Joel Bolton started an online competition for young people across the country to showcase their skills. Photo: Charles Anderson.

Taking love of music online


Joel Bolton had been thinking about starting a competition to encourage young musicians to perform for the past five years.

But each time he started getting excited about the idea he found that no one was willing to come on board.

So, when Level 4 lockdown hit, he saw the power that music was having online and thought maybe this was the forum to make the competition a reality.

“I thought ‘I’m just going to go for it’.”

He taught himself how to edit video entries and make up graphically-designed posters.

Then, in May, he put out a call for entries.

There would be judges and prizes and he wanted young people from all around the country to enter.

“We were expecting maybe 30 or 40 entries, but we ended up with 140 from all over the country.”

That journey is coming to a conclusion this week with the grand final being streamed live on YouTube.

He put up the prize money himself and also managed to persuade some high calibre judges to join him.

He called it “Note-Able”.

“It is really about wanting to encourage kids to take up music. It is so good for them and also I think it’s a really good idea for kids to see other kids perform.”

Joel says, usually, competitions can be incredibly stressful environments, but online, the musicians have had the ability to take it at their own pace.

“That has really helped their performances.”

He says one entry consisted of a young French hornist playing in front of his fire at home while his father drank a glass of wine in a chair and listened.

“It was just lovely.”

The finals can be viewed at 7pm on Saturday on YouTube, or by searching for “Children’s Instrumental Music Competition. New Zealand” on Facebook.