Music service

The Waltham Forest Music Service give children of all ages and abilities the opportunity to:

  • learn to sing
  • learn to make music with others
  • fulfil their potential in music.

Office opening hours

  • Monday - 12pm to 4.30pm 
  • Tuesday - 9.30am to 12.30pm 
  • Wednesday - 12pm to 6.30pm 
  • Thursday - 12pm to 4.30pm 
  • Friday - 9.30am to 12.30pm

Contact us

Waltham Forest Music Service
12 Church Hill 
E17 3AG 

Telephone: 020 8496 1584 

To keep up-to-date on our music related workshops, events, classes, news and inspiration you can like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or subscribe to our seasonal newsletter.

We provide lessons to schools across Waltham Forest. The instruments vary from school to school and can include:

  • Brass: cornet, trumpet, French horn, trombone, tuba
  • Woodwind: flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, saxophone, recorder
  • Strings: violin, viola, cello, double bass
  • Percussion and drum kit
  • Guitar (acoustic, electric and bass)
  • Piano and keyboard
  • Singing

How to book

For lessons at your child's school, contact your school's Head of Music or Music Co-ordinator to see what instruments are available.

If the instrument your child wishes to learn isn’t available at the school, ask the school to contact the Music Service to see if lessons can be provided in school.

Individual instrumental tuition is also available after school and on Saturdays at our Music School (although there can be a waiting list).

To register your interest, complete and return the form below:

Download music/theory lessons request form (PDF)

You can hire an instrument for £20 per term (£10 for families on a low income).

How to hire

  1. Your child’s teacher starts to fill in a hire form (including the best size of instrument)
  2. Your child brings the form home for you to complete
  3. Return the form to us by email ( or by post to Music Service, 12 Church Hill, Walthamstow, London E17 3AG
  4. We’ll contact you when your instrument is ready to collect.

We run a variety of groups and ensembles for instrumentalists and singers of all abilities. Here, children can use the skills they develop in lessons, while improving their confidence and performance ability through a fun and sociable learning experience.

Music School pupils have regular performance and workshop opportunities. Our groups have recently performed at the Barbican, Cadogan Hall and Trafalgar Square.

Get information on when and where our groups meet in our timetable for groups and ensembles section.

Junior Guitar Group
Beginner – pre Grade 1
For children who have just started to play guitar and want to learn the basics of playing both single notes and chords. There will be opportunities for live performances which are great fun and help to develop confidence and skill.

Beginner Winds
Beginner – pre Grade 1 | Instrument: All woodwind and brass
An entry level wind ensemble for children who have been learning a woodwind or brass instrument for about a term and now want to experience the enjoyment of playing and performing with others as part of a group. We play pieces that are fun and accessible and are designed to enhance confidence and ensemble skills. Weekly rehearsals lead towards a concert performance at the end of every term. 

Woodland Strings          
: Beginner – pre Grade 1 | Instrument: Violin, viola, cello, double bass
A string ensemble of violinists, violists, cellists and double bassists with a repertoire varied in style and including jazz, classical and world music. Designed to serve as a foundation for ensemble orchestral experience, progress is showcased in a performance at the end of each term to give our young musicians an early taste of performing.

Drumming Group
Beginner – pre Grade 1
Aimed at children aged 8+ who are already learning an instrument and want to improve their rhythm skills, or beginners who have an interest in learning percussion. The group will play different styles of percussion music, such as Brazilian Samba and African Djembe drumming.

Junior Choir
Beginner – pre Grade 1 | Age: 6+
A mixed voice ensemble open to children of all abilities from age 6. Through a wide range of songs from classical to pop, including musicals and world music, we cover all aspects of the singing technique to build a solid foundation for singers and performers. All sessions begin with fun movement, vocal warm-ups, technical exercises and singing games. No previous musical training is necessary but bags of enthusiasm are.

Recorder Group
Beginner – pre Grade 1
Learn how to play the recorder and read music notation with new friends. Develop your skills through musical activities and games, and learn music to play on our own as well as with others. Come and join in the fun!

Guitar Group    
Junior - Grade 1-2
Aimed at students who have experience reading Guitar Tab and playing chords - barre and open. This is a great opportunity to meet like-minded musicians who want to have fun playing popular songs and gain performance experience. The group rehearse during the school term and actively choose repertoire, usually in the rock or pop genre, incorporating drummers, bassists and vocalists.

Training Wind Band
Junior - Grade 1-2 | Instrument: All woodwind
For students of any wind instrument who want to play and explore music in various styles. From pieces with backing tracks and singing, to those that are well known with percussion, we add to our musical knowledge and instrumental technique by learning from new friends and different instruments, playing repertoire with many parts.

