Creativity and community in Everton

Originally inspired by Venezuela’s El Sistema, In Harmony Liverpool uses orchestral music-making to improve the health, education and aspirations of children and young people in Everton.

Established in 2009 in Faith Primary School with 84 children, In Harmony Liverpool has expanded so that 720 children and young people aged 0-18 and their families now take part in orchestral music-making of the highest quality every week, free of charge, in and out of school. Music making takes place at Faith Primary School, The Beacon CE Primary School, Everton Nursery School and Family Centre and at Liverpool Philharmonic at the Friary, our rehearsal centre in West Everton.

...since this started, it's dead cool to play a violin in West Everton
Ed Vulliamy, The Observer

In Harmony Liverpool includes repertoire from across music genres including classical, pop, traditional and new music. Performance and musical excellence is at the heart of In Harmony. Children perform between 3-12 times each year in community settings in Liverpool and perform in premier venues including Liverpool Philharmonic Hall every year and London’s Royal Albert Hall and Southbank Centre. Creativity is encouraged through creative music making and composing new music from an early age.

In Harmony Liverpool activities include weekly parents and tots drop in sessions; up to 2 hours of music making for early years children; twice weekly group instrumental tuition from age 5 onwards; weekly orchestra rehearsals from age 7, primary school provision up to 4 hours a week music making in curriculum time, after school ensembles for primary aged children and twice weekly after school orchestras, sectionals and tuition for older young people. We also deliver an extensive programme of teacher training and CPD at Everton Nursery School and Family Centre part of the North Liverpool Teaching School Alliance.

Evaluation and Research

In Harmony Liverpool has since 2009 included a longitudinal evaluation led by Dr Susanne Burns, and recently supported through additional research by Professor Jude Robinson from University of Liverpool. The Burns and Robinson reports reveal that:

In Harmony Liverpool has led to improvements in children's wellbeing, particularly aspiration and resilience, as well as their sense of belonging and pride in their community.

In Harmony Liverpool has had a positive impact on families and family life in Everton, particularly through parents’ engagement with their children's learning and relationship with their school and community.

Impact on Early Years Education

Pulished October 2016

Early years provision has featured in the In Harmony Liverpool programme since its inception and in 2015 a major expansion saw the extension of regular provision into Everton Nursery School and Family Centre along with the expansion of the programme into The Beacon Church of England Primary School.This special report seeks to place the early years work being undertaken in context whilst exploring impact through qualitative data gathered on the ground by musicians, teachers and early years practitioners.

Read report


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

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. It uses the principles of Venezuela’s inspirational El Sistema.

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 Gateshead, Nottingham, Telford and Stoke-on-Trent.

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, Youth Music, Austin and Hope Pilkington Trust, The Beacon CE Primary School, The Eric & Margaret Kinder Charitable Trust, The Ernest Cook Trust, Everton Nursery School and Family Centre, Faith Primary School, , The Granada Foundation, The Henby Trust, Liverpooljazz, Lord Leverhulme’s Charitable Trust, The Oglesby Charitable Trust In Harmony Liverpool Fund, P. H. Holt Foundation, The Rushworth Foundation, West Lancashire Freemasons Charity and private donors.

Related links

Read an Observer article about In Harmony

Find out more about In Harmony

Learn about Venezuela's El Sistema

Read Tom Service's Guardian blog about In Harmony


Download “In Harmony Liverpool: Impact of Early Years Education” (Executive Summary), October 2016

Download “In Harmony Liverpool: Impact of Early Years Education” (Full Report), October 2016

Download special report "Playing at Home: How Families Engage with In Harmony Liverpool"

See more footage of In Harmony Liverpool on our youtube channel

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.