My NCO years made me the person which I am today, both musically, and socially. Never have I heard anyone talk about the NCO in any way other than in the fondest and most glowing of ways. There is something special about the NCO that I will keep with me forever!

NCO Leaver

NCO aims to provide the best possible platform from which you can take forward your playing beyond the age of 14.  Very many members of NCO go on to join older youth orchestras and ensembles.  Between one third and two thirds of members of the National Youth Orchestra each year are ex-NCO players, making NCO the single most important training ground for the UK's flagship teenage orchestra.

NCO members experience amazing tuition and fantastic performance opportunities. Our members have played for Her Majesty the Queen and collaborated with leading artists such as Dame Evelyn Glennie DBE, Julian Lloyd-Webber, NCO ex-member Nicola Benedetti MBE and world famous trumpeter Wynton Marsalis.

The three oldest orchestras have incredible opportunities to perform in public at leading concert venues such as the Barbican, Symphony Hall Birmingham and Leeds Town Hall.

Instrumental teachers frequently comment on the significant improvement in their pupil’s playing and the renewed enthusiasm that they have for music following an NCO course.

Much more than just music practice, our courses also help to broaden the social development of our young musicians with time for sport, art and relaxing with friends. The children benefit from meeting and socialising with others who share their passion for music.

NCO Regional Orchestras are an opportunity to get together every month with members of all ages from the local area. NCO has an excellent team of Regional Orchestra conductors, and rehearses exciting repertoire, culminating in an end of year concert every November. Regionals provide our older members with an excellent opportunity to develop their mentoring skills with the younger players. The younger players learn huge amounts from playing alongside more experienced musicians.