Cardiff County & Vale of Glamorgan Music Service teaching provision and Ensembles


Cardiff County & Vale of Glamorgan Music Service
The Friary Centre, The Friary,
Cardiff CF10 3FA
Tel: 029 2064 0950/1 Fax: 029 2066 6593

Cardiff County and Vale of Glamorgan Music Service is a non-profit making joint-Council organisation which currently delivers tuition and projects to over 7,000 pupils in 166 schools in Cardiff and the Vale, with over 8,000 involved in Music Development projects plus approximately 900 pupils in 20 weekly Ensembles.

Instrumental tuition available (according to school requirements, tutor availability and group viability - please contact your child's school about starting lessons):

Violin    Viola    'Cello    Double    Bass Harp
Flute    Clarinet    Oboe    Bassoon    Saxophone    Fife
Trumpet    Trombone    French    Horn    Tuba Cornet    Tenor Horn    Baritone / Eb Horn
Drum Kit    Percussion
Guitar (classical/folk/electric)    Bass Guitar     Ukulele

Lesson Arrangements

Most schools arrange lessons through the Music Service on a group basis with four pupils per group per 30 minutes. This is the cheapest lesson option for parents and also allows for:
• holistic teaching and learning  
• group interaction   
• learning musical and key skills from each other
• ensemble performing

Some schools allow smaller size groups and even one-to-one teaching - please ask the school. Most schools ask for the Music Service to deliver 36 lessons per academic year.

Quality of teaching

All teaching is monitored and staff receive regular training. Many are or have been professional musicians, performing with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, the Orchestra of the Welsh National Opera etc.

Email from Mair Long - Music Co-ordinator, Ysgol y Wern

 I am e-mailing regarding the master band that took place at Ysgol y Wern yesterday afternoon .  The children benefited greatly from this event.  It was a joy to see around 70 pupils from the school who have peripatetic lessons performing together as a band/orchestra.  This was the first time for many to perform with others like this and I hope that this will tempt them to join the county orchestras/bands in the future.  Children from Years 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 came to watch them perform and thoroughly enjoyed the little concert.

I would like to thank everybody involved in this - all the peripatetic music teachers, especially Wendy Owen who organised and conducted the performance.  Each peripatetic teacher was at the school yesterday afternoon and all together helped to create a successful master band.

The Headteacher of The Hollies Special School writes:

  "The Music Service is highly valued by everyone at The Hollies. Andy Pidcock is a firm favourite with staff and pupils. His sessions are interactive and the most reluctant of communicators quickly becomes animated and take an active part in sessions. Pupils accept turn taking and listen with anticipation of their turn.

Andy also helps us with our concerts providing original music on CDs to help us practise before the big day.

This year we held as our focus fortnight all things South American. It was a great success and the input from the Music Service was FANTASTIC. Pupils were given the opportunity to play South America instruments and achieved wonderful sounds that they were all very proud of. The input received was very professional and everyone was very impressed with how well staff from the music service interacted with our pupils. One pupil in particular performed a wonderful 'rap' song which has boosted his confidence no end.

The City Hall Concert was a wonderful experience for our ukulele band and we were all proud to be part of such a wonderful celebration.

To summarise I would like to express my thanks to the Music Service for their continued support of the school. They are adaptable to our pupils needs and enhance our curriculum delivery. The children love their visits as do all the staff - we plan to develop more skills next year and look forward to working with everyone again."

Quality of Service

The Service passed its BSi assessment in June 05 and its Investors in People in May 2006.
Transitional Orchestra & Cluster Choir at St David's Hall

 • Some schools have a stock of instruments which they are able to loan to new pupils.

• The Music Service has a small stock of instruments which it is able to loan to new pupils who are entitled to Free School Meals (FSM)

Instrument Hire - some parents prefer to hire from a local musical instrument retailer for a term or more to gauge whether their child has the aptitude and willingness to continue learning before deciding to purchase. Details are available from most local instrument shops.


• Assisted Instrument Purchase scheme (AIPS) - the Music Service operates this scheme as part of the Local Education Authority in conjunction with Customs and Excise whereby the purchase of any portable musical instrument for a child learning in school through the Music Service is exempt from VAT and attracts an educational discount. Please contact your child's teacher regarding suitable instruments and for an AIPS form. 


