Bristol Plays Music offers a variety of bursaries and subsidised instrumental opportunities for children and young people in Bristol schools.
Students whose family financial circumstances present a barrier to accessing music education can apply for a bursary to join one of our ensembles, bands, orchestras or choirs. The bursary covers the full cost of annual membership of one of the following ensembles and choirs:
|Bristol Choral Centre||Bristol Music Centre, West||Bristol Centre for Musicians|
|Bristol Youth Choir – Juniors & Intermediates||Starter Strings||Bristol Bridge Orchestra|
|String Group||Bristol Youth Chamber Orchestra|
|Bristol Wind Band||Bristol Youth Wind Ensemble|
|Bristol Junior String Orchestra|
|Bristol Youth Jazz Orchestra|
Music Centre Passport
If your child attends more than one ensemble, the Bursary Scheme will cover the cost of a Music Centre Passport for the academic year.
How to Apply
Please see the information at the bottom of this page for eligibility criteria and the application form.
Young Companies in Residence
Bristol Plays Music’s programme includes two flagship ensembles, Bristol Youth Orchestra and Bristol Youth Choir – together they form ‘Colston Hall’s Young Companies in Residence’. Each ensemble rehearses weekly during school term time (approximately 30 rehearsals annually) and plays in multiple performances at venues throughout Bristol and beyond. The aim of each ensemble is to:
Bristol Youth Orchestra
Bristol Youth Orchestra is the city’s leading youth orchestra for the most talented young musicians in Bristol (ages 12-18, entry grade 7+ upon audition). The orchestra, conducted by Tim Harrison, rehearses weekly and performs the great works of the orchestral repertoire as well as ambitious new commissions. Bristol Youth Orchestra is a member of the Association of British Orchestras and works closely with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and British Paraorchestra to give young musicians a professional orchestral experience, nurture talent and support careers in music.
Bristol Youth Choir
Bristol Youth Choir currently has 113 young members from all over Bristol and is made up of three choirs: the Junior and Intermediate Choir (aged 7-12), Senior Boys’ Choir and Senior Girls’ Choir (aged 12-19). The choirs, directed by David Ogden, Martin Le Poidevin and Elinor Cooper, sing choral music of all styles and perform in at least five concerts a year. Bristol Youth Choir has appeared in the BBC Proms, on BBC Breakfast, The One Show and BBC One’s Songs of Praise.
Membership of a YCIR ensemble is by audition only and for families with a financial situation that presents a barrier to accessing a music education, the Bursary Award enables students to join these flagship ensembles. The bursary covers the full cost of annual membership of the BYO or the BYC. To apply please refer to the information below and complete a Bursary Award application.
We are pleased to announce the Young Companies in Residence Bursary Awards for members of the Bristol Youth Orchestra and Bristol Youth Choir. These bursaries will allow BPM to cover the music centre fees for successful applicants for the academic year. They have been made possible through the generosity of:
Conditions of Bursary Award
If you receive financial assistance from BPM you will be asked to:
How to apply
Evidence of your child’s musical progress, including both:
Details of your financial situation and any supporting evidence, which could be in the form of:
Supporting evidence will be requested annually.
Applications can be made at any point during the year. We will aim to make decisions within 10 working days. Bursaries are dependent on the availability of funds so apply early to avoid disappointment.
Bristol Plays Music is able to offer instrument hire for young musicians across Bristol who participate in music lessons in Bristol schools or who play in one of our Music Centre ensembles.
Instrument Hire Costs
|Instruments||Hire Charge (per double term)|
|Band A||Violin, Viola, Guitar, Ukulele||£20 per double term|
|Band B||Cello, Double Bass, Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon, Saxophone, French Horn, Cornet, Trumpet, Trombone, Euphonium, Tuba||£30 per double term|
If your child is in receipt of a Bursary Award or Free School Meals, they are eligible for free instrument hire. Please contact us to discuss availability of instruments.
Please see our Instrument Hire page or more information.
Earthsong Foundation funds instrumental music lessons for a minimum of 8 children in each year 4 class following a year of Whole Class Instrumental Tuition.
Earthsong starts in Year 2 in September 2019 in the following schools:
Bristol secondary schools are given an annual subsidy by Bristol Plays Music, which Heads of Music may use to subsidise individual or shared instrumental/vocal lessons. Alternatively, if your child’s school is in receipt of Pupil Premium for your child, they may be able to use this to support their music education. Please speak to your child’s school about these options.