Urban-Orchestra project.

Project outline.


The project will include:

  • Experienced young orchestral musicians.
  • Young musicians from “urban” styles who have not previously worked with BYMT.
  • Socially excluded young people who have been previously engaged by Readipop but who have never worked with traditional orchestral instruments.
  • Professional development opportunities for BYMT tutors in DJ skills and the use of music technology
  • Professional development opportunities for Readipop tutors in orchestration and working with classical ensembles.
  • A final performance event
  • A recording and the production of a CD or DVD

The project will

  • encourage young people to explore musical forms that they are not familiar with
  • encourage young people to experiment and improvise
  • enable young people top devise and compose throughout the process
  • Encourage an exchange of ideas between young people with different musical understandings
  • Develop working relationships between Readipop, BYMT, Reading schools and other relevant local agencies.


  • Feb/March 2005          – planning and making funding applications
  • May 2005                    – funding confirmation and detailed planning.
  • June/July 2005                        – contact schools, taster sessions, in-school training sessions with Teachers.

– Training and exchange sessions Readipop/BYMT

  • Sept-Oct 2005                         – outreach and after school sessions, half-term intensive workshop week
  • Nov/Dec 05                  – final rehearsals and performance(s).
  • Jan 06                         – final evaluation and production of DVDs


  • RBC to be the lead coordinating organisation and will provide the final venue eg. Town Hall
  • Readipop to manage project.
  • Funding – we will seek funds from Youth Music. Matching funds will be required from RBC and other partners.
  • Other partners – Schools, W.E.C.

Workshop Plan.


  • Readipop will meet with the music teachers from each of the 7 schools involved in the project to introduce the ideas and work on forward planning.


  • 2 sharing days for Readipop and BYMT tutors. Each organisation will host one day and will run workshops and activities to demonstrate how each organisation works.
  • 7 taster/training days in schools. The project tutors from Readipop and BYMT will spend a day in each school. Half the day will be spent with the school music dept addressing planning and training issues (eg running music tech/DJ workshops). Tutors will also run taster sessions with potential participants from the school eg bringing a small group together to do a scratch performance with MCs, DJs, music tech and live musicians from the school.


  • Readipop will run 10 outreach/taster sessions with potential ‘urban’ musicians to develop the idea of playing with ‘classical’ musicians and to prepare them for how they will need to approach working in a large group.
  • Readipop will deliver 2 after school sessions in each school together with a BYMT tutor to develop ideas, devise roles and work out what the orchestra will consist of.

October half term

  • 5 day intensive workshop week to devise and develop the piece together with the participants. This will involve 3 Readipop tutors plus tutors from BYMT and potential involvement of music teachers. Final roles will be agreed including how the performance will be conducted and who will do it! All musical and technical issues will be finalised at this stage. A score and CDs will be produced by Readipop for individual and small group practice. These rehearsals will be recorded on video as part of the monitoring process.


  • 2 full day rehearsals (could be hosted by 2 of the schools)
  • performance – full day of technical, musical & final rehearsals plus an evening performance.
  • Final video interviews will take place at the after-show.

Jan 06

  • Creation of the  performance DVD – possible shows in the schools?
  • final project evaluation and follow up plan.

Urban Orchestra 2 outline proposal.

Partners: Reading Borough Council, Readipop, Berkshire Maestros and RPO.

Project principles:

–        Inclusive and open access.

–        Live performance using the orchestra model.

–        Collaborations between young people from different musical backgrounds.

–        Fusions of musical styles

–        Original devised scores


Participants drawn from:

1. Schools:

5 schools – John Madejski Academy, Blessed Hugh Faringdon, Highdown  plus Prospect and one other (JMA, BHF and Highdown took part in the previous project)

This will provide a mix of orchestral instrumentalists, rock players, singers and urban musicians.

2. Berkshire Maestros:

Gold and Silver award groups and youth orchestra.

3. Readipop – ‘Urban’ Musicians

–        via the schools.

