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At the heart of English folk
Youth Folk Ensemble

New London-wide Youth Folk Ensemble to launch

Part of a Youth Music funded programme to include taster sessions across London boroughs

The English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS) is launching a new London Youth Folk Ensemble for young musicians, thanks to a £64,937 grant from the National Foundation for Youth Music. The Ensemble, for improving and advanced players aged 12 to 18 years, is part of a wider programme that will include holiday courses and taster sessions across nine London boroughs taking place over the next two years.

The aim of the programme is to encourage more young people to get involved in playing folk and traditional music from the British Isles and beyond. It will provide the first access to folk music for many and opportunities to progress in the genre, for which there is currently very little provision in London.

The London Youth Folk Ensemble will meet over 10 monthly sessions on Sunday afternoons per year at Cecil Sharp House, EFDSS' folk arts centre in Camden, North London, with up to six performances a year. One will be at the Folk by the Oak festival in Hertfordshire in July 2014.

The Folk Ensemble is for committed young musicians with a passion for folk music. It is suitable for players of all instruments from grade 2 level to grade 8 and above. Sessions will be led by professional folk musicians and music will be taught by ear.

Folk Ensemble members will need to commit to the whole year. They will be encouraged to play a role in shaping the future of the Ensemble. EFDSS will be working with Wired4Music, run by Sound Connections, to develop this process. 

“This is a very exciting development for young people who are interested in learning and playing folk music. It has enjoyed a huge resurgence in recent years with bands like Bellowhead and Mumford and Sons crossing into mainstream music, leading to an increased interest among young people. Following previous projects by EFDSS and partner organisations, EFDSS felt there was a demand for a larger and higher profile programme to help more young people play folk music.”
- Rachel Elliott, EFDSS' Education Director

The holiday courses called Get Your Folk On! will include three-day courses in October and February half terms and a five-day course in August per year at Cecil Sharp House. They are open to all instrumentalists aged 12 to 18, from improvers to advanced players.

The taster sessions for musicians aged 10 to 18 will be delivered in partnership with seven London music education hubs: Camden Music Service, Croydon Music and Arts, the Royal Greenwich Music Hub, Haringey Music Centre, Harrow Music Service, Southwark Music Service and the Tri-borough Music Hub, (which covers Kensington & Chelsea, Hammersmith & Fulham and Westminster). Taster sessions will start this term, taking place in Saturday music centres, schools and other out-of-school music settings.

“We are really excited about the Ensemble and hope that the holiday courses and taster sessions will also appeal to young people who may never have thought about getting involved in folk music before.”
- Rachel Elliott, EFDSS' Education Director

Find out more about the Ensemble and holiday courses at Cecil Sharp House

To apply to join the Ensemble please download an application form and email it to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by Tuesday 1 October.


National Youth Folk Ensemble

National Youth Folk Ensemble


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