The DMS teacher has helped children's musical skills and understanding improve and she is wholly inclusive and supportive of all children. With her professionalism and passion she feels like a member of our staff.

Mrs N Noble, St Cuthbert's School, Seaham.

First Access

Every child can access free instrumental learning as part of the National First Access scheme. These programmes introduce pupils to instrumental learning in a fun and inclusive way. They are carefully designed to develop pupils’ love of, confidence and progress in music, while also enhancing their personal and educational development as a whole. Options include:

  • Recorder
  • Violin
  • Ukulele
  • Guitar
  • Voice
  • Clarinet
  • Wind Band
  • Brass
  • Percussion
  • Rock and Pop

Sessions include a wide variety of musical activities and build musical understanding in a progressive and fun way. The use of voice is integral to the sessions and can contribute to overall vocal development within your school.

Each school can access subsidised teaching time to put towards our range of programmes and free training for one nominated member of school based staff.

Length of Programme
1 hour per week for the year £2,385
1 hour per week for the year 
2 teachers WIND BAND programme £3925
1.5 hours per week for the year (2x45mins) £3530
2 hours per week for the year £4,575
3 hours per week for the year £6,720
4 hours per week for the year £8,995
5 hours per week for the year £10,955

Please note some programmes will incur a small maintenance fee for upkeep of instruments.

Progression routes 
What happens after the first access programme

To make the very best of your First Access programme, Durham Music Service has created several pathways for progression that best suit the needs of your pupils. Options include:

  • Whole Class Instrumental Teaching

Pupils can continue their instrumental learning as a whole class, similar to First Access. Pricing structure as First Access tuition.

  • Large Group Tuition

Pupils can learn in larger groups funded by the school.

  • Enrichment Programmes

Pupils can continue with other musical activities from our enrichment programme including after school music clubs.

  • Small  Group Lessons

Pupils can opt for small group lessons where parents are invoiced directly. Instrument hire is available. Many schools support the cost of a small group lessons for pupils eligible for Free School Meals or Pupil Premium. Small group pupils can also access a wide range of after school ensembles which are free of charge.

Brass is really fun and I enjoy learning new tunes. One day i would love to play in a full orchestra. Lessons have influenced me in making this choice.

Jake Marriage, St Georges School Darlington.


Durham Music Service offers a wide range of enrichment opportunities to further enhance your music provision. These include both in school and extracurricular activities and can be regular weekly or "one off" events such as workshops, concert performances and Arts Week events.

World Percussion

African and Samba Beats

1 Term. 1 Hour £1090 : 1.5 hours £1,330

Musical Playgrounds

Create musical buddies in the playground with free resource pack and CPD 5/10 weeks £540/£1080

School Choir

Weekly 45/60 minute sessions £1,895/£2,385

Curriculum Workshops

A variety of topic and curriculum-based workshops. £135per hour

Live Music for Schools

Durham Music Service musicians performing live for whole school concerts. £195 per concert.

Music Club

Weekly 45/60 minute sessions £1.895/£2,385

School Ensemble

Create your own school ensemble with help of our experienced ensemble leaders 1 hour per week £2385

Rock Workshop

Create your own School of Rock!

Workshop encompassing performing, arranging and composing. Whole or half day. Contact us for pricing details.

Singing In Schools

The National Plan for Music Education highlights the importance of singing for young people's whole development and Durham Music Service have created a range of programmes to help develop and support singing in your school. This is enhanced by a range of performance opportunities outside the classroom: Our Big Sings, competitions, choirs and Durham Vocal Festival events will inspire and enthuse your young singers and we also offer a range of CPD opportunities to build confidence and enjoyment of singing in your school.

Singing Programmes Description Costs
Singing Training Scheme Develop you choir or class alongside a DMS singing leader, Teacher CPD included


5/10 weeks

School Choir Start or boost your school choir with FREE entry to our KS2 choir of the year competition


1 hour/45 mins per week

Musical Playgrounds Sing, dance and laugh with our programme of singing games


5/10 weeks

Musical Theatre Develop a singing group with a musical theatre focus


5/10 weeks

Little Singers Singing for KS1 and EYFS £2,385/£1,895 1 hour/45 mins per week
The singing Assembly Developing singing for assembles. Bespoke programme dependent on need. Please contact us for details.

Outside the classroom

KS2 Choir of the Year December 2019 £20
The Big Sing Big Sing Events around the county with free resource pack and support £150 per school includes event, CDP and Singing School Book
Vocal Horizons CPD vocal packages Various prices

Durham Vocal Festival - January/February

Durham Vocal Festival brought hundreds of young people together to perform alongside prestigious professional musicians such as Apollo 5, Mahogany Opera ad The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.

Sage Showcase - March

Nearly 1000 young musicians performed at DMS's biannual showcase event to a sold out audience.

Darlington Jazz Festival - April

A fantastic weekend which brought international Jazz performers to the heart of Darlington.

Exam Success - June

Once again Durham Music Service achieved 100% pass rate in external exams.

Great Exhibition of the North - July

Over 100 First Access Brass Players performed alongside hundred of other young musicians from across the North East at Sage Gateshead as part of the Great Exhibition of the North.

Durham Music Service Website Launch - August

Durham Music Service were delighted to gain funding to help launch its website celebrating the breadth and quality of music making across the region.

Durham County Youth Big Band and NYJO - September

Durham County Youth Big Band were chose to work with the National Youth Jazz Orchestra of Great Britain in their Academy programme and Durham Music Service has also been shortlisted for the prestigious Will Michael Jazz Award 2018 for their ground-breaking work in the field of jazz.

DMS Teachers Inspire Awards - October

Durham Music Service Teachers received recognition for their commitment to young people in the annual DCC Inspire Awards. Durham Music Service was also shortlisted for the Durham County Council's Inspire Unsung Hero Award.

Durham Music Service - November

Durham Music Service received praise for their increased engagement with schools and performance opportunities in their Annual Feedback from Arts Council England 2018.

Choirs of the Year Competition - December

Over 600 pupils, form 20 choirs across the county, completed for the KS2 and KS3 choir of the year in the beautiful chapel at Ushaw College.

Durham Music Service Christmas Concerts - performed to over 3000 pupils in two days.

Durham Music Service is one of the biggest music hubs in the county and is the lead partner in the Durham and Darlington Education  Hub. We believe that music makes a difference, that every child deserves the opportunity to make music and we're committed to making music accessible and inclusive.

Durham Music Service provides high quality and inclusive musical education for over 18,000 pupils each week and works with over 40 ensembles across the County Durham and Darlington. We have over ensembles including a range of orchestras, choirs, wind and brass bands as well as percussion, strings and special school ensembles and work in partnership with our schools to support a further 120 ensembles. Over the last 12 months we have organised over 300 concerts in iconic venues like Sage Gateshead, Ushaw College, and Durham Cathedral as well as smaller community venues giving performances opportunities for over 10,000 young people with a total audience exceeding 50,000 people from all sectors of our community.

Durham Music Trust is the charitable arm of Durham Music Service and registered with the Charity Commission. We aim to support the work of Durham Music Service by providing life-changing musical experiences and performance opportunities.