The youngest and least experienced participants have three hours worth of lessons a day; the rest of the children have four hours of classes. There are optional extra classes for those wishing to have a five hour day however these cannot be guaranteed due to timetabling. Lessons are spread throughout the day with plenty of time off to practice or to enjoy the outstanding facilities that Bryanston School has to offer.

All students have an individual lesson within a masterclass format as well as a Suzuki style group lesson. The group lessons are arranged by level and ability.

The least experienced children have a musicianship class and for the rest there are five orchestras streamed by ability for string players from Suzuki Book 2 and above. It is possible for string playing pianists to take part in orchestra as one of their classes.

For the intermediate players the fourth hour is made up of classes which develop musicality and musicianship, sometimes away from their specific instruments. In previous years  the children have had the tremendous experience of African drumming, “Garbage percussion” and Taiko, a Japanese drumming art form. Violinists and pianists are also timetabled for improvisation classes.

There is a Chamber Music programme for the most advanced players. For those not yet at the required level or not wishing to partake in Chamber Music we have the wonderful Dan Swana and Rick O’Connor, experts in developing the playing and musicianship of the upper level string and piano students through our improvisation programme.

Daily extra classes such as Viola for Violinists, Bass for Cellists and Music Theory are also available making a fifth hour in some children’s timetables, These classes incur an extra charge and are subject to timetabling constraints.

For students wishing to participate on the course on two instruments, for timetabling reasons it is necessary to choose one instrument as a first study. Masterclasses and group lessons will be on the chosen first study and if applying to play a solo in a lunchtime concert this should also be performed on this first study instrument. It is possible to take part in other classes such as Orchestra on the second study instrument.

Students travelling from abroad can hire instruments for the week to avoid complications when flying with certain airlines. Please contact the Bristol Violin Shop directly in advance of the course to arrange instrument hire.

Private lessons

Every child will have a daily private lesson in a master class setting of three to four children of similar ability and age. Our experienced teachers often like to choose a particular technical point to work on throughout the week which will improve the students’ overall  playing. Friendships often begin in this class as the children are likely to have very similar timetables. These friendships can often be useful to parents with more than one child on the course.

Group lessons

Children will be assigned to a group for group lessons which are based on Suzuki repertoire up to Grade 5 standard. Ex-Suzuki and non-Suzuki trained children are welcome above Grade 8 level. There are around 20 students per group and are led by some of the most experienced, lively and engaging Suzuki group teachers from across the World. These group lessons are working towards the String Groups Concert on the Saturday of the course.

Multi-keyboard Workshop

This workshop leads to a performance on the Saturday of the Course. The keyboard class is an opportunity for pianists to make music in a larger group (typically of between 6 and 10), with every child given their own keyboard for the class. The main aim is that children experience and develop ensemble skills, working together to perform different roles within a piece. Repertoire is based on jazz and latin music, along with specially composed pieces by Andrew, with occasional reference to Suzuki repertoire. Children will learn new music by ear and will build skills in improvising, pitch, rhythmic and harmonic recognition.


There is a chamber orchestra and five string orchestras catering for every level of playing from Suzuki Book 2. Our experienced conductors choose exciting repertoire to enhance the students’ orchestral development. Don’t worry if your child isn’t yet a fluent note reader, or if they have never played in an orchestra before, as they are guided through their orchestral experience with the conductor’s expertise. Seating is initially provisional and may be changed during the week in consultation with our dedicated orchestra manager. Pianists who also play string instruments to the required level may also have the opportunity to play in an orchestra; this is subject to timetabling. All orchestras perform in the Orchestra Concert on the Friday evening of the course. Concert dress is white tops with black or dark trousers or skirts. No bare midriffs please.

Chamber music 

The Bryanston Course Faculty will choose the students for the Chamber Music program from the most advanced students who are in the Chamber Orchestra; however, outstanding students from less advanced levels may be asked if there is space in the program.

The number of places for Chamber Music is limited to the number of performances that can fit in two concerts on Saturday. The level of students offered Chamber Music will vary year on year, depending on the number of advanced students registered. Having Chamber Music one year does not therefore automatically mean a student will have Chamber Music from that point on.

Students are expected to prepare their music in advance of the course so that the Chamber Groups can work on the music at Bryanston.

Students who do not prepare their music may not be asked again.

Piano students will receive their music as close to the beginning of the Summer Term as possible and String players before the end of the school year.

Students applying after the deadline for applications will not be considered for the Chamber Music Programme.

Students not playing Chamber Music will have the wonderful opportunity to enrich their playing with an alternative course, such as Improvisation and Jazz skills.

There are two concerts on the Saturday of the course.

Improvisation & Jazz

Improvisation and Jazz classes are part of the program for string and piano students. Piano Improvisation is taught in the keyboard lab, and String Improvisation in one of the concert performance spaces. These classes are for upper level students wishing to enhance their playing through a completely new idiom. In these classes students will develop self expression through many musical genres and learn to analyse keys and chords on the fly to anchor their improvisation to an underlying theme.

Musicianship at all levels and for all

Musicianship classes are provided for Pre-Twinkle and Book 1 students, developing the child’s musicianship and note reading away from their instruments.

Dalcroze classes enable the Book 2 and 3 child to experience the freedom and joy of musical training through the whole body.

Percussion classes for the older students.

Extra Classes 

Theory classes Daily classes working towards grade 5 ABRSM are available at an extra cost, subject to timetabling.

Viola for violinists and Bass for cellists are daily classes giving violinists the opportunity to experience the viola and cellists the opportunity to experience the bass. Students who wish to attend these classes should arrange in advance to have the relevant instrument with them by the start of the course. Violas can be hired from The Bristol Violin Shop who are on-site for the duration of the course. Basses may be possible to hire from Stringers or other instrument retailers. We advise families to seek out instrument hire well in advance and (in the case of basses especially) be satisfied with the cost and any logistics of transport before registering for the class. These classes are subject to timetabling and demand.

Choirs are timetabled for 9-year-olds plus “Choir for All” sessions are available to course participants of all ages and experience lead to a concert on the Saturday evening.

Parents’ Orchestra – Please provide information on your instrument and standard via the Application Form. All instruments welcome.

Handbell sessions can be found in Cowley and are great fun for all the family. This develops musicianship and co-ordination. Music reading is not necessary.

Lunchtime Solo Concerts

For those wishing to perform a solo in one of the lunchtime concerts, an audition video must be sent through the online booking form by 1st July.

Please see this page for detailed instructions on how to prepare and submit audition videos for lunchtime concerts. Please login to the student’s application and upload the solo information and video recording to their Music section in the fields provided.

This video should be of your child performing with an accompanist (where appropriate), from memory. This should be the piece that they would like perform at Bryanston. Any videos that we receive after the deadline will only be considered if there is still space available in the concerts. Audition pieces must be no longer than eight minutes. The solo form can be found in your Application pages.

Concert dress is white tops with black or dark trousers or skirts. No bare midriffs please.