Blog: Luke Newby, Trainee Music Leader 2018

My year as the Trainee Music Leader with Wigmore Hall Learning has flown by. Looking back on the year has made me realise that it has been all about two things; music and people.

Luke Newby Blog2The work that Wigmore Hall Learning does is of the highest musical quality; I have been challenged and rewarded through working with brilliant workshop leaders, musicians and workshop participants. All of these groups have brought their own creative ideas to each project and the Wigmore Hall Learning ethos of co-creativity and equality has allowed all of these ideas to be heard and valued. When I started this year I expected to learn more about workshop leading but I have actually learned about being a more complete and rounded musician by exploring my own musical identity through the creative input provided by all the people I have worked with.

The other huge part of this year has been people. As one workshop leader said, “This work is all about breathing with people”. This sentiment has really resonated with me through the year as I worked with a huge range of people; from toddlers to people living with advanced dementia. The aim of all of my work this year was to connect with people, no matter their age or situation. The Trainee Music Leader role at Wigmore Hall placed an emphasis on reflection and self-awareness, particularly through regular feedback meetings with my mentor, Julian West; a wonderfully thoughtful and thought provoking musician who helped to guide and shape my development this year. I believe that developing these reflective qualities has allowed me to make strong connections with people through the year and allowed me to better understand and appreciate these connections. Luke Newby Blog1The other important role that people have played this year is as a support network. All of the Wigmore Hall Learning team have been unbelievably kind and supportive through this year. I have felt truly valued, respected and included and definitely feel that I am now part of the Wigmore Hall family.

Distilling the year down to one or two highlights is almost impossible. The Learning programme covers early years, schools, work with families and community groups and work with people living with dementia and I have been involved in all aspects at some point this year. However, for this post I can’t write about everything. I think that the project that really captured the spirit of my year was the Sense of Home instillation. In the build up to this instillation I worked at Chestnuts School with workshop leader, Gawain Hewitt, and 4 groups of students with Special Educational Needs. These workshops were wonderfully free and creative, with the students ideas all being respected and a great sense of communication and connection between everyone in the room. Gawain recorded all of the sessions and then showcased selected moments through an interactive sound instillation that was part of the Sense of Home exhibition at Wigmore Hall, celebrating 25 years of the Learning Department. Seeing the creative ideas of those children being celebrated in the beautiful exhibition space that Gawain curated at a venue as prestigious as Wigmore Hall was a really special moment and really emphasised the brilliant work that is done by the Learning Department.

This year has changed the way I think about music and people. I will leave Wigmore Hall as a more complete individual, with greater ability to connect with people and enhance these connections through music. This has only been possible because of the amazing opportunities and support that I have been given as the Trainee Music Leader. It has been a truly life changing experience.