Developing leadership, confidence, and
communication in orchestra playing

What is LEAD! – Mission statement

LEAD! the Orchestra Project’s main focus is on developing effective leadership and communication skills in young musicians within the context of orchestra playing. LEAD! seeks to enhance confidence in young orchestra players and to increase their awareness of the significance of their contribution to the overall orchestra performance. Working with internationally renowned mentors, one of LEAD!’s primary aims is to coach those chosen to be concertmasters and section leaders how to communicate effectively both with each other and with conductors, and how to master the very unique skills required of them. Although the focus is on concertmasters and section leaders, LEAD!’s philosophy applies to every individual in the orchestra.

Mentors will coach the students in the specific demands of their instrument’s role in the orchestra. In addition to its goal of developing these attributes in individuals, the organisation also has a broader aim: to pass on the tradition of a unified and coherent style of orchestra playing to the next generation by strengthening the motivation and personality of each orchestra player; to develop an ability to produce authentically the wide range of musical styles and sounds of different composers, and to teach how to take responsibility for ensuring musical quality whatever the circumstances.

How LEAD! works

We provide tailored mentorship programmes which are adapted to every organisation we collaborate with. The programmes are led by a team of carefully-selected mentors from top international orchestras who draw their expertise from the best traditions of orchestra playing.

We believe that the training works best when in a rehearsal setting. Each project, though unique, is structured as a rehearsal period with a set repertoire and culminates with a performance. Under the guidance of their mentor, the players explore the many facets of leadership by working on aspects such technique, body language and physical communication as well as on taking the initiative, responsibility and daring to show personality.

LEAD! aspires to create an educational, enriching environment where talented musicians can benefit from their musical mentors.

Who can benefit from LEAD!

LEAD! operates under the artistic guidance of Jukka-Pekka Saraste and a team which has many years of experience in the music industry. Thanks to its philosophy and individual approach to each project, LEAD! is able to offer relevant projects and workshops to a great number of differing institutions from conservatories and music schools who wish train their students in the skills necessary to become successful leaders and orchestra musicians, to orchestras seeking to strengthen their artistic identity through encouraging the individual development of their players, to promoters and festivals aiming to round off their profile with an educational facet.

Find out about our upcoming projects or contact the team of LEAD! for more information on how it can benefit your organisation.

FOR YOUNG CONDUCTORS: LEAD! also offers the opportunity for a selection of talented young conductors to be a part of the project. Conductors will actively participate in leadership training sessions, where they will have the opportunity to observe the orchestra’s internal structures and functions as well as receiving feedback on their own performance.

FOR YOUNG MUSICIANS: LEAD! also provide a consultancy service to young musicians preparing to enter the professional world.


latest project

In an associate project with LEAD!, Jukka-Pekka Saraste conducted the Finnish Chamber Orchestra with members of its Youth Academy at the 2017 Tammisaari Festival. Some of LEAD!’s core ideas were put to the test as the FCO collaborated with a selection of young Finnish musicians, who rehearsed with their mentors and performed in two concerts with music by Mozart, Britten, Sibelius and Bartok.