Leah Williamson, the Arsenal defender and captain during England’s triumphant 2022 Euros campaign, takes center stage in the inaugural episode of the recently launched BBC Sport digital series, “Out of Office.”

Hosted by Liam MacDevitt, the show delves into the off-field pursuits and pastimes of footballers on a grander scale. In the first episode, Leah, who harbors a passion for music beyond the football pitch, is tasked with playing the piano alongside the iconic BBC Concert Orchestra at Maida Vale Studios. Notably, her audience includes her family—mother Amanda, grandmother Bernie, and cousin Holly—along with Arsenal teammates Jen Beattie and Kim Little.

Leah initially ventured into keyboard playing during the lockdown. However, for “Out of Office,” she embraced the challenge of refining her skills by undergoing lessons with Charles Mutter, the first violinist and Associate Leader of the BBC Concert Orchestra. With Charles’s guidance, Leah honed her ability to read music and upgraded from a keyboard to a full grand-size piano with pedals. After six weeks of intensive training, Leah showcased her musical prowess by performing Shania Twain’s “Still the One” with the 57-member BBC Concert Orchestra.

The premiere episode of “Out of Office” will air on Football Focus this weekend at 12 pm on BBC One, Saturday 9 December. Additionally, it will be available for viewing on the BBC Sport website and YouTube channel. Football enthusiasts can catch a segment of the feature during the BBC’s Women’s Super League coverage of Arsenal versus Chelsea this weekend, broadcast live on BBC Two from 12:15 pm.

On taking learning piano, Leah Williamson says: “I wanted to put myself in a high pressure situation before I make my return to football. It’s been a good learning process for me but as soon as I sat down at the piano my hands started shaking which is something I didn’t foresee – not even the Euros final touched how I felt in that room.”

Leah’s piano teacher, and Associate Leader of the BBC Concert Orchestra, Charles Mutter, says: “When I first met Leah, barely a month before her performance, she’d learnt a very simple version of her favourite song on a small keyboard. But I could tell she had good rhythm, a feel for the song and crucially she’d taught herself to read music. So I wrote a ‘bigger’ version that I reckoned she could learn and that would work with full orchestra. Over the next five weeks we worked on how to play a real piano, how to play the song and how to play it with an orchestra. The discipline and nerve required in sport and music are closely related; Leah’s focus and determination made her an absolute joy to teach, and many of my colleagues in the BBC CO commented on how well she did.”

Liam MacDevitt, Out of Office presenter says: “The new series Out of Office is all about showing that sports people are more than just athletes – it gives them a chance to explore their interests away from the pitch, take on a new challenge and have fun along the way. The first episode was an incredible thing to be part of. From seeing how committed Leah was and how much learning a new skill challenged her, to experiencing a live performance from the incredible BBC Concert Orchestra, it was the perfect blend of two of my favourite things: music and sport.”