Aptly named Wayward Winds, this ensemble began in late January 2019 following the obvious need for a group to be established for instrumentalists in the early stages of learning (or in any stage, but perhaps for those seeking a relaxed and encouraging atmosphere in which to improve).

So far, all our players are adult woodwind players, and are a motley crew consisting of; Clarinet, soprano saxophones, Alto saxes, Tenor saxes, and occasionally a baritone sax.

The sessions run on alternate Friday evenings 7.15-8.45pm at Hilcote Community Centre/Miner’s Welfare, and typical sessions often consist of;

  • A warm up or two; chase the scale, or a fragmented ‘guess the tune’ (only if you play it right!) type activity, and a tune up.
  • The first half tends to have the easier pieces in; pieces that move homophonically (all players have the same rhythms), or are at a more accessible standard (typically around grade 1-2).
  • We have a drinks/cake break midway (yey!), then get stuck back in with a piece or two that are a little trickier. We sometimes finish with a piece that has a backing track (and sometimes some improvisation; though no-one would ever be forced to improvise).

Already, friendships are being formed, and students are improving as they endeavour to keep going (or get back in if they get lost!). Students who find reading sheet music difficult are encouraged, and help is given (plus they can often get a moment to shine if free styling/improvising comes easier to them). It’s a wonderful group, and one I’m very proud to be on a journey with.

Reviews of Wayward Winds Ensemble from students

“I joined the Wayward Winds Ensemble to improve my confidence and to learn to play in a group. Most ensembles require at least Grade 5, but here there is no joining criteria, and together we learn in a fun environment, with no pressure should you play the odd duff note or twenty…….Keri always makes the sessions enjoyable with her infectious enthusiasm”. Tracey D

“This is the first ensemble I have come across where musicians of literally all levels are equally welcome, and Keri makes sure players of all standards from absolute beginners upwards are accommodated without feeling intimidated. We have a lot of fun together and, for those with busy lives, there’s no pressure to turn up to every meeting. Keri goes to a lot of trouble to make sure that everyone gets the right balance of challenge and confidence within a friendly, supportive atmosphere. Excellent value”. Rosemary