Music Matters: Starting young is to be encouraged

Music Matters.
Music Matters.

Musicians have always impressed me and, as a ‘non-player’ working in musical theatre, the most exciting part is the band call - when the band arrives and rehearse.

For the cast, who have spent at least two weeks working long hours learning the show, the band simply turn up, set up, open their scores and play – perfectly!

It’s very impressive, it sets the adrenalin pumping and lifts the show to a whole new level. Of course, in these situations, it’s easy to forget the many years of hard work musicians put into their craft and the ongoing hours of practice required to work professionally.

So, I have been hugely impressed by recent media coverage regarding Hollywood actor Ryan Gosling and his three months of intensive piano tuition in preparation for a role as a jazz musician in the movie La La Land. By all accounts, his portrayal is most convincing, proving that learning a musical instrument and applying sufficient time and practice, can provide rewarding and exciting opportunities.

It should also remind all parents and guardians of the wonderful gift playing music offers to children and young people and that starting young should always be encouraged.

This was illustrated perfectly during a visit to the Ken Stimpson Community School just before Christmas, where the audience was bowled over by an excellent performance from teenage pianist Jay Yonga – after just three years of lessons – resulting in a well-deserved first place in the Kenny’s Got Talent competition.

Some friends recently took delivery of a very old and well-loved piano for their son, and if he works as hard as Mr Gosling and Master Yonga, then he, in turn, will be able to inspire and impress others.

The Peterborough Music Hub, through its links with local schools, offers instrument loans and bursaries to eligible students, making music accessible across the city. There really is no excuse to make a start.

The Music Hub continues to provide performance opportunities for young musicians and on February 18 and 19 the Peterborough Youth Orchestra workshop is playing Beethoven’s 5 th Symphony. The course is free and places are still available – particularly for woodwind and violin players – email

There’s also time to enter the New Youth Music Showcase, on March 17 as part of the Peterborough Music Festival. Open to composers and songwriters under 18, the competition includes a recording session, cash prizes and the chance to appear at the Key Theatre. Visit Deadline is February 28.

The Peterborough Centre for Young Musicians is recruiting brass players for its Saturday morning ensemble classes and last month opened classes in Ukulele and Recorder for 5-7 year olds. Once again instrument loan and bursaries are available. Visit for details.

Peterborough really is a place where music matters.

Michael Cross is Peterborough Music Hub Programme Coordinator