By Liam Fleet, Year 9
On 26 February, 20 members of the Gloucestershire Youth Wind Orchestra went to the Music Expo in London. This event is held particularly for people wishing to take on music as career in one way or another. We were given the opportunity to play a selection of pieces from our expansive repertoire, including the theme from “Austin Powers”, and “Happy” by Pharell Williams. We then had the rest of the day to talk to various music career advisers and companies.
There were lots of career advisers including the RAF and many music colleges. It was fascinating to talk to the staff from these places. The RAF is always looking out for musicians, and they told us a lot about how many jobs and opportunities are offered to their musicians. The music colleges and schools were able to tell us about different courses and how they have multiple pathways in the course to fit someone’s proposed career. For example, there are courses for people who want to compose, to study and analyse music and for people who want to perform either as soloists or as orchestral/ensemble players. This was particularly useful to me personally, as I am looking into a career as a double-reed specialist, particularly in orchestral bassoon and oboe, hopefully teaching the instruments too which lots of universities and conservatoires provide courses for.
A huge variety of world-wide music companies and instrument manufacturers like Yamaha, Hercules, Kawai and Howarth had stands at the Expo. The Early Music Shop also had a stand there. They have the UK’s largest range of recorders (both wooden and plastic) right from the tiny Garklien to the enormous Great Bass. As their name suggests, they focus on the earliest forms of music, so from Medieval to Baroque. As a recorder player too, I found their range of instruments based on models from these times fascinating, and got to play an amazing quality wooden treble recorder.
Howarth are one of the UK’s best companies for double-reed instruments, and one of the best oboe makers in the world. I had the opportunity to play a Howarth Professional XL Oboe and some varying sizes of bassoons. I play a full-size, but some manufacturers make smaller versions for beginners and younger children to learn on in the hope of getting more people to learn the bassoon. There are not many bassoon players compared to most other instruments, and the music industry is often short of bassoonists, hence the creation of the smaller models. As my primary instrument, learning anything I can about different bassoons is beneficial to me.
All in all, it was a brilliant experience and I learned a lot to help me progress in music and get plenty of ideas for a future career in the field.