Find out about our Strings Programme for all abilities.

Essex Fun Stringers If you are new to playing the violin, viola, cello or bass we invite you to Essex Fun Stringers group (open strings to grade 2). This group is all about learning to play in an ensemble whilst having fun exploring ways to play our instruments.

Essex Contemporary Strings For anyone with a bit more experience, we recommend (Grade 2 – 4).  In this group, you will develop all the skills you need to play in an orchestra; together we look at how an orchestra functions, the role of the leader, why we have section leaders and what the conductor does.

We play a range of ‘contemporary’ music that covers various genres to develop our own style.  This term the group have been working on “Shallow” from the film: A Star is born and “1812 Bar Blues” a blues arrangement based on Tchaikovsky 1812 Overture amongst others.

Diana Sewell, who conducts both Fun Stringers and Contemporary Strings says: “Fun Stringers are such a wonderful group. Despite a minimal amount of playing experience they astound me with their musicality and willingness to give it a go.  Contemporary Strings are further along their journey and offer different ways to develop their musicality. Together we can explore a range of music and how we adapt as a player to communicate that to our audience.”

Essex Youth Strings For our most advanced players (Grade 4-8) we offer Essex Youth Strings conducted by John Chillingworth.  Players from this group work on core pieces like St Paul’s Suite and are also preparing Tchaikovsky’s great Symphony No 2 in preparation for their residential course at Easter within Essex Young People’s Orchestra.

Scholarships To promote students learning of the endangered string instruments such as viola and double bass, we offer scholarships for group lessons in our Music Centres, supported by Viola and Bass Clubs at the monthly string orchestra rehearsals – so there are plenty of opportunities for young people to learn new stringed instruments and take part in Fun Stringers straightaway.

All the groups rehearse on one Sunday morning per month at New Rickstones Academy in Witham.  There is a small charge of £7.50 per rehearsal but as with all our tuition and music groups, bursaries of 66% off are available for any families on a low income:

If you are keen to play your stringed instrument in a county string group, please contact for details of rehearsal times and to sign up.