Provision for Schools from Durham Music Service 

The impact of the music service has been immense; our children are thriving in the additional skills that your service provides - whether for the voice, in brass or strings.  Music is a language all children can learn to love and be engaged in.  Thank you for your high quality service.

Mrs Wilkinson,

Head Teacher,

St Francis C of E Aided Junior School.Child playing instrument

Durham Music Service strives to support every child throughout their musical journey with the highest quality music education and performance opportunities.

We Have continued to develop our range of programmes for 2020 and hope that you will find something that both inspires your children and supports your broad and balanced curriculum. The Durham Music Service Curriculum Map and Guide is available to download FREE from our website and supported with a range of training options. 

All schools in Durham and Darlington can access fully funded whole-class provision of up to two terms from Durham Music Service and a free Child playing guitarin-school consultation to help you make the best of your funding and music provision.

You will be contacted directly by the Music Service during the Spring Term with full details of all of ours services and available subsidies.

Michael Summers

Manager of Music Education,

Specialist Inspector for Music,

Durham Music Service.

For many years our Year 4 children have had their first experience of playing an instrument through Durham Music Service's First Access programme. It always amazes me how much they achieve and I am as proud as all if the parents when the children take part in their first performance at the end of their initial lessons, as they clearly have practised hard and are fantastic.  At the end of their First Access sessions in Year 4, a large proportion of the children choose to continue having lessons, as they have enjoyed learning to play an instrument so much.  Many of the children move on to our local secondary school and continue to play an instrument and perform in various groups and orchestras until they leave in Year 11.  The seeds that were planted as 8 year olds blossom into talented, highly skilled and confident musicians, who experience a real sense of achievement and love of music by the time they are 16, due to Durham Music Service's highly skilled and dedicated staff.

Mrs A Cox, Head Teacher, Sedgefield Primary School.

First Access

Every child can access free instrumental learning as part of the 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:

Child playing violin

  • Recorder
  • Violin
  • Ukulele
  • Guitar
  • Voice
  • Woodwind
  • 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 of up to two terms of provision FREE (dependent on school size).

Please contact us to find out more about your subsidy.


Length of Programme

1 hour per week for the year £2,495
1 hour per week for the year with
2 teachers WIND BAND programme £4,125
1.5 hours per week for the year (2x45mins) £3,700
2 hours per week for the year £4,795
3 hours per week for the year £7,055
4 hours per week for the year £9,455
5 hours per week for the year £11,545

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

Lessons are not delivered every week.

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 to choose from that best suit the needs of your pupils.

  • 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 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.

Playing an instrument


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 £1,145 : 1.5 hours £1,395

Musical Playgrounds

Create musical buddies in the playground with free resource pack and CPD 5/10 weeks £565/£1,095

School Choir

Weekly 45/60 minute sessions £1,985/£2,495

Curriculum Workshops

A variety of topic and curriculum-based workshops. £145per 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 £1,985/£2,495

School Ensemble

Create your own school ensemble with help of our experienced ensemble leaders 1 hour per week £2,495

Rock Workshop

Create your own School of Rock!

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

Children singing

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


1 hour/45 mins per week

Little Singers Singing for KS1 and EYFS


1 hour/45 mins per week

The singing Assembly Developing singing for assembiles. Bespoke programme dependent on need. Please contact us for details.

Outside the classroom

KS2 Choir of the Year

December 2020 £25
The Big Sing Big Sing Events around the county with free resource pack and support £195 per school includes event, CPD and Singing School Book
Vocal Horizons CPD vocal packages Various prices

Durham Music Service 2019 Highlights

Durham Vocal Festival

Into its third year, this year's festival was bigger than ever with 26 events and 172 artists performing to capacity audiences.  International groups such as the Orchestra of the Age of the Enlightenment and Voces 8 performed alongside 3521 young musicians from local schools.

Darlington Jazz Festival - April

Bringing the very best of live jazz to Darlington town centre. Over 200 performers including young performers from Darlington Schools worked with artists such as Sebastiaan De Krom and Aga Serugo-Lugo.

Durham Music's Big Play

The first of its kind and as part of Make Music Day 2019, Durham Music's Big Play celebrated music making of many kinds from dawn till dusk on the longest day of the year.  Starting with a fanfare at sunrise and a hillside ceilidh band at sunset, this memorable day had nearly 18,000 musicians and over 180 schools taking part.

Durham Music's Big Gig

As part of the Big Play, Durham Music Service hosted its first ever Rock and Pop night with spectacular young bands from all over County Durham and Darlington performing at the Gala Theatre, Durham.  Nearly 100 young performers took part and King James' group Manifested Hope won the Durham Music Service Battle of the Bands.

SEND Conference Sage Gateshead

The first of its kind, the region-wide conference hosted leading experts in SEND music education and will be repeated on the 2nd April 2020.

KS2 and KS3 Choir Competitions of the Year

One of our most popular events of the year. Over 600 young musicians took part in our annual choir competitions in the beautiful chapel at Ushaw College.  Congratulations to all participants and to both Reid Street Primary School Choir and Easington Academy School Choir, winners of the KS2 and KS3 competitions respectively.


Durham Music Service is one of the biggest music hubs in the country and is the lead partner in the Durham and Darlington Music 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 15,000 pupils each week and works with over 300 schools across County Durham and Darlington. We have over 40 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.

Special Schools Child playing guitar

Musical activity gives powerful, validating, multi-sensory and kinaesthetic experiences to children with SEND, supporting the development of the whole child.

Durham Music Service has created a range of programmes to help develop and support music in your school. This is enhanced by a range of performance opportunities outside the classroom such as the Big Sing and Sign and the SEND Showcase days.

All schools are entitled to a subsidised teaching, please contact us for details.

SEND Programmes

Child playing instrumentPMLD Sensory Approaches

ASC - Developing Communication Skills

KS1/KS2 Music Curriculum

African Drumming - whole class

Ukulele - whole class

Brass - whole class

Rock Band Project

KS3 Music Curriculum

Instrumental Tuition - drum, guitar, brass

Music Technology


Outside the classroom

Showcase Day

Schools come together in a day of performance and workshops to share the fun of making music together.

Big Bing and Sign

Special schools from across the North East are inspired and enthused at Durham Vocal Festival

Curriculum Workshop

A variety of topic and curriculum based workshops

Live Music For Schools

Durham Music Service musicians performing live for whole schools concerts.

Brass Ensemble Day 

Brass students from Special School can access this fun ensemble day.

Sage Showcase

An opportunity for Signing Choirs across Durham to perform together at Sage Gateshead. An experience not to be missed.

Our sensory music sessions with Durham Music Service have been of great benefit to the pupils.  The pupils enjoy the sessions and have shown responses and improvements in the communication skills in a number of positive ways.  The Durham Music Service teacher always offers the children a range of sensory experiences that meet a wide variety of special educational needs.  As a teacher new to this role I have gained a multitude of ideas from observing your teacher.

Emma Spooner, The Oaks Secondary School, Spennymoor