Association of British Orchestras

The ABO's role in education and community work

The ABO's role in education and community work

The ABO has been involved in music education for over 28 years, managing centrally coordinated education projects, participating in research, Government consultations on the National Curriculum, reviews and professional development. As an Association it champions its member orchestras’ and opera companies’ education and community work, highlighting the work through publications, briefings, and conferences.

Since 1992, the ABO has been supported in its work by a number of funders – private and public, most of whom continue to support orchestras and opera companies, helping to shape and develop this work and to bring the work to as many participants as possible. In the last 25 years some of the major education projects we have undertaken have included:

The Turn of the Tide (1992-93)

The ABO commissioned Sir Peter Maxwell Davies to write a piece of music for orchestra and children on the theme of the environment. 16 orchestras participated in the project which was aimed at helping primary school teachers who were not confident in teaching music, to encourage them in their own creativity, backed up with a Teachers’ Pack as a written resource.

National Education Programme (1997)

As part of its 50th anniversary celebrations the ABO ran a National Education Programme involving 45 orchestras and opera companies.

Orchestras in Education (1998-2002)

A programme of work aimed at primary school teachers enabling them to find out more about the work of orchestras in schools and for them to work creatively alongside professional musicians at Teachers Days.

Early Years Cluster Programme (2004-06)

Enabling professional musicians and early years practitioners to build their confidence in working with music in early years.

Make the Difference: Evaluating Education Projects (June 2009)

Annabel Jackson was commissioned to carry out a review of ABO orchestras’ evaluation material and to produce guidance on evaluating education projects. A one-day training course was held, using the guidance as the basis for the day.

Unlocking Potential: Education and the Orchestra (2010)

This report showcased the wide range of ABO members’ education and community work.

Live the Experience (England, 2009) and Live the Experience Scotland

(2011) These reports mapped the provision of professional orchestral concerts for school children and young people in England and Scotland.

Related information

Copies of our education reports and publications can be downloaded from our publication page

Annual Conference

The next ABO conference will take place in Glasgow from 9 – 11 February 2022.