The London Philharmonic Orchestra's BrightSparks programme offers inspiring live concert experiences for school audiences from Key Stage 1 all the way up to A Level
Each year we perform for around 10,000 students through our BrighSparks concerts at our Southbank Centre home, with the programming and presentation designed in line with National Curriculum objectives. For many in our young audiences these events are the first time they will have heard a live orchestra, so coming to see us live offers an intense and inspiring experience. Concerts include free INSET sessions and resources for teachers, which cover ways to explore the repertoire with their students, both analytically and as a starting point for creative composition.
BrightSparks concerts in 2021/22
We hope to be able to welcome schools back to the Royal Festival Hall in our 2021/22 season. Details about programmes and our secondary school concert will be announced in due course. Our primary schools concerts are planned for the following dates:
- Wednesday 3 November 2021 – Key Stage 2 concerts: booking will open in Autumn 2021
- Thursday 10 February 2022 – Key Stage 1 concerts
Online performances and resources
Due to pandemic restrictions, we were unable to hold our BrightSparks concerts this season. However, we have produced a range of digital performances and resources for Primary and Secondary school students, all available for free.
Elephants in the Custard – a new film for Key Stage 1 and families
What happens when you see elephants in your custard, but everyone else is too busy to notice?
Elephants in the Custard is a brand new film of storytelling, music and audience participation for Key Stage 1, based on the charming children’s book by Samuel Langley-Swain and Jemma Banks, published by Owlet Press.
Using a play on the ‘elephant in the room’ metaphor, the story explores how it feels to have a worry, and the importance of making time to talk to each other. The film is presented by Rachel Leach, interspersed with music performed by a brass quintet from the LPO, and includes a special song for viewers to sing and lots of other fun ways to join in. Elephants in the Custard includes additional written and video resources for teachers.
Express Yourself – a new film series for Key Stage 2 and families
Music can express a huge range of emotions, and can connect directly with our feelings without using words. For centuries, composers have used the orchestra to explore their innermost feelings or to reflect the world around them. After a year of heightened emotions, the London Philharmonic Orchestra presents Express Yourself, a series of three short films of contrasting musical moods, to channel feelings both positive and more difficult.
Aimed at children aged 7–11 and presented by award-winning musician and broadcaster YolanDa Brown, the series explores music to express feelings of joy, anger, sadness, playfulness and more. Each film comes with free written resources for teachers, offering ways for children to explore the music and emotions further.
Creative Classrooms Connect
Our resource bank for Key Stage 2 teachers to access, share and respond to music-making resources created by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, primary teachers and other experts in music education. Resources include a range of creative projects inspired by the Orchestra's music as well as broader topics such as the science of sound, singing and musical notation.
Explore and uncover the building blocks of orchestral repertoire with our illuminating videos and written resources for GCSE and A Level Music students. Pieces include Haydn's 'Clock' Symphony (AQA), Mozart's Clarinet Concerto (AQA) and Eine Kleine Nactmusik (WJEC/Eduqas). Videos are presented by Rachel Leach, and feature full performances, with detailed analysis and musical examples on screen. Each film includes accompanying written resources and online quizzes.
We host a range of composition resources for teenage musicians on The Studio, taking inspiration from dance, film and the stage. Resources include insight videos and a range of creative material to inspire composition.
BrightSparks events in 2020/21 are generously supported by the Candide Trust, Gill & Garf Collins, Dunard Fund, Mr & Mrs Philip Kan, Gill and Julian Simmonds
School discounts for Royal Festival Hall evening concerts
Our London season of evening concerts often features a number of programmes that include music directly relevant to GCSE and A Level Music syllabuses, making them perfect for introducing students to live classical music.
The London Philharmonic Orchestra is a registered Arts Award supporter. This means that young people working towards an Arts Award can use the opportunities we offer in their portfolio. Visit our Arts Award page to find out more.