Tomorrow’s Warriors’ award-winning programme provides free music education opportunities to young people at SouthBank Centre and is the core of our work in developing the next generation UK jazz talent. 

However, the coronavirus pandemic, subsequent lockdown and closure of the SouthBank Centre has required us to suspend our Learning & Training programme and move it to the virtual world. Although it’s a huge challenge, it has also allowed us to think smarter and more innovatively and engage with our young people on the digital sphere and the results have been phenomenal!

Our team has done a fantastic job at quickly adapting and moving the sessions online, so that we can continue supporting our music leaders financially and give exceptional jazz training to our young musicians through live group sessions. Eventually we hope to create a permanent resource for our TW participants, an education hub that they can access and interact with online. Exciting and inspirational in equal measure! 

Ben Burrell taking the Youth Development Group

We have provided learning opportunities to over 120 young people since the lockdown and we would like to thank each and every one of our young people participating.   

Here is just some of the encouraging feedback we have received from both parents and participants demonstrating how successful the online sessions have been in helping them feel connected and motivated.

“It was a seamless session and I really enjoyed it. It was easy to use and follow and I was able to focus from the comfort of my own home.”


“Thank you so much for setting up and running the zoom session. My son needs structure for his mental health, and he has just been the most communicative he has been all week (immediately after the session). Tomorrow’s Warriors is awesome, thank you.”

Parent of participant

“The (online) lessons worked really well. It was really good for my daughter to connect to her usual class and band. We want to say huge thanks for putting this together. With school being closed and stuck at home it’s brilliant to have this opportunity to connect and learn. Also the transcription of ‘Bird of Paradise’ has been a great challenge and is keeping her busy.”

Parent of participant

We’ve also been reaching out to our participants online in other ways. TW co-founder Gary Crosby set everyone the task of learning the challenging ‘Bird of Paradise’ solo by iconic alto saxophonist Charlie Parker. Warriors have been filming themselves playing the solo via Instagram. The first five to take on the challenge were all teenage girls, and for one of them, it was the first solo she’d ever transcribed!

Participants doing our #TWChallenge

As part of our summer school last year we had ‘In The Shed With…’ sessions with our high profile alumni giving informal Q&As to our young participants. We’ve been able to continue these, interviewing Moses Boyd and Shirley Tetteh about their practice routines, what they’ve been listening to and words of wisdom. As our saying goes, “each one teach one”, and our alumni can provide inspiring examples for our young jazzers to aspire towards. 

We’ve also started a Spotify playlist featuring releases by both past and present Warriors. You can listen to it here

The engagement from young people has been wonderful, and we rely on the generous support of our donors at this extraordinarily challenging time to keep our vital, free education programme going through and beyond the lockdown.  If you’d like to help and are able to donate, please follow the link here. BIG THANK YOU. We hope you and your loved ones stay safe and well.

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