top of page


Hear from Oscar...

Hi! My name is Oscar Lyons, and I’m a jazz pianist.


I’m currently 18 years old, I live in Bury St Edmunds, and

I’m in Year 13 doing my A Levels.


I started learning the piano aged 5. At the age of 11, I

began jazz piano lessons, motivated by a desire for

more freedom and spontaneity! For three years, I was

a member of the fantastic music organisation,

Aldeburgh Young Musicians, and I am now currently in

my third year on the Royal Academy of Music’s Junior

Jazz programme. Next year, I will be studying jazz

piano at undergraduate level at the Royal Academy.

I’m very much looking forward to the opportunities that this will bring!

SMART has really helped me with this journey. They have supported me in paying the tuition fees for the Royal Academy’s Junior Jazz programme. They have also gone on to award me a resources grant to support the next stage of my studies, for which I am incredibly grateful.


I would thoroughly recommend anyone considering applying to SMART to do so! And if you are in a position to be able to donate to SMART to support their work, please do. You will have a meaningful impact on the lives of local young musicians. 

Oscar L.jpg

In the 2022/23 academic year, SMART...

...awarded 12 grants

...enabled 1 young person to audition for music conservatoires

...awarded 12 grants

3 scholars

...awarded £6183.83

in grants 

...enabled 6 young people to continue their learning with Stagecoach

...funded instrument hire and ensemble membership

I am extremely grateful for being awarded this grant. It has encouraged me to have dreams as a musician. I had been trying to manage my expectations, in case I would not be able to take my place on the Junior Guildhall programme because of funds. This award has helped my confidence to grow leading up to Junior Guildhall, which I am thankful for. It has also made me consider how one day I would like to be in a position to support someone else to follow their musical dreams. I feel excited to be able to actually be able to take my place now, and to concentrate on my studies, and discovering how I may grow as a musician. If I had not been awarded this grant, I simply would not have been able to attend the Junior Guildhall, which is such a colossal opportunity to miss...I am grateful that awards like this exist for artists like myself, who would have the door closed to them without financial support.

- Grant recipient

I don't know how to express this in a single word like thank you.! It means he can continue on developing his self confidence, which was at rock bottom when he began his journey with Stagecoach. 

- Parent of grant recipient

It will make a huge difference as it will allow me to afford the fees required to participate in this opportunity which I would not normally have been able to and will help me to experience something I think will really benefit my development as a musician.

- Grant recipient

I feel extremely grateful to have received one of the SMART grants! The grant will allow me to cover the costs of the resources and uniform required to start my training in September. I am so excited to start my journey at Urdang Academy!

- Grant recipient

“It is not only a huge financial burden lifted, but a very welcome recognition of the commitment, effort and progress they have made so far…It's a real boost that will help sustain and propel them going forward. SMART has offered an otherwise unobtainable opportunity to participate in orchestras and ensembles and continue with lessons. The benefits they have gained socially and in personal confidence is noticeable; improved confidence has helped improve their academic attainment and how they mix with others.”

- Parent of Scholar

“He plays the flute beautifully and is keen to play to family, neighbours, and anyone else that would like to hear him! He has said that he is really enjoying flute and he is looking forward to learning how to read music properly.”

- Parent of grant recipient

“He is making fantastic progress…performing his first ever solo piece at St Edmundsbury Cathedral in their public lunchtime recital series back in July.”

- Teacher of grant recipient

It was amazing news to find out that SMART is helping towards my orchestra fees this year. Without this help I wouldn't have been able to afford to continue with Suffolk Youth Orchestra this year. Suffolk Youth Orchestra has been such a good experience, it's helped me gain confidence in my playing and given me many opportunities to perform.

- Grant recipient

I just wanted to thank you so much for the grant I've received making me able to continue with's really helped my confidence grow...and helped me do things I never thought I'd be able to do. I am so grateful to have this opportunity and another chance for my confidence to grow in singing along with dancing and acting. Once again thank you so much for helping me continue stagecoach, I am beyond grateful, I don't know where I'd be without it and the lovely people at SMART.

- Grant recipient

SMART Menu Infographic.jpg
bottom of page