Routes to Hoots – 8-week street band programme for upper primary

A creative, exciting and exceptionally fun experience for primary school pupils! Our street band programme takes whole class groups on a musical adventure, introducing them to the basics of brass playing and drumming, and allowing them to explore their creativity. It is carefully designed to be inclusive, fun and hands-on, combining expert instruction in instrumental technique with song and movement. Pupils receive a broad overview of world music cultures, and have the opportunity to stand up, move around and bring their own character into their playing. Pupils with contrasting levels of musical experience happily learn together to share the success of creating a band from scratch.

Course content and teaching approach

The programme is designed to create a sense of fun and joy in making music as a group. We use games, rhythm exercises, movement, words, rhymes and improvisation as key components of our sessions. Pupils learn the music by ear and play from memory, with additional material tailored to the needs of the class such as warm-ups and theme tunes. Percussion instruments used on the project include bass drums, djembes and repeniques, amongst others. We use plastic trombones, which are light and easy for children to hold, and brass trumpets.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the programme, the class will have learned a piece of music, and each pupil will be able to play at least 5 notes on their brass instrument (of course this varies from pupil to pupil, and some will learn more). Drummers will have gained experience on 3 or more different drums. Alongside developing technical ability, pupils will develop skills in listening, teamwork, how to support each other to learn and how to contribute to a group creative process. They will have a deeper understanding of how brass instruments and drums work, and will be developing their understanding of their musical roles within an arrangement. Ultimately pupils complete the programme with increased self confidence, feeling inspired, and with a greater sense of curiosity about music.


We work once a week with 2 classes a day, aiming to perform to an audience within the school on the penultimate or final week. The course can be extended to 10 weeks long depending on schools’ needs. Week 1 of the programme is not a teaching week, but focuses on meeting class teachers to outline plans, iron out any logistical issues (space, noise etc) and discuss other considerations such as pupils with ASN or those who already play instruments. Potential performance outcomes are also explored, which may include an in-school assembly and/or a performance at a community event.

The programme is primarily delivered in partnership with local authorities, via the Scottish Government’s Youth Music Initiative. Since 2016 we have brought the programme to around 400 P6&7 pupils in the following local authority areas: Inverclyde (Ardgowan, St.Patrick’s, Moorfoot, St.Andrew’s, Newark, St.Francis & St.Michael’s primaries), Edinburgh (Brunstane, Duddingston, Craigentinny, Castleview, Niddriemill & St.Francis primaries) and North Lanarkshire ( Glenboig & Our Lady St.Joseph’s).

“It’s like nothing we’ve done before, it’s been absolutely amazing. Every single person in the classes, whether they thought of themselves as musical before or not, has had an amazing tim, and they all now know that they are musical” – Sarah Kinnarid, Depute Head, Craigentinny Primary

“It was joyous, and I was delighted that YMI had funded anything as wonderful. I haven’t seen such whole class engagement, with children playing percussion, and plastic coloured trombones alongside the brass of the kids who had IMS lessons. The achievement after 8 weeks of tuition was phenomenal.” – Frances Rive, YMI Co-ordinator, City of Edinburgh Council

Digital Music Making Workshops

Our digital music workshops provide participants with the opportunity to use a variety of music-making hardware for a tactile, hands-on musical experience. Working with drum machines, samplers, keyboards, record decks, mixers and effects units allows participants to develop a full range of skills, including listening, improvising, composition and arranging as well as basic programming and sound production. These skills enable players to gain confidence both on an individual level, and also in making music in a group.

We have designed programmes in digital music making for a wide range of groups, including secondary schools, residential schools and a range of youth services. Please get in touch for more information.

Contact FormContact Form
Get in touch with us here!

Messages sent here come straight to our inbox. We'll get back to you straight away.

* required
Send Message