Violinist Nicola Benedetti is one of the world’s leading advocates for quality music education, the role of arts and culture in the wider community and the transformational effect it has on all young people. She has been committed to education projects since the age of 15 and in the past 12 months, Nicola has worked with over 2,000 students and 500 teachers.
On 6 March following a two-week period of dedicated education work, Nicola will deliver the key note speech at the Music & Drama Education Expo. The speech will focus on her fierce support for music education and Nicola’s views on technical and musical approaches to playing. This will be followed by a fireside chat with the editor of Music Teacher Magazine discussing Nicola’s own experience of music education, her career and highlights and advice for budding musicians. Nicola is President of European String Teachers Association and will lead an ESTA session with violin and viola teachers at the expo.
From 24 February to 6 March Nicola will work with a wide range of young musicians aged 7 to 20 as well as teachers. She will visit a primary school in Tulse Hill, work with Primary School children in and organisations including the London Music Fund, London Music Masters, The Nucleo Project and MiSST as well as visiting more advanced musicians at The Yehudi Menuhin School and the Royal College of Music. On 24 February, Nicola works with the Mayor of London’s London Music Fund at the Royal Academy of Music with Lincoln Abbotts, Executive Director of ABRSM, and composer Deborah Pritchard. This includes sessions with over 50 students aged 9 – 17 looking at ‘Benedetti Basics’ through to more advanced techniques such as pizzicato and tremolo. There will also be workshops with 50 teachers from London Music Hubs exploring some of the challenges of teaching string instruments including set-up, vibrato, sound projection, thumbs and more!
Nicola returns to the Wigmore Hall for two interactive Key Stage 2 Schools Concerts on 26 February at 11am and 1pm presented by Lucy Drever. The concerts form part of Wigmore Hall’s Sense of Home Festival and explores works by composers who were so inspired by their homes that they wrote music to tell the story of their favourite places. The concert at 1pm will be live streamed on www.wigmore-hall.org.uk
On 27 February London Music Masters hosts Nicola at Jubilee Primary School in Tulse Hill. Nicola will lead a series of workshops involving 140 pupils aged 5 – 9, which will focus on technique, bowing and sound projection. She will then lead a session with 15 teachers to explore some of the challenges they face with string teaching.
The Nucleo Project is a ‘music for social action’ programme in North Kensington, that uses the pursuit of musical excellence as a way to enrich the lives of children and young people. Nicola will visit the after-school sessions on 27 February and work with students in both the string and full orchestras. At Lady Eleanor Holles School on 28 February, Nicola gives masterclasses with four string students followed by a massed string ensemble of over 100 children aged 9 to 18 from ten local schools. Repertoire to include the Froliscome Finale from Britten’s Simple Symphony.
Every Child a Musician is a Newham based programme which provides free music tuition and instruments for children in Years 3, 4, 5 and 6 in Newham’s Primary Schools. It is one of the largest and most successful musical programmes in the country with over 12,000 children benefitting. Nicola visits the Grassroots Centre on 1 March and will work with teachers and 7 – 11-year olds from across Newham on Benedetti Basics and more.
Nicola is Patron of the Music in Secondary Schools Trust (MiSST) who are committed to providing classical music education to young people across London. On 2 March Nicola works with the free Saturday School that consists of students who have achieved grade 3 and above from the ten MiSST schools in the Andrew Lloyd Webber Programme. They will work on repertoire including Rimsky-Korsakov’s Capriccio Espagnol. The session will begin with students, after which Nicola will lead a masterclass for teachers.
On 3 March Nicola returns to the Royal College of Music to give masterclasses with both violin students and chamber music groups. Nicola visits her alma mater, The Yehudi Menuhin School on 4 March to give private and public masterclasses exploring works by composers including Beethoven, Paganini, Prokofiev and Ysaye.
Last month, Nicola announced her intention to formalise her vision and expand her commitment to the education of young people and the supporting of music teachers by establishing a charitable organisation. The Benedetti Foundation (proposed charity name), plans to focus on providing enrichment, inspiration and variation to the UK’s education system and communities. The ambition is to carry out a series of orchestra-based weekend workshops, designed to address, in equal part, the needs of young musicians and of teachers.
Nicola also launched "With Nicky" - an online series of educational videos that intends to provide information, guidance, and support for young musicians throughout their musical and personal development. The content of these videos will become an integral part of the work of the Benedetti Foundation, and will also provide useful information for teachers looking to support their work with new ideas. “With Nicky” will eventually cover a broad range of questions and themes, but naturally these first videos focus on Nicola’s own instrument – the violin. Nicola delivers workshops, masterclasses and educational activities throughout the year, but time is always limited and the desire for follow up materials when the classes come to a close is ever growing. These videos mark the beginning of a long term project that hopes to be a useful resource and friendly support to young musicians, amateur musicians, educationalists and anyone interested in instrumental music from all over the world.
Series one is underway and a new video is released every Tuesday at midday GMT on Nicola’s YouTube channel and will enable young people and teachers to connect with her on a more regular basis. The videos can all be viewed at www.youtube.com/NicolaBenedettiOfficial