The virtual orchestras, choirs and music masterclasses available to join online during lockdown
An up-to-date round-up of the music and performance masterclasses, workshops, choirs and ensembles you can take part in online during the coronavirus pandemic
This global virtual choir, based in Canada, welcomes singers from all around the world. It runs projects designed to lift people out of isolation, bring them together into community with people beyond their region and to raise their voices safely in harmony with music-lovers across the globe. For more details visit singthenorth.ca
Choirmaster Gareth Malone invites singers to join his national choir. You can watch previous rehearsals on Decca Records's YouTube page here.
With a finale concert on 31 May, the Self-Isolation choir is open to all singers from across the world. There will be hourlong online weekly rehearsals for each part. Those who join after the start date (31 March) can catch up on previous rehearsals online. For more info, please visit theselfisolationchoir.com.
In collaboration with Cambridge doctors, organist and conductor Anna Lapwood is coordinating a virtual choir for current and former NHS staff across the UK. The first project is an arrangement of ‘Come on Eileen’, and the music video will be released at the end of April and will be aiming to raise money for the NHS. 320 NHS workers have already signed up for the choir. Sign up here.
Sing James MacMillan’s O Radiant Dawn as part of the Stay at Home Choir’s virtual choir. Participants are invited to also attend a webinar with a singer from The Sixteen who will help coach them on their part.
Record yourself and submit your videos by midnight on Wednesday 29 April.
To participate in a virtual performance of Bowie's Where Are We Now?, visit Jess Gillam's website to download the parts and video yourself playing your part or playing along to the click track (using headphones, so only you can be heard). Send the video to email@example.com with a line saying 'I give Universal Music Group permission to use this video'. The deadline is Friday 10 April at 6pm.
At 5pm on 17 April, the 164 musicians from the National Youth Orchestra will open their windows and perform Beethoven's 'Ode to Joy' in support of NHS staff and key workers across the UK. They are inviting all other musicians to join in. The sheet music can be downloaded here.
Composer Mustafa Khetty has invited musicians from across the world to participate in his new works. He will provide separated audio clips and scores for each part. Get in touch here to request materials.
The temporary orchestra for adults – between grades 2 and 5 – is now open for string, woodwind, brass and percussion players. Rehearsals take place online every Thursday morning at 10am. For more information, contact Wendy Waldock at 07508 471 800
Karina Canellakis leads an abridged version of Vaughan Williams's Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis for musicians above grade 6, with accompanying arranged parts for musicians playing between grade 3 and 5 level.
A base track has been created for players to rehearse to, recorded by Benedetti Foundation tutors: violinists Elena Urioste and Andrea Gajic, violist Jenny Lewisohn, cellists Su-a Lee and Laura van der Heijden, and double bassist Alice Kent. Watch the recording here.
Watch Karina Canellakis's recording with the players here, in which she suggests different interpretations.
The grand finale concert of the Virtual Benedetti Sessions will take place on Sunday 31 May at 4pm BST on the Benedetti Foundation's YouTube channel.
Following on from the #NYOdeToJoy project, in which the orchestra invited people from across the UK to pick up their instrument and play Ode to Joy together but apart. Over 40,000 people took part.
At 5pm on 29 May, the National Youth Orchestra has invited the UK to take part in another playalong performance of 'Jupiter' from Holst's The Planets.
Scores are available to download here. There is also a five-part arrangement for musicians who are able to perform with others in lockdown.
The Scottish contemporary music ensemble is inviting online audiences to recreate John Cage's 4'33'' at 3pm.
Musicians from the ensemble will perform alongside members of the public via Zoom. The performance will be streamed live on Red Note's YouTube channel.
To take part, contact firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday 26 June at 12pm BST, stating your name, location and instrument.
Donations can be made to Help Musicians UK.
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The Benedetti Foundation has launched its Global Violin Sessions: A Cultural Exchange Part One, which will run from 16 November to 13 December and will include sessions exploring violin music across the globe.
