Sistema Norwich offers children and young people the opportunity to learn to play a musical instrument and be part of an orchestra.

It is a social action through music programme, working to transform the lives of children and young people, helping them realise their potential and succeed across all areas of their lives. Our Norwich Nucleo is a beacon of diversity and inclusion, with children from all walks of life coming together to learn, play music and have fun.

The programme is delivered in partnership between NORCA and Norfolk Music Hub. Provision currently covers the following orchestral instruments: upper strings (violin, viola), lower strings (cello, double bass), wind (clarinet, flute), brass (trumpet, trombone) and percussion.

Sistema Norwich works with children from Year 3 upwards.  We prioritise children from communities where there is less opportunity and access.  Provision is free to all those participating.

To find out more about joining and register your interest, please visit the ‘Join Sistema’ page.

Mission & details

Our mission is to engage young people in a positive and enriching culture of music, learning and participation. We provide instruments and deliver all our activities for free, making music education accessible for any family, in keeping with our goal of knocking down barriers.

All our teaching is in groups.  Students get weekly sessions covering instrumental lesson, general musicality, singing and ensemble.  They are in an ensemble from the start of their musical journey and perform regularly (sign up for our newsletter or see our events page for news of upcoming concerts). Youth orchestra members have the opportunity to develop composition, music leadership, small ensemble and other skills.

Additional sessions to those focused on instruments are an important part of wider musical development and supporting instrument learning.

New Centre

Our new nucleo at Martineau Memorial Hall opened in April 2022, bringing together all our previous delivery in one central venue. We believe this will create a more cohesive, efficient, effective and inclusive programme.

The new nucleo is open to children from across the city and beyond. We continue to actively work with our partners to ensure we reach young people with least opportunity.

If you are interested in your child being part of the Sistema programme, please see the Join Sistema page.

Sistema-inspired programmes

Sistema Norwich is one of a number of Sistema-inspired programmes around the world.  In the UK these include Nucleo (London), Sistema Cymru, Sistema Scotland, and the In Harmony Programmes. NORCA facilitates a UK network of Sistema-inspired programmes to support sharing best practice. We work together whenever the opportunity allows.

Though we have no formal links, our work is inspired by El Sistema, the Venezuelan music programme, whilst drawing on a wide range of pedagogical ideas and methods, to ensure our approach meets the needs of the communities we work with.

Support Sistema Norwich

Sistema Norwich is entirely reliant on funding and donations.  We make participation free to ensure that it is accessible for everyone, and everyone is taking part on the same basis. This is especially important at a time when access to learning to play an instrument is becoming so restricted.

To find out how you can support Sistema Norwich, including become a regular donor as a Friend, please follow the link below:


As well as the 23/24 funders listed below, we would like to acknowledge the amazing support in 22/23 of the following: The Garfield Weston Foundation, Anguish’s Educational Foundation and Norwich Freemen’s Charity, whose support has been vital to getting the programme to where it is, along with all our regular and other donors.

Your kindness provides opportunities that go beyond the musical performances and helps to enrich the lives of our young people.

  • A donation of £10 could pay for one child to attend an Orchestra session
  • A donation of £20 could pay for a set of violin strings
  • A donation of £35 could pay for one child to attend a masterclass
  • A donation of £40 could pay for a child to attend Sistema Norwich for a week
  • A donation of £120 could pay for one child to attend Orchestra for a term
  • A donation of £300 could pay for a baritone horn
  • A donation of £600 could pay for one child to attend their instrumental and GM lesson for a year.
  • A donation of £1,300 could pay for one child to attend Sistema Norwich for a year

Adding Gift Aid (if you’re a UK taxpayer) means we can claim an additional 25p for every £1 that you donate, making your generosity go even further? And if you are a higher rate tax payer you can claim income tax relief on your donation.

There is a regular monthly giving option for our passionate and committed supporters whose kindness ensures continued support for our young musicians throughout the year.