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Sage Gateshead opens applications for its Young Musicians Programme 2022/23

Posted on 8 April 2022

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Young Musicians Programme, Sage Gateshead’s acclaimed programme of tuition for aspiring musicians, has opened applications for 2022/23. From children beginning to explore music to young people who want to become professional artists, Young Musicians Programme help fulfil musical potential.

There are many benefits to joining Young Musicians Programme where young people can meet new friends, improve skills, confidence, and self-esteem. Students have gone on to access a wide range of careers and apprenticeships alongside higher education and the UK’s top conservatoires.

The programme is open to all children and young people who are passionate about music and want to learn.

Vanessa (17) from Felling joined Sage Gateshead Young Musicians Programme when she was 6 years old.

“I was enjoying singing and playing a lot on my dad’s out of tune piano with my sister and this made my mum think it would be good for us both to start music lessons She looked for different opportunities, but mostly teachers wanted children who could already read and who were aged 7 or older. It was a friend of the family who put us onto the Young Musicians Programme.” she said

Vanessa has joined many classes in the programme and played wind and folk instruments as well as learning to sing.

“It was important to me to try different instruments, as it took a few tries to find what suited me. The opportunity to deepen my love of folk music has been particularly important to me. I’m motivated to get out of bed at the weekend because I love being there.”

Vanessa said that her love of music and the support from those around her at YMP has enabled her to grow and develop over the years.

“Music has been one of the things that kept me going through the tough times. It’s given me the opportunity to develop a whole part of my life. Thanks to the teaching and learning I benefitted from, I’ve been able to get a music scholarship for my sixth form and am attending a small school where accommodations are being made for my dyslexia. Attending YMP helped me not to give up on education when I was having such a tough time at school.”

In 2021/22, families involved with the programme received over £230,000 of bursaries and many students don’t pay any fees at all.

Vanessa attends YMP with the support of a grant. She credits the bursary scheme with enabling her to reach her potential and is considering a future in music working with early years or continuing her studies at a music conservatoire.

“It has allowed me to do all these activities which would have been out of reach. The activities have had a massive impact on me, it’s part of my identity. I’ll keep being part of choirs and orchestras even if I don’t continue to study music.”

Hannah Fumoleau, Young Musicians Programme Manager, said: “We’re really keen to encourage applicants from the widest range of backgrounds, making sure everybody has the chance to learn music with us.  We have specialist skills in working with children and young people experiencing challenging circumstances. We want to make sure there no barriers to taking part and financial support is available through grants and bursaries.”

For children and young people aged 4 -14, there is a mix of musicianship classes, foundation instrument lessons in strings, wind, brass and singing alongside choirs and ensembles – no audition is required. Young people aged 10 -16 can join one of the training ensembles to explore musical interests in a relaxed and enjoyable weekly class.

Young people with the passion and potential to take it further can audition for the Centre for Advanced Training which is for10–19-year-olds. It involves one-to-one lessons, ensemble training, music theory and history classes alongside a wide variety of performance opportunities. Young people aged 13-19 can also audition for four different youth ensembles where they can hone playing and singing skills.

Support from the Department for Education’s national Music and Dance Scheme, as well as further bursary funding from David Goldman Trust and Netherton Park Trust means that young people can benefit from world-class music training whatever their personal circumstances.

Those interested in finding out more can watch the online open day on where they can find out more about the programme, meet Young Musicians Programme staff and Tutors, and take a virtual tour of Sage Gateshead and the Music Education Centre.

More information and the application form are at


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Notes to editors

About Sage Gateshead

  • Sage Gateshead is an international music centre for the North East and wider North. Through music, creative learning and artist development, the organisation demonstrates what music can achieve for communities.
  • Since opening in 2004, Sage Gateshead has worked side by side with partners and the wider community to help address the complex blend of social and economic challenges the region faces.
  • Sage Gateshead continues to be a major employer bringing investment and tourism into the region. We’ve generated a c. £500 million contribution to the local economy, a sum six times greater than its combined capital cost.
  • Sage Gateshead has brought social, cultural and educational value to over 10 million people and millions more via digital and broadcast activity. The scale of its artistic, learning and artist development activity places Sage Gateshead amongst the UK’s largest cultural organisations, while reaching a substantially more socially and economically diverse audience.
  • Pre-pandemic Sage Gateshead attracted 2 million visitors; 5,000 people took part in weekly music classes; 17,854 school children experienced live orchestral music and we worked with a further 2,418 vulnerable young people; more than 2,000 adults a week took part in music making designed to tackle social isolation.
  • The North East region is one of the worst affected by Covid-19. The region will be one where the recovery is slow and hard. Arts and culture have a pivotal role to play in regional and nation-wide recovery.
  • Covid-19 presents a major financial challenge to Sage Gateshead, the iconic Foster + Partners designed NE landmark. 80% of its income has been affected, and in 2020/21 £10 million in revenue was lost. The organisation has taken swift action to overcome this crisis. 90% of the workforce was placed on furlough, significant cost savings have been sought and found, and it launched a fundraising campaign to raise £3 million to help secure the organisation during the next three years. Further challenges lie ahead; in 2021/22, Sage Gateshead estimates box office and trading income to be less than half of what would be expected in a normal year.
  • Sage Gateshead temporarily closed to the public on 17 March 2020, five days ahead of the announcement of the national lockdown. Sage Gateshead recommenced performances in October 2020 with a season of socially distanced concerts featuring Royal Northern Sinfonia and artists across genres, made available by live stream; audiences were able to be present in the hall for two weekends of those performances.
  • In 2020 Sage Gateshead received a grant of £2.8 million from the Culture Recovery Fund Round One to help it through the pandemic and associated financial crisis. In 2021 the charity received a loan of £3m from the Culture Recovery Fund Round Two to support recovery. It has thanked the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and Arts Council England for this vital support.