grade 4 – Grade 8 level, activities during the three days will include body percussion, Latin percussion skills, drills for drums, creative composition, and playing as part of an ensemble, culminating in a livestreamed performance for family and friends on the final day.

Starting on 8 November will be Senior Strings Academy which has been developed after the company’s Summer Strings Academy showed how important it was to young people to be given the opportunity to meet and play their instruments together, particularly at the current time. Designed especially for young violin, viola, cello and double bass players who have already achieved Grade 6 or above, this chamber strings ensemble will be held for three hours each Sunday morning at Opera North’s studio space on Whitehall Road in Leeds. A relaxed and supportive learning environment will ensure everyone who attends is appropriately challenged to develop and reflect on their technical and musical ability under the guidance of Opera North Conductor Oliver Rundell, and string players from the Orchestra of Opera North.

Both academies will work strictly within government guidelines for out-of-school settings with numbers restricted to just 15 participants at each one. It will be necessary to submit an online video to apply. More details on this, fees and the Covid-19 precautions being taken, can be found at The deadline for applications for the Percussion Academy is Monday 19 October, while would-be Senior Strings Academy participants have until Wednesday 21 October to apply.

Alongside the two academies, Opera North is also seeking to enrich the musical lives of home-educated children through the launch of an online Home Music Programme which includes the opportunity to learn a musical instrument. Using resources from the Company’s award-winning In Harmony school residencies, the programme will follow the national curriculum for 7 to 11-year olds, whether they have any pre-existing musical knowledge as well as opportunities for group coaching sessions in Leeds. Bookings should be made online by Friday 23 October.

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