The inaugural Dartford Young Musician of the Year competition hopes to highlight and showcase the vast musical talent found throughout the borough.

However this competition is not just an opportunity for highly talented young musicians to showcase their skill, but also a platform for younger and less experienced students to hone their performance skills and receive encouraging impartial feedback on their playing.

This crucial message of encouragement and inclusion will be reflected in the final by the presence of a segment in which non-finalists will be given to the opportunity to perform.

Dartford Young Musician of the Year is proudly sponsored by Smile of Hope, a charity which aims to advance the education of children through the arts, such as music, drama and movement.

Dartford Music School and The Mick Jagger Centre welcome the support given by Smile of Hope in making this event a success.

The final will be presented as an evening performance on Wednesday May 24, featuring performances from the finalists, runners up, and a guest performance from Alex Ridout (BBC Young Jazz Musician of the Year 2016).

The value of winning — and indeed participating — in this event goes beyond trophies or prize money.

This event firstly provides many participants with an invaluable opportunity to perform in public, giving them confidence in their musical ability, and secondly will provide the winner with recognition for their continued discipline and commitment to music.

The final will be adjudicated by a panel of respected practitioners.

This will include Yazz Ahmed, one of the UK's leading trumpeter-composers, who has received numerous awards and compositional commissions, and is a graduate of The Guildhall School of Music and Drama; and Professor David Osbon who is a multi-award winning composer, conductor, and academic whose music has been broadcast, recorded, and performed across the world.

Article submitted by Dan Banks