The Gregg School

Charlie Tunes Up For NYJC Summer School

Published by Bedford Modern School on Friday 30th of June 2023

Year 12 student and talented pianist Charlie Blades has successfully achieved one of 45 places on the National Youth Jazz Collective’s (NYJC) Summer School programme for 2023 from amongst a field of 115 applicants.

The NYJC is an organisation which seeks to offer opportunities to jazz enthusiasts aged 8-18. They offer two annual courses every August – the three-day ‘Short Course’, which Charlie undertook in 2021, and the full seven-day ‘Summer School’.

Charlie, who hopes to one day study at The Juilliard School in New York, was required to play three pieces during his audition process: a mid-tempo Blues, along with two previously prepared contrasting pieces. Additionally, there were tests focused on his aural ability, improvisation and harmonic understanding, as well as a short conversation with adjudicators about his interests.

At the Summer School, Charlie will be working alongside England’s most gifted young jazz musicians. The course aims to help players of all styles, traditions and instruments to hone their craft and develop their confidence in small group settings, one-to-one teaching lessons and large jam sessions. Students will be divided between five nine-piece combos and guided by 11 of the nation’s leading jazz educators, who are themselves internationally renowned performers.

Charlie said: “I’m really looking forward to learning from highly acclaimed British jazz musicians. It will be intense but enjoyable. I’m also excited to meet people my age who are just unbelievably good musicians.”

The course will conclude with the five ensembles performing a public concert together.

At BMS, Charlie is a valued contributor to our co-curricular music provision. He currently runs a four-piece Year 12 jazz quartet and performs as a pianist in the Big Band and Groove Collective. He also plays the saxophone with the Concert Band.

Mrs Perry, Director of Music at BMS, added: This is an excellent opportunity for Charlie and he is going to thrive being in this environment amongst other top-flight Jazz musicians. I can’t wait to hear about how he gets on – it is a real achievement to have been offered a place on such a prestigious course.”

Charlie Tunes Up For NYJC Summer School - Photo 1
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