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Wide shot of orchestra and solo tumpet with gold confetti canons

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’s given me the opportunity to meet new people, expand my social circle, develop life skills, grow more confidence. It helped me to focus and know what I want to do with my life and feel able to do it my way without pressure from anyone else. It changed me."

Young Person

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 2021 In Harmony celebrated 12 years in North Liverpool. Since 2009, the programme has benefited over 2,500 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. 

50% of children continue with In Harmony into secondary school, and 20 have gone on to perform in Liverpool Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, Liverpool Philharmonic Youth Academy Orchestra, the National Youth Orchestra’s Inspire programme, National Children's Orchestra 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 386 performances by young people to a total audience of 49,200 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 2020/21 is £324, 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.


Evaluation and Research

In Harmony Liverpool has been evaluated since 2009, led by Dr. Susanne Burns, working with Paul Bewick from 2009 – 2014, with other specialists contributing including David Price OBE, Professor Susan Hallam MBE, Michael Galbraith (Clinical Psychologist and Systemic Psychotherapist), Professor Jude Robinson (University of Liverpool), national In Harmony evaluations by NfER, and Institute for Cultural Capital.

Published in January 2019, “10 Years of Learning: Reflections on 10 Year of Learning”, Dr. Susanne Burns, draws from 10 years of longitudinal evaluation and the impacts evidenced include:

  • In Harmony Liverpool has improved the life chances of children and young people with outcomes including increased confidence, wellbeing , skills and resilience.
  • In Harmony Liverpool has positively impacted on families and family life, developing social and cultural capital and generating pride.
  • In Harmony Liverpool has positively impacted on the culture and learning environment of participating schools.
  • Through long term partnerships, In Harmony Liverpool has helped to build stronger communities, generating civic pride, hope and aspiration. In Harmony Liverpool has made music a normal part of community and family life.
  • In Harmony Liverpool has positively impacted on Liverpool Philharmonic, enhancing its civic role.
The achievement is now something they are all proud of. And that will pass on – to other people and to other generations. In time it will change this place.


Evaluation Reports available to download

january 2019

In Harmony Liverpool: 2009 - 2019 Reflections on 10 Years of Learning, published January 2019 by Dr Susanne Burns

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, Austin and Hope Pilkington Trust, The Granada Foundation, Skelton Bounty, Peter Moore Foundation, The Rushworth Trust 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 

Sophie Plumb, In Harmony Liverpool Manager

Sophie.Plumb@liverpoolphil.com, 07808 870 510

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)