Essex Youth Percussion Academy is a fantastic opportunity to experience a totally unique world of sound.  Combining Xylophones, Drums and other orchestral percussion, members perform full and clever arrangements of well-known tunes such as Riverdance and Jenkins’ Palladio to a popular arrangement of “Beat it” by Michael Jackson.

The Academy meets on Sundays, once a month, at Felsted School for Tuned music groups, Samba and African Drumming, along with expert 121 instruction on Marimba, developing players into skilled percussionists. Find out more here

Dan Sceats, World Music Specialist said “Of course we welcome drum kit players to the group, but also, we find that pianists take to playing the tuned percussion instruments so well.  It’s a great opportunity for pianists who usually play solo, to take part in a group; learning skills which can lead onto playing in County Orchestras”.

All ages are welcome to come along, as we also offer a junior level group which concentrates on world music and players are gradually introduced to the large tuned instruments, by being inspired by the older players.

As Beverley Heard, Music Ensembles Lead Officer said: “The sound world they produce is amazing.  It is great to see the journey individuals have taken whilst being part of this group.  They have not only grown in skill but in confidence as well.   As with all our musical opportunities, it is great value for money”.  To attend, players pay just £15 for the whole day and for families on a low income, bursaries are also available on this link.

Ben, aged 16, has been a member for 8 years and explains why the Percussion Academy is such a great opportunity for young players:

“It’s not often you have the privilege to play on different percussion instruments from around the world, and have people with a fantastic skill depth teach you all about them, and pass on their knowledge so you can enjoy and get the most out of whatever instrument you are playing, be that a djembe drum or a 5 octave marimba. I think that sometimes people see percussion instruments as a novelty or perhaps as less versatile instruments as they are not as mainstream as say a violin or clarinet, but I would say that this ensemble has shown me the depth of sound and variation of voice that percussion brings, and I am always looking forward to the next time the session comes round. 

This ensemble is essentially the basis of everything that I have ever learnt about percussion, and the amazing teachers there have helped me develop my skills to the level that I am today. Going to the group for the first time, I had no knowledge of playing whatsoever save for doing grade 2 on piano so I could read music. Now I am a post grade 8 player, am highly trained with a variety of instruments and I have been the main orchestral percussionist at my school since I joined.

My most memorable experience was last year, when I played a song called Funk Loops. This song had a lot of meaning for me, because I remember hearing it performed by some others at the ensemble when I was around 10 or 11, and being enraptured by it, and I thought to myself that I would love to play it some day. That dream came true last year when I performed the piece with three others at the last concert. I think that just goes to show how much this ensemble has helped me evolve my skills, and I would certainly recommend it to anyone, young or old.”

For further details of how to join contact: or visit our website: