London Chamber Orchestra and Tonbridge Grammar School start their musical journey

Since 2010, LCO’s Music Junction project has brought together over 1,000 young participants from all backgrounds and varying musical ability to share in the joy of creative music-making – helping them to develop empathy, self-confidence and a sense of aspiration, as well as engendering a lasting interest in classical music. Tonbridge Grammar School’s music department has been involved in this outreach work since the project began.

The project brings together more musically experienced students with others who are just starting out. These Music Junction student mentors from Tonbridge Grammar School give ‘flash mob’ performances alongside LCO musicians in November at Skinner’s Kent Academy, Meadows School and at Tonbridge Grammar School. These occasions introduce the world of music-making to those who may have had limited exposure to music, and the social and personal benefits it can bring to young lives. The flash mobs are followed by instrumental taster sessions, in which pupils are encouraged to try out instruments for the first time.
Adrian Pitts, Assistant Head Teacher at Tonbridge Grammar School said:
“Our musicians love this experience, being able to sit in with a professional orchestra, attend concerts and be able to develop their service in such a unique way.” 
Sam Nosal, Senior Teacher at Barnardo’s High Close School said the following of Music Junction:
"Without doubt, the very best thing I’ve been involved with in my career. I love it, the staff who also participate love it, the parents and carers love it, the staff and other young people back at school love hearing about it, but best of all, the young people taking part love it! It’s given so many of them an opportunity of a lifetime and one that they’ll never forget."
Rosemary Warren-Green, LCO’s Education and Outreach
Artistic Director, explained the origins behind Music Junction:
Music Junction evolved from a seed that was sown by a collaboration between Lord Menuhin and myself on the BBC documentary, Menuhin’s Children. He wanted to teach the violin and reach everyone. LCO Music Junction is based on this philosophy of social inclusion; young people from all walks of life coming together to make music.

Music Junction student mentors taking part in the project communicated what they hoped to gain from participating, which highlighted the project’s potential for nurturing musical, social and personal development:
“Understand feelings and empathise with others.”
“I hope to become more confident talking to new people and in helping other people”.
“Better mentoring skills; exploring new skills with an open mind; give constructive criticism to myself to get better.”
This season Paul Edlin, Director of Music at Queen Mary
University of London, has made a striking arrangement of
‘Simple Gifts’, the famous Shaker hymn used in Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring. Students from across the four Music Junction hubs of Kent, Berkshire, Waltham Forest and Havering will join together at a showcase London performance at Cadogan Hall on Friday 5 May 2017.
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