Who can play?
NYJO has always held open workshop rehearsals, so please come along! There’s no audition for these, but to audition or be selected for the main NYJO performance band please check the Join NYJO page for more details.
From February 2013, following an extraordinary successful year in 2012 and consequent increased demand for all NYJO’s activities, the NYJO rehearsal structure will change. The recent move to the LCCM has enabled NYJO to offer a more structured set of rehearsal and workshop arrangements. We are therefore pleased to announce a new concept: the NYJO Academy, which will run all NYJO’s educational workshops, as a linked but separate activity to the rehearsals for the main gigging band. This will improve the learning opportunities for students and give more focus to individual development.
The NYJO Academy runs the following Saturday workshops:
- The NYJO Jazz Ensemble. 10am. Guideline: up to age 16, approximate standard ABRSM classical grades 3-5 or jazz grades 2-4. Focuses on ensemble performance skills in a large jazz ensemble: an introduction to standard big band repertoire, interpreting notation, familiarity with a variety of grooves from jazz and related genres and jazz improvisation. Acting MD: Tom Stone (post to be recruited).
- The NYJO Academy Big Band. 10am. Guideline: This band is for musicians with technical abilities and musical qualifications that suggest a possible professional career, but who are not yet ready for the NYJO main band. For most the age range would be 17+, but exceptional younger players would be considered. More complex and demanding repertoire, some written for the NYJO main band or other professional level compositions and arrangements. Experience in large jazz ensemble performance is expected, with music reading, improvisational abilities and overall jazz style developing well. A possible preparatory route for audition/selection for the main NYJO performing ensemble. MD: Paul Eshelby.
- The NYJO Academy Vocal Workshop. 10.30am. This will have an increased focus within NYJO and will be more integrated with the other workshops and rehearsals.
- NYJO London. 2pm. Guideline: up to 18. Focuses on smaller ensemble and improvisation skills. The ability to sight-read to a fair level would be useful. MD: Phil Meadows.
In addition, the main gigging band (NYJO) will rehearse starting at 10.30am. Participation in this rehearsal will be strictly by invitation of MD Mark Armstrong.
Which band will I be placed in when I join?
The guidelines above should be useful to give an indication of which band might suit you initially. When you first arrive please make yourself known to one of the volunteer crew/MD who can have a chat with you and decide where to place you for your first workshop.
When you first come you must bring with you a completed registration form, together with a passport sized photo of yourself. You can do this in advance - follow this link, print off the form, complete it and bring it with you. Hand it to an adult member of the NYJO Volunteer Crew who will ensure that, for safety, your registration details and photograph are securely logged and filed. They will then introduce you to the Music Director (MD).
All new attendees should make themselves known to the Music Director taking the rehearsal and member of the volunteer crew and, if you can, phone the NYJO Office (020 7494 1733) or e-mail email@example.com to let us know to expect you during the week before.
Is there a register?
Yes – near the entrance. You must sign in on arrival – this is important for Health and Safety and in case of emergencies such as fire. If your name’s not there, just write it in – we know there are new members on a weekly basis.
Where and when do workshop rehearsals take place?*
Every Saturday at:
The London Centre of Contemporary Music (LCCM)
50-52 Union Street
Click here for map
NYJO Jazz Ensemble runs from 10.00 – 13.00
NYJO Academy Big Band runs from 10.00 – 13.00
NYJO London runs 14.00-16.00 (see NYJO London page of website)
NYJO Academy Vocal Workshop runs from 10.00 – 13:30
NYJO runs 10:30-13:30
*Check the website every week, sometimes workshops will be held elsewhere.
How much does it cost?
There is no charge for the NYJO Jazz Ensemble, NYJO Academy Big Band or NYJO Academy Vocal Workshop. NYJO London charges £3 per session. Check the Musicians Benevolent fund website www.mbf.org.uk for useful information about financial help with costs of playing and travel. The Awards for Young Musicians website is also useful: http://www.a-y-m.org.uk
Is there an age limit?
There’s no minimum age but the maximum age for all is 25 years old.
If I’m a singer, will I be able to sing at a rehearsal?
New singers will join the singers’ workshop run by our vocal coach, covering everything from microphone technique to repertoire and reading to jazz interpretation. Singers rehearse several numbers with NYJO at each rehearsal, allowing each individual singer to have the opportunity to sing with the band every week.
Can I still attend if I play clarinet or flute?
Flautists are welcome. Clarinettists need to be primarily saxophonists, but should bring their clarinet as some charts require it as a double, and there are several clarinet features in the pads. We also have a baritone sax, which is available for rehearsals – if you wish to try it, just bring your own mouthpiece.
As a drummer, will I need to bring my own kit?
No. We have our own drum kits – you may wish to bring your own sticks and/or pedals and cymbals too.
Do guitarists have to bring their own amps?
We have our own amps, but you are very welcome to bring your own.
If I am a double bass player or keyboard player will I be expected to bring my own instrument?
No, we have a double bass and keyboard available. Bassists may, however, wish to bring a bass guitar to use for funk and more modern repertoire.
