Academy Drummer Offered Spot at Guildhall

One of Newham Music’s rising stars, Nathan-Asher Oriakhi has earned a scholarship to attend the prestigious Junior Guildhall programme as a Principal Percussion Study.

Nathan-Asher, 11, has been learning and playing at Newham Music Academy for over 8 years and already has an impressive list of accomplishments to his name. He takes lessons on four instruments – drum-kit, piano, guitar and saxophone, plays as a part of five Newham Music Academy ensembles, has been a London Music Fund scholar since 2016 and has attended countless workshops and short courses from a variety of professional ensembles around London. His hard work has been recognised by the faculty at one of the most well-known music conservatoires in the world.

Junior Guildhall is a specialist Saturday School from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama where students work to professional standards in a professional context, learning from a team of world-renowned artists who work as conductors, coaches and tutors. Junior Guildhall students often go on to study their chosen discipline full-time at undergraduate level, eventually making careers in the profession. Regardless of their ultimate direction, students find that the professional artistic environment of the Guildhall School provides them with valuable life skills and the means to develop their individual talents to the full.

We talked to Nathan-Asher and his mum, Elizabeth about the exciting news.

Nathan-Asher, how do you feel about studying at the Guildhall?

I feel proud to be studying at Guildhall because it is a hard school to get into. It has a high level of discipline and challenge. The school also has good resources and a good reputation.

What are you most excited about in the Junior Guildhall Programme?

I am most excited about working with people who have a passion for music like I do and learning more about percussion. The brass and percussion course (I went on last summer) was a great taster. I am also excited about using the different facilities, rooms and performing at different venues.

Do you think you’ll want to continue music as a career?

I would definitely like to continue music as a career and also join a band or an orchestra, but I would also like to have a football career.

Elizabeth, how has the process been for you, and what was it like receiving the news?

Where do I start! It’s still like a dream; this great opportunity Nathan has been given. First the audition with so much support from Newham Music, then being offered a place, topped with the offer of a Scholarship for Percussion Principal Study.

One thing for sure is: it’s no longer “Business as Usual”.

What will studying at the Guildhall change for Nathan-Asher?

It’s certainly a game-changer, cranked up quite a few levels.

Nathan has had tasters of the standard and quality of studying in such a place through short courses at the Guildhall, Play Days arranged by London Music Fund, but those lasted no longer than a week.  

The discipline, level of commitment, standard required, being taught by renowned professional musicians, surrounded by and working alongside talented young musicians from all over the world, and performing in iconic music venues surely will bring about a change exposing him to levels and opportunities one hasn’t quite fathomed.

We are so proud. From back then, our little Nathan, at 3 years old, wanting to drum anything he sees. Now 8 years later, with Newham Music (and counting), we find him in Junior Guildhall.  A massive thank you to our Hub, it’s been a joint effort.

We look forward to exciting times ahead and some more hard work.

Nathan-Asher will attend Junior Guildhall on Saturdays while continuing his instrumental study with Newham Music.

Jack Petchey FoundationNational Foundation For Youth MusicArts Council England

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