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Gateshead Youth OrchestraGateshead Music Service manages several ensembles which take place after school at the Dryden Centre and various locations throughout the Borough.

Ensembles range from beginner bands for less advanced musicians to senior ensembles for more experienced players.

Cost of membership of Gateshead Music School (September 2011 – August 2012) is £50 per term (£130 for the year).  A reduction of 50% will apply for second and subsequent children of the same family.

Membership of the Gateshead Music School gives access to all Music Service Ensembles.

Permission Policy

Students who receive free school meals are not charged for Membership of the Gateshead Music School

Rowlands Gill Junior Strings

This string group is for pupils who have not previously played in an ensemble, and who have achieved Grade One standard.

Pupils have been performing a variety of music and present termly informal concerts.

Tutor:  Mrs Julia Watson
Rehearsals: Rowlands Gill Primary School, Wednesdays – 3.45 – 5pm

Whickham Chamber Orchestra

This string orchestra is for more advanced players who have experience of playing in an ensemble.  They develop the essential skills of ensemble playing in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere.

Tutors:  Mr John Finnon and Mr Erardo Evans
Rehearsals: Whickham School, Thursdays – 5.00 – 7.00pm

Gateshead Viol Consorts

Advanced string players learn treble tenor and bass viol in an informal environment, and develop consort skills led by an acknowledged expert in this field.

Tutor:  Mr John Finnon
Rehearsals: Whickham School, Thursdays – 5.00 – 7.00pm

Intermediate String Ensemble

This ensemble is open to string players (violin, viola, cello and double bass) whose standard is between Grades 2 – 4.

The repertoire is engaging and entertaining.

Tutors:  Mrs Eileen Evans, Mrs Julia Watson, Miss Judith Thompson and Mr Ron Macdonald
Rehearsals: The Dryden Centre, Thursdays – 4.15 – 5.30pm

Junior Wind Band

This wind ensemble welcomes adults as well as pupils who have achieved at least Grade 2 on their instrument, and rehearses in the Dryden Centre’s celebrated Skeleton Cupboard.

Tutors:  Mr George Parnaby, Mr Tom Rushton

Rehearsals: The Dryden Centre, Thursdays – 4.15 – 5.30pm


This senior jazz band plays a variety of styles including Jazz, Big Band, Swing and Funk.  It has performed in the National Festival of Youth in Birmingham and received top awards from the prestigious Sunderland Jazz Festival.  A recent CD has received critical acclaim.

Tutor:  Mr David Blakey, Mrs Julia Watson, Mr Tom Rushton

Rehearsals: The Dryden Centre, Thursdays - 6.30 – 8.30pm

Strings Attached

This string ensemble welcomes violin, viola and cello players who have achieved at least Grade 3 standard.  Repertoire ranges from Bach to the Beatles, and the band performs regularly in the North East we well as undertaking overseas tours.

Tutor:  Mrs Julia Watson
Rehearsals: St Thomas More School, Fridays – 3.45 – 5.15pm

Senior Wind Band

This senior wind ensembles is designed for wind players how have achieved a standard of Grade 4 and above.

Repertoire is varied and entertaining, and the ensemble is in great demand for a wide variety of engagements.  Advanced players form the wind and brass section of the Gateshead Youth Orchestra are undertake overseas tours on an annual basis.

Tutors:  Mr David Milner, Mr George Parnaby, Mr Tony Wilson
Rehearsals: The Dryden Centre, Tuesdays – 4.15 – 6.30pm

Gateshead Youth Orchestra

The Youth Orchestra is for experienced players of about Grade 5 standard.  The repertoire is varied, ranging from Baroque Masterpieces by J S Bach, Avison and Gigondas to Haydn and Mozart symphonies, Beethoven and specially composed music.  Four performances of ‘Beggars Opera’ were presented in association with First Act Theatre.

The orchestra tours overseas each summer and performs in a wide range of venues.  The Youth Orchestra is supported by the Avison Ensemble, who regularly provide master-classes and performance workshops.

Tutor:  Miss Judith Thompson
Rehearsals: The Dryden Centre, Tuesdays – 4.30 – 6.30pm

Cost of membership of Gateshead Music School (September 2011 – August 2012) is £50 per term (£130 for the year).  A reduction of 50% will apply for second and subsequent children of the same family.

Mid-week Instrumental Tuition

Specialist Instrumental Tuition

A wide range of instrumental tuition is available midweek after 4.00pm at the Dryden Centre.

Lessons are available on the following instruments:

  • Oboe
  • Bassoon
  • Flute
  • Clarinet
  • Violin
  • Voila
  • Double Bass
  • Trumpet
  • Cornet

Lessons normally last for 30 minutes and specialist teachers are members of the Gateshead Music Service.

Pupils may be taught in small groups or individually.

Cost per lesson: £10.00

Contact us:

For further information about opportunities provided by the Gateshead Music Service, please contact:

Head of Music Service    - 0191 433 8690

Music Service Administrator  - 0191 433 8685

The Saturday Academy

The Saturday Academy is based at the Dryden Centre.  Students of all ages are generally taught in small groups.  Lessons last for 30 minutes.

Tuition is available in the following subjects:

  • Keyboard and piano
  • Upper strings
  • Guitar
  • Percussion
  • Woodwind, including saxophone
  • Voice
  • Theory

All tutors are highly qualified and experienced teachers employed by the Gateshead Music Service.

The cost per lesson is £10.00 (September 2011 onwards) and a free theory session is also available.

Fees are normally paid half-termly in advance.