Upbeat - London Musical Theatre Orchestra


What is LMTO Upbeat?

LMTO Upbeat transforms UK secondary school students with no prior musical experience into concert performers in just 8 weeks.

The programme establishes a new orchestra in every school it visits, and West End musicians guide students on the journey from first picking up a musical instrument to performing in a concert in front of friends and family.

Upbeat gives young people a chance to discover the joy, confidence and purpose that comes from making music as a group. The programme uses easy orchestral arrangements of popular songs which fuels the students’ enthusiasm for practice and learning orchestral instruments.

Since its launch in 2021, Upbeat has positively impacted over 300 students and fostered a lasting culture of music-making in 6 schools.


In partnership with schools and music services, LMTO Upbeat seeks to inspire practical music making in everyday life for students at secondary schools through the medium of musical theatre. With opportunities to learn a new instrument, continue developing on a current instrument, perform, sing and work together in an ensemble, there’s something for everyone. No previous experience is required, just an enthusiasm to get involved.

‘Orchestral’ instruments can often be misconstrued as purely ‘classical’ instruments. LMTO Upbeat’s aim is to debunk that image and demonstrate the versatility and accessibility of instrumental playing to all, inspiring a new generation of musicians. Through working alongside West End musicians across a series of weeks, students have the opportunity to explore instrumental playing, musical theatre, and the music profession up close.

LMTO also supports both the schools and the music service in creating opportunities for the students, helping forge relationships within their local area, and facilitating the growth of instrumental playing in school.


2022 Projects - Luton

In Autumn 2022 LMTO Upbeat entered its second year, delivering two projects side by side in Luton. The project engaged 90 students across two schools, aged between 12-15 years old, introducing them to new instruments and culminating in a performance of musical theatre numbers at each school.

As a direct result of the project, Chiltern Academy introduced peripatetic lessons for the first time and now boast a full timetable with over 60 students having lessons. Queen Elizabeth School have relaunched their peripatetic offer following a hiatus during the pandemic and have formed a new band of LMTO Upbeat participants, with the support of our LMTO Upbeat library.

Click the links above to read more about the project and hear what the students thought!

We are already making plans for 2024 and beyond so if you are a music service or school who would like to get involved, please get in touch by emailing our Learning & Development Producer, Frances at frances@lmto.org


© 2024 London Musical Theatre Orchestra.

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