18-6-13 PH1_8359.jpg
Abbie NNF Day.jpg

Sistema in Norwich works to transform the lives of children and young people through participation in music, seeking to help children realise their potential and succeed across all areas of their lives.  


We do this through engaging them in learning to play a musical instrument and being part of an orchestra, starting at 7 years of age and continuing up until 18.


The programme works in areas of social deprivation, where the needs of children, families and the community are greater.  Currently we cover six areas of Norwich, with one of these outside of the city boundary in South Norfolk.


We are inspired by El Sistema, the Venezuelan music programme that has over 30 years’ experience of how a music programme can both create great musicians and dramatically change the life trajectory of hundreds of thousands of disadvantaged children. Our approach draws of their experience as well as a whole range of other ideas and approaches, including conventional music education, community music practice, Dalcroze, Suzuki, and others. We have sought to develop something that is appropriate and effective for the communities we work with.


Although our most obvious triumphs may be musical, we are a social action programme supporting children to succeed across all areas of their lives.

Over the last 10 years we have operated through work in a number of primary schools, covering six areas of the city of Norwich, all identified as areas of deprivation. 

  • Catton Grove Primary School

  • Lakenham Primary School

  • Queens Hill Primary School

  • Wensum Junior School

  • West Earlham Junior School & West Norwich Nucleo

Older children have then taken part in centralised provision, the Teen Sistema, based at Martineau Memorial Hall, Colegate, Norwich.  

From September 2021, we will be basing all our Norwich delivery in one, centralised location to which all children will come. In this way we will be opening up the programme to children from across the city, while maintaining the participation from the previous schools we have worked with. The programme will continue to prioritise the participation of children and young people with less opportunity.

We are in the process of finding a new venue that will meet our ongoing needs and will make an announcement very shortly about the exciting next phase of the programme.

If you are interested in your child being part of the Sistema programme, please click here and complete the form. You should receive confirmation that we have received your details, but please be aware that recruitment takes place at set points with multiple students, rather than on an ad hoc basis, so it may be some time before we contact you regarding the next recruitment phase. Completing the form will ensure you are contacted at the appropriate time.

A small, satellite strings programme will continue to be based at Queen's Hill Primary School.



The Sistema in Norwich Steering Group is a group of experts and supporters who offer advice to help take the programme forward.