About ensembles

Making music with other people is what it’s all about for musicians and we have groups for young people on Saturday mornings, Sunday afternoons and during the holidays.

We usually audition people to make sure we suggest the right group for them. Auditions happen in the summer term, but we can sometimes fit them in at other times in the year.

When a group rehearses, it’s important that everyone is there, so we expect group members to attend every rehearsal unless they are ill or involved in a very important family or school event.


Sunday afternoon ensembles

Camden Concert Band

Concert Band rehearses fortnightly on alternate Sunday afternoons 3-5.30pm in the Autumn and Spring terms.

  • currently it has about 50 woodwind, brass and percussion players at Grades 4 to 8 level, aged between 12 and 18
  • recent performances include at the British Museum, the Royal Albert Hall and on tour.
  • membership of the Camden Concert Band is usually by audition in the Summer term, but it is sometimes possible for players to join in mid-term

Camden Youth Jazz Band

Camden Youth Jazz Band (CYJB) rehearses fortnightly on alternate Sunday afternoons 3-5.30pm in the Autumn and Spring terms.

  • currently it has about 25 members playing saxophone, trumpet, trombone together with a rhythm section, keyboard, drums, bass guitar and electric guitar
  • all members are at Grades 6 to 8 level
  • performances have included at LSO St Luke’s, The Jazz Café, the Royal Albert Hall
  • the jazz band has undertaken foreign tours, including to Lithuania, the Rhineland and Leipzig

Membership of CYJB is by audition only. Auditions are usually held in the Summer term, for the following academic year.

New Camden Jazz Ensemble

The New Camden Jazz Ensemble (NCJE) is for any instrumentalist playing at Grades 3 to 6, and aged 10+ who wants to learn to improvise. It works mainly by ear, without written music, and plays both jazz standards and new pieces brought by ensemble director Nikki Yeoh.

It rehearses fortnightly on Sunday afternoons 3–5.30pm in the Autumn and Spring terms only, and performs alongside the other Sunday Jazz ensembles at the end of each term. Membership is by audition in the Summer term.

Camden Sunday Saxes

Camden Sunday Saxes is a saxophone quartet which meets fortnightly in the Autumn and Spring terms, alongside the other jazz ensembles.

  • the ensemble offers chamber music experience and the opportunity to play the full range of saxophones including soprano and baritone
  • the quartet has played at LSO St Luke’s and the Jazz Café
  • Camden Sunday Saxes tours with the other senior ensembles from time to time

Players are selected from the NCJE or by audition, and are normally Grades 5 to 7 standard.

Apply online to join Camden Music Service ensembles


Weekend Music Courses

We have four weekend music courses each year, where pupils 6–18 can make music with their friends.

Apply online to join Camden Music Service ensembles

Our weekend music courses are:

  • SuperGroups
  • Camden Guitars
  • Camden Philharmonia and Camden Concertante
  • Camden Philharmonic Band 
  • Camden Percussion Ensemble
  • Camden Youth Orchestra

Camden SuperGroups

SuperStrings, SuperBlast!, SuperToot, SuperStrike and SuperStrum are ensembles for players of violin, viola, cello, bass, brass, woodwind, percussion, piano and guitar who have been learning for more than a term and can read some music (or tab/chord symbols for some guitarists).

There are no auditions for the SuperGroups – everyone who plays an instrument is welcome. Most pupils in the Supergroups are at primary school.

Camden Guitars

Camden Guitar Orchestra and Guitar Ensemble are for guitarists who have been learning for at least a year, playing both classical and electric instruments, and who can read either notation or tab.

Membership is by audition or invitation, and the ensembles welcome players of a variety of guitar styles, offering specially written parts to accommodate different techniques.

Camden Philharmonia and Camden Concertante

These string ensembles are for violinists, violists, cellists and bass players who play at Grades 1 to 5. Music is specially arranged for the groups for each course. Pupils at primary school play in the Philharmonia,. Concertante is for secondary school students, and membership is usually by audition or invitation

Camden Philharmonic Band

The Philharmonic Band is for brass, woodwind and percussion players playing at Grade 3 and above. Membership is by audition or invitation

Camden Percussion Ensemble

Members of the percussion ensemble play in a group together, and also form the percussion sections of the Philharmonic Band and Youth Orchestra, so they are kept pretty busy. Membership is by audition or invitation. Members play at a range of different standards but are all having percussion or drum kit lessons, and can read notation.

Camden Youth Orchestra

The Camden Youth Orchestra rehearses for four intensive weekends per year, usually at the start of the Autumn and Spring half-term, in January and early in the Summer term. The orchestra undertakes a tour every two years, and the tour orchestra rehearses over the May half-term weekend.

Camden Youth Orchestra performs at major London venues such as the Royal Albert Hall and LSO St Luke’s.

Membership of the orchestra is by audition in the Summer term, and members play at Grade 4 standard and above. Most members are aged 12–18.

Costs, auditions and how to apply

Apply online to join Camden Music Service ensembles

Fees for ensembles

  • Camden Concert Band, New Camden Jazz Ensemble, Camden Sunday Saxes £115 per year paid in two instalments
  • Camden Youth Jazz Band £138 per year paid in two instalments
  • Camden SuperGroups, Camden Philharmonia, Camden Philharmonic Band, Camden Concertante, Camden Percussion Ensemble, Camden Guitar Orchestra, Camden Guitar Ensemble £230.01 per year paid in three instalments
  • Camden SuperGroup Tasters (first visit only) £57.50 for one course.
  • Camden Youth Orchestra - £267.90 per year payable in three instalments


We like to hear pupils play before we place them in our senior ensembles. This lets us to get to know them, and gives us an idea of which activities would be most suitable.

Where and when?

Auditions are held in schools, usually after school time, and at the weekends at our music centres. We usually hold auditions at the end of the Summer term, and early in the Autumn term.

How do I audition?

The auditions are very informal and friendly. We ask you to bring a piece which you feel you play really well, and something which you are working on at present, even if you can't play it very well yet.

We will also ask you to play something you have never seen before, and to talk to us about your musical interests and experience.

You will be given a chance to ask questions about the ensembles.