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Get to know: Tinderbox

Imagine, if you will, a traditional orchestra. Now, forget all about it: Tinderbox is something new altogether.

Since its inception by Jack Nissan seven years ago, the youth music charity Tinderbox Collective has prided itself on being an orchestra of many, with one big message: everyone can play music, and everyone is musical.

As one of our Regularly Funded Organisations for 2018-2021, Tinderbox will keep spreading the word about inclusive music for all.

According to Tinderbox General Manager Jed Milroy, Nissan's original idea was "to take the concept of an orchestra, and to try and make it as inclusive and as broad reaching as possible. That was in terms of who is in the orchestra, what music the orchestra is playing, what instruments are involved.

"His idea was to just make it as exciting and experimental and as innovative as possible, and get everyone involved."

Youth and Community Work

As a youth music charity, the organisation works hard to actively engage members of the local community, and has strong roots in North Edinburgh, thanks to its work in Muirhouse (Tuesday evenings). As Milroy explains, it's all about "first level engagement, giving young people their first ever shot of playing music." Practicing musicians and a team of volunteers work with young people and members of the local community to introduce them to new aspects of music and composition.

They team also run three workshops a week at the Sick Kids Hospital in Edinburgh, where Milroy says they aim to bring "music and fun to the wards", and they work closely with child and adolescent mental health services, which gives service users a chance to ample songwriting and composition workshops.

"All these different thing are happening," Milroy says. "We're trying to bring everyone together into a big melting pot of ideas."

Digital Arts and engaging with other organisations

The organisation also has a Digital Arts strand, where they encourage participants to create new kinds of sound using electronics. "We've just finished a Make Your Own Synth course", Milroy says, "and we're looking forward to working with Sink and the Pianodrome to do an interactive orchestra mixing with digital music, which we'll perform as an interactive piece at the Botanics."

I'm hoping that there's something for everyone in Tinderbox- Jed Milroy, General Manager

"We've also got our film music courses going on right now. We're gonna be rescoring two films from the Scottish Film Archive and performing them at the Edinburgh International Film Festival. It will be the young people who write the scores, and that will be facilitated by the Tinderbox tutors.

"And we've got an Intermediate Orchestra Course, which is for people that can play five notes or more on an instrument. They're gonna score two films in collaboration with Screen Education Edinburgh."

'Really high end music'

Tinderbox also run their Orchestra Courses, which Milroy says "are about trying to do really high end, really high quality things with music. That can be performances, installations, but making it a very high standard. That's the part of the project where people where we really try and push the envelope in terms of quality."

"All these three strands cross over as much as possible," he explains, "and we try and get everybody to work together and come together at different events, so that the whole project informs itself, and develops into a whole that's even greater than some of the parts."

Get involved

"I'm hoping that there's something for everyone in Tinderbox,' Milroy says, and with such a wide ranging programme, there likely is. Their weekly Tinderbox Music Hubs run on Tuesdays, from 6-8pm at North Edinburgh Arts, and Thursdays from 3.30-5pm at Craigroyston Community High School

There are apprenticeship programmes for 18-25 year olds, and anyone over the age of 18 can volunteer. If you are interested in joining Tinderbox as a volunteer, please email admin@tinderboxcollective.org.

This article was published on 06 Apr 2018