Let’s Keep the Music Going!

As we mark the one-year anniversary of the arrival of Covid-19 to Ireland, which completely disrupted our lives and music playing, we take a look at how we have kept the music going – past, present and the hoped-for future!

Past – Videos, Webinars, Zoom & Online Tuition

It has been a steep learning curve this past year as we all quickly adapted to working, learning and teaching online. At IAYO, we have tried to do whatever we could to make this transition easier for all those involved with youth orchestras. We kept in touch with our members and spoke with them on the work they were undertaking, what they felt they would like support in and also discovered new methods of teaching and orchestra delivery.

Armed with our new knowledge we created a series of online webinars and workshops open to IAYO members, musicians and music teachers alike, covering a variety of topics.

Katharine Mac Mághnuis of Athenry Music School presented ‘Delivering online orchestra and performance models – strategy, problems and possible solutions’, whilst Dr Patrick Early presented ‘Online Workshops on Jamulus | Set-up, technical requirements & rehearsal’, suitable for tutors, teachers and conductors.

Both Katharina Baker (Coole Music) and Katharine Mac Mághnuis held three webinars, ‘Chamber Music Tutor Boost’ to give a boost to those tutors who were running, teaching or planning to start chamber music programmes. Contributions came from previous tutors of IAYO’s national chamber music weekends and topics included finding suitable chamber music repertoire and structuring chamber music practice for different settings.

A workshop on risk assessments and policies was presented by Peter Jordan of Slua Event Safety Consultancy describing how to plan for and manage risk in relation to Covid-19. The video and a risk assessment template created by a number of IAYO members with the assistance of Peter can be found at iayo.ie/covid-19.

We have also developed a webpage that is dedicated to useful information and resources on online teaching and all of the above are available at iayo.ie/online-teaching/.

We also created a video to look back on 2020 called IAYO’s 2020 | Zooming in on the Music.

Present – Online Courses & Performance

In the coming weeks we will host an online Irish Youth Baroque Orchestra course in partnership with the Irish Baroque Orchestra and we will also create a stitched-together stay-at-home performance by the Irish Youth Wind Ensemble of the ‘March’ from Holst’s Suite in E flat. In preparation for the latter, we hosted online sectionals and workshops with those wind and brass instrumentalists that should have been part of IYWE 2020.

An exciting collaboration with the Irish Chamber Orchestra sees the development of an online chamber ensemble with eight young musicians from across the country. Led by Katherine Hunka, leader of the Irish Chamber Orchestra, this ensemble is using the web-based software Jamulus to enable them to rehearse and perform in real-time! No delays! No stitching-together of recordings! Just playing music, together!

You can watch a promotional video of the ensemble here.

Our members have also come up with ingenious ways to keep the music going and their orchestras engaged, which you can read about here.

We continue to support our members in any way we can so please do get in touch if we can help.

Future – Keeping the Music Going!

February would have seen our annual Festival of Youth Orchestras take place in the National Concert Hall, Dublin, but of course restrictions are still in place. We and our members however, have big plans! A very exciting day is planned for Sunday, 9 May where there will be a variety of activities happening across the country including the online premiere of our new commission Hope Springs Eternal, and a wonderful collaboration called Carnival of Junior Orchestras. You can read more about the day here

We continue planning and are ever hopeful of holding our summer courses in-person, including the Irish Youth Baroque Orchestra and ConCorda Chamber Music Course for Strings. Watch this space!