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Orchestras for All launches new online ensemble leadership course modules

Youth music charity Orchestras for All (OFA) has launched two new modules as part of its online training course designed to develop skills in effectively leading an inclusive music ensemble.

The course is aimed at music teachers, ensemble leaders and aspiring conductors working in inclusive music-making settings. Each of the modules has been designed to cover a specific element of inclusive ensemble leadership, introducing course users to Orchestras for All’s ground-breaking approach to ensemble music- making.

The online course gives music leaders the tools, strategies and practical conducting techniques to set up or develop a fully inclusive instrumental ensemble. The course is flexible and modular, enabling the user to progress at their own pace and to either complete the whole course or select the topics most useful to them.

The new modules, called Inclusive Rehearsals and Learning By Ear, invite the user to engage virtually with two real life rehearsals, the first with youth music conductor Justin Fung and young musicians from Sheffield Music Hub, the second with folk workshop leader and musician Emily Askew and members of the London Youth Folk Ensemble, supported by the English Folk Dance and Song Society.

Inclusive Rehearsals focuses on how to run a fun and engaging instrumental ensemble rehearsal for musicians at all instrument skill levels, while Learning By Ear demonstrates how to run an instrumental rehearsal without the use of notation.

Using short film clips from the rehearsals, the modules set reflective tasks for the user through an embedded Conductor’s Notebook, asking participants to practise and plan using ensemble leadership approaches featured in the videos. Both rehearsals featured in the modules build to a successful musical performance for each ensemble.

OFA’s Executive Director, Stuart Burns, said:

‘We hope that the CFC online course will become a key learning resource for aspiring conductors and ensemble leaders everywhere. Our mission at OFA is to remove the barriers young people face to making music together. Key to that is equipping music leaders with the skills and confidence to set up and lead inclusive music ensembles. Having developed and provided successful face-to-face training courses over the last few years, the online course represents a step change in our ability to share our proven approach and techniques to educators around the world.’


The course can be accessed online here, at http://www.orchestrasforall.org/ensembleleadership. The introductory module, Preparing to Lead an Ensemble is free of charge, giving participants the opportunity to find out what is on offer across the course. 

  • One year’s access to a module is £25
  • 20% discount is available until 5 January 2020 using the discount code XMAS2019