Saturday Strings              
Junior - Grade 1-2 | Instrument: All string
An ensemble for young string players who want to develop their newly acquired skills in understanding dynamics, getting to grips with different finger positions and an appreciation of interpretation.  Rehearsals are varied and involve a mixture of working from sheet music, and using improvisation and various musical tools to enhance the experience of learning.  Performances take place at the end of every term in various venues, included Walthamstow Assembly Hall. 

Funk in the Forest          
Intermediate - Grade 3+ | Instrument: Trumpet, saxophone, trombone, guitar, piano, bass and drums
A classic small jazz-funk combo consisting of front line trumpets, saxophones, trombones and rhythm section guitar, piano, bass and drums. The ensemble gives students an opportunity to perform in the styles of jazz, funk, rock and soul, along with developing more creative skills, such as improvisation and composition.

Pop and Soul Band (NEW!)         
Intermediate - Grade 3+ | Instrument: All
For students aiming to develop their musical talent, the group will explore a different pop and soul genre with the aim of building a mixed set list to perform at the end of each term.

Wind Band        
Intermediate - Grade 3+ | Instrument: All woodwind, brass and percussion
A fantastic opportunity to experience fun music making and to meet new friends who are at a similar standard on their instruments. Join our musical family and learn about ensemble playing and team work, while experiencing an exciting new way of progressing on your instrument. We play a wide range of repertoire including classical, soul and film music.

Forest Strings   
Intermediate - Grade 3+ | Instrument: All string
Following on from Woodland Strings and Saturday Strings, this is a wonderful opportunity for more advanced musicians to play an eclectic and diverse mix of repertoire, meet like-minded individuals, and share the fulfilling and essential experience of making music together. Each term culminates in an exciting concert. Forest Strings provides a firm foundation for progression to the Youth Orchestra.

Dance Band
Advanced - Grade 5 | Instrument: Flute, clarinet, alto sax, violin, viola, bass guitar
A small group for individual musicians, we perform special arrangements of 30s, 40s and more recent songs composed, for example, by Gershwin or Cole Porter. More members are always welcome. 

Youth Orchestra
Advanced - Grade 4+ | Instrument: All string, woodwind, brass and percussion
Join one of our most advanced groups and cover core classical repertoire, from Beethoven to Mozart, with the opportunity to regularly perform at various venues around the borough. This is a great opportunity for young musicians to develop their ensemble skills to a high level and share their love of music with like-minded instrumentalists.

NELV - North East London Voices
Age: 11+
The NELV collective is made up of 11-18 year olds from across Redbridge and Waltham Forest who came together through the North East London Voices Project. Join the group and sing songs in various styles from all over the world, including jazz, folk, RnB and soul, with a repertoire that includes songs from Ed Sheeran, Emeli Sande, ELO, Michael Jackson and David Bowie. Each member has their own eclectic music taste and this variation is reflected in the material that we write or perform each term. We always welcome new singers, beatboxers, MCs, songwriters and performers.

Composition Club
Age: 11+
For students in Year 7 and above who have a good technical foundation on their instrument and some experience with music theory. The group is based on learning and using different techniques for writing music, with an opportunity to get help with any school work that involves this, e.g. GCSE music coursework. Students have the opportunity to play their works, or have them played, at the end of term music school concerts.

Baby Mini Musicians | Age: 3–18 months
Toddler Mini Musicians | Age: 18 months – 4 years
Music is a great tool for language and social development. Mini Musicians for babies and toddlers are a fun way for parents and children to interact with each other through music. These classes are designed to help children feel more secure so they can cope better with new experiences, whilst having fun with a huge repertoire of songs, rhymes, action and rhythm games and dance. Daily routines such as nappy changing, bath time, meal times, waking and sleeping are more enjoyable if done using a wide range of musical activities. Singing is at the heart of these sessions but we also use musical instruments and toys to accompany some of the songs, so expect to do lots of physical movements too!

Beginner - pre Grade 1

Junior Guitar Group *

Mon 4 - 5pm

Beginner Winds

Mon 4:30 - 5:30pm

Woodland Strings

Thu 4.15 - 5.15pm

Drumming Group

Thu 6.30 - 7.30pm
Singing Group ages 4-7
(Peterhouse Centre)
Fri 4.15 - 4.45pm
Singing Group age 8-11
(Peterhouse Centre) 
Fri 4.45 - 5.15pm

Junior Choir​

Sat 10.30 - 11.30am

Recorder Group​

Sat 12.15 - 1pm

Junior - Grade 1-2

Guitar Group

Tue 5.30 - 6.30pm

Training Wind Band

Wed 4.30 - 5.30pm

Saturday Strings

Sat 9.15 - 10.15am

Intermediate - Grade 3+

Funk in the Forest

Mon 5.30 - 6.30pm

Pop and Soul Band

Tue 6.30 - 7.30pm

Wind Band

Wed 5.30 - 6.30pm

Forest Strings

Thu 5.30 - 6.30pm

Advanced - Grade 4+

Dance Band

Wed 5.30 - 6.30pm

Youth Orchestra

Wed 6.30 - 8pm

Age 11+

North East London Voices​ (NELV)

Tue 6.30 - 7.30pm

Composition Club​

Thu 4.15 - 5.15pm

Note: All groups are held at Waltham Forest Music School, 12 Church Hill, Walthamstow E17 3AG unless otherwise stated. * Held at Mission Grove Primary School, Buxton Road E17 7EJ.


