String, Brass and Woodwind and Percussion Ensembles

Ensemble playing is fundamental to SCYM. Students are grouped into chamber ensembles according to their current performance grade, from absolute beginner to advanced.

For pre grade 1 to grade 5 players SCYM provides the following ensembles:

PRELUDE STRINGS  is for string players from absolute beginners from age 6. Children are taught ensemble, technique and note reading skills in a small group.

JUNIOR STRINGS  is a group for players who have reached approximately grade 1. The focus is on ensemble skills, the development of reading notation, practical musicianship and consolidation of good technique.

INTERMEDIATE STRINGS  is for players who are grade 3 to 5.

SENIOR STRINGS is tutored by members of Britten Sinfonia and is for players who are approximately grade 6 and above.


CELLO ENSEMBLE. Players who have reached grade 7 and above.

WIND BAND 1 is for wind and brass players from grade 1 to 4 and is for core curriculum students

WIND BAND 2 is for wind and brass players from grade 1 to 4 and runs in the afternoon for students who want to take the ensemble only option.

WIND ENSEMBLE is for wind players from grade 4 and above and is for core curriculum students.

BRASS ENSEMBLE is for brass players from grade 4 and above and is for core curriculum students.

BRASS QUINTET is an auditioned chamber group.

RECORDER ENSEMBLE is currently for young and beginner recorder players, although more experienced players are welcome.

TUNED PERCUSSION is an ensemble for students who are at least grade 5 on orchestral percussion, or for pianists who play to grade 6 and above who would like to play in an ensemble at SCYM.

PERCUSSION ENSEMBLE is for younger students who are first study percussion or drums, or piano and voice. This group also plays tuned orchestral percussion, as well as enjoying a ‘Stomp’ style of percussion ensemble


The jazz ensemble is  small group for musicians who are already familiar with jazz harmony and improvising, and who play trumpet, trombone, sax, bass, drums or piano to a minimum of grade 5 and above.  This is a non-auditioned ensemble for full and core curriculum SCYM students, as well as students who wish to take the ensembles only option. This group rehearses from 12.45 until 2.15 every Saturday and is taught by Dan Forshaw.

Jazz musicians is a group led by James Mayhew, in which students are taught the rudiments of jazz theory, and learn how to improvise and play in the jazz idiom. All instrumentalists who are playing at grade 4 and  are welcome in this group, with some progressing on to the jazz ensemble when spaces become available.


Singing & Vocal Training

Up to age 16 singing in a choir is compulsory and plays an important part in the musical development and social experience of all SCYM students. Good performances, rehearsals, auditions and exam results depend on good sight-reading and musicianship, and singing in a choir makes for greater awareness of group responsibility, co-operation and leadership. It is also the perfect opportunity to mix with other students from outside their own instrumental groups. Choirs are led by Mish Kelly, Carrie Catlin with Alastair Chilvers accompanying. We currently run three choirs; mini, junior & senior.



This 45 minute class is for young children aged 4 to 7, and runs from 09.30 to 10.15 every Saturday during term time . The Kodaly method teaches children to develop their inner ear using singing and rhythm games.

Children learn to keep pulse, recognise meter, develop rhythm, and hear and sing pitch and harmony.

Kodaly classes are fun and led by Mish Kelly who is a highly qualified and experienced Kodaly teacher, violinist and choral trainer.

This is a ‘stand alone’ class and is not part of the core curriculum. This session costs £5 per child per session, or £50 for the 10 week term.

To learn more about the Kodaly teaching method, you can visit the Kodaly Academy website:


A small vocal close harmony group for more experienced singers, covering popular music repertoire



Musicianship classes at SCYM help students develop the skills they need to improve their music making by consolidating their understanding of basic music theory.  Musicianship classes are taught using practical work, improvisation, reading and listening.

For more experienced musicians who take the core curriculum there is the option to take Alexander technique classes in the Spring term.

Some classes are specifically used to enable students to achieve Grade 5 Theory, and are available to students who play their instrument to grade 4 standard and above. Others offer support for those taking GCSE, AS and A2 exams. The Musicianship Department can also prepare students for the grade exam aural tests.