Welcome to YCAT’s 21cMusician toolkit: a brand new series of micro-courses, videos, interviews, blogs, and live events, each with a different monthly focus, to help kickstart your career as a musician.

This month, we explore the power of programming. Get inspired by music critics, who told us about concerts which have stood out for them due to their inventive programmes, Zach Manzi's Introduction to Design Thinking, and many more contributors.

“Programming is a form of cooking with sound. And every time musicians put together a programme, it is like putting together a meal for their audience. We tell stories through different flavours and through different sound worlds and it's so much fun to elaborate on a topic like this, which can be very subjective but which also contains certain principles which are true in life as they are in art; which inform the way we programme and the choices that we make in our repertoire.” 

    Get a taste for the key ingredients of successful and inventive programming with mezzo-soprano Ema Nikolovska in this special four-part edition of our mini-masterclass series.

    Memorable programmes: we speak to the critics

    Music writers and critics Jessica Duchen, Sebastian ScotneyCharlotte Gardner and Frances Wilson share their thoughts on stand-out programmes and the challenges facing today's musicians with YCAT's Sean Dunn

    Jessica Duchen; Sebastian Scotney; Frances Wilson; Charlotte Gardner

    Zach Manzi

    Introduction to Design Thinking for Musicians

    21cMusician online micro-course in partnership with iCadenza

    YCAT is delighted to share an exclusive tutorial by Zach Manzi, co-Artistic Director and clarinetist of the ensemble Conduit, which serves as a vibrant experimental ground for connecting young people to the performing arts.

    His three part online micro-course, created for iCadenza and available for a limited time in our 21cMusician toolkit, introduces the design thinking process, exploring how it can benefit the work of musicians and be applied to creating innovative performances.

    Show us what inspires you as a #21cMusician 

    Perhaps it's a favourite piece or performer, or a place close to your heart?
    Share your text/picture/video/reel on social media and tag #21cMusician for the chance to win a 1:1 coaching session with YCAT!

    Rakhi Singh

    Blog pick of the week: Can we transcend our classical past? by Rakhi Singh

    "When I am listening to music, I’m always observing how it makes me feel and how to translate that into something three-dimensional through curation. I’ll latch onto a strong feeling or fact that evokes an atmosphere, then try and build something around that."

    We loved this insight into programming from Rakhi Singh, co-founder and Music Director of Manchester Collective. Rakhi will be joining us for our November event on Starting from Scratch  - stay tuned for more details!

    Coming next month... Starting from Scratch: the entrepreneurial musician 

    Explore the 21cMusician toolkit