Alex and Joshua enjoy a year of exciting music-making

Two of Blue Coat’s musicians – Joshua, now in Year 11, and Alex, now in Year 9 – spent their holidays this year enjoying exciting musical opportunities.

At the end of the summer term, Joshua was awarded First Place with Distinction in the 16 and Under category of the strings solo class at the Woodley Festival – and then, over the summer holiday, he passed his violin Grade 8 exam with Distinction. Joshua is now working towards his violin Diploma, and will be following his interest in teaching by working with young musicians.


During the summer break, Alex took part in the U13 National Children’s Orchestra’s summer residential course that concluded with a concert on the theme of “America! Bernstein Centenary”, at Leeds Town Hall.

You can see short videos of Alex in rehearsal at: and

Here’s the whole orchestra in final rehearsal (Alex right up at the top in the turquoise top):

Earlier in the year, members of the U13 NCO were tasked with creating their own piece of music. Here’s what Alex had to say about his experience: “I found this experience very fun and interesting. It was great to see the piece progress from just an idea to a full piece being performed in the concert, in only three days! Unlike the other pieces we were rehearsing, we did not have sheet music – just a sheet of the main tunes and a cue sheet. I think the main challenge we faced was that everyone had a different idea of what the piece should sound like, and we had to work as a team because we could not include every idea, which meant there were many brilliant ones we could not use! I would definitely like to have this opportunity again in NCO. The composition process has enabled me to see that a small idea can transform into a brilliant piece of music. I am enjoying spotting what the composers’ original small ideas might have been in the new pieces I am learning!”

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