About the Academy

The Wandsworth Music Academy, a centre of musical excellence in South London, provides high quality music lessons and progression routes for more than 550 children and young people aged 5-21.

Many of our past students have gained entrance to top conservatoires and universities including; Guildhall School of Music, Royal Northern College of Music, Trinity College of Music and Leeds College of Music.

From the very beginning of instrumental and vocal learning young people are supported to play and sing in ensembles, orchestras and bands through our bespoke ensemble development programme encompassing classical, popular, jazz and world music genres.

The Music Academy provides the very highest standard of musical progression and is home to Wandsworth’s leading orchestras, bands and choirs including; 3 Symphony Orchestras, 2 Jazz Orchestras, Contemporary Pop and Rock Bands, 4 choirs, Steel Pans and African Djembe Drumming.

Wandsworth Music Academy ensembles regularly perform at a variety of prestigious events and venues, including the Royal Festival Hall, Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships, London Jazz Festival, Royal Albert Hall, Hideaway Jazz Club and the annual foreign orchestral tour.

The Music Academy runs on Saturdays 8am – 2pm and Wednesdays 4.30pm – 9.30pm at, and in partnership with Burntwood School. 

Please scroll down for further details about the Wandsworth Music Academy and how to get involved!

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WMA Fees 2020-21

Music Academy


Saturday Academy

Saturdays during term time, between 8am-2pm

The Saturday Academy focuses on ensemble tuition and is home to the boroughs leading orchestras and bands. 1-1 and small group instrumental lessons are also available.

The Saturday Academy is based around three different age strands of learning:

SoundStart (Year 1 & 2) – Sessions between 8.30am and 10am

SoundStart sessions run for 30 minutes and include singing, rhythm games, moving to music and percussion to develop children’s core musical skills and foster a lifelong enjoyment of music.

Junior Academy (Year 3-6) – 9.30am-1.30pm

Children enjoy a full morning of music making including a small group instrumental lesson, ensemble (orchestra or band), general musicianship, choir and world music (steel pans and/or African djembe drumming)

Senior Academy (Year 7+) – Various ensembles & lessons between 8.30am and 2pm

Secondary students may apply for membership of the borough’s leading orchestras and ensembles and are also offered the option of a 1-1 instrumental lesson. Theory and world music sessions are also available.

Saturday Academy Ensembles

The Wandsworth Music Academy is home to the borough's leading ensembles. The following ensembles are available on Saturdays (Please click each tab for further information):

The Wandsworth Philharmonic Orchestra is a full symphony orchestra for advanced orchestral musicians. The Orchestra performs a varied and challenging range of repertoire at its regular calendar of high profile events, including concerts at the Royal Festival Hall, Wimbledon Tennis Championships and an annual foreign tour.

Recently the orchestra have visited Italy, Spain, Austria and Germany. The orchestra regularly works with members of the Philharmonia Orchestra.

The orchestra rehearses every Saturday during term time, 10.45am-12.30pm. In addition the orchestra also meet for intensive sectional coaching during a 3 day half term course each term. Entrance is by audition and/ or observation for pupils of Year 7+ and a minimum standard of Grade 5+.

The Wandsworth Concert Orchestra rehearse every Saturday during term time, 12.30-1.30pm. The orchestra also meets each half term for intensive sectional coaching. Entrance is by audition and/ or observation for pupils in Year 6+ and of approximately Grade 3-6 standard.

The orchestra performs a regular calendar of high profile events, including concerts at the Royal Festival Hall, Fairfield Halls, and an annual foreign tour.

The Junior Orchestra rehearse every Saturday during term time, 12.30-1.30pm. The repertoire is fun and engaging, whilst introduing young musicians to the world of ensemble playing. The highlight of the year is the annual performance at the Mayor of Wandsworth Carol Concert.

Entrance is open to all pupils from Year 3, playing orchestral instruments at approximately grade 1-3 standard

The Wandsworth Jazz Orchestra is the Senior Jazz ensemble at the Music Academy. The Jazz Orchestra rehearse every Saturday morning 8.45am-10am and occasionally on Wednesday evenings in the run up to concerts.

The Jazz Orchestra perform regularly at the renowned Hideaway Jazz Club and at the London Jazz Festival.

Entry is by audition for pupils in Year 7+ working at Grade 5+

Wandsworth Jazz Orchestra Too! is the training ensemble for the senior jazz orchestra. It is open to pupils from aged 10+ working at approximately grade 3-6 level. Entrance is by audition and/or observation.

