Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra continues to support community music-making
throughout the South West during lockdown

The BSO’s Schools’ Concerts provide a highlight of the summer term
for thousands of pupils on the South Coast each year ©BSO

  • Kids set sail on musical voyage as workshops and education packs introduce music through nautical songs, build-your-own instruments and more
  • Players of all ages invited to join massed performance recording
  • The BSO continues to support rural music-making, and its Recovery Orchestra in partnership with Bristol Drugs Project, as sessions continue online

Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra (BSO) has today announced a series of initiatives to inspire all ages during the summer months. From learning to compose and perform sea shanties to a curated night-time playlist there is plenty to occupy busy minds, supporting families during lockdown.

A cultural anchor for the South West, the BSO continues to support music-making in rural communities across its 10,000-square-mile region, providing a musical lifeline when it’s needed more than ever as professional musicians continue to lead groups online.

For children
Kids prepare to set sail on a musical voyage. A three-week series BSO Young Explorers: Sea, Voyages & Hope workshops (from Monday 8 June) introduces children to making music as they learn to make their own works, take part in warm-up exercises, and rehearse two newly-commissioned nautical songs to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower’s pioneering voyage. The project culminates in a group performance at the end of the summer term. The workshops are designed to support the Key Stage 2 curriculum, but can be enjoyed by all ages. Led by BSO Associate Musician Sam Mason and composer James Redwood the sessions will be available — and free for all — at bsolive.comNew sessions will be uploaded each week throughout June.

Music education resource packs (available from Monday 8 June) will help children aged 4-14 to deepen their love of music through a series of prepared activities designed to relieve the burden on teachers and parents during lockdown. Available to all, the activities include learning to make-your-own instrument, exploring pieces through videos performances and talks, curated playlists, and musical cross-curriculum exercises. Children* without access to online materials will be able to take part in activities through the Southampton Music Hub.

Pupils based in the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole region will also have the opportunity to complete the coveted Arts Award Discover qualification, through BSO’s partnership with SoundStorm, the lead partner of the BCP Music Education Hub. The experience provides those studying at Key Stage 2 level the chance to achieve a qualification during lockdown. Schools in the BCP region will be contacted directly. 

For all ages
Players of all ages are encouraged to dust off musical instruments and take part in a massed performance in the BSO’s Bar by Bar project for amateur performers (from Monday 29 June). BSO Associate Musicians provide an introduction to the work and guidance before players upload selected bars of music from home. The project is suitable for a variety of standards from beginner to advanced, with parts for instruments reading treble or bass clefs.

The BSO’s popular community groups continue across the region, providing solace where it’s needed more than ever before. BSO Associate Musicians lead workshops, rehearsals and performances online: the Recovery Orchestra, in partnership with Bristol Drugs Project, offers a safe space for musicians in and around Bristol; meaning ‘fresh’ in Cornish, the contemporary music group Fresk! supports amateur players with a creative outlet during lockdown; the Aubergine Family Orchestra continues to meet fortnightly for players of all ages in the Exeter region; whilst BSO Voices, the Orchestra’s Southampton-based community choir continues to meet virtually and recently shared its performance of Over the Rainbow bringing joy to key workers throughout the region.

Dougie Scarfe, Chief Executive of the BSO said, “Music offers a compass when we’re feeling lost at sea, and we hope that these resources and performance opportunities will help guide all ages towards calm during this turbulent time. Our schools’ concerts are a popular fixture in the summer term for pupils throughout the South West and whilst we’re sad not to be performing live, we’re thrilled to be able to bring some of that magic to pupils learning from home.”

The Orchestra is the cultural anchor for the South West: the professional ensemble gives around 150 symphonic performances each year and reaches over 77,000 people in its work beyond the concert hall. In 2019, the Orchestra won the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Impact Award for its work in empowering all ages through its disabled-led ensemble, BSO Resound; the group gave its historic debut at the 2018 BBC Proms. BSO Associate Musicians engage with communities throughout the Orchestra’s home region and last year the BSO delivered 859 outreach events across the region.

To find out more about Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra’s summer activities and experiences visit