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Band on the Run

Band on the Run is a project in which the Highgate School Symphony Orchestra goes ‘on the run’, touring a number of local schools in one morning. Pupils play a piece they have been rehearsing that term, and together with Music teachers from Highgate, break down the piece and explain to primary school children what they are listening to. In 2019, Whitehall Park School, St Joseph's Catholic Primary School and Brookfield Primary School

The project aims to enhance the ‘cultural capital’ of younger children in partner schools by exposing them to classical music, further the Highgate musicians’ appreciation for their instrument and to forge closer links between Highgate and our partner schools.


To expose primary school pupils to classical music, giving them the experience of hearing a live orchestra.

To teach the pupils about the parts of an orchestra, including the conductor.

To inspire pupils to pursue learning a musical instrument and indeed the study of music at the next level

To develop the Highgate musicians’ love and appreciation for their instrument

To forge closer ties between Highgate and our partner state schools.

Identified needs

According to the Creative Industries Federation, the creative industries are the fastest growing part of the UK economy. Jobs that have their origin in individual skill, talent and creativity have great potential for wealth creation and are at little risk of automation in the future.

Despite the expected growth in creative occupations, and the value of these occupations to the UK economy, access to creative learning is in jeopardy. In 2017, entries for GCSEs in the creative subjects fell by 47,000. Current entry rates for creative subjects at Key Stage 4 are at their lowest level in a decade.

While there has been an increase in individuals from BAME backgrounds in the creative industries in recent years, more must be done to address to disparity between the diversity of the creative industries and of the workforce as a whole.

It is believed that exposing children to creative outputs will enhance ‘cultural capital’, giving pupils an opportunity to enjoy music and foresee a future for themselves embracing creative subjects.  

Critical factors

Critical factors for success are enough musicians to make up an orchestra, as well as an engaged audience. You also need a large hall or space to perform, as well as the instruments, music stands and seats. A way to transport instruments is also needed so that musicians do not have to carry their heavy instruments. The musicians also need to have rehearsed in advance so that they know the piece very well.

A total of two music teachers from Highgate led the activity. One was responsible for conducting and arranging the orchestra and the other led the assembly, engaging the primary school audience with the piece.


The pupils at the primary school benefitted immensely, and the pupils at Highgate benefited from being able to perform to a young audience multiple times in one day. The programme also strengthened partnerships between Highgate and local primary schools, as it highlighted the potential for further music partnerships in the future.


The project ran for the first time in January 2019.

A Highgate music teacher had seen similar events be successful in other settings and believed it could be successful at Highgate. The ambition to share the excellent music provision at the school was shared by staff in our partner schools, who are looking to expose their children to a broad range of music.


The project uses two Highgate teaching and four non-teaching staff and 40 pupils as well as two minibuses and drivers to transport instruments. It also required a large school hall at each of the schools, as well as 40 seats for the musicians. Highgate pupils provided their own instruments and the school provided music stands. Although there was not a substantial cost to our school as we have our own minibuses and drivers, another school wanting to do similar may need to finance this.


We managed to expose roughly 700 children to Beethoven in one morning and will collect testimonials from pupils and teachers. We have also been asked to return in future terms.

We aim to run this project again in other areas with high concentrations of primary schools.

Pupil Involvement

40 Highgate musicians and 7 Highgate staff took part, and performed to students in all years from Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2. Roughly 700 primary school pupils of all genders were able to watch the performance and learn about what made up an orchestra.


This event has happened once so far, but will likely grow as it continues, with more primary schools taking part. It will continue for as long as primary schools are interested.