WAYACHAMP offers unique educational experiences for young West Australian musicians by creating opportunities for engagement, development and the exchange of ideas through the vehicle of chamber music.
Inspired by international chamber music courses designed for tertiary level students, WAYACHAMP was founded in 2011. Since then it has seen over 500 participants in the Spring Program, which attracts string and piano students aged 10 – 17 from all over Western Australia. Students are put into ensembles and are mentored by Australia’s leading chamber musicians. They also participate in chamber orchestra, workshops and performances.
As well as the musical benefits, the Program focuses on creative collaboration, leadership, self-critique and going outside one’s comfort zone. A compositional stream encourages the students to write and interpret their own new chamber music.
The 2020 Spring Program will be held from Monday 28 September – Thursday 1 October at the UWA Conservatorium of Music.
Young people today are becoming increasingly detached from a number of important life skills, such as the art of improving a skill slowly over time, thinking creatively or abstractly, the art of working in a team or with other adults. By studying music, and specifically, participating in chamber music, students encounter these learning opportunities head on. Additional benefits include confidence building, allowing them an individual voice and assisting in general mental well-being.
On a more technical level, participation in chamber music puts a player’s skills under the microscope. It highlights the importance of playing in tune, in time, with accuracy and control over tone, colour, blend, articulation, expression, and above all, listening.
This Program therefore offers a unique but essential learning pathway to those wanting a career in music as well as benefits to all young people which will be taken into their lives whatever career path they choose.
The mentor-apprentice model of learning is vital in chamber music. However, this comes at a high proportionate cost. With a ratio of approximately 1 tutor to 4 students, the biggest challenge to the program will always be covering tutor fees without raising the student fee (rendering it impossible for many families to afford).
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It is my goal to be able to offer the Spring Program to anyone learning an instrument – regardless of what suburb they live in, what school they are from or what their parents do.
It is also my goal to add another 100 students to the list of WAYACHAMP alumni by the end of 2020. 100 students who have created music, expressed themselves, been brave, dared to lead and had a whole lot of fun at the same time.