–        CHESS pupil referral unit and CRED.

–        Direct outreach to local Grime/Hip-Hop MCs. 

Rough plan:

 November 2008:

Launch mini project November 15/16. To involve previous participants and Gold/Silver award students.

Winter 2008/9

Workshop programmes – parallel or collaborative workshops with all partners to promote the Urban Orchestra project acting as an extended outreach process.

Spring 2009:

CPD and planning sessions with all musicians

Contact Schools

Mini project to coincide with March or May performance.

July 2009:

School 1 day taster workshops

September – November 2009:

Development /Devising workshops – after school sessions plus BM Gold/Silver awards.

October – 3 day half term devising workshop plus team scoring sessions.

October/November – rehearsals

November 2009 – performance.


–        work with primary schools

–        follow-on performances

–        link with possible Readipop Musical Heritage project

–        other ideas?


Application to Youth Music ASAP

Other funding?

The Stables Urban Orchestra project  – outline proposal.
“Making music without boundaries”

A brand new project for young people in MK to make music that cuts across boundaries, bringing together young musicians experienced in urban, pop and rock music with young orchestral musicians.

The young musicians will work together to devise and compose an original piece of music that incorporates both urban and classical styles for a live concert performance, DVD recording and primary school ‘roadshow’.

The founding vision of the Stables was to break down barriers between different types of music. By staging the Urban Orchestra project in Milton Keynes we are directly responding to that vision by :

  • Creating a new musical project for young people in MK
  • Creating an inclusive and open access ‘orchestra’ of young people.
  • Staging a live performance using the orchestra model,
  • Enable young musicians from different musical and social background to collaborate, experiment, improvise and compose together.
  • Creating a new score devised with the young people, fusing musical styles, approaches and methods
  • Giving young musicians the chance to collaborate with professional musicians.

Urban Orchestra will bring together a new consortium of organisations including The Stables, MK Music Service, Readipop, voluntary sector youth & arts organisations, schools and MK College. The project will be managed by The Stables and lead by artists from Readipop, and include an element of Continuing Professional Development for music leaders and trainees

The Urban Orchestra model was successfully piloted in Reading in 2009 and this project will allow Readipop to develop the model further, incorporating ideas from the evealuation of the pilot, reaching new young people in a different part of the country, forming new partnerships and extending their work across the region.

The creative theme

The creative stage of the process is at the core of the project and will be driven by the the young musicians taking part. The creative process will be facilitated by the professional music leaders. It will be structured to support the creative process for the young musicians and provide a number of themes and ideas to engage them an dprovide ‘hooks’ to strat the creative process.

 The themes and ideas to inform the creative process include:

  • To explore ‘the orchestra’ past, present and future.
  • Use historical, present and ‘future’ techniques to re-arrange, adapt, remix and improvise together – from baroque to dub-step.
  • Use the ‘soundclash’ concept to mix and interact between the urban/electronic and classical/real instruments thought call and response and sharing/passing and re-working musical ideas. Use electronic concepts like ‘ring modulation’ and adapt them to the live orchestra.
  • Incorporate found sounds and personal technology – ringtones, mobile phones, laptops etc.
  • Include audience interaction – ie giving out a number to call from the audience to set off parts of the piece and a ringtone to download in advance.
  • Themes will be devised from concepts around the ubiquity of the mobile phone, conversations, dialogues and its use to share modern everyday experience.

The project partners

Partners: The Stables, Readipop, Youth Music, Musicleader SE, MK Schools, Music Service, MAD, Madcap, MK College

The Stables is an Internationally recognised music venue in Milton Keynes,founded as a registered charity (Wavendon Allmusic Plan) in 1969 by the world-famous jazz musicians Sir John Dankworth and Dame Cleo Laine. The Stables has been committed to music education and participation from the beginning, and currently delivers over 350 concerts and 250 education sessions each year. Education projects range from interactive concerts to participatory workshops and longer-term projects.

