Throughout his career, Julian has worked with a huge range of people and groups, from early years through to people at the very end of their lives. Julian’s work is founded on a belief that everyone, at whatever stage of life or whatever their circumstances, has the capacity to be creative and to make choices. Making music has the potential to enable the expression of a personality and individuality, to promote connections between individuals and to encourage the appreciation of others.
Work with older people
Through a long commitment to Music for Life, Julian has gained a significant amount of experience working alongside older people, particularly those of us who are living with dementia. As the progression of dementia can erode an individual’s sense of their own identity, creative work with music can discover and profoundly re-affirm and communicate a sense of self in the here and now.
Julian has carried this learning into devising projects for other organisations, including the Royal Opera House, Glyndebourne Opera and Magic Me.
With over a decade of work with leading intergenerational arts organisation Magic Me, Julian has developed a deep understanding of working creatively with younger and older people together. As groups of different ages encounter and get to know each other through engagement in a creative process, connections and learning take place in ways that are significant and long lasting.
Julian has worked in classrooms across the UK, leading creative projects with groups of school students that powerfully support the learning goals of published curricula. Through experiencing things practically, students achieve a depth of understanding that enables them to apply their knowledge creatively. Julian’s work with school students fosters both personal creativity and group/ensemble awareness, often through collaborative composition and performance based work, through all Key Stages.
Special Educational Needs
A long term association with Phoenix School has given Julian a significant amount of experience in working creatively with people with special educational needs, in particular young people with autism. As with all of Julian’s work, the aims here are to foster both personal creativity and self expression, alongside group awareness and sensitivity.
Julian worked with Wigmore Hall Learning to create and lead their flagship early years programme, Chamber Tots in the Community. For well over a decade, this acclaimed programme has been enjoyed by thousands of children across London, giving them what is often a first experience of live music that is of the highest quality, and meaningful creative interaction with musicians. Early learning is by its very nature creative and exploratory. By working through free-play models, artists can support individual creative development and exploration in powerful ways. Equipping children with the tools to express themselves musically, they develop a confidence in their personal creativity and self expression that has an impact in many areas of their lives.
Julian has also developed work with this age group for Glyndebourne Opera, English National Opera and many other organisations.
Coaching and Mentoring
As Head of Open Academy, Julian is actively engaged in teaching, coaching, and mentoring musicians in identifying and developing the skills needed to work effectively in this exciting field. Julian passionately believes that the most powerful and worthwhile interactions between musicians and those they work with come through a creative process that includes everyone. The delivery of a standard template or lesson-plan can only go so far, and the true essence of the work can only be accessed when musicians are able and willing to react and respond with spontaneity and creativity. For this, they need to draw on all of their musical skills, often using tacit knowledge that has been developing since they first picked up an instrument.
Alongside his work at Open Academy, Julian runs regular training and development for Live Music Now. He has also been the external mentor for Wigmore Hall’s trainee animateur scheme since its inception. This initiative continues to produce some of the country’s leading creative musicians, including John Barber, Isabelle Adams, Rus Pearson, Robert Adediran, Elspeth Brooke and Neil Valentine.
© Julian West 2016