Philharmonia joins Arts for Impact

Sparking musical inspiration


‘I’ve seen an orchestra! A real, live orchestra!’

participating pupil, London 2023


Orchestra Unwrapped is a project that lights sparks of inspiration in young audiences. The Philharmonia’s flagship education programme, it enables primary school children to engage with the transformative power of a live orchestra through creative workshops and concerts in London, Leicester and Bedford, as well as empowering teachers though INSET training. Everyone is welcomed into the world of orchestral music, with music from Mozart to Moana.

Why do we do Orchestra Unwrapped?


‘The whole experience was lovely. Many of the children commented that there were instruments they had never seen in real life before.’

participating teacher, Leicester 2022

We know that music boosts children’s creativity, attainment and confidence across the curriculum. However, there is a chronic lack of access to music in primary schools. This is due to a systemic lack of funding. The Independent Society of Musicians reports a 68% reduction in music provision in UK primary schools, with 50% of schools unable to offer instrumental lessons. Where music departments do exist, 61% of music teachers reported insufficient budget to support music. All of this means that are very few opportunities for children to experience live orchestral music in an accessible way.

Access to music-making can enhance a child’s learning and development, supporting speech, numeracy, literacy, social skills, self-confidence and self-expression. Orchestra Unwrapped is designed to enable children and young people, particularly from underrepresented or disadvantaged backgrounds, to actively engage with a symphony orchestra. The project actively removes barriers to orchestras, encourages participation, and is accompanied by educational resources to support teachers in the classroom. The project also raises the profile of music amongst school leaders and teachers, with many benefits for children beyond the confines of the curriculum.


‘Taking children to a classical concert where they feel comfortable and are entertained is amazing… one child said they now love classical music!’

participating teacher, London 2023

Child's drawing of the earth showing the negative effect of climate change on trees

Artwork inspired by Orchestra Unwrapped themes

Over the last 10 years, over 42,000 children have benefitted from Orchestra Unwrapped, but we are determined to go even further, inspiring as many children as we possibly can. Next year, we plan to involve children from over 50 schools in Leicester, Bedford and London, engaging more children than ever.

To do that, we need your help.

Give a gift that has an encore

Until midday on Tuesday 26 March, any gift you gift via the Big Give will be doubled, which means double the difference we can make with Orchestra Unwrapped. We can reach more children by offering more in-school workshops and the chance to see a live orchestra. We can reach more teachers, equipping them with the confidence to use music in the classroom. And we can spark inspiration in the audience of the future.


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A child's painting depicting the ocean and issues facing the climate

Artwork inspired by Orchestra Unwrapped themes

What will we do with your donation?

Your donation will be directly fund:

  • 3500 children between 7-11, from 50 schools in London, Leicester and Bedford, participating in an accessible Orchestra Unwrapped concert
  • Classroom workshops which inspire children to take an interest in and enjoy music making.
  • 100 teachers benefitting from INSET training, equipping them with the skills and confidence to maximise the concert experience for their pupils and expand the impact of Orchestra Unwrapped across the curriculum.
  • Development of teacher and pupil resources to help develop arts and music as learning tools in the classroom, not just in music lessons.
  • Children from disadvantaged backgrounds and with Special Education Needs and Disabilities (SEND) experiencing a live symphony orchestra – perhaps for the first time.

Orchestra Unwrapped has an impact far beyond the end of the concert. The encores are endless, as both pupils and teachers increase their engagement with music. Teachers become more confident teaching music in the classroom, and using it as an educational tool when teaching other subjects, and schools gain a better understanding of the value of teaching music.


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