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Primary Music Festivals return in 2023!

The Primary Music Festivals are a highly regarded event in the school calendar with close to 100 schools taking part each year in celebration of children’s singing and music making!

The Festival concerts have been running for over 25 years and produce magical evenings for primary school children to come together and sing as one large choir in front of packed audiences in Surrey venues such as Dorking Halls.

Following the success of 2022’s wonderful programme of music including “My Planet, Your Planet”, by composer Teresa Jennings, the 2023 concerts will feature another new piece by Teresa Jennings entitled “Positive” about how we can all make positive contributions to our own lives and the lives of others around us with positive, thoughtful, and kind words and actions. 

Applications open soon and scores will be made available from mid-November. Places will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, so don’t delay — join us at one of our 9 events for schools in the following areas:

Monday 24th AprilMole Valley Dorking Halls
Wednesday 26th AprilWoking & North Surrey Dorking Halls
Thursday 11th MaySouth East Surrey Dorking Halls
Monday 15th MayEast Surrey Dorking Halls
Tuesday 16th MayElmbridge Dorking Halls
Thursday 25th MayWest Surrey Princes Hall
Wednesday 14th JuneMid-Surrey Dorking Halls
Thursday 15th JuneEpsom & Ewell Dorking Halls
Tuesday 20th JuneSurrey Borders Dorking Halls

If your school would like to be part of a Primary Music Festival concert email: or

SMASH Activities 2022

The Surrey Music and Arts in the Summer Holidays (SMASH) activities programme is now available for registration. The activities are taking place in four locations across the county so there are more opportunities to experience DJing, brass and wind instruments, singing, ukulele and being part of a band. The activities are a great way to try different musical instruments and start your musical journey. All instruments and equipment are provided and no previous experience is required to join in and have fun.


26 July at Westfield School in Woking
27 July at Three Rivers School in Hersham, Walton-on-Thames
28 July at Hazelwood School in Oxted
29 July at Glebelands School in Cranleigh


The programme of activities is the same for each location with the exception of Discover Wind and Discover Brass.

The DJ Experience for 8 to 11 year olds. 9.30am until 12.30pm. Cost £30
The DJ Experience for 11 to 16 year olds. 1.00pm until 4.00pm. Cost £30
The Band Experience for 8 to 11 year olds. 1.00pm until 4.00pm. Cost £30
The Band Experience for 11 to 16 year olds. 9.30am until 12.30pm. Cost £30
Discover Wind (Woking and Walton-on-Thames only) for 8 to 11 years old. 9.30am until 12.30pm. Cost £20
Discover Brass (Oxted and Cranleigh only) for 8 to 11 years olds. 9.30am until 12.30pm. Cost £20
Ukulele Jam for 8 to 11 year olds. 1.00pm until 4.00pm. Cost £20
Singing the Musicals for 8 to 14 year olds. 1.00pm until 4.00pm. Cost £20

Further details about the programme and how to register are available on the Surrey Arts website

Watch our Easter activities short film to see some of the activities.

Success for Surrey Students

It’s been a great year for four Surrey Arts’ students who are members of the Mid Surrey Wind Band. Lucian Green, Duncan McGee, Ryan Troop and Toby Ellwood-Gross have all been accepted into the National Children’s Orchestra (NCO). NCO is made up of young musicians aged 8-14, who come together in three National Symphony Orchestras for residential orchestral activity and in four regional Projects ensembles for non-residential orchestral weekends. 

Their tutor Ian Stott said ‘I’m so pleased to see so many brass students making such amazing progress in the Dorking area. These students have been learning for between 2 and 3 years. I am very proud, as their teacher, of their progress into the National Children’s Orchestra, especially as it is rare for state sector students to get to this level. To have 4 from the same town is wonderful! All 4 have learnt through Surrey Arts.

These successes are a testament to our tutors who dedicate their time to improve the skills of students and enable them to follow their musical ambitions. 

Open Ensemble Rehearsals

Why join an ensemble?

