Christchurch School of Music


There is nothing quite like the experience of playing in an orchestra and at CSM we believe this is an important part of the learning process. An orchestra not only gives students the ability to be part of a “big” sound from very early stages of their musical development, but also helps students to develop a sense of rhythm, pitch and sight reading skills. It’s also great fun! All of our orchestras will play a mix of traditional orchestral repertoire along with a selection of more contemporary tunes that will appeal to younger students such as Harry Potter, Star Wars, etc.

The enrolment fee for orchestras covers face to face rehearsals, on line lessons, performance opportunities and sectional work.

  • PLAY! In the Junior Symphony Orchestra

    Saturday 8:45 – 9:55   Avonhead School (55 Avonhead Road)

    Conductor: Anne Robinson

    Students choosing to learn an orchestral instrument should consider joining the Junior Symphony Orchestra (JSO) after they have been learning for about a year. Students need to have some confidence in reading music in order to enjoy the experience, but your teacher will be able to help you to decide the appropriate time to join. JSO is a fantastic introduction to orchestral playing where students will learn the concept of a beat and learn the importance of watching the conductor. Students of all ages are welcome to join this wonderful orchestra.

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  • PLAY! In the Intermediate Symphony Orchestra

    Saturday 10:00 – 11:25  Avonhead School (55 Avonhead Road)

    Conductor: Matthew Harris

    The Intermediate Symphony Orchestra is generally appropriate for students who have been learning an instrument for 3-5 years. As many of our students in this orchestra are still quite young, the focus at this level is mostly on making the orchestral playing experience enjoyable, but students will also begin to learn more about advance musical concepts and interpretation (dynamics, phrasing, accents). A greater scope of repertoire including arrangements of well known classical pieces.

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  • PLAY! In Sinfonia

    Saturday 11:30 – 1:00  Avonhead School (55 Avonhead Road)

    Conductor: Tony Ryan

    Sinfonia is our senior Saturday Orchestra. Players are selected on merit, and ages range from around 11 or 12 year-olds to senior secondary school students. A general guideline for Sinfonia’s ability level is grade 5 and above.

    This orchestra mainly plays standard repertoire by composers such as Tchaikovsky, Dvořák, Brahms, Sibelius, etc. Some recent performances have included Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite, Mars from Holst’s The Planets, Borodin’s Polovtsian Dances, Saint-Saëns’ Danse Macabre and music specially written for the orchestra by its conductor and composer Tony Ryan.

    Some recent special projects have included playing alongside the NZSO, a joint performance with the Christchurch Youth Orchestra, a video performance in the Christchurch Town Hall, and a ‘Flashmob’ tour of two Christchurch shopping centres.

    Although Sinfonia aims for high quality music-making and a professional level of presentation, there is a strong focus on players having an enjoyable and rewarding experience. The orchestra also has tertiary-level student assistants for each section (strings, woodwind, brass, percussion) who often play alongside the younger players.

    Many Sinfonia players later go on to play in CSM’s Christchurch Youth Orchestra, and several have then become Sinfonia’s tutors and assistants themselves.

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  • PLAY! In the Christchurch Youth Orchestra

    The Christchurch Youth Orchestra has its own website – for more information check it out:


  • PLAY! In Stringendo (Adults)

    Tuesday  7.00pm – 8.00pm Avonhead School, 55 Avonhead Road, Room R28

    Conductor: Tessa Olivier

    A string ensemble formed especially for adult string players who have been learning for a few years or who learnt in the past and would love to get the violin, viola, cello or double bass out and play it again! The ensemble rehearses weekly and players will learn technical and orchestral aspects of playing in groups as well as playing string orchestra music. The group is very social and is perfect for adults wanting to have some fun with their music!

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  • PLAY! In Camerata Strings

    Conductor: Patrick Shepherd

    Camerata Strings is a string orchestra made up of violins, violas, cellos and double bass for professional and advanced adult string players who enjoy playing the sublime string repertoire. Camerata is a performance based group that rehearses in the weeks leading up to a performance. Players can choose how many concerts they wish to participate in throughout the year. Rehearsals are held at Linwood College in the music room and concerts at various venues.


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