Lewisham Junior Orchestra provides a unique opportunity for young musicians to learn, develop, improvise, and build confidence.


In October 2022 Lewisham Junior Orchestra made its long-awaited return after 2 years, and this time we teamed up with the legendary London Symphony Orchestra.


Lewisham Junior Orchestra provided a unique opportunity for 46 young musicians to develop their instrumental skills, build their confidence, explore improvisation and learn new arrangements. The project was led by professional cellist, Thibault Blanchard-Dubois, supported by experienced facilitators from Lewisham Music, and professional musicians from London Symphony Orchestra.


This year the young musicians explored ‘The Goblin and The Mosquito’ written by Florence Price, the first African American woman to be recognised as a symphonic composer, and the first to have a composition played by a major orchestra.


“Many of the young musicians on this project were new to playing collectively. Ensemble playing and learning with others is essential to their development. The process allowed the group to develop their autonomy and confidence. They learned how to position themselves within a group, musically and socially.”

Thibault Blanchard-Dubois





Young Music Mentors

The programme was supported by 8 young music mentors aged 15-17. The mentors were identified by Lewisham Music and supported by LSO musician Bindi McFarlane, together they offered support and guidance to the younger musicians in the orchestra. We caught up with one young mentor to tell us about their experience on the project:


“Being a young mentor for the Lewisham Junior Orchestra was an enlightening experience, it was an opportunity to learn from those who are also learning and developing their musical abilities. The atmosphere was lovely and the eagerness of all participants drove the improvised parts of the piece to be very creative.”

Princetta, age 15


The outcomes of the project


of young people reported it was their first experience playing in a large group/ensemble


Since attending the project…


of young people felt that they had been exposed to new musical experiences (66% ‘strongly agreed’, 33% ‘agreed’)


of young people felt that they are better able to express their own ideas through music (50% ‘agree’, 20% ‘not sure’, 10% ‘disagree’)


of young people reported that they had learned new skills (33% ‘strongly agree’, 50% ‘agree’, 17% ‘not sure’)


of young people felt they had got better at communicating with other through music (83% ‘agree’, 17% ‘not sure’)


of young people felt they became more confident in performing (17% ‘strongly agree’, 50% ‘agree’, 16% ‘not sure’, 17% ‘disagree’)


of young people plan to continue learning music in the next six months (67% ‘strongly agree’, 33% ‘agree’)




Here’s what some of the participants had to say…


“It was fun and I loved expressing my music with other musicians and exploring different instruments and listening to the sound of different musicians.”



“At the start I wasn’t sure I’d like it, but it turned out to be fun and interesting, and I learned a lot!”



“I really enjoyed learning new techniques and playing with others.”



Watch Lewisham Junior Orchestra perform ‘The Goblin and The Mosquito’



Here are a few photos from the project



Project partners

This project was kindly supported by London Symphony Orchestra.


LSO website


Don’t forget to check out some of the other opportunities for brass, strings, wind and percussion players below.