Bristol Ensemble’s new project to bring live performances and education sessions to children around the region is celebrating reaching over 3800 children in its first year.

Following a pilot with Preludes Music schools in Bristol, BE Inspired was launched in Spring 2024 to bring Bristol Ensemble performances and interactive learning experiences to children in greater numbers and further afield.

“Did you see the faces of the children watching the orchestra? They haven’t stopped talking about how fantastic it was to see real live musicians. It was described by several as the best experience ever at school. They have no way of accessing live music outside of this.”


BE Inspired was designed to provide engaging and high-quality musical experiences to children who may otherwise be unlikely to access live music and culture – either inside or outside school.

We knew from our networks and a scoping exercise that there was huge demand for this project.

“Many children in my school will never have experienced things that others take for granted, such as seeing a live show, travelling on a train, visiting other parts of the world or even other areas of the UK. Very few will have ever seen a musician play an instrument live, let alone an orchestra.” 


BE Inspired includes:

  • Visits to schools by an orchestra of 12 professional freelance musicians, the minimum number required for louder, more complex pieces – essential to creating a powerful and memorable experience for the children.
  • A performance of engaging, relevant and fun classical and contemporary pieces. Programmes have included the theme tunes from Wallace and Gromit and Mario, mixed with traditional pieces such as The Sailor’s Hornpipe and Handel’s Music for the Royal Fireworks.
  • An interactive session where strings, woodwind and brass instruments are introduced, and children ask questions and get involved. This usually includes having a go at conducting – something the children have really enjoyed!

We hope to continue to work with the schools visited, and will offer further opportunities to develop ongoing musical engagement. This may include more Bristol Ensemble or Preludes Music visits, access to digital resources via our new online portal (currently under development) and/or invitations to become part of our network and attend or participate in our other musical events.

In this, the first year of the project, BE Inspired has reached 3821 children in 15 schools – nine in Bristol, three in Swindon and three in Weston-super-Mare. All serve economically-deprived areas, and have a higher-than-local-average proportion of children eligible for free school meals.

“It looked and sounded amazing. The children thoroughly enjoyed the performance and were fascinated by all the instruments. It was a wonderful opportunity for our pupils, one which for many of them was a one of a kind and a first-time experience.” 


Following the success of this first year, and the positive feedback we have received from schools and children, we are now planning next year and hope to visit 18 more schools.

We are hugely grateful to the people who have supported this exciting and much-needed project. Particularly Mary Prior CVO MBE and John Prior, Bakers Dolphin, BlueSpark Foundation, Scops Arts Trust, Wiltshire Community Foundation and our wonderful Benefactors. Without you, BE Inspired would never have happened, and these children would never have had this experience. Thank you.

“We seen all these people and they had loads of different musical instruments and they was playing them. It was so funny. I want to play music. It was so good.”

Reception child

BE Inspired relies on charitable donations. If you are interested in supporting the project, or would like more information, please contact