The Music Academy has several Rock and Pop Bands catering to all levels of experience, ages and musical interests. The bands are open to the following instrumentalists; Singers, guitars, bass guitar, drums, keyboards and percussion.

Senior Rock and Pop Bands (Year 7+) Entrance by audition and/or observation
Intermediate Rock and Pop Bands (Year 6+)
Junior Rock and Pop Bands (Year 3-6)

Steel Pan Jam is open to all secondary aged pupils and rehearse on Saturdays 12.30-1.20pm. No previous experience of playing steel pans is required.


Wednesday Academy

The Wednesday Academy runs between 4.30pm and 9.30pm during term time. The Wednesday Academy offers 1-1 instrumental and singing tuition, music theory and a vast array of vocal and instrumental ensembles.


Wednesday Academy Ensembles

The following ensembles rehearse on Wednesday evenings:

Wandsworth Youth Choir (WYC) is a group of young, enthusiastic vocalists who simply love to sing. The choir is open to singers in Year 6 to Year 10 who are passionate about singing and who are interested in performing alongside likeminded people as part of a fabulous choir. Singing together is not the only thing that this choir does! They have also been away on our ‘Music and Mud’ weekender doing exciting outdoor pursuits like abseiling and high ropes as well as working on their vocals!

The Youth Choir perform annually at the Royal Festival Hall and have performed at the Royal Albert Hall as part of the ‘Scratch Messiah’ and BBC Proms!

WYC rehearse weekly, between 6-7pm.

Wandsworth Performance Troupes are for all young people who love to sing and dance! The Troupes explore a variety of musical style with a focus on musical theatre.
The performance troupes have regular high profile performing opportunities and have recently performed at Fairfield Halls and the Royal Festival Hall.

WPT Senior is open to pupils aged 11+ and rehearse on Wednesdays at Burntwood School, 7-8.30pm
WPT Junior is open to children in Year 2-6 and rehearse on Wednesdays at Burtnwood School, 5.30-6.30pm

Come and join Wandsworth's feel good choir! Wandsworth Community Choir (WCC) sing anything and everything, from Stevie Wonder to Handel and everything in between! WCC are a fun loving group who revel in being able to get lost in the music and celebrate the wonder of hearing their voices come together as one! There are no auditions, no previous experience required - just a willingness to jump in, have a go and have fun!

The choir have performed at both Fairfield Halls and the Royal Festival Hall.

The choir is open to everyone aged 18+ and rehearse at Burntwood on Wednesdays, 7.30-9.30pm.

Concert Band & String Thing - The Junior ensembles for wind, brass and string players are open to children of approximately pre grade 1 - 3 standard. The ensembles rehearse on Wednesdays, 5.30-6.30pm and are ideal for young instrumentalists progressing from Whole Class Ensemble Tuition programmes in schools.

Senior Chamber music ensembles: Senior Brass and Senior Strings rehearse on Wednesdays from 6.30-7.30pm are are open to instrumentalists at approximately Grade 4/5+ standard.

Our Djembe drumming group is open to all young people aged 11+. No previous experience required.


Music Academy ensemble expectations and attendance

Wandsworth Music Academy handbook


Regular attendance at rehearsals is vital in order to ensure that ensembles develop and play together properly. All ensembles rely on teamwork and commitment from each and every single member.

All members of Music Academy ensembles are expected to:

  • give their full commitment and have regular and punctual attendance at all rehearsals, courses and performances
  • be prepared for rehearsals by:
    • downloading all relevant parts for their instrument / voice;
    • learning the parts thoroughly before the rehearsals;
    • taking parts to their lessons and to go through with their teacher;
  • arrive at rehearsals and performances in good time to ensure you are seated, tuned and ready to start at the rehearsal time (this means arriving at least 15mins before the start time);
  • bring a pencil and rubber to rehearsals;
  • follow rehearsal etiquette by turning off mobile phones and paying full attention to the conductor;
  • assist in the setup and pack down of rehearsals (including stacking own chair and stand, cleaning any rubbish away and ensuring all instruments are returned to storage as appropriate).

Full attendance at all rehearsals and events is expected unless agreed in advance and confirmed in writing by the Head of the Music or ensemble director. Failure to attend rehearsals without permission may necessitate musicians not being able to perform at concerts and result in your place in the ensemble being withdrawn or offered to another musician.

Please note that for senior ensembles members who do not demonstrate the required level of commitment and/or standard of playing may be required to re-audition.