Guest Post: Trey Qua and Cassie Kinoshi, Music For Youth

If you were in Birmingham city centre last week, there’s a good chance you’ll have seen a much larger number of young musicians armed with instruments of all shapes and sizes moving between Town Hall, Birmingham Conservatoire and Symphony Hall than usual.

Last week, the Music for YouthNational Festival brought 8000 young people of all ages to perform an exciting and diverse range of music, and receive feedback from established artists and industry professionals. Trey Qua, 17, and Cassie Kinoshi, 20 – two young musicians and composers told us how the festival has influenced their song writing.

Cassie: The festival gives young people the chance to share all types of music with everyone. From a composition perspective, it gives people the opportunity to get feedback on their work from Music Mentors who have a range of music industry experience.

I really enjoyed watching the range of groups perform at the festival from the Big Bands – where I can take a lot from the arrangements they perform – to seeing more traditional and international groups and their ideas. I also got a lot from the Rock, Pop and Urban stage in Town Hall on Friday – there were some really interesting ideas that young people were putting in their compositions.

For instance, the taiko drumming group – you don’t get the opportunity to experiment with these instruments at University – so I’m hoping to get a lot out of my next year of development with Music for Youth as part of the Young Artist Development Programme.

Trey: It’s great here – listening to loads of young people perform; loads of different genres all in one place. You discover something new – for instance the Jazz Bands – you know, I hadn’t really heard a Jazz Band perform live and it is great to hear it performed by young people. There are so many skilled young musicians here. It’s a great experience for young people to perform at THSH and the Conservatoire in Birmingham.

I took part in a composition workshop which presented different ways of writing a song and how to get rid of writers block.

Some of my performance highlights included the Debuts and Door to Door Salesman in the Rock, Pop and Urban stage. I liked their style. Their performances were tight. There was also a Frank Zappa tribute and the stuff they did was great!

The composition workshops showed me different ways to compose music. Watching the performances showed me what other young people are doing with their music. All this has made me want to develop more harmonies in my music and try writing in different styles.

For more information on the Music for Youth National Festival that takes place at THSH every year and the Young Artist Development Programme, a brand new pilot scheme supported by Vivendi Create Joy Fund visit

Classic FM coverage of the Music For Youth National Festival in Birmingham