Secondary Schools

The CBSO’s offer for secondary schools aims to provide opportunities for pupils at all stages of their musical development and education.

Opportunities include inspirational performances at Symphony Hall and creative workshops for KS3 pupils, to activities supporting performance and analysis requirements for GCSE and A Level students, and coaching and mentoring by CBSO musicians and vocal staff for school ensembles.

KS3 Concerts

The CBSO provides annual concerts at Symphony Hall for KS3 pupils. These concerts feature the whole of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, an amazing spectacle itself, but in the awe inspiring surroundings of Symphony Hall these concerts are sure to have a lasting impact on pupils attending.

These concerts provide pupils with a snapshot of orchestral repertoire, introduced by an experienced presenter, and showcasing the different sections and instruments of the orchestra, through a range of orchestral music from the classical era to the sounds of today - ensuring that there really is something for everyone!

Our next KS3 concerts will be taking place in January 2017 – for further details please click here. Tickets: £5 per pupil/teacher ticket. 2 free tickets for organisers of groups of 20+. To book tickets for the next KS3 concerts in January 2016 please contact Symphony Hall Group Bookings team on 0800 358 7070.

CBSO Ensemble Performances in School

Schools don’t have to wait until the CBSO arranges our annual Key Stage 3 concerts, you can have a performance in school from one of our amazing small ensembles. These concerts can be accessed by a specific year group, or the whole school, and provide a fabulous introduction to live performance by some of the world’s best musicians.

Performances don’t just include classical music, our ensembles also will perform arrangements of music familiar to your pupils from film and TV as well as introducing them to the individual instruments, providing background information about pieces and composers, and provide simple introductions to the composition techniques and styles being performed.

We have ensembles of all shapes and sizes, from string trios to brass quintets, and ensembles that combine wind, strings and brass for a miniature orchestral experience. Performances last for approximately an hour, and a member of the CBSO’s Learning and Participation team would be delighted to discuss your requirements and match you up with the right group for your school. With prices starting at just £350 why not have the CBSO come to you?

For more information about the range of ensembles we can provide, or to arrange a performance please contact

Creative Workshops

Just because the CBSO is famous for giving concerts, it doesn’t meant that’s all we do! We are also able to offer schools opportunities to work creatively with our musicians from half day workshops introducing and exploring specific pieces of music or instruments, through to residency projects which conclude with a final sharing or performance.

We are able to provide bespoke packages of work for schools, which can link to specific topics you are already studying in school, or which are completely creative that you plan in conjunction with the CBSO musicians.
For more information on how the CBSO can help you develop creative workshops for your pupils, or to discuss your requirements please contact

Coaching & Mentoring

CBSO musicians have a wealth of skills and talents that they can use to support secondary school music teachers in developing their ensembles and instrumentalists. From coaching sessions for specific instruments, to string, brass, wind or percussion sectionals we are able to provide musicians with the appropriate skill set to lead these activities, inspire pupils and help them to reach their full potential as musicians and performers.

We are also able to provide masterclasses for talented young musicians, led by CBSO players. These sessions offer individual musicians an incredible opportunity to receive tuition from some of the world’s best musicians, helping them to prepare pieces for their GCSE or A Level performances or Associated Board exams.

In addition to our orchestra, the CBSO also has an unparalleled family of choruses who are expertly led by our vocal staff. As with our instrumentalists, we have a choral leaders who can support a range of different types of choral ensemble, whether providing specific coaching on repertoire being prepared for performance or a competition, leading sectional rehearsals, or supporting emerging choral leaders in school to assist their development as choral conductors.

Costs for a CBSO musician or choral leader to provide coaching, mentoring or masterclasses start at £175 for a 3 hour session. For more information about what we can offer, or to discuss your specific requirements please contact and a member of our Learning & Participation team will be happy to help.

GCSE & A Level Support

This new strand of the CBSO offer from the 2015/16 academic year will enable students studying for GCSE or A Level music to delve deeper into their understanding of set works by learning about them from the musicians perspective, experiencing them performed live at Symphony Hall, and attending pre-concert talks given by leading muiscologists.

We are also able to support students who are undertaking composition as part of the GCSE or A Levels. We challenge pupils to create new works for our players through their composition activities. This new area of work provides schools with a visit from a CBSO musician who provides a performance for students, exams in detail the range of techniques at their disposal, but also the limitations of their instrument. Pupils then compose their pieces for this instrumentalist, who returns to rehearse and perform these pieces for the pupils.

Costs for a CBSO musician to attend school to support analysis and composition start at £175 per session (up to 3 hours), and Symphony Hall performances by the CBSO can be accessed by school groups with tickets at £5 per person.

For more information about these projects, or to discuss your specific requirements please contact