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Youth Ensembles/ Learning Groups: Our Structure

We have 5 ensembles/ learning groups with Ian Chalk as Director giving a range of opportunities for all young musicians and a consistency of approach. As the young musicians become more skilled and more experienced they have the opportunity to progress through our ensembles. We have a 3 tier approach to our ensembles so that each young musician can learn in an environment which is suitable for them and also gives a clear progression path.

Ensembles: Text

Junior Band

Junior Band is our Tier 1 entry level ensemble for young people who are just a year or 2 into their musical journey (approximate Grade 2/3) and is suitable for all instruments. This ensemble is all about learning about how to be in a band, working together while making some very cool music across a range of different genres. Junior Band provides a foundation to prepare young musicians to progress to our Tier 2 ensembles as they build their skills and experience.

Big Band

Big Band is our Tier 2 ensemble for young musicians from around grade 4 experience.


Arranged for 3 sections (woodwind, brass and rhythm) the Big Band plays modern arrangements of cool jazz tunes that are fun to play but also challenging. The specially written arrangements allow plenty of room for jazz improvisation.  


Harmony and Improvisation

This Tier 2 learning group helps young musicians develop the knowledge and confidence they need to perform improvised jazz solos based on the material being prepared by Big Band. During this session we learn about jazz harmony (chord structures, associated scales etc.) as well as understanding how to structure their improvised solos and how the soloist works with the rhythm section to create music together where the art is conceived and executed instantly.

Youth Jazz Ensemble

Youth Jazz Ensemble  is one of our advanced Tier 3 ensembles and members join through invitation or audition. Jazz Orchestra members need to be Grade 7 or above and Tier 3 ensembles have one person per part. The aspiration for Tier 3 ensembles is to be one of the best in the UK for their genre.

This band is the natural progression for Big Band members from our Tier 2 ensemble. Here we play more challenging, professional-level arrangements to a very high standard.


Funk Soul Band

Funk Soul Band is the progression for our Tier 2 members.


Here we work on and perform great soul and funk music ranging to classic Motown to recent hits and even our own compositions so expect everything from Stevie to Volfpeck via Marvin and the Brand New Heavies!

Ensembles: Courses

Our adult education (aged 18 or above) jazz ensemble provides the opportunity for developing musicians to participate in a large ensemble learning experience.
We create a fun and friendly environment so you get the most enjoyment out of rehearsing and performing this great music. Plus you'll have the chance to socialise with like-minded people.


Jazz Ensemble

Ensembles: Welcome
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