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Lochaber High School pupil joins prestigious National Youth Orchestras of Scotland

High Life Highland young musician Ruairidh Poll has been selected to join the prestigious National Youth Orchestras of Scotland (NYOS).

The tenor saxophone player, 16, has accepted the place offered in the Jazz Orchestra which performs throughout the UK at high profile jazz venues.

The Lochaber High School pupil has been receiving lessons with High Life Highland’s music tuition service since 2016.

Recently, Ruairidh was given a bursary from the Rotary Club of Fort William, allowing him to attend specialist online improvisation lessons with Sue Mackenzie.

In addition, the grant also provided access to courses with the youth orchestra’s Jazz Access, a training programme for the next generation of top jazz musicians.

Ruairidh said: “We spoke a lot about stylistic things like having a great swing feel and the importance of articulation. It was super to learn about techniques for better structuring and developing solos and different ways of implementing contrast.

“Lessons with Sue have definitely been helpful, but I think that Jazz Access was even more so. In the spring I learned a lot about functional harmony and how to more effectively approach playing over complex changes for example.”

More than 4,000 youngsters across the Highlands are now learning a musical instrument with High Life Highland.

The charity provides tuition to pupils in secondary and primary schools across the Highlands.

Ruairidh added: “The second set of NYOS sessions were incredibly inspiring and motivating, connecting with other people similar to myself.

“It was very valuable to receive good information on building practice routines and exercises as well as understanding how to create my own personal relationship with music. The summer course has had a profoundly influential impact on my playing and on my life.”