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School Music

Gateshead Youth Orchestra
Gateshead Youth Orchestra

Gateshead Schools Music Service are a team of dedicated, highly qualified and skilled music educators and performers. The Music Service was formed in 1950, and last year celebrated 60 years of supporting music education in Gateshead. Our achievements are noted nationally - we are rated amongst the few ‘Outstanding Music Services’ in the UK, and have been awarded the National Music Council's Diploma of Merit on ten occasions, and most recently the Major Award.

Nearly 5,000 pupils in Gateshead benefit from weekly lessons both in school and at outreach centres. All orchestral, band and popular instruments are taught and pupils engage in a wide range of activities. From beginner to conservatoire entry, the Music Service’s holistic and structured approach ensures that every learner makes good progresses.  Over 3000 instruments and loaned free of charge.  The Saturday Academy at the Dryden Centres enables beginners and more advanced pupils of all ages to access tuition on a wide range of instruments, as well as singing and theory.

Access to Ensembles

Gateshead pupils can make music in a wide range of ensembles, ranging from beginner string and wind groups to intermediate bands and advanced ensembles such as award winning swing band ‘Paraffernalia’ and the senior Gateshead Youth Orchestra and Wind Band, which tour overseas annually, and perform in a variety of prestigious venues.

For more information please see the website

Experience live music in school

Four dedicated workshop teams of skilled performer/teachers give over 100 presentations each term in Primary and Special schools, linking music and the national curriculum in a vibrant and stimulating way. ‘These music workshops play a significant part in raising pupils’ musical understanding’ (Ofsted). Pupils take part in large- scale activities- massed choral events, outdoor performances at venues such as Gibside, Singalong days at the Old Town Hall, and recitals in a variety of venues including the Old Town Hall, St Mary’s Visitors Centre, Caedmon Hall and The Sage Gateshead.

For more information please contact Barbara Murray on 0191 4338685 e-mail

Avison Ensemble

The music service has enjoyed a long relationship with the Avison Ensemble, one of England's leading period ensembles.  Thanks to general sponsorship from the Avison Ensemble Gateshead musicians have taken part in a wide range of school based workshops, masterclasses, performances with the First Act Theater and shared concerts with professional musicians and the youth orchestra working together.