Course Practicalities


Please arrive 10 – 15 minutes before the start of your first session each day. This allows time for signing in, asking any questions, unpacking instruments, etc.


Bring plenty to drink and something to eat in the breaks.


A variety of music will be played during the course of the week, but not all of it will be performed in the final presentation. The tutors try to introduce contrasting styles of music, and hopefully cover most children’s needs.

Behaviour Policy

The Holiday Orchestra Behaviour Policy sets out the standards of behaviour that Holiday Orchestra organizers and tutors expect of the children in order to ensure successful and enjoyable courses.

The First Day

Sometimes children can feel overwhelmed sitting in a large group – maybe for the first time – sight reading music, and having to keep pace with everyone else. The second day is always easier. If children request it, music can be taken home to practise but this is not generally required. While some of the music will seem quite easy, other pieces will be more challenging. If the music is too difficult, please let a tutor know. They will be able to help. Alternatively you can speak to someone on the Committee Desk and they will be able to advise you.

Which Group?

If you are not sure which level is best for your child, it might be better to choose an easier group rather than one which is more challenging. They will have more fun and get more out of the course playing music they can understand.

How the Week Works – an example from a Summer Course

The first three days follow the same timetable. The last two days are different. The afternoon of the fourth day is when the first presentation takes place, at around 6.00pm. This is for the training, and intermediate sections, plus some choirs and other instrument groups such as recorders.  For most children, this is the end of the course. The fifth day is for the upper sections only. They will rehearse in the morning, and give their presentation in the afternoon, usually at around 2.30pm.

Courses at Christmas and Easter are four days in length and follow a slightly different timetable depending on the dates of public holidays.


Tickets will be required for each presentation; the number available per family being limited by the capacity of the concert hall.  Tickets will be available at the desk from partway through the course. Tickets are free but there is a retiring collection!

Dress Code for the Presentations

Each presentation is a special occasion, and children should wear whatever they feel happy in.

Parent Helpers

A voluntary committee, which employs tutors to run the course, organises Holiday Orchestra. Parents of participants are encouraged to volunteer to help during the week: either helping in one of the sessions, supervising the breaks, or stewarding for the presentations. No musical expertise is required. Holiday Orchestra could not run without parent helpers and we are extremely grateful for their assistance.

Please read Guidelines for Parent Helpers.