Is there a refreshment break?
Yes, usually a 20-minute break. Soft drinks, coffee and sandwiches are available from the nearby cafes.
Does the NYJO Academy stop during the holidays?
Not normally – it runs right throughout the year. However, in special circumstances (for example, a concert away from London on Saturday), only one band may be running and we generally take a week off around the Christmas period. If there are Saturdays on which there is no rehearsal, players are advised in advance and those not in attendance will receive notice via e-mail. Please check the NYJO website regularly for late news.
When can I start?
Any Saturday you wish – just turn up. Come this Saturday if you like (and ideally ring us on 020 7494 1733 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know so we can welcome you.)
If I am unable to stay for the full session can I leave early?
If you are in the NYJO Academy yes, but please let us know. We recognise some players come directly from Saturday morning music lessons and others may attend Music College junior departments or simply have other appointments.
The main NYJO band requires a serious level of commitment, though there is some flexibility – discuss with the MD.
If I struggle with the music will I get assistance?
A number of incredibly experienced players play with NYJO and the NYJO Academy, and sitting next to people who know what they’re doing is one of the best ways of learning to sight-read and to play big band jazz. On top of that, each band is rehearsed by one of our experienced Music Directors – all excellent professional players in their own right, and also very used to tutoring. Just ask if you need a hand – no one will be judging you.
What happens at the beginning and end of the session?
Big bands need a lot of equipment, and it all needs setting up – so the rehearsals usually get underway once stands and amps have been set up. The same process happens in reverse at the rehearsal’s end, as the College needs to be left the way the band found it – so taking care of your own stand and pad is obviously appreciated.
As a member of the NYJO Volunteer Crew or an MD usually stays in the room, you don’t need to be afraid of leaving your instrument out during the break, but remember you are responsible for your own instruments and property – neither NYJO nor the LCCM accepts any liability for loss, damage or theft. Specialist insurance is available through the Musicians Union (www.musiciansunion.org.uk)
Does it matter if I don’t attend regularly?
While we appreciate that players who live further away may not be able to journey halfway across the country every Saturday morning, you’ll get the most from the NYJO Academy if you attend as often as you can. It is fantastic practice both for big band sight-reading and for getting to grips with a challenging pad – so the more you can come, the more you’ll find yourself progressing as a musician. Nonetheless, if you can only come during the holidays you are very welcome to come along and we hope it inspires you to come down more often.
What’s it like being in the NYJO Academy?
The NYJO Academy is friendly and constantly open to welcoming new members, and playing next to someone every week is a sure-fire way of getting to know them. The entire band can often be found having a late breakfast and a chat in the local cafe…
Furthermore, NYJO is committed to equal opportunities and zero tolerance to bullying. Download our equal opportunities statement here
Will I be offered the opportunity to play in concerts/gigs?
Yes. NYJO Academy bands do several charity concerts a year, in which all rehearsal attendees are welcome to play with the band, and NYJO play very regularly at venues throughout the country as well. Music Directors arrange concert personnel based on their ability and availability, and every year around 200 musicians will appear with the various bands. Deputies are sometimes required, and so occasionally NYJO Academy Big Band players will dep in NYJO concerts.
I have a physical disability. How accessible is the rehearsal venue?
Rehearsals are on upstairs floors which are accessible via a staircase. There are no lifts or disabled toilets at present although there are plans to construct a new building with full disabled access in the future. If you have specific requirements please phone the NYJO office in advance on 020 7494 1733 – we may be able to help, and we have made provision for those with both physical disabilities and sight impairments in the past.
Download our disability statement here
If you have asthma or a severe allergy you should advise the MD. We cannot guarantee to have a First Aider on site at each rehearsal – if you need medication for your condition, please make sure you have your Epipen or inhaler with you.
For more information see www.anaphylaxis.org.uk
If a parent wants to accompany me will they be able to stay and watch?
Yes. Parents/carers are welcome to stay, as well as any siblings who are not players. There are seating areas to listen to the rehearsals, read, or catch up with work on laptops.
We strongly advise NOT to bring babies or the very young though – it’s loud and hectic!.
If my parent wishes to leave and collect me following the rehearsal will I be supervised?
Parents/carers of younger players often leave them at the LCCM, and whilst all reasonable efforts are made to supervise, we do expect that players should in their parent’s/carer’s opinion have reached such maturity which allows them to cope with a level of freedom. Players often visit the local market during the refreshment break.
If you do not believe you are ready for this level of freedom, then a parent/carer should remain in attendance.
What is the nearest station?
The college is easy to reach using public transport or car. The closest station is London Bridge. On arriving at London Bridge station, follow the exits for Borough High Street. Walk down Borough High Street for about 3 – 4 minutes and turn right into Union Street. LCCM is on the right hand side of the road on the corner of Union Street and O’Meara Street. Other stations close by are Borough Underground, Southwark Underground and Waterloo East and Waterloo stations.
There are numerous local bus routes – see www.tfl.gov.uk
For a map see: http://goo.gl/maps/PlT2d