Trumpeter, composer and educator Wynton Marsalis has written a short tune which will be played by Nicola Benedetti. It will then be passed round four countries over three week, with different violinists playing it in each country. Each musician will make it their own, changing rhythms and adding instrumentations etc., explaining to the participants what they are doing and teaching along the way.
On 13 December, the Foundation will host a final day of activities, culminating in the premiere of the short film they will have created throughout the process. The film will be streamed via the Benedetti Foundation's Facebook and YouTube pages.
Click here to join the course.
On the weekend of the 26 and 27 September, participants will receive three hours tuition today from Nicola Benedetti and the Kaleidoscope Chamber Collective, who is made up of violinist Elena Urioste and Savitri Grier, pianist Tom Poster, violist Rosalind Ventris, cellist Laura van der Heijden and double bassist Joseph Conyers.
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The weekend will combine sectional rehearsals with discussions and talks, and will be all run online.
Sign up here.
At 3pm on 8 July, cellist Mischa Maisky will give an online masterclass, moderated by composer and journalist Edgar Raginskis. The participants will be cellists from the Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music.
Following its Virtual Sessions in May, the Benedetti Foundation is launching the Virtual Mini Sessions, a series of short, focused workshops, throughout July and August.
There will be separate workshops for music students, recent graduates, teachers and adult learners, all delivered by leading musicians including Nicola Benedetti, Elena Urioste and Laura van der Heijden. Although there is an admin fee to participate, there are bursaries available for those who are struggling financially.
For school-age string players, there will be classes and workshops on vibrato, shifting and beginner basics. Adult learners and teachers can learn about embedding healthy practice routines, performance anxiety, building a portfolio career and interpretation. Details of all classes can be found here.
Every evening at 8pm, pianist Yulia Chaplina and Coach House Pianos are hosting interviews with the UK’s top pianists and piano teachers as part of its Piano Bootcamp. Guests featured include heads of keyboard at top UK schools and conservatoires.
The complete programme can be found here.
Virtual Benedetti Sessions
From Monday 11 May, the Benedetti Foundation will provide three weeks of free, regular online music tuition for young musicians, university-level students, teachers, adult learners and amateur musicians.
The sessions will be hosted on YouTube, Zoom and social media platforms and will be led by violinist Nicola Benedetti and tutors from the Foundation. There will be a mix of live and pre-recorded turorials.
The programme will include seminars, activities, presentations and workshops in physical and mental wellbeing. There will also be two live sessions from instrumental teachers each week, a live session for conservatoire and university msuic students with leading artists and two weekly sessions for parents to chat to tutors about how to best help and support their children's musical education at home.
The final weekend (30-31 May) will run from 10am to 5pm with presentations and tutorials throughout the day.
Sign up here. Registration is free and will be open until Thursday 7 May.
Every day at 12pm BST, The Benedetti Foundation hosts a lesson or workshop on its Instagram via IGTV and its Facebook page. It will be then be available to watch on Facebook afterwards. Sessions so far include violinist Elena Urioste discussing yoga, meditation and the role of wellbeing in performance; games and songs with cellist David Munn; and a live samba session from percussionist Patrick King.
On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, Nicola Benedetti will go live across all her social media channels to discuss music and share insights.
Sharon Bezaly is hosting regular virtual masterclasses, which you can apply to take part in via her Facebook page. Passive listeners are also able to join via Zoom link.
The Bristol Music Trust has created a programme of one-on-one music lessons for students. Teachers will run 20-minute sessions for primary school children and half-hour sessions for those in secondary school.
There will be a charge for lessons, but children of key workers or those suffering financially because of the pandemic will be able to apply for free bursary places. Otherwise, tuition is available in blocks of ten lessons, with prices from £100.
Lessonface is a digital platform that connects music teachers with students of all ages.