Readipop are a Reading based music organisation working at the cutting edge of community music practice, delivering community projects, working across musical genres, running a venue and recording facility, offering learning opportunities for musicians of all levels from beginner to professional.

Youth Music is the leading UK charity providing children and young people with access to a wide range of music-making projects and activities. It supports music projects, develops music programmes and provides music-making opportunities for young people across the country.

MusicLeader SE is …..

Milton Keynes Music Service ….
Participants will be drawn from:
Schools: via outreach taster days with selected schools.
Music Service: a broad mix of instrumental players from different ensembles.

‘Urban’ Musicians: via the schools, voluntary sector youth organizations including Madcap MAD (Make a Difference), MK College music technology courses.

Outline timescale

Winter 20010/11
– planning and fundraising with partners

Spring 2011:
– Confirm funding
– Recruit trainees
– Identify music service tutors
– CPD and planning sessions with all musicians
– Contact Schools and other partners.

June/July 2011:
– School 1 day taster workshops
-Taster with music service
-Tasters with other partners – eg college, MAD, Madcap

September – November/December 2011:
– Development /Devising workshops – weekly sessions with music service group.
– October – 3 day half term devising workshop plus team scoring sessions.
– October/November – rehearsals
– November 2009 – performance at The Stables

Early 2012:
– work with primary schools
– follow-on performances
– links with other projects
– DVD Launch

Spring 2012
– legacy planning

– evaluation
Project process
The project will be delivered by 2 musicleaders from Readipop and 2 from MK Music Service, through a structured process as follows:

 An initial development phase –

  • An initial 2 day CPD planning and skills exchange phase for Music leaders to come together to launch the project and establish working relationships between the collaborating music leaders, plus a CPD opprtunity open to other musicleaders on collaborative and cross-genre working
  • 1 taster/training day in each participating schoolduring school hours – to target pupils who do not currently participate in out of school hours music making. A full day will be spent working with together with music teachers, to run taster sessions exploring improvisation, composition and performance with potential participants particularly those in rock and pop, urban or music tech activity outside

·      This will happen during school ‘enrichment’ sessions and will aim to encourage those pupils to sign up for after school follow-on sessions and the other weekend and holiday workshops and rehearsals.

  • 4 after school sessions in each school, targetted at ‘hard to reach’ young people associated with each school eg excluded pupils through Pupil Referral Units.

Three strands of weekly sessions –

  • 12 outreach sessions with the voluntary youth sector, to focus on urban musicians and to introduce participants to working as part of a larger creative group and the expectations and conventions of playing in an orchestra. This will include ’hard to reach participants’ identified throughthe voluntary youth sector partners.
  • 12 outreach sessions with MK Music service, to focus on young musicians playing orchestral instruments but who may not be familiar with other forms of music making.
  • 12 outreach sessions with music technology students to focus on urban musicians and to introduce participants to working as part of a larger creative group and the expectations and conventions of playing in an orchestra.

A final creative phase

  • An intensive 3 day devising programme – this will bring together all the participants in devising the piece, finalising musical and technical issues, agreeing roles for the performance
  • 2 full day rehearsals
  • live performance and the creation of the performance / evaluation DVD
  • 10 primary school roadshow performance/workshops, touring the DVD and delivering workshops to 10 feeder schools.



Each partner organisation will host a skill sharing ‘exchange day’ to introduce the partner music leaders to their unique style of working. The music leaders will be able to explore each other’s working methods and share in good prcatice. These exchange days will inform the workshop design of the school taster sessions and the initial musical devising processes. A key theme of the project is the ongoing professional development gained through the partnership between a music service and a community music organisation.

 The Trainee role

This project includes a trainee position for a young or emerging music leader. The trainee will shadow the the music leaders, support delivery of elements of the workshops, take part in all the training and cpd associated with the project.

The trainee will also be given other learning oportunities with The Stables and Readipop. The trainee will be paid a training allowance to enable them to dedicate time to the project, but will need to work flexibly to cover the range of workshops and sessions.

