Upcoming Events


OOTS works with local music hubs at each of its residencies to ensure access to and participation in professional high-quality musical and performance experiences for those in Primary, Secondary, SEND Schools and in Universities.

OOTS activities enhance cross-curriculum study whilst supporting and encouraging the holistic development of healthy individuals.

All activity can be tailored towards a school/college’s specific requirements, year groups and abilities, fully supporting the National Plan for Music Education and an organisation’s own Improvement Plan.

To find out how your school, college or university can take part in this or other OOTS projects linked to composition, improvisation and performance skills, or to book a one-off masterclass, please contact our Learning & Participation Manager Sue Pope on: education@orchestraoftheswan.org


Four Shorts is part of Orchestra of the Swan’s annual commissioning programme allowing OOTS ‘Associate Composers’ to share their expertise with students studying composition at all levels, including BTEC, GCSE, A Level, Graduate and Post Graduate.

Four Shorts aims to:

  • provide our Associate Composers with the valuable experience of working with and mentoring music students
  • provide composition students with access to world class composers and performers
  • enable students to write a short work for Orchestra of the Swan and to have their own work rehearsed, performed and recorded for submission as part of their exam portfolio
  • present all new works in public at pre-concert events which may be filmed for composer archive and promotional use
  • offer all participants a richer understanding of compositional and performing techniques
  • provide students with information as to progression in studies, the arts and the workplace


OOTS offers masterclasses and/or workshops in schools linked to the BBC Ten Pieces initiative which encourages pupils to develop their playing and improvisatory skills at any level using the resources provided by the BBC.  The project could include up to four 90-minute workshops exploring the selected piece and relating the music to other art forms or curriculum subjects, culminating in an in-school performance supported by soloists & players from Orchestra of the Swan.


  • Increased music skills including composition, performance, vocabulary
  • Understanding of the value of collaboration and co-operation
  • Increased levels of confidence and self-esteem
  • Increased social skills

Past Projects

Shakespeare Week

In March 2018, OOTS musicians led music workshops as part of Shakespeare Birthplace Trusts’ Shakespeare Week initiative at the Guild Chapel, Stratford-upon-Avon. Throughout the day over 150 pupils from schools in Warwickshire experienced several activities at historic venues around the town and learned songs about Shakespeare’s plays – composed and arranged by Matthew Forbes, OOTS Cellist. Shakespeare Week is delivered in March every year.

BBC Ten Pieces

Whole day Masterclasses and workshops in partnership with Forest Arts Music Hub, Walsall

In June 2018, 3 OOTS players led sectionals and workshops linked to the BBC Ten Pieces repertoire. Working with almost 100 staff and pupils from several schools in the area, pupils were encouraged to develop their playing and improvisation skills and share their musical journey with their parents at a performance later that day.

A pilot project with Barrs Hill Secondary School. Funded by Coventry Performing Arts.

Three OOTS musicians led four 2-hour cross-curricular workshops in Barrs Hill School, Coventry relating to Key Stage 3 History, Music, English and Maths.

Working with thirty Year 7 and 8 pupils, 3 musicians used themes from Ralph Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending to inspire young composers to develop their own creative responses through poetry and music. Working with a mixed group of instrumentalists which included cornets, saxophone, steel pans, keyboards, tuned and untuned percussion and voice, OOTS musicians explored the George Meredith poem of the same name, the inspiration behind the work and the political landscape of the time.

Each session began with various ice-breakers and warm ups to get the group working together and were followed with improvisations and composition practise based around the D Major pentatonic scale, as used in “The Lark”.

“What an amazing experience this has been for our students. This has not only provided them the opportunity to work with professional musicians of such high calibre but has also challenged their creativity in so many ways. To produce such a fabulous final performance with the addition of profound poetry and beautiful haikus written completely by the students themselves gives them, their parents, their teachers and the school something to be extremely proud of.” Detta Edwards, Head of Music at Barrs Hills School

“I enjoyed when everyone joined in together with their instruments because it sounded great – as if it was building” year 8 pupil

“All the things we did in our session were incredible and really inspiring”  year 7 pupil

SEND Projects

Between 2011 & 2015, OOTS delivered 3 successful opera projects in partnership with Talking Birds including ‘Troy Story’ and ‘Ant and Cleo – The Musical’, which enabled children to reach their full creative potential, supported collaboration between SEND and mainstream schools and helped to break down prejudice.

Troy Story – An intergalactic opera 2013: A unique partnership between OOTS and Talking Birds in collaboration with Welcombe Hills (Stratford upon Avon SEND), Bray’s (Birmingham SEND), Thomas Jolyffe Primary, Wilmcote Primary, St Edmund’s Primary (B’ham), and St Patrick’s Primary (Walsall)

Ant and Cleo –  (2015) in collaboration with Welcombe Hills, Brays and Bridgetown Primary School, Stratford-upon-Avon.  This re-telling of the classic story used a sweeping orchestral score and stunning design, and featured 100 extraordinary young people alongside Orchestra of the Swan and four soloist; Sam Fox of Kiln Theatre, Jake Oldershaw of Untied Artists, Louise Wayman and Themba Mvula.