National youth music charity, Orchestras for All (OFA), is breaking down barriers to give all young people the life-changing experience of making music together.
The award-winning organisation, which places wellbeing and youth leadership at the heart of its activity, runs three core programmes: National Orchestra for All (NOFA), Modulo and Music Leadership Training.
NOFA is the only non-auditioned, inclusive national youth orchestra in the UK. It welcomes young people from all backgrounds, with any level of musical ability, playing any instrument – including those not usually found in a traditional orchestra, such as saxophones, electric guitars, ukuleles, harmonicas, and much more!
The inspiring ensemble is formed of around 100 young people aged between 11 and 18 from all across the country, who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to play music in a youth orchestra due to the significant daily challenges they face – whether that's due to physical disability, mental health conditions, learning difficulties, economic deprivation, rural isolation, or living in care or as young carers.
Produced by Broaden Films, this video campaign shares snippets of NOFA members enjoying a dynamic live workshop during their spring 2023 residential at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. Here they created an exciting new piece of music with composer and multi-instrumentalist, Joe Broughton, titled 'Strength in Numbers'. Music is a universal language, so rather than using sheet music, the group created this particular work with Joe through learning by ear, making the session accessible for all and empowering the young people we work with to take ownership over the creative process in rehearsals as well as their stage performance. It also gave them a unique opportunity to bond and experience a powerful moment of togetherness.
Research has shown that music transcends educational ability, socio-economic status and disability – and yet, thousands of young people miss out on music-making opportunities due to a lack of financial, social or cultural support. An orchestra is the perfect platform for young people to express themselves, boosts the confidence and self-esteem of its members and can provide a safe space for those with challenging home or school lives. An orchestra allows young people to unlock diverse social networks, forge lifelong friendships and develop crucial skills in teamwork and communication. For many young people, an orchestra is so much more than an orchestra.
But with hundreds of schools nationwide suffering major cuts to music funding, it’s never been more important for us to improve access to music education and without the ongoing support of our funders and individual donors, OFA's programmes wouldn't exist.
Please support our charity today and help us make a positive impact on the lives of thousands of young people nationwide.