What is the social/environmental problem/issue that this project will address?
NOFA addresses the uneven orchestral music provision for 11-18 year olds in the UK. Britain’s top national orchestras are justifiably a source of great pride, but they demand exceptional musical ability, entry by audition, and in most cases a pretty hefty membership fee. All this creates real barriers to musical progression to those who perhaps had a late musical start so were unable to meet a required musical standard by a particular age, to those who have no experience of ensemble music as are their school’s only committed musician, and of course those whose families simply cannot afford musical tuition let alone orchestral membership fees.
Can you give us some statistics on this problem?
Top youth orchestras in the UK currently charge in excess of £1,600 for annual membership.
Access to these orchestras is through audition and a high technical standard is demanded across the board.
Private music lessons currently average at £30/hour. This can easily amount to a total of £1,000/year.
What is your solution?
First and foremost our orchestra is free to all its members. The maximum families are asked to contribute is £25 towards travel costs for the summer course, and bursaries are available to cover this.
Secondly, players do not audition. Instead they are nominated by teachers and music educators for their commitment and dedication to music. No advanced musical technique is demanded and players of all standards are welcome. This is not to say that NOFA is not ambitious. Far from it, our members find themselves performing to large audiences alongside world-class professional musicians.
How will you deliver this?
The NOFA year starts in July with the annual Residential Course at Warwick. This three day course sits at the heart of NOFA’s offering and culminates in a spectacular final performance for parents, friends, and supporters.
In the 12 months that follow the Residential Course, members of the orchestra are invited to take part in regional workshops and performances, exciting engagements in prestigious venues like the Southbank Centre and the Royal Albert Hall, and as many extra activities as our funds can deliver.