Nicola Benedetti to mentor youngsters at classical bootcamp

The Benedetti Sessions are aimed at young musicians

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Simon Cowell, Louis Walsh, Cheryl Cole, Tulisa Contostavlos - and now Nicola Benedetti.

The world-renowned Scottish violinist isn't poised to join the X-Factor judges.

However, the 25-year-old from Ayrshire is about to become a musical mentor to some of the country's brightest musical talents at a classical bootcamp.

Benedetti herself rose to stardom after winning the BBC's Young Musician of the Year at the age of 16, but warns that the series of March workshops, concerts and masterclasses she will lead for teenagers in Glasgow are no quick fix to the bright lights.

"The difference with instrumental playing is that it takes a long time to even get to the stage where you can make a good sound and you can read a piece of music," she told BBC Good Morning Scotland.

"That could be two years before you even get to that stage.

"So what I'm trying to do is balance the realism and the optimism because they are very difficult things in today's society, which is so much about picking someone who doesn't have a skill and getting them to do it in six weeks.

Difficult and exciting pieces

"That's not what life's like. It's not what learning an instrument is like and it is unrealistic.

Nicola Benedetti holds the award for Best Female Artist as she attends the Classic Brit Awards in October Nicola Benedetti won Best Female Artist at the Classic Brit Awards

"What I'm trying to do is maintain the high level energy that a lot of those programmes give people, but at the same time make it a little bit more reflective of what life is like after the age of 18.

"You will be doing something day-in, day-out. It is very repetitive and quite hard work, but there's an enrichment and enjoyment in that also, and I'm trying to combine those two quite different feelings."

Produced by Glasgow Unesco City of Music, the Benedetti Sessions, from 22 to 24 March, will give string players the chance to play alongside the violinist, who was awarded an MBE in the 2013 New Year Honours.

She will work closely with musicians from two of the country's leading youth music organisations, the National Youth Orchestras of Scotland and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, in sessions - many of which will be open to the public over that weekend.

Benedetti will lead the ensemble as they prepare and perform what is billed as "one of the most difficult and exciting pieces for string orchestra - Bartok's Divertimento - a piece selected to challenge the players and encourage musical excellence".

She will also conduct an open masterclass focusing more on solo repertoire, with the two orchestras managing the audition and selection process.

Music education

The weekend will launch with a rare opportunity for string players of grade 4 standard and above to play alongside Benedetti in a performance of the Intermezzo from Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana.

It will close with a performance by the Junior Conservatoire Orchestra.

Benedetti is taking a break from her biggest-ever Scottish tour - The Silver Violin - to lead the Benedetti Sessions.

"I have wanted to do something like this for years as an extension of my music education work," she said.

"I really hope the weekend will be insightful and enjoyable for the 40 young people and children participating, but also for the public who come and join in and watch our performances and sessions.

"It is quite an intense weekend, with a whole enormous group of children of all different ages and all different abilities getting together at the beginning of the weekend."

Creative Scotland is supporting The Benedetti Sessions and its director of creative development, Iain Munro, said they would provide a "brilliant opportunity for young musicians to learn from one of the most highly sought-after performers on the world stage".

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