How young musicians can get free advice from an array of experts

A cutting-edge series of video masterclasses for young people aimed at demystifying the process of writing music is now online.

Ear Opener is a free how-to guide featuring interviews with celebrated musicians and composers from across the genre spectrum including Brian Eno, Radiohead guitarist Ed O’Brien, award-winning composer Isobel Waller-Bridge, composer & saxophonist Cassie Kinoshi and rapper Lowkey. It is written and presented by award-winning composer and Clod Ensemble co-artistic director Paul Clark.

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Ear Opener combines simple, accessible explanations of the tools that people who write music use every day, with honest discussions about the creative process. It has been created for any young person creating their own music – whether they’re studying music at secondary school or making music in their own time.

The series was designed with ages 14 to 20 in mind, with more than 20 videos designed to spark creativity and ambition. However, Ear Opener will be valuable for musicians of all ages, whether making music with computers or acoustic instruments. Viewers don’t need to know any music theory or read music.

Brian Eno is among the artists involvedBrian Eno is among the artists involved
Brian Eno is among the artists involved

Ear Opener explains complex concepts in simple terms, using a range of musical examples and a mixture of visual learning tools. Paul Clark draws on over 15 years’ experience of working in secondary state schools with students who have consistently achieved remarkable results in composition.

Paul said: “For the last 15 years we have been developing tools to help young people write the music they want to hear –we now have the opportunity to share them online. With huge cuts to education budgets and radical changes to the place of music in the curriculum, it’s essential that we support young people from all backgrounds to become the next generation of inspiring musicians, composers and listeners.”

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Ear Opener is for anyone who wants to write any kind of music – from hip hop to baroque, film music to pop. Interviews with celebrated composers across all genres give valuable insight into the creative process - from dealing with feedback and writer’s block to maintaining your mental health.

The line-up includes innovator Brian Eno, jazz composer and Mercury Prize nominee Cassie Kinoshi, Radiohead guitarist Ed O’Brien, award-winning composer Isobel Waller-Bridge (Fleabag, Black Mirror), rapper and activist Lowkey, prolific composer, librettist and singer-songwriter Errollyn Wallen, British-Bahraini trumpet player and composer Yazz Ahmed, film and TV composer Carly Paradis (Line of Duty, The Innocents) and pop music songwriter Tristan Landymore (Ellie Goulding, Kano).

A spokesperson for the project said: “Music is integral to the lives of all young people. Ear Opener is designed for anyone who wants to make music regardless of their musical background. The aim of the project is to give young people the tools to push themselves further or perhaps into a new area of their music production and feel confident in creating ambitious, rich musical projects.”

Brian Eno first came to international prominence in the early seventies as a founding member of British band Roxy Music. His visionary production includes albums with Talking Heads, Devo, U2, Laurie Anderson and Coldplay, while his long list of collaborations include recordings with David Bowie, David Byrne, Grace Jones, Karl Hyde and James Blake. Eno said: “The thing that is thrilling about creative art... is when something new happens.”

Find the Ear Opener channel on YouTube for more information.