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A group of young people sit crossed legged on the floor with ukuleles in front of them as they raise their hands up to demonstrate pitch of music.

Earthsong Programme

Starting musical journeys for over 4500 young people in Bristol

What is the Earthsong Programme?

Our Earthsong Programme provides the first step into music for children in Bristol primary schools.

Created in partnership with the Earthsong Foundation, the Earthsong Programme guides children in 13 Bristol primary schools through a 5 year music education programme.

The Programme is provided to schools that may have limited music provision, particularly in disadvantaged areas or where English is a second language.


  • 5 year targeted programme delivered to primary schools in Bristol with lack of music provision, particularly in disadvantaged areas or where English is a second language
  • Providing music education to young people who would not otherwise have access to music lessons or instruments
  • Encouraging academic attainment across the school curriculum and a life-long engagement with music.
  • Consistency of programme participants where the same children follow the Earthsong Programme over the 5 years, building knowledge over time
  • Group music making, music lessons and group ensemble playing with specialist tutors as well as after school clubs
  • Instruments provided free to schools for whole class music activity
  • Instruments provided to young people to practice at home and play in ensembles
  • Performance opportunities at points throughout the programme, including concerts playing together at prestigious music venues
Three young people wearing school uniforms hold violins and look up towards a music teacher.

How can a young person know whether they are a musician, unless they experience it in the classroom with their peers?”

Laurie Stewart, Vocal and Instrumental Strategy Manager, Bristol Beacon

A group of children sing together

Earthsong at a glance

3861 whole class music lessons

will be delivered over 5 years


1560+ instruments provided to schools

including ukuleles, violins, glockenspiels, penny whistles and percussion


504 instruments loaned to children

for individual learning and practice

5 Earthsong outcomes:

  1. Improved musical skills.
  2. Increased confidence and self-esteem.
  3. Developed social skills.
  4. Teachers have increased knowledge, skills, and confidence to embed music in the curriculum.
  5. Schools value music and its benefits.

Long-term Aims

Children see themselves as musicians, seeking out opportunities to learn an instrument and play in ensembles.

Children develop into well-rounded people with lifelong engagement and a love for music.

Delivering the programme

Young people sing in a choir with a string of lights behind them

The building blocks of music

Earthsong is a long-term programme which aims to cumulatively build a child’s music knowledge.

It creates a solid foundation of musicianship, starting with fun singing activities and games leading on to developing instrumental technique and music theory, in preparation for ensemble playing and senior level playing.

A classroom of children sit crossed legged in a circle in a classroom holding ukuleles while a music teacher leads a music session.

Group music making

Stage 1 of the programme provides a starting point for ongoing whole class instrumental tuition.

This includes exercises and techniques creating a more solid and connected transition to playing an instrument.

Playing and singing in a group also provide opportunities for young people to develop directional listening skills alongside their peers and teachers.


A graphic showing the structure of Earthsong Programme.

Our dream is that we build up a really strong musical community among these children in Bristol so that they can carry their music within them as they move on to secondary school, and into their adult lives.”

Suze Pole, Co-Founder of Earthsong Foundation



There isn’t a right or wrong way to music. It’s also just really fun to fiddle around with!”

Earthsong student


Benefits for young people

  • Removing financial barriers to access music education and instruments
  • Life long personal enjoyment of music making
  • Increased confidence and developed listening skills
  • Social and cultural benefits
  • Wider educational development, including attainment in other subject

Benefits for schools

  • Structured music programmes
  • Access to specially trained music leaders
  • Development and learning opportunities for teachers
  • Students are assessed throughout the programme as part of a longitudinal study
  • Raising the importance of music in the curriculum

Supporters and funders

The project is supported by the Earthsong Foundation.

Read, watch & listen

The latest news from our music education and community engagement programmes

Earthsong - End of year celebrations
Percussion instruments, music in orange folders and some toy sheep

Earthsong - End of year celebrations

Earthsong on BBC Radio 3 Music Matters
Three young people wearing school uniforms hold violins and look up towards a music teacher.

Earthsong on BBC Radio 3 Music Matters

The Power of Music - supporting people living with dementia
A young female musician wearing a yellow jumper plays acoustic guitar and smiles.

The Power of Music - supporting people living with dementia