Scots of all ages can now Engage with the RSNO

Increased access through new programme, RSNO Engage, which will reach fifty thousand in first year.

The Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO) is building on its commitment to providing music access across all age ranges nationwide, as it launches its new Learning and Education programme, RSNO Engage today (Thursday 6 June). The announcement reveals a complete overhaul of its schools concerts, a new programme to support young musicians starting their professional music careers, a nationwide RSNO Young Ambassadors initiative, a Highlands residency in 2014, development of a long-term relationship with young musicians in Perth and a pilot interactive music initiative for 0-2 year olds in Aberdeen.
With a programme of activity available for new-borns and onwards, the RSNO is committed to delivering the highest quality workshops as well as nurturing and developing new talent. From schools and nursery concerts, to community workshops and annual residencies during which the Orchestra embeds itself at the centre of Scottish communities, the team connects the Orchestra, its music and musicians with the people of Scotland.
From 2014 the RSNO’s schools concerts will be more closely linked to the goals of the national Curriculum For Excellence (CfE), allocating increased music education and learning provisions to new concerts for every level of CfE from age 3–18 years. It is intended that, in its first year, over fifty thousand young people in Scotland will benefit from engaging with some form of RSNO Engage activity.
The RSNO launches RSNO Engage with the publication of the first ever careers booklet created by an orchestra, providing information on available courses and further education opportunities as well as case studies and insights into the workings of a modern professional symphony orchestra. The booklet is available from The Orchestra will also be providing work experience opportunities to fifty young people each year, across the organisation over a two-day period, with a view to planning, producing and performing their own concert at the end of the placement.
RSNO Engage in Dundee develops the already promising relationship between the city and Scotland’s national orchestra. In partnership with Dundee City Council, Northwood Charitable Trust and The Courier, the RSNO will run a large scale community and school engagement plan to improve the perception of and access to live orchestral music. The organisation shows its commitment to the city by appointing a new RSNO Engagement Coordinator to be based solely in Dundee linking in with local communities.
Currently under 16s constitute 2% of the audience in Dundee and the RSNO promises to increase this to 10% or higher by 2015, in line with its national average.
RSNO Engage in Perth will work closely with Horsecross Arts with a focus on employability and career development for those engaging with music through the concert hall and theatre in the city. Masterclasses, mentoring sessions, coaching sessions and side-by-side rehearsals will be the main focus of the activity in the city.
In September 2013 the Orchestra commences a nine-month residency in Highland region, culminating in a week-long celebration in April 2014. Planned activities include giving young people on the Isle of Skye the opportunity to learn brass with the RSNO for the first time, a mentoring scheme with Highland Regional Youth Orchestra, a remix project looking at cross-over between digital media, dance and classical music, and intergenerational work. The residency will be partnered and supported by Eden Court, Highland Council and High Life Highlands.
The RSNO also launches its Young Ambassadors initiative, a national scheme to engage young people in the promotion and development of live orchestral music. The organisation is seeking appoint least one 16-18 year old from every local authority in Scotland as a RSNO Young Ambassador. Young Ambassadors will be able to attend RSNO concerts for free and will get to know the musicians, artistic team and staff. They will be assigned a mentor who will assist with career development and will have input in the Orchestra’s future plans to engage with young people across the country. This will be open to all young people aged 16 to 18 with a passion for music, regardless of whether they are learning an instrument.
The Orchestra has also started recruitment today for a Creative Media Coordinator who will be responsible for all digital aspects of projects and creating new ways of working across the country via digital linkups. This role will be a key position in RSNO Engage achieving its ambitions for the digital age as the Orchestra prepare to move into their new home in 2014.
Before the Orchestra’s moves into its new premises in summer 2014 it will develop an Apprenticeship Scheme with the Royal Conservatoire Scotland, who will be near neighbours following the relocation. The goal is to assist and support young musicians in developing their creative career; providing students with performance, workshop and education opportunities.
The RSNO will offer young musicians aged 12 to 21 the opportunity to perform at RSNO events in front-of-house areas. Musicians will be asked to submit videos of themselves or their ensemble performing 30 minutes of music to be considered for selection.
Last autumn the Orchestra launched the Astar project, providing every child born in Scotland from October 2012 to October 2013 with a free recording of orchestral music featuring Scottish songs, nursery rhymes and children’s favourite classical works to help new parents communicate, play and rest with their new arrivals. The CD marks the start of the Orchestra’s ambitions to provide access to music for all age ranges, and from October it will start its first collaborative project with early years drama producers Starcatchers to create live music experiences and interactive performances for the very young in Aberdeen, supported by Aberdeen City Council, Vibrant Aberdeen, TOTAL E&P UK Limited and the Aberdeen Cultural Fund.
RSNO Director of Learning and Engagement Jenn Minchin:

This is an exciting time for the RSNO with the launch of RSNO Engage. It’s a programme of engagement which will see the organisation working in more remote areas of the country and with a much broader reach of people than before. With a huge focus on youth and employability, we hope to make classical music more accessible and relevant to young people in Scotland. The creation of a new RSNO Coordinator based in Dundee will help us engage with people from all over the city. Planned projects include working with the Young Mother’s Unit at Menzieshill High School, collaborating with an intergenerational visual art group in Kirkton and launching a World Music festival in Broughty Ferry. Our new Creative Media Coordinator will also help us realise our ambitions of becoming an Orchestra for the digital age and as we move into our new home, we’ll be aptly placed to engage not only those in Scotland but link up with communities and music making groups across the world.

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop:

This welcome initiative demonstrates the RSNO’s commitment to developing the next generation of talent in performing and promoting music, by placing learning and youth employability at the core of its activities. Offering work experience, developing talent, and involving young people as ambassadors for orchestral music, will not only assist their career prospects, but will also nurture their love of music and ensure the continuing legacy of Scotland’s rich culture.