The Royal Scottish National Orchestra Takeover

Tuesday June 16th 2020


17-year-old Midlothian resident and Beeslack Community High School pupil, Jacob Wood

The Royal Scottish National Orchestra has been working with young people from all over Scotland – including a local Midlothian teenager – to create a virtual concert during the lockdown period, in place of an annual work experience programme.

The move has given young people the opportunity to take part in something they enjoy during lockdown restrictions, and it has also encouraged them to stay at home, but continue to be creative

Each year, Scotland’s National Orchestra provide an event for young people, called the “RSNO Takeover”.

Young people are given the opportunity to take part in a unique experience of playing with some of the orchestral musicians and perform in their own concert. However, this year the event is unable to take place due to the recent Coronavirus pandemic. Therefore, it is now taking place virtually and participants will perform online with the help of Colorado-based composer Nathan Hall, and has been named ‘Going Places.’

The performance reflects both intended destinations and memories of where we have been. ‘Going Places’ uses a combination of composition whilst utilising graphic notation and a virtual musical performance.


Some of the participants were split into small groups to work on specific scenes such as travel and destinations. Nathan guided each group to compose music to complement their scene. A larger group met with Nathan (on Zoom), twice a week, to discuss the progress of the project as a whole, then we split off into our ‘scenes’ where we constructed compositions and animations which we completed together.

17-year-old Midlothian resident and Beeslack Community High School pupil, Jacob Wood, said that:

“It has been a really exciting and unique opportunity. This adventure has allowed me to explore new musical avenues and gain experience in new techniques. I have expanded my knowledge during the lockdown where I am hoping to share it with my peers on return to school. It is something that I look forward to doing each week, and I have been glad of the distraction.”

Composer Nathan Hall said that he decided to take part in the project because: “I’ve composed collaborative music before, and have made multimedia performances, but never has one of my collaborations looked quite like this! Even though I won’t be leaving my house, I jumped at the chance to work on an international project, meet new musicians, and work with young people who want to explore many facets of music-making and creativity.”

This exciting and creative debut performance can be watched on 16 June at 7:00PM on the RSNO’s Facebook page, YouTube channel, and on its website You can also keep up to date with the latest news by visiting: ‘Going Places’ blog on the website or on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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