First Access

“Every child should have the opportunity to learn a musical instrument through whole-class ensemble teaching”
- National Plan for Music Education, DfE.

First Access / Whole Class Ensemble Tuition

Nottingham Music Hub runs or supports Whole Class Ensemble (WCE) teaching in 76% of the primary city schools.

Under this programme, all Year 4 pupils have the opportunity to learn an instrument as a whole class in their normal class time. This model of Whole Class Ensemble Teaching has transformed the city, increasing the number of children learning to play an instrument to more than 8,000 (2018-19).

Nottingham is also one of only 6 areas in the country to run the exciting In Harmony programme, which is a more intense form of whole class teaching that aims to transform the lives of children using the power and disciplines of community-based orchestral music-making.

Pupils at a primary school in the city playing trumpets during their Whole Class Ensemble lesson
Primary school pupils practicing their instruments during their Whole Class Ensemble session

Models on Offer:

Each school has its unique requirements and challenges, which is why we offer different models of WCE so that schools can choose the provision that meets their needs. First Access includes Whole Class Ensemble Teaching (WCET) & the In Harmony satellite programmes (IH).

  • WCET: A half day of specialist instrumental tuition weekly or fortnightly matched with school-led practice sessions
  • IH - Bronze: One morning per week with two members of staff
  • IH - Silver: One whole day per week with two members of staff
  • IH - Gold: Two or two-and-a-half whole days per week with two members of staff

All models include access to:

  • At least one class set of instruments (brass/strings/woodwind) worth up to £6,000
  • Opportunities for pupils to attend inspirational musical events and perform alongside more experienced musicians
  • Free or subsidised city-wide performances at major professional venues and access to the Area Band Network (afterschool beginner orchestral groups)
  • Subsidised opportunities for pupils to participate in residential activities

I can testify that it [WCET] has a transformative effect on children. Their eyes are opened to the possibilities that music has for them. Most of those children would NEVER have had the opportunity to play a musical instrument and - crucially - experience success, were it not for this programme.

City Headteacher

Who It's For:

Primary schools in Nottingham (pupils in Year 3 – Year 6 can participate)

What's the Cost:

We understand that schools have different needs and to accommodate that, we offer a range of whole class instrumental tuition packages. From half-day tuition every other week to a more intensive programme that includes two days of teaching every week, we can adapt our programme to suit your requirements. Please get in touch at if you would like to find out more about our music provision offer. 

Have any questions or want some more information? Give us a call - we're happy to talk!

Nottingham Music Hub