There’s a great deal more to playing an instrument than just reading music and practising on your own! Surrey Arts provides over 40 different choirs, bands, orchestras and groups across the county for all ages and abilities.

Boost development
Techniques and skills learnt in lessons are reinforced during group rehearsals

Have fun and make new friends
Form long lasting friendships with like-minded musicians

Music as an educational building block
Children involved in music tend to do better in other subjects

Music is for everyone
We have groups and ensembles for all ages and abilities!

How to apply?

For further information or to apply for an ensemble or group contact:

Learn more at:

Advanced Ensembles

  • Surrey County Youth Orchestra – Friday 15 Oct 6.45-9pm at Westfield School, Woking. Grade 6+ (Percussion, Woodwind, Brass & Strings)
  • Surrey County Youth Wind Orchestra – Friday 15 Oct 6.45-9pm at George Abbot School, Guildford. Grade 6+ (Percussion, Woodwind & Brass)
  • Surrey County Percussion Ensemble – Saturday 16 Oct 9-11am at Westfield School, Woking. Grade 6+ (Percussion)
  • Surrey Advanced Brass Ensemble – Sunday 17 Oct 2-5pm at Westfield School, Woking. Grade 6+ (Percussion & Brass)
  • Surrey Youth Choir Wednesday 20 Oct 6.45-9pm at The Marist Catholic Primary School, West Byfleet. Grade 5+ (Singing)

North Area Ensembles

  • North Surrey Senior Guitar Ensemble – Friday 15 Oct 6-7.30pm at Magna Carta School, Staines. Grade 3+ (Guitar)
  • North Surrey Junior Guitar Ensemble – Saturday 16 Oct 9.20-10.50am at Magna Carta School, Staines. Beginner – Grade 3 (Guitar)
  • North Surrey Junior Wind Band – Saturday 16 Oct 9-11am at Magna Carta School, Staines. Grade 2-5 (Percussion, Woodwind & Brass)
  • North Surrey Senior Wind Band – Saturday 16 Oct 9-11am at Magna Carta School, Staines. Grade 4+ (Percussion, Woodwind & Brass)
  • North Surrey Junior String Orchestra – Saturday 16 Oct 9-11am at Magna Carta School, Staines. Grade 1-4 (Strings)
  • North Surrey Senior String Orchestra – Saturday 16 Oct 9-11am at Magna Carta School, Staines. Grade 4+ (Strings)

South-East Area Ensembles

  • Mid Surrey Wind Band – Tuesday 19 Oct 4-5.30pm at Ashcombe School, Dorking (Percussion, Woodwind & Brass)
  • Mid Surrey Training Wind Band – Thursday 21 Oct 4.15-5.15pm at Ashcombe School, Dorking (Woodwind & Brass)
  • Reigate String Orchestra – Preludes – Thursday 4 Nov 4.30-5.20pm at St Bede’s School, Redhill. Beginner-Grade 1 (Strings)
  • Reigate String Orchestra – Juniors – Thursday 4 Nov 5-6pm at St Bede’s School, Redhill. Grade 1-3 (Strings)
  • Reigate String Orchestra – Intermediates – Thursday 4 Nov 6-7.15pm at St Bede’s School. Grade 3-5 (Strings)
  • Reigate String Orchestra – Seniors – Thursday 4 Nov 6-7.15pm at St Bede’s School. Grade 5-8 (Strings)
  • SESAW (South East Area Winds) – Thursday 21 Oct 6-8pm at St Bede’s, Redhill. Grade 3+ (Percussion, Woodwind & Brass)
  • Blast Off – Thursday 21 Oct 4.45-6pm at St Bede’s, Redhill. Beginner-Grade 3 (Woodwind & Brass)

