When the Coronavirus pandemic hit, Cambridgeshire Music wanted to find fun ways of making music during lockdown for young people across the county.

First, we rolled out online lessons through our Connect programme. Then we wanted to offer young people who would normally be playing in our ensembles the opportunity to make music together with other musicians, which is how the idea of Cambridgeshire Music’s Online Orchestra came about.

For our first exciting online ensemble initiative, we brought together our musical community in a virtual performance of the classic TV theme tune – Hawaii-5-0.

After we put out a call for contributions, we received more than 60 video and audio recordings from 50 different musicians across Cambridgeshire and beyond – including one of Cambridgeshire Music's former students who's now a session drummer in Los Angeles!

Cambridgeshire Music’s Head of Ensembles Mark Aldous wove his magic to combine the performances – and it has now been watched nearly 6,000 times! The heart-warming performance even made it to the front page of the Cambridge News.

Watch the performance here:

Making Music During Lockdown

Second Online Orchestra Challenge

The second online orchestra initiative is now completes. Once again we invited young musicians from across the county and beyond to come with us to sunnier climes – by taking part in the foot-tapping Mexican dance tune, La Bamba!

As last time, this opportunity was free and open to musicians of any instrument, age or ability. We responded to the feedback that you gave last time by adding different level piano parts, a guitar part, a vocal part, and extra percussion to the usual array of orchestral instruments. And we were delighted that more than 100 people got involved this time!

Here is the final performance:

Check out some tutorials from our music tutors that we offered to help perfect musical parts....

First, Emily Myles offers some singing tips - as well as advice on pronouncing some tricky Spanish words:

Second, Chris Smith offers some tips on how to get the most out of the melody for the trumpet part:

Third, Chris offers some tips on perfecting the horn part:

Fourth, Simon gives some hints on getting the bass part right:

And last but not least, Ross demonstrates some of the tricky guitar/ukulele chords:

Download Online Ensembles Guidance Sheet