Life-changing orchestral music-making with the children and families of North Liverpool

Launched in February 2009, In Harmony Liverpool uses orchestral music making to improve the life chances of children[1] by increasing confidence, wellbeing, skills and resilience, enhanced by opportunities to travel, learn, perform and collaborate with professional musicians, international artists and other young people. In Harmony Liverpool’s vision is a healthier, higher achieving future for North Liverpool. 

It gives you new opportunities so that you can earn a better living, live a happy life.

In Harmony is targeted at children with the greatest need and fewest resources[2]– over 40% of In Harmony children are classed as living in poverty[3]. Music making takes place at All Saints Catholic Primary School, Anfield Children’s Centre, Everton Nursery School and Family Centre, Faith Primary School, The Beacon Church of England Primary School and at Liverpool Philharmonic at the Friary, our rehearsal centre in Everton.

In March 2019 In Harmony will celebrate 10 years in North Liverpool. Since 2009, the programme has benefited over 2,000 children and families in Everton and Anfield and over 300 professional musicians, artists, school teachers and staff. 

Every child learns an instrument and creates orchestral music throughout their time at primary school, and over 1500 children and young people aged 0-18 are learning music every week, free of charge. By the end of primary school, In Harmony young musicians have typically taken part in over 140 orchestra rehearsals and 25 performances, with most children playing their instrument at ABRSM Grade 2 standard or higher. 

Over 45% of children continue with In Harmony into secondary school, and 20have gone on to perform in Liverpool Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, Liverpool Philharmonic Youth Academy Orchestra, the National Youth Orchestra’s Inspire programme and Sistema Europe Youth Orchestra. 

The children learn repertoire from across music genres including classical, pop, traditional and new music. Performance and musical excellence is at the heart of In Harmony. Since 2009, In Harmony has presented 300 performances by young people to a total audience of 42,000 in 38 venues, including local community venues, Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, London’s Royal Albert Hall, the Southbank Centre, and Sage Gateshead.Creativity is encouraged through creative music making and composing new music from an early age.

The cost per child in 2018/19 is £318, less than £1 a day. For every £1 of Government funding, Liverpool Philharmonic raises a further £2 from other sources, helping to sustain and grow In Harmony, reaching more children and families.

Click here to donate to In Harmony Liverpool.

Evaluation and Research

In Harmony Liverpool has since 2009 included a longitudinal evaluation led by Dr Susanne Burns, and supported through additional research by specialists including Professor Susan Hallam MBE, Michael Galbraith (Child Psychologist), Professor Jude Robinson (University of Liverpool), and national In Harmony evaluations by NfER. 

According to parents, community leaders and local residents In Harmony has generated increased hope, pride and aspiration for their children and the community. 95% of parents say In Harmony has positively impacted their relationship with their child[4].

Sometimes I think I can’t do something but playing the violin has shown me that I can do anything if I try hard enough.

Evaluation Reports available to download

September 2017

Evaluation Update Report – Year 8, 2016-17, published September 2017, Susanne Burns

October 2016

In Harmony Liverpool – Impact on Early Years Education (Executive Summary), published October 2016, Susanne Burns with Michael Galbraith

February 2016

Evaluation Update Report – Year 6, 2014-15(Executive Summary), published February 2016, Susanne Burns

December 2015

Baseline Evaluation Report: The Beacon CE Primary School, published December 2015, Susanne Burns 

December 2015

Baseline Evaluation Report: Everton Nursery School & Family Centre, published December 2015, Susanne Burn

September 2015

Playing at Home – How Families Engage with In Harmony Liverpool,published September 2015, Professor Jude Robinson

October 2013

Evaluation Update Report – Year 4, 2012-13(Executive Summary, published October 2013, Susanne Burns & Paul Bewick

March 2011

Evaluation Update Report - Year 2, 2010-11, published March 2011, Susanne Burns & Paul Bewick

March 2010

Evaluation Update Report- Year 1, 2009-10(Executive Summary), published March 2010, Susanne Burns & Paul Bewick with David Price OBE

September 2009

Baseline Evaluation Report, published September 2009, Paul Bewick & Susanne Burns

Full versions of above reports are available upon request.


In Harmony Liverpool was established in North Liverpool in 2009 and is led by Liverpool Philharmonic’s team of professional music leaders, including musicians of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, with partners All Saints Catholic Primary School & Anfield Children’s Centre, The Beacon Church of England Primary School, Everton Nursery School & Family Centre, Faith Primary School, Liverpool Hope University, Resonate Music Hub, The Shewsy, University of Liverpool, West Everton Community Council, and participating children and families. 


Including Arts Council England and Department for Education support, Liverpool Philharmonic has been successful in securing additional support for In Harmony Liverpool in the form of major gifts and donations from its two Principal Partners, Investec Wealth & Investment and Liverpool John Moores University; Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Garfield Weston Foundation, The Steel Charitable Trust, National Foundation for Youth Music, All Saints Catholic Primary School, The Beacon CE Primary School, Everton Nursery School and Family Centre, Faith Primary School, The Grodner Family, The Eric & Margaret Kinder Charitable Trust, The Oglesby Charitable Trust In Harmony Liverpool Fund, The Rushworth Foundation, The Ernest Cook Trust, Robin Bloxsidge & Nick Riddle, Lord Leverhulme’s Charitable Trust, The Hemby Trust, Liverpooljazz, P. H. Holt Foundation, West Lancashire Freemasons Charity, Austin and Hope Pilkington Trust, The Granada Foundation, and private donors.

In Harmony in England

In Harmony is a national initiative that aims to inspire and transform the lives of children through community-based orchestral music-making. Established by Government and now funded by Arts Council England and the Department for Education, other Arts Council England funded In Harmony programmes are now established in London, Leeds, Newcastle, Nottingham, Telford and Stoke-on-Trent.

Contact In Harmony Liverpool 

Zoë Armfield, In Harmony Liverpool Manager

Zoë, 0151 210 2931

Related links

See more footage of In Harmony Liverpool on our youtube channel

Find out more about In Harmony across the country

Read an Observer article about In Harmony

Read Tom Service's Guardian blog about In Harmony

[1]Source: Longitudinal In Harmony evaluation programme operating since 2009 led by Dr Susanne Burns

[2]Source: Liverpool City Council Ward Profiles: : 83% of Anfield and Everton are within the 10% most deprived areas nationally, Indices of Multiple Deprivation 2015

[3]Source: Liverpool City Council Ward Profiles: HMRC 2018 data on % children living in poverty (2015)

[4]Source: Parents surveys combined results in 2015, 2016 and 2018

Everton String Orchestra perform “Wizard’s United”

In Harmony Liverpool’s 8th Birthday Concert, Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, Monday 20th March 2017. 250 children aged 7-17 performed to a sold-out audience, celebrating the 8th Birthday of In Harmony Liverpool.