Just The Tonic with Katie Derham


Music For Confidence with Sir James MacMillan

Season 1, Ep. 4

In this episode, Katie Derham finds out how being involved in making music can give people the confidence they need to have a better and brighter future.

We've heard from players in The People's Orchestra and from choir members in one of their many show choirs in previous episodes, but the team behind the inspirational community orchestra in the West Midlands don't only create opportunities for people who want to play an instrument or sing. They create employment opportunities for non-musicians too. Katie speaks to behind-the-scenes staff and people they've helped back into work.

Streetwise Opera is all about giving people recovering from homelessness the chance to get their lives back on track through the power of opera. Head of Communications, Rey Trombetta talks about the value of the projects they run throughout the UK and we hear from Ruben Whitter who says he never thought he would be an opera singer, but being involved in Streetwise Opera has turned his life around.

Celebrated composer Sir James MacMillan has worked with Streetwise Opera in the past and he tells Katie what inspired him to get involved. We find out about the British tradition of composers working in communities and James talks about creating opportunities in his hometown of Cumnock in Scotland through his festival, The Cumnock Tryst.




More Episodes


Inspirational Music Educators with Nicola Benedetti

Season 1, Ep. 6
Katie Derham explores how music education for children can be Just The Tonic. She finds out from Nicola Benedetti how music-making can help young people learn all sorts of life skills. Nicola has long been a champion of making music lessons widely available and, through her Benedetti Foundation, provided a lifeline for young musicians during the pandemic. The enormous benefits of giving children a good music education are well-recognised. Neavan Lobban, twenty-two-year-old principal conductor with The People's Orchestra attended a state school that specialised in music education. He firmly believes that instrumental lessons should be provided free of charge. Sistema Scotland's Big Noise projects have been helping young people in deprived communities in Scotland for a number of years, providing music lessons at no cost. Based on the renowned El Sistema system in Venezuela, their motto is social change through music. Senior musician Jo Ashcroft has worked at the Big Noise project in Raploch, Stirling for many years and she's seen first-hand how children who attend music lessons regularly do better at school. Symone and Scott Hutchison are living proof! They've been attending Big Noise lessons since primary school and now they're on course for a career in music. There are many ways in which making music can have a lasting impact on young people's lives. Find out more when Katie meets inspirational music educators in this week's Just The Tonic.