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?

Working in partnership with Nottingham Music Service, schools can sign up to be a 'host school'. The bands follow a blended model with a mix of live and online sessions. 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!

Live sessions are led by a member of NMS staff either weekly or fortnightly, with schools accessing the online session during the intervening weeks. To develop a sense of community across bands, and to promote fun and inspiring rehearsals, the school-based 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.

Big Band Rehearsals

Every term, NMS organises Big Band Rehearsals, providing pupils an opportunity to visit schools in their neighbourhood and make music together. These rehearsals are great fun and also good practice for bigger events when all Area Bands across Nottingham City combine together to perform. The Big Band Rehearsals are also open to family and friends.

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 be a host school, 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 £250. In 2023-24, Area Bands will be running from Monday to Thursday. Please see our booking form to share your preferences with us by 30th June 2023 at the latest. Thank you so much! We look forward to working with you.

If you have any questions, please contact

Nottingham Music Hub