YOUNG musicians are being invited to join in the fun with one of the area’s most laid back orchestras.

Battling the stereotype of stuffy perfection that puts some music makers off orchestras, one group offers a hugely successful alternative for youngsters from Fife, Perth and Kinross and beyond.

And the Fife Youth Jazz Orchestra has been part of the Cowdenbeath-Lochgelly area since former Beath High head of music, Richard Michael, championed the group many years ago and had it based at Lochgelly Centre.

“Here mistakes are cool; they are okay, they are what great things develop from,” explained Richard, musical director of Fife Youth Jazz Orchestra.

The orchestra offers any player aged between eight and 24 the chance to play and enjoy music, especially jazz. There are no auditions to join and once the music starts it is impossible not to get swept along by the energy of the band – who rarely sit down behind music stands.

Teenager Megan Harper has played bass guitar in the orchestra for five years. She explained: “Through FYJO I have gained confidence both musically and in everyday life.

“I have also learned, by watching Richard, how to teach others and help them to further themselves musically.”

The 17-year-old urged other young musicians to give the orchestra a go.

“New students should join as it’s an environment where everyone helps and learns from each other and nobody minds if you make a mistake; they’re cool!” she stressed.

Fellow band member Ewan Johnston agreed. He plays piano in the orchestra and added: “It is an amazing environment to learn and create great music and I think we are all privileged to be part of it.”

For over 40 years FYJO has been famed for nurturing young musical talent. Several former members have gone on to achieve musical greatness and orchestra members are regularly accepted onto the prestigious jazz course at the Royal Conservatoire for Scotland in Glasgow. But most importantly, each week the young musicians enjoy themselves at rehearsals and form lasting friendships.

The group meets at the Lochgelly Centre in Lochgelly on Thursday evenings from 7-9pm during term time. The first rehearsal will be on Thursday of this week September 19, where new members of all levels, abilities and instruments, will be welcomed.

To find out more information about the group visit their webpage or Facebook page.