South-West Area Ensembles

  • South West Surrey Junior Concert Band – Saturday 16 Oct 9-10.15am at Queen Eleanor’s School, Guildford. Grade 1-4 (Percussion, Woodwind & Brass)
  • South West Surrey Senior Concert Band – Saturday 16 Oct 10.30am-12.15pm at Queen Eleanor’s School, Guildford. Grade 5-8 (Percussion, Woodwind & Brass)
  • Prima Strings – Wednesday 20 Oct 5.15-6.30pm at Tillingbourne School, Chilworth (Guildford). Beginner-Grade 2 (Strings)
  • Opus Strings – Wednesday 20 Oct 5.15-6.30pm at Tillingbourne School, Chilworth (Guildford). Grade 2-4 (Strings)
  • South West Winds – Wednesday 3 Nov 5.15-6.30pm at Tillingbourne School, Chilworth (Guildford). Beginner-Grade 4 (Percussion, Woodwind & Brass)
  • South West Surrey Youth Orchestra – Wednesday 3 Nov 6.45-8.45pm at Tillingbourne School, Chilworth (Guildford). Grade 5+ (Percussion, Woodwind, Brass & Strings)

West Area Ensembles

  • West Surrey Wind Band – Thursday 11 November 5.15-7.15pm Westfield School, Woking. Grade 5+ (Percussion, Woodwind & Brass)
  • West Surrey Training Wind Band – Thursday 11 November 5-7pm Westfield School, Woking. Grade 2-5 (Percussion, Woodwind & Brass)
  • Surrey Percussion & Rhythm Crew (SPARC) – Saturday 16 Oct 11.30am-1pm at Westfield School, Woking. Beginner – Grade 5 (Percussion)
  • Camberley Youth Wind Orchestra – Junior – Saturday 16 Oct 11am-12.45pm at Cordwalles School, Camberley. Beginner-Grade 2 (Percussion, Woodwind & Strings)
  • Camberley Youth Wind Orchestra – Intermediate – Saturday 16 Oct 11am-12.45pm at Cordwalles School, Camberley. Grade 2-5 (Percussion, Woodwind & Strings)
  • Camberley Youth Wind Orchestra – Senior – Saturday 16 Oct 9-10.45am at Cordwalles School, Camberley. Grade 5+ (Percussion, Woodwind & Strings)
  • Woking Wind – Adults – Monday 18 Oct 8-10pm at Westfield School, Woking. Grade 6+ (Percussion & Woodwind)
  • Brass Routes – Tuesday 19 Oct 6-7pm at Westfield School, Woking. Beginner-Grade 2 (Brass)
  • Surrey Youth Training Choir – Wednesday 20 Oct 6.45-8.15pm at The Marist Catholic Primary School, West Byfleet. Ages 9-13 – no experience necessary (Singing)
  • Guildford Sinfonia – Adults – Thursday 21 Oct 7.45-9.30pm at Westfield School, Woking. All abilities welcome (Percussion, Woodwind, Brass & Strings)

The Snowman is coming to Cobham!

The Menuhin School is thrilled to present the classic Christmas film ‘The Snowman’ accompanied live by the world-class young musicians of The Yehudi Menuhin School in Cobham.


The Menuhin School are on the hunt for two vocalists to perform the much-loved song ‘Walking in the Air’ for our two performances on 5 December.

Learn more and apply at:

Applications close on 30 September at noon.

Music disability charity OHMI celebrates ten years of inclusive music-making  

Disabled music charity The OHMI Trust, is celebrating its tenth anniversary in matching disabled musicians with the adapted instruments they need to make music.  

The charity was established in 2011, with no money, only two trustees, and two volunteers. Fast forward ten years, and this small but ambitious charity has much to celebrate.  

It is unique in the breadth of support it offers to disabled child and adult musicians, with its impact felt across teaching, research and development, and awareness raising. The charity’s biennial competition, which supports the development of musical instruments that can be played without the use of one hand or arm, attracts entries from across the globe. Its popular Music-Makers and Inclusive Access to Music-Making programmes gain momentum each and every year, reaching new musicians across England and Wales. Its hire scheme offers an impressive 300 instruments and pieces of enabling equipment; a number that will only grow through the development of further instruments through OHMI’s research partnership with Queen Mary University, London and Birmingham City University. It is this wide-ranging work that led to the charity receiving recognition in The House of Lords.  

