“There should be no barriers, financial or otherwise, to children’s learning.”

Last year in the height of lockdown, 14 year old Emmerson from Lewisham was about to stop his music lessons. He had been forced to choose between sport and music as his GCSE options. As a talented sportsman with the ambition to play professionally, he opted for sport. Without the funds to pay for private music tuition, this difficult decision spelled the end of his music studies.

Emmerson is a talented young trumpeter with a passion for jazz and an active member of Lewisham Concert Band, so the thought of losing his music lessons was heartbreaking. Luckily, AYM and Lewisham Music Hub were on hand to help.

We found a fantastic jazz trumpet teacher to work with Emmerson throughout the lockdown and beyond, and funded these lessons. Emmerson has since been having weekly online tuition, and he recently became the first English performer to play at the Louis Armstrong Summer Jazz Camp, held online this year.

Emmerson says:

“They say that this Borough is disadvantaged, but I beg to differ. I bump into so many other talented children who just need an opportunity and an appropriate adult to guide, chaperone and advocate them onto success.

“There should be no barriers, financial or otherwise, to children’s learning. Those who can must ensure that every effort is made to really level up the playing field.”

Emmerson’s story isn’t unusual. Many children from low income families simply can’t afford private music tuition. The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated the problem, by stretching many families’ finances to the limit.

You can help young musicians like Emmerson by donating to AYM.

This week, we’re raising £22,800 to support our Furthering Talent programme. Through this, 30 children in Lewisham will receive tailored musical support including free weekly instrumental lessons so they can reach their potential.

The Childhood Trust have generously backed our project, along with many of our kind supporters. This means that any donations, up to a total of £11,400, made between now and midday on Tuesday 15 June will be doubled!

Will you donate today so that many more young people like Emmerson can reach their musical potential?

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