The traineeship will be advertised via MK Music Service, MK College, Musicleader, Arts Jobs, local Voluntary sector arts and community networks,


Project management

The Stables will have overall responsibility for the project and will contract Readipop to undertake the direct project management and delivery. A steering group of partners will meet regularly to monitor the progress of the project against the agreed timescale. Agreements will be drawn up outlining the respective roles of Readipop, MK Music Service the participating schools. Readipop will be responsible for drawing up a programme of professional development for the trainee.

 Monitoring and Evaluation

 The Music Leaders’ will collect attendance records and monitoring information for each session throughout the project. This will be be reviewed at regular steering group meetings. Music Leaders will produce a report at the end of the taster process, analysing the work to date and making recommendations for the next phase. They will also produce a report at the end of the project which will form part of the final evaluation and the exit strategy. The final DVD will include video interviews with some of the participants during the latter stages of the project to collect feedback and record the content of some of the workshop sessions. The evaluation will include the views of the partners, participants, music leaders, trainee, audience.

Collaborative and cross-genre working

– a ‘scratch’ Urban Orchestra experience for music leaders

The ‘Urban Orchestra’ brings together young people from a wide variety of musical and social backgrounds to collaborate in creating a new work, performed as an ‘urban orchestra’ that crosses the boundaries between, urban, classical, rock & pop genres, tradition and technology.

These workshops are aimed at any music leader who wants to explore ways of working with young people that are creative, collaborative and inclusive.

They will help Music Service tutors and school based music teachers looking to better understand and work with technology and urban music styles, music leaders who are looking to use music technology in creative ways and musicians and DJs from non-classical genres looking to find ways to work collaboratively with instrumentalists and more traditional performance backgrounds.

Readipop has delivered 2 highly acclaimed Urban Orchestra projects working in partnership with their local music service and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. As part of developing a new urban orchestra in Milton Keynes based around The Stables, Readipop are leading 2 days of professional development training that aims to give fellow music leaders the opportunity to explore their innovative ‘open access’ approach.

These two training days will take participants through the process to experience the urban orchestra model from the inside in order to understand the subtle processes involved and see that this is much more than the sum of its parts. The 2 days work best as a complete experience but can also work as separate stand-alone days.


Day 1 Tools and Techniques:

This day will look at the process of devising scratch pieces using a mix of technology and traditional instrumentation and develop the key themes for our composition. It will explore some of the tools available in electronic music to use in the creative process including – kaoss pads, v-drums, macbooks, NI battery and voice synths. We will look at techniques including appropriate warm-ups, pieces from Search and Reflect, improvisation, DJ skills, mixing, sampling, storyboards, film score concepts and sequencing.


Day 2 Process and Performance:

Taking the musical and conceptual themes devised in day 1 we will work together to shape a complete performance using as many of our ideas as possible. This will involve adapting and arranging electronically generated ideas for real instruments; extending and expanding loop based compositions as ‘themes and variations’ and using DJ concepts to remix, layer and mash-up musical ideas. We will then bring all the ideas together into one performance to explore how to integrate musicians unfamiliar with scores and the symphony orchestra model into a large scale performance ensemble.

The day will include looking at adapting electronic techniques for live performers eg mixing, remixing, mash-ups, and adapting ideas from traditional instrumental and band performance for urban/electronic performers including scores, orchestration, sharing themes and bring it together through the process of technical rehearsal, sound-check and live sound mixing.

The day will finish with a run-through/scratch performance of the ‘Music Leaders Urban Orchestra’ to give a full insight into the process.


The Stables,, Stockwell Lave , Wavendon, Milton Keynes MK17 8LU


A team of 6 musicians will come to school to work with teachers from your faculty and a group of students as potential participants in order to introduce Urban Orchestra. Together they will devise and create a scratch performance with MCs, DJs, music tech and live musicians from the school.