These impressive milestones will be marked at OHMI’s 2021 Competition Awards and Tenth Anniversary Celebrations, taking place on Saturday, 25th September. The event, which will be held at Aston University, will also be live-streamed from 6pm BST, and is expected to attract musicians and representatives from musical organisations from around the world. 

The event will include performances from the talented OHMI musical community, as well as an announcement on the winners of the 2021 Competition, along with demonstrations of their equipment. 

Melissa Johns, British actor and disability activist, best known for her roles in Coronation Street, BBC drama Life, and, most recently, Celebrity Masterchef, will be hosting the event.  

As Rachel Wolffsohn, OHMI’s Manager, explains, 

“Melissa is a proud champion of the rights of disabled people, so she was the perfect choice in helping OHMI to bang the drum for inclusive music-making. Hosting the event, for the first time, as a blended live and broadcast event, will allow us to share the celebrations with a global audience, reflecting the truly international nature of the competition entries over the years.” 

Registrations for the event can be submitted here:  

Funding secured to support music opportunities for displaced children in Surrey

Surrey Arts is delighted to share the fantastic news that, in partnership with Big Leaf Foundation, just under £45k in funding has been secured to support displaced children in Surrey.  The funding from Youth Music will support a Syrian Youth Ensemble (Together at Home) and Music Connects, a project which brings asylum seeking children and local young people together to make music together.

Syrian Youth Ensemble 

The project will use music as a tool to increase life opportunities for Syrian refugee children who are now living in Surrey. Surrey Arts will equip the service to deliver one to one ensemble and performance opportunities with supported pathways into future music activities. 

The new programme will support the children with music and life skills so that they can access the diverse range of opportunities available to them through Surrey Music Hub and partners. The programme will fund specialist support for the participants and the embedded professional development ensures that this expertise is shared so that as a service Surrey Arts is better equipped to support more children from refugee backgrounds into the future.

Music Connects 

Music Connects is a collaborative song writing project for young people from local and displaced communities, who will work together across language and cultural barriers to write, perform and record a song reflecting the input of everyone in this diverse group. The project will be led by professional musicians from different musical backgrounds. 

Surrey Arts Inclusion Lead Jim Pinchen said “This funding is highly competitive and we’re delighted and grateful that Youth Music recognises Surrey Arts as an a key organisation to lead on this important strand of work”

This project is backed by Youth Music, thanks to the National Lottery via Arts Council England.

About Youth Music

Youth Music is a national charity funded thanks to the National Lottery via Arts Council England, players of People’s Postcode Lottery and support from partners, fundraisers and donors.

SMASH Activities 2021

This summer we are partnering with Active Surrey as part of Surreys Club4 programme by providing three weeks of music, dance and food holiday activities for children across Surrey. Each day there will be music and dance activities led by professional teachers and performers and participants will be provided with a hot meal and snacks as part of the course and explore how we can eat more healthily!

Participants aged 8 to 18 years old can register for single days or a whole four-day course and the activities will focus on:

Dance: Street / Jazz / World: Keep active and healthy, dancing to amazing music and performing.

Music: Rock Bands, World Percussion, Your Voice: Each day take part in music workshops exploring and performing in different styles. Play as part of a rock band, sing in the Your Voice choir and perform drumming from West Africa and South America.

Grand finale: Every Thursday at the end of the four-day programme there will be a performance open to friends and family. Participants will perform the music they have learnt and created during the course of the week.

Dates and venues

St Bedes School, Redhill: Monday 26 to Thursday 29 July

Cordwalles Junior School, Camberley: Monday 2 to Thursday 5 August

Three Rivers Academy, Walton-on-Thames: Monday 9 to Thursday 12 August

Times: 10am to 2.30pm

Cost: £45 per day or £135 for 4 days in one week

Free places are available for eligible free school meal children.

Find out about eligibility criteria for low income support,

To register please complete the registration form

Special Pilot Programme of Award-Winning “Singing Playgrounds”

In 2021, Surrey Arts is bringing the award-winning project Singing Playgrounds to Surrey primary schools through a new Covid-19 friendly online resource created by Ex Cathedra Education. 