The platform’s ‘Go Classes’ are interactive group courses with flexible tuition (free spaces are available). Teachers and students are also invited to take part in an Open Mic Night to share the music they’ve been practising. The sessions will be hosted by a Lessonface teacher. You can apply to the next Open Mic Night here.
Nicola Benedetti is hosting daily tutorials at 10am BST from 10-19 April on her YouTube channel to teach audiences how to play Elgar’s Salut d’Amour. Participants are then invited to email their performances to email@example.com or upload on social media using the hashtag #salutnicky by 5pm on Thursday 16 April. A winner will then be picked from those who have entered, followed by a live Q&A with Benedetti.
Click here for more information, downloadable sheet music, videos of Benedetti performing the piece and Petr Limonov performing the piano part for you to play along with, and full details on how to submit your performance.
This series is in conjunction with the release of Nicola Benedetti and Petr Limonov’s performance of Salut d’Amour, which will be released digitally as a single and on Benedetti’s upcoming album, which also features Elgar’s Violin Concerto with the London Philharmonic Orchestra under Vladimir Jurowski.
Following on from the Salut d'Amour challenge (you can listen to the winner here), Nicola Benedetti is now inviting musicians to create a music video inspired by Elgar's Chanson de Nuit. Listen to the piece here. Send your submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org or tag your videos on social media with #chansonchallenge by Sunday 3 May.
27 April-10 May
Originally planned to be a musicians’ retreat in Switzerland, violinist Gwendolyn Masin’s Exhale Project will now be hosted online. Created for professional musicians and students alike, the course will include a series of masterclasses in yoga, Alexander Technique, psychotherapy and Feldenkrais. A portion of the participation donation will be donated to charity.
The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment has launched a series of short, informal videos to help students learn Grade Five theory, GCSE and A Level Music. It breaks down the questions we think we should know: what does a 'quaver' really mean? Why do we use bars?
The videos are hosted by musicians from the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. You can watch the videos here.
The Conservatoire in Blackheath
London's Blackheath Conservatoire is moving all its classes online, with interactive Zoom classes and YouTube 'boxsets', which include classes on ukelele for five-year-olds, watercolours and drama for adults.
The classes are intended for parents who are both home-schooling and looking for a creative outlet. There are also many classes available for young children.
There are bursaries available. Every day on social media, a 'Course of the Day' offer will be posted on Facebook, free taster lessons for young children on Facebook and YouTube during half term and course discounts for newsletter subscribers.
Taster sessions can be found here.
At 5pm EET on 18 June 2020, Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes will lead an online masterclass with the Riga Jurmala Academy, free to watch online here.
The Riga Jurmala Academy has been holding weekly masterclasses, including lessons with principal musicians from the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, all of which are available to watch here.
Samling Institute for Young Artists has hosted a masterclass with two of its alumni: baritone Benjamin Appl and pianist James Baillieu. The pair held a remote masterclass with 17-year-old Ben Ryan from Darlington, who sang 'The Foggy, Foggy Dew'. You can watch the masterclass here.
The London Philharmonic Orchestra has launched The Studio, an online resource space for young composers. It is a series of video classes featuring prominent composers including Howard Shore, Cheryl Frances-Hoad, Brett Dean and David Arnold.
The series culminates with a new composition brief with a new piece of choreography devised by Monique Jonas. Musicians are invited to submit audio recordings of their compositions to accompany the dance. Selected compositions will be performed by members of the LPO and synced to the choreography. Composer Gavin Higgins has also written a piece to go with the choreography, and the course will feature his tips for composing for the work.
Opportunities to perform
The clothing site for musicians will be acting as a platform musicians to upload digital performances and be paid by viewers. Send videos to email@example.com.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any updates or events/ensembles to add to the list.
Freya Parr is BBC Music Magazine's Digital Editor and Staff Writer. She has also written for titles including the Guardian, Circus Journal, Frankie and Suitcase Magazine, and runs The Noiseletter, a fortnightly arts and culture publication. Freya's main areas of interest and research lie in 20th-century and contemporary music.