Making the Grade 1

By | May 23, 2013 at 11:54 am | One comment | Gradeone-athon

We all know that it takes years of study and hard work to learn an instrument to the standard required to play in the LSO. We are lucky to have some of the world’s best musicians in our orchestra.

So what happens when you give a musician a different instrument and ask them to learn it to a standard where they can take Grade 1 in just six months? That’s exactly what two LSO players will be doing in the next few months, alongside hundreds of their orchestral colleagues from across the UK, and all for a good cause, Children in Crossfire.

The challenge, devised by violinist Joanna Watts, will see over 100 musicians from the UK’s leading orchestras and West End shows take part, as well as several well-known faces.

The charity Children in Crossfire has projects all over the world and aims to protect and promote the rights of some of the most vulnerable children. Through this challenge the musicians will be raising money for the Tumaini La Maisha project, which cares for children with cancer in Tanzania. In March Joanna Watts travelled to Tanzania to work with the children, leading music and art workshops. She was overwhelmed by the courage and bravery of the children she met and the devotion of the charity towards them.

We’ll be following LSO musicians Maxine Kwok-Adams (First Violin – learning the Flute) and Rebecca Gilliver (Principal Cello – learning the Saxophone) on their quest to take Grade 1 in their chosen instrument. Will the aural exam be their bête noire? Will Rebecca’s dog ever forgive her? Stay tuned to the blog to find out!

You can find out more about Gradeone-athon and donate to the charity on the website:

And watch this film to find out more about the charity the challenge is supporting in this video:

And have a look at the Facebook Group for more updates on the musicians’ progress:

One Comment

  1. And now the end is near… (1 year ago)

    [...] has been a while since I wrote a blog about learning the flute for a charity Gradeone-athon, and when I look back at the optimism of the early ones, I do wish I had used my time more wisely [...]


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