Schools will have access to an online resource including a series interactive teaching films, demonstrations, 30 KS1 and KS2 lesson plans, and instrumental backing tracks. At the press of a button teachers will have the Singing Playgrounds team within the classroom, on the whiteboard, leading and teaching the children.  

Singing together releases oxytocin (a feel-good hormone) while reducing cortisol (a stress-related hormone). Singing-play is a very special way for children to improve their wellbeing, develop musicianship and vocal skills as well as personal and social skills.  

Singing Playgrounds is brilliant. I wish I could wave a wand and have it magically appear in every primary school in the country now.’  Howard Goodall CBE, National Ambassador for Singing 2007-2011

Schools enrolling on the pilot programme will receive one year’s access to the online resource at a discounted rate of £50 (half off the usual £100/year). Your one-year subscription will start from the beginning of the Autumn 2021 term.

To enrol your school at the special discounted rate you will need to apply through Surrey Arts using the application form available here. Register now to begin a new subscription starting with the Autumn 2021 term.

Online Activities for Half-term

During February half-term Surrey Arts is providing an online programme of musical activities which will run from 15 – 19 February. Pre-recorded sessions will be released throughout the week via Surrey Arts’ social media channels (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube) as well as a LIVE demo of musical instruments. No need to register, just join us on social media.

Monday 15 February
10am: Percussion – Make your own instruments!
Explore beat-making with everyday items you have at home and create different sounds. Learn a beat! Mix up your sounds!

12pm: Flamenco with a Middle Eastern Twist
An introduction to flamenco music and dance with a Middle Eastern twist with Sara Khoroosi, Fergus Paton and Waffa Paton.

2pm: Guitar ‘A single chord song’
Learn to play a song using just one chord with James Harrison.

Tuesday 16 February
10am: Introduction to piano jazz improvisation
Dave Marsden provides an introduction to Jazz improvisation with the blues scale in C.

12pm: Music from Africa
An insight into just a few of the immense rhythms and music from the vast African continent with Liz Ikamba and Muntu Valdo.

2pm: Percussion – Simple rock rhythm
How to make and build simple rock rhythm using just hands and feet with Surrey Arts’ drum tutor, Ginger.

Wednesday 17 February
10am: Introduction to drum-kit
Percussion tutor Sandro Granda introduces the 5-piece electric drum kit, providing a short breakdown and demonstration of each drum as well as a variety of rudimentary principles and techniques commonly used when playing the instrument.

12pm: A beginner’s guide to piano
Are you thinking about starting piano lessons or have a piano or keyboard at home but are not sure where to begin. In this video you’ll be shown some simple ideas suitable for beginners, to help you get going.

Thursday 18 February
10am: Guitar – A two chord song
Play a song by learning two guitar chords with guitar tutor James Harrison.

12pm: Music from Latin America
Sandro Granda and Franklin Quezada present Music from Latin America. Intro Song: Tinku, played in the Quechua language. Tinku means meeting-encounter. Outro Song: Orquidea, composed by Hugo Blanco (Venezuela), performed by Carlos Rangel.

2pm: Percussion – Big bash drumming
Description: An introduction to drumming through the fantastic world of Drumline!
Equipment: A pair of drumsticks and a practice pad/snare/table/chopping board/something to hit!

Friday 19 February
10am: Body percussion
Surrey Arts’ percussion teacher Mike Wheeler gives a demonstration and mini-lesson to help you get started with body percussion — use your body to build up a groove!

12pm: Music from the Middle East
Raghad Haddad and Bassel Haddad present Music from Syria and the Middle-East, with a number of guest musicians from the London Syrian Ensemble (performing Tahmil Hijaz) demonstrating many of the instruments discussed throughout the video.

2pm: Piano – Learn to play Happy Birthday
Learn to play a simple version of Happy Birthday, with Surrey Arts’ piano teacher Simon Gould

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