Recommended reading for parents/carers:  Raising an amazing musician - You, your child and Music - publ. ABRSM


Each pupil/parent will receive a set of stepped pupil progress targets for the academic year at the end of October. These will be monitored by the instrumental/vocal teacher and reported on at the end of Summer Term. Parents will be contacted during the year if pupils are not fulfilling their potential for any reason.

Pupils are able to take examinations in their instrument (where applicable) when they meet the required standard, if they wish. The Music Service currently offers a 50% examination fee reduction for FSM pupils.

Service Projects available (subject to demand and availability)

• Primary Cluster Choir performances at St David's Hall  - cost: - free.

As part of the service's objective to give ensemble performance opportunities to more children, particularly at prestigious venues, the first Cluster Choir was formed in September 2005, consisting of 240 pupils from eight primary schools which feed into Willows and Cathays High Schools. They rehearsed seven Christmas songs over the Autumn Term, culminating in a performance with six other County Ensembles at St David's Hall in the Christmas Showcase. The feedback from parents, children, schools and Headteachers has been very positive.

Each school received a certificate acknowledging their achievement and participation. To date 127 primary schools and over 4000 pupils have performed in Cluster Choirs. This rolling programme will eventually encompass any Cardiff or Vale school which would like to be involved.  

• Instrument Demonstrations -  cost:  free
For schools who wish to develop their instrumental music generally or in one particular area. 

 • Music Transition days - cost: free - contact the Music Service for further details (Jeff Davies) The Service offers opportunities for primary instrumental pupils, of any ability to attend "Music Transition" days at a nearby Secondary School to become an orchestra or Band for a day, culminating in a final performan
ce to parents. 

  • Brassed On!  and Strictly Strings! projects - cost:  free

For all primary pupils in either Cardiff or the Vale of Glamorgan who are learning to play a brass or string instrument, culminating in a massed celebration performance in a major venue.

Samba performance on level 3 in St David's Hall 

• "Let's go Samba!" - cost: - contact Music Service (Emma Coulthard, Music Development Officer)

A class project for a term which teaches pupils how to:

  •   play samba rhythms on Latin-American instruments
  •   sing and dance the samba along with the rhythms

The project culminates in a final performance to the school and/or parents
• Global Music Maker - cost: - contact Music Service (Emma Coulthard)

A 10 week whole-class project using the music of different cultures (African, Indian, Caribbean, Celtic) which teaches children how to:

  •   keep a steady beat
  • layer rhythms onto a beat
  • sing in basic harmony
  • sing songs from different cultures
  • perform on instruments from different cultures

The project culminates in a final performance, usually in the Wales Milennium Centre

Global Music Maker Performance on the Glanfa Stage in the WMC

 School Rocks cost: contact Emma Coulthard

The BA 38's will come to your school and present a real live rock concert with songs from the popular movie Shrek, and work with whole class groups, giving them a chance to try the instruments and take part in some musical skills games and perform with the band. Full day, 6-week or 10 week courses available, which would incorporate recording, composition using software and songwriting.

• World Percussion - cost: - contact Music Service (Emma Coulthard)
Teaches groups or small classes how to play authentic drums from India, Africa and Latin America culminating in a final performance. Mini Steel Pans are also available. Full-day or half day sessions.

County Ensembles

The Music Service currently runs 22 weekly County Ensembles at the Friary Centre, Cardiff on weekday evenings and Saturday mornings:

4 Orchestras: Junior, Transitional, High Schools, Youth 
4 Brass Bands: Beginners, Foundation, High Schools, Youth
3 Wind Bands: Transitional, High Schools, Youth 
2 Choirs: Training and Youth
3 Percussion Groups: Beginners, Intermediate, Advanced
2 Guitar Ensembles: Junior, Senior
2 Jazz Ensembles: Junior Jazz, Youth Big Band "Jazz News"
1 Advanced Brass: Symphonic Brass 

The Ensembles regularly perform at prestigious venues such as St David's Hall, City Hall, Wales Millennium Centre, Hoddinott Hall and many other venues in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan in over 40 concerts and other events. Tours, trips and courses are arranged on a regular basis.

The Youth Ensembles have an international reputation for excellence and many pupils go on to represent their county at National level. Schools have been given more information about how to join a County Ensemble. Please also refer to the Ensembles pages on this site.
If you require any further information please contact your child's school or the Music Service at the above address.

Jeff Davies -  Head of Service.