Area Band Network

Nottingham Music Service is delighted to offer the Area Band Network - a collaboration with Nottingham City Schools to provide children an opportunity to join an ensemble and take part in live performances and events, meeting key criteria for the new National Music Plan.

What are Area Bands?

Area Bands are fantastic beginner orchestral groups open to Year 5 and 6 pupils who have some experience of learning an instrument.

How do they work?

Nottingham Music Service works in partnership with primary schools to run Area Bands across Nottingham City. Rehearsals are held every week during term-time from 4pm to 4.55pm.

Area Band rehearsals include a combination of full rehearsals, small group activities, performances, singing, movement and improvisation. Instruments include violin, viola, cello, guitar, flute, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, trombone and more!

Area Band rehearsals are led by a member of NMS staff weekly, with schools accessing an online session if no NMS staff is available in person. To develop a sense of community across bands, and to promote fun and inspiring rehearsals, the school-based area bands will also link up with the online rehearsal at the start and end of all rehearsals and this way get to practice with even more pupils from across the city.

Area Band Joint Rehearsals

Some Area Band schools get together for weekly rehearsals, leading to a stronger sense of community, and supporting pupils to practice and hear different musical parts come together. These rehearsals are a good lead up to our bigger events where there may be up to 200 children performing together!

We ask schools to take part with a minimum of 10 pupils, but if you can’t facilitate this and would still like to take part, we will timetable you at weekly joint rehearsals at a nearby school.

Why be part of the Area Band Network?

For schools, joining the ABN means you can meet your new National Music Plan expectations for providing the opportunity for pupils to join an ensemble, and taking part in live performances and events.

Meanwhile, children benefit by taking part in an exciting after-school activity, getting the chance to perform in concerts at iconic venues like the Albert Hall as well as benefit from wider opportunities and events such as the Great Orchestra Experiment. There is also continued progression for children through our connect ensembles so that as their musical skills improve, they have another ensemble to move up to.

Schools' Responsibilities

To run an Area Band, you would need to:

  • Provide a rehearsal space with a screen, projector and good Wi-Fi
  • Welcome pupils and oversee the children leave at the end of rehearsal
  • Have a member of staff present throughout the rehearsal to support the pupils and NMS staff
  • Support children through online sessions in the weeks when NMS staff are not present in schools
  • Bring children to joint rehearsals and performances

The annual cost for schools to join the Area Band Network is £300. In 2024-25, Area Bands will continue to run from Monday to Thursday. Please see our booking form to share your preferences with us by 7th June 2024 at the latest. Thank you so much! We look forward to working with you.

If you have any questions, please contact

Nottingham Music Hub