On Sunday 1 October, we travelled to the Midlands Arts Centre (MAC) in Birmingham to meet 30 of our young musicians being supported in 2023/24 for our first event of the year!
Many of the young musicians were meeting each other for the first time, especially those new to Future Talent this year, but a few found familiar faces to catch up with. This was also a first Future Talent outing for new Relationship Managers Sally Carr and Sabrina Ko, who helped Chris Guénault run the day.
The first activity the musicians got stuck into, working in groups, was to design the “perfect” music leader. The characters they created shared several core values, with kind, patient, open-minded, good listener, inclusive, inspirational and encouraging appearing on almost every groups’ work.
We then had a session on youth voice for the remainder of the morning, where the young musicians were invited to give their feedback and thoughts around Future Talent’s responsibility to listen to young people and make sure we always consider their voices when planning our programmes. We were delighted that so many of the musicians were enthusiastic about helping us shape our future projects and take part in discussion groups!
The afternoon saw the musicians take part in a West African music workshop with kora player and drummer, Seckou Keita.
Seckou taught the musicians about the rhythms, patterns and modes they needed to know, before they got their instruments out and began playing together.
The musicians took turns taking solos, supported by the rest of the ensemble.
...and Seckou made sure he found moments to join in too!
The whole day was an enormously uplifting experience for the whole team, and we were thrilled that the musicians let us know they'd enjoyed it in their feedback afterwards:
"I made new friends and felt comfortable."
"Improvising and playing as a whole group was really fun. It was cool to explore a different style of music and to see other people's solos."
"I really enjoyed how supportive everyone was."
"A really enjoyable day. Improvisation was so much fun! Thank you!"
"I loved all of it - the energy in the room, the music and literally everything else. It was SO, SO FUN!"
We are already excited for our second Big Meet event happening later this year, and we hope it will be even bigger!