Music School membership is £28 per 10 week term (£14 for families on a low income). This means your child can join one or more group.

Pay your fees online

How to book

To join a Music School group just arrive 15 minutes before the start of the class to register. You’ll need to complete a Health and Safety form before your child starts their class - our staff can give you this or you can download it here.

Download Health and Safety form (PDF)

Theory lessons and prices Click to get info

We offer theory classes in small, relaxed groups at our Music School to help develop your child’s understanding of music. Thirty minute classes are available on:

  • Tuesday and Wednesday, 4.30 to 5.30pm
  • Saturday, 8.30 to 10.30am


  • £34  for each 10 week term for Music School students (£26 for families on a low income)
  • £46 for each 10 week term for non-Music School students (£38.50 for families on a low income)

Pay your fees online

How to book

To join a theory group just arrive 15 minutes before the start of the class to register. You’ll need to complete a Health and Safety form before your child starts their class - our staff can give you this or you can download it here.

Health and Safety form (PDF)

Each teaching term lasts 10 weeks - fees are calculated as a share of the total price for those starting during the term. We need a half term’s notice to cancel lessons.

One membership covers any number of Music School groups.

A free taster session is available on request.

Pay online

Prices shown are per term.

Music School Tuition  Length (mins) Full Price Low income*
Individual lessons 20 £130 £90
Individual lessons 30 £185 £130
Adult Lessons 60 £45 NA


  Group Full Price Low income*
Learning at WFMS 30 £34 £26
Not learning at WFMS 30 £46 £38.50

Other charges

  Full Price Low income*
Music School Ensemble Membership £28 £14
Instrument Hire £20 £10

* Proof of low income is required to qualify for reduced fees. Please show original copies of housing benefit or reduced Council Tax letter to the Music Service office.

Toddler and baby groups

  Full Price
Toddler Mini Musicians: first child £62.50
Toddler Mini Musicians: second child £50
Baby Mini Musicians: first child £55
Baby Mini Musicians: second child £40

Music School dates 2016-17

2016-17 First half Second half Make up teaching
Autumn 17 Sep - 20 Oct 31 Oct - 3 Dec 5 Dec - 10 Dec
Spring 7 Jan - 11 Feb 20 Feb - 23 Mar 25 Mar - 30 Mar
Summer 22 Apr - 27 May 5 Jun - 10 Jul 11 Jul - 18 Jul

We run a music making session for babies and toddlers at our Music Service, 12 Church Hill, Walthamstow E17 3AG.

Taught by Early Years Music specialists, the classes include singing, dancing and playing with lots of different instruments.

  • Baby Mini Musicians (up to 18 months): Tuesdays, 10.45 to 11.30am
  • Toddler Mini Musicians (18 months to 4 years): Fridays, 10.45 to 11.30am and 11.45 to 12.30pm


  • Baby Mini Musicians: first child £55, second child £40
  • Toddler Mini Musicians: first child £62.50, second child £50

How to book

Please complete one of these forms and return by email to or post to: Music Service, 12 Church Hill, Walthamstow E17 3AG.

Music school performances Click to get info

Summer 2017

6 June 6.30pm High scorers student concert
14 June 7pm WFMS Battle of the Bands competition, Leyton Sixth Form 
20 June 6.30pm Solo Performance Platform student concert, Leyton Sixth Form
29 June 1.30pm and 7pm Youth Orchestra accompany Battle of the Somme film screening
3-5 July   WFMS Summer Festival, Walthamstow Assembly Hall
16 July   WFMS Groups & Future Band at Walthamstow Garden Party, Lloyd Park
17-18 July   ABRSM exams, WFMS 12 Church Hill

We hold exams each term with the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) and Rockschool Ltd at our music school. The exams lay good foundations for music making while encouraging students to reach their full potential.

We support pupils all the way through their exam preparation by:

  • providing an accompanist and extra rehearsal sessions
  • offering theory and aural classes to boost exam success
  • holding a Certificate Presentation Concert to celebrate high achievers

Exam dates 2016/17

Theory (Woodford Green) Practical instrument (12 Church Hill)
8 November 2016 19, 20, 21 December 2016
1 March 2017 2, 3, 4 May 2017
17 June 2017 17, 18, 19 July 2017