Orchestras, venues & opera

New imaginative play workshop model for student orchestras.


Liepzig Gerwanthaus Orchestra & Barbican

Nominated for a Royal Philharmonic Society Award 2015

Leipzig Gewandhaus residency: Creative Learning worked with a group of school children from Newham, Redbridge and Hackney. The group spent two days working with leader Luke Crookes to develop original responses to Brahms and his music, culminating in a pre-concert foyer performance at the Barbican. The final performance was well received by both the concert hall audience, and the new audiences who supported the young people. The group attended the Leipzig Gewandhaus Brahms concert that evening – an audience member wrote afterwards “I found it hard to believe that they could have been so very quiet throughout a long and demanding piece….these young people were fully taking advantage of the opportunity you had offered them”.




My goal is to create a workshop practice that is embodied and aligned. To take time to notice the labels, language and narrative that we communicate through, and shift to sensation and imagination. To create spaces where we can notice and discover the essence of our artistic ideas, allowing us to be present and listening when creating and performing. Music is an interactive think rather than a thing. And once it stops being a thing and it becomes a think you can then shift to it becoming a sense, and once you can sense it, letting go of things and thinks, a shift to sensing and flow happens. My work is about shifting through these stages and leaving the doors open so we can keep shifting throughout life.


My circus performance analogy

Are you nervous when you play or in flow?



Thinking through the instrument and labels

Some people are hanging on for dear life, struggling to stay balanced and flying through the air like nervous wrecks.

Thinking through the mind

Some people have read all the acrobatic books and understand the science of the ropes, they have learnt skills to master each acrobatic move they make.

We should use instrumental skills and intellectual skills but they shouldn’t be what is driving the creation of ideas, sound or performance. Like a rocket let’s go of it’s fuel tanks as it enters space, we should let go of our instrumental and intellectual skills and we can shift to a sensing state. Unfortunately lots of us unconsciously think through instrumental and intellectual skills and this causes attachment, conditioning and entanglement which makes life and creating flow in an artistic situation impossible.

Sensing from the present

Some people are present, listening and sensing each moment, feeling energy of the space and in a state of flow. Each performance is fresh and in a new ‘now’.


Sometimes without realising we get stuck at the different stages but if we take a bit of time we can shift into healthier and more artistic practice.

Sheffield Youth Orchestra. Workshop notes for students & recording. April 2017




Philharmonia Orchestra


Philharmonia orchestra & Royal Shakespeare company

‘Symphony Days’ Secondary school orchestral workshops Project that ran for two years.

Workshops in the Royal festival hall prior to a performance of ‘Peter and the wolf’ click for article. 
Narrated Peter & the Wolf with Philharmonia in Leicester
Re-rite interactive orchestra on Southbank London. click for Classic FM article 


Scottish Chamber Orchestra



In Spring 2015, SCO led a creative composition project with Fife Secondary Schools featuring Candlebird by Martin Suckling. The project formed part of the SCO’s unique residency programme at the University of St Andrews and was led by Martin (SCO Associate Composer), Luke Crookes (workshop leader), with SCO musicians Su-a Lee (cello) and Matthew Hardy (percussion). Students from three secondary schools spent a weekend at the Younger Hall in St Andrews exploring Martin’s piece –  and the Don Paterson poems that inspired it – through listening, improvisation and discussion. The group developed their own ensemble piece in response, incorporating two of Don Paterson’s poems, and the resulting performance took place in the Younger Hall prior to the Scottish Chamber Orchestra concert at which Candlebird received its Scottish premier.

Opera North

Verve ensemble cross arts for children with Aspergers & Autism
Belle Isle Easter holiday Orchestra 2 day Project

Kirkless schools instrument project. Click for article.

The day was led by Luke Crookes from Opera North.

The young people have taken part in work on The Planets Suite, Carmen and other orchestral works, accessing music through a variety of techniques. They have worked with staff at their own schools and specialist musician from Opera North.
BBC Proms and Symphony Orchestra

Recycle family orchestra (Bassoonist, Lincoln Abbott’s Leading)

BBC Proms

Family wind band

London Philharmonic Orchestra

Wigmore Hall

Chamber Tots
Soundscapes & Landscapes


Mendelssohn violin concerto Podcasts