SongTrees Academy: hosting the Young Artist Musical Ambassadors (YAMA) Programme

SongTrees Academy: hosting the Young Artist Musical Ambassadors (YAMA) Programme

The Music Mind Spirit Trust’s YAMA (Young Artist Musical Ambassadors) Programme equips 11-25 year old musicians to perform in protected environments by developing their musical and interpersonal skills.

In this intergenerational pilot mentorship project, the YAMAs (core group from the Royal Academy of Music) are trained by Nigel Osborne, Chika Robertson, Live Music Now and other professional organisations to reinvigorate the lives of care home residents, staff and families through regular music sessions. Bespoke recorded music between sessions uses cutting edge digital technology through its ground-breaking partner organisation X-System Ltd to aid musical/scientific research and practice.

Collective MAPs (Musically Attuned Performances) are created via live community performances.

Please click here to see the YAMA celebratory launch concert.


The Music Mind Spirit Trust incorporates uniquely designed programmes dedicated to enabling both young talented and experienced professional musicians to develop and refresh their musical gifts to enhance their creative potential.

For further information, please visit 



SongTrees’ stimulating programme includes:

Coaching courses and tuition with leading professionals in their fields.

One Day Workshops and longer Professional Development courses with access to top level tuition and guidance from leading authorities.

Preparation for musical certification.

Updates on Music Education and Performance.

Leadership Coaching for gifted & talented young musicians, music teachers and professional performers.

Healthy Musicians’ Programmes – including expert guidance on Stress Management and Stage Nerves, Peak Performance, How to recognise and avoid ‘burn-out’ and other career limiting psychological and physiological challenges.

The Music Mind Spirit Trust is also happy to provide a Retreat for musicians who may be suffering a period of extreme Professional Stress and need a peaceful place to refresh and take stock.


The beautiful house and gardens of The Old Farmhouse provide the setting for these events.

As well as self-catering and overnight en-suite residential accommodation, we offer the following facilities (availability dependent):

Our oak-timbered barns are fully restored and centrally heated, with a grand piano, wifi and video facilities, rehearsal and workshop rooms, bathrooms and wheelchair accessibility.

Members of the faculty include:

Chika Robertson PhD, MMus, honARAM (VIOLIN)

Chika is a Professor of Violin at The Royal Academy of Music, Junior Academy and is a Diploma Examiner and Professional Development Mentor for the ABRSM (Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music).

Much loved as an inspired music performer and teacher, Chika spearheads community programmes for The Music Mind Spirit Trust.

Dr Robertson has premiered numerous solo and chamber works for leading composers and conductors in England and abroad.  She is a popular workshop leader, adjudicator and speaker.  She is passionate about nurturing creative talent and developing innovative professional career paths for musicians. (see Chika Robertson’s biog on The Trust/About Us)



Calista is an award-winning composer, inspirational workshop leader and successful Singer/Songwriter with rave reviews from top international music venues. Songwriting, singing, piano and composition in a wide variety of genres are offered within her popular sesssions.

Trained at the Royal Academy of Music, Calista has performed internationally and taught in London for numerous years. Her genuine passion for facilitating workshops, presenting and performing makes for inspiring and encouraging songwriting sessions which explore the theory of music, as well as the meaning and history of musical styles in fun and stimulating ways.

Further details and rates can be accessed from the Administrater, The Music Mind Spirit Trust via email at [email protected] or by telephone on 01403 824034.

Representative Events:

The SongTrees Academy hosted a ‘Creative Away Day in Musical Leadership’ and ‘Residential Weekend’, in collaboration with Kuumba Youth Music, The Royal Academy of Music and Youth Music. 

Selected young musical leaders and young professional musicians, acting as mentors, were led in ‘Leadership through Conducting’ sessions by the Danish conductor Peter Hanke and Paul Hedley, with musicians from his vocal group Musica Beata.  This was followed by a Residential Course, with tutors including conductor/composer Jonathan Willcocks, ‘cellist Anthony Lewis and violinist Chika Robertson.


The SongTrees Academy Summer School Course included:


Day 1

10 am   meet for registration and coffee / tea / juice

10.30    physical / mental warm-ups for violinists, sight-reading and technique building session with Chika Robertson

11         tuition and rehearsal with resident accompanist, Sarah Pickering;

video and recording programme in Shelley’s Barn; plus

30 min. workshops in the Little Barn with professional eurhythmy practitioner Christina Sahin and

30 min. vocal workout classes in the New Residential Suite with vocal coach and performer Jenny Hansell.

1 pm      lunch

2           tuition and rehearsal with resident accompanist; instrumental individual / group sessions;

vocal workout classes plus song-writing with singer songwriter Calista Robertson and programme

research preparation sessions with Rebecca Constandine.

4           tea

4.15      solo Bach class by Paul Robertson in Shelley’s Barn

5.15      chamber / ensemble rehearsals and programme presentation session

6.15      swimming, art and recreation

7.00      dinner

8.00-9.30   Great Players’ Film Footage in Shelley’s Barn, followed by

private / group rehearsals, plus optional song-writing and art sessions.


Day 2

9.30 am breakfast

10           violin warm-ups, sight-reading and technique building session;

10.30      one-to-one sessions and coaching with resident accompanist; instrumental individual / group sessions; plus eurythmy  workshops and vocal workout classes.

11           break

11.15      one-to-one sessions and coaching with resident accompanist; instrumental individual / group sessions; eurhythmy workshops; vocal workout classes and song-writing sessions.

12.45      seating rehearsal / sound check

1 pm        lunch

2             solo Bach and free repertoire performance class with Paul and Chika Robertson

3.00        workshop by eminent musician and author Paul Harris (guests welcome)

3.30        break / concert preparation

3.45        teatime performance (guests welcome)

5.00        tea

5.30        special session with Roger Press, founder and CEO of

‘How New Technologies are Shaping Musical Careers Today’

6.00         close

Participants were able to contribute to special focus group sessions for the international music research project SongTrees with esteemed sociologist, Dr Lyudmila Nurse, during the course.