First String Experience provide early years string training for young children with no previous experience

The course emphasises the encouragement of basic musical skills, physical ease with the instrument and the enjoyment of playing, through group tuition and ensemble playing.

All sessions are held on Saturdays at the Academy, teaching coinciding with normal school terms. We encourage parents/guardians to show enthusiasm and interest, both in accompanying children to the sessions and in helping to sustain interest through the week. A concert is given by each year group at the end of each term.

Parents/guardians must accompany children to all sessions throughout the course.


Saturdays, 9.15–10.00am

Sessions concentrate on initial musical development, working imaginatively with pulse, rhythm and pitch. It is essential for a parent to accompany each child to these sessions. This pre-instrumental year lays the musical foundations for the tuition on string instruments that follows in subsequent years.


Saturdays, 10.30am–12.30pm

A choice is made from violin, viola, cello and mini-bass for the second year onwards.

The two-hour sessions consist of four 30-minute periods – a large ensemble session, a group instrumental lesson, general musicianship and a period for musical games and refreshment or further ensemble playing. Much emphasis is placed on comfort with the instrument and an overall physical co-ordination and ease.

The instrumental lessons are typically in groups of five to six and the musical material we use forms the basis of the ensemble playing. The general musicianship sessions explore all elements of music, including note-reading, in an active and stimulating fashion.


Saturdays, 1.00–3.00pm

Third year is a continuation of the ensemble sessions, group instrumental lessons and general musicianship sessions from second year.

There are no formal entry requirements for the First Strings Experience as this course is intended for children who have not had previous strings tuition. Please note the strict date of birth criteria for the 2024 ballot:

Child must be born between 1 June 2019 and 31 May 2020.


per termper annum

First Year

Second and Third Year


per term
per annum

First Year

Second and Third Year

Fees are payable each term on receipt of an invoice.

A full term’s notice in writing is required for withdrawal of a pupil from the course. A term’s fee will be charged in lieu of such notice.

Applications for entry in September 2024 are now closed and all places have been filled.