Bring the Bristol Jazz and Blues Festival Swinging to your school!

The Bristol International Jazz and Blues Festival offers a special inclusive performance workshop for KS1 & 2 students that presents a ‘live music experience’ using swing jazz as an introduction.  Keeping true to the ethos that live music and dance is an essential part of education, inspiring children to listen, play, learn and move to express themselves.

In an interactive performance/workshop of 60 minutes, the Jazz vocalist and her dapper rhythm section introduce the sound of swing, where it originally came from and what it’s made of, starting with the heart of swing, the double bass, and the other key instruments of Jazz. By mixing up a musical cake using instruments as ingredients, the students add one ingredient at a time to hear what makes swing, Swing!

Students learn how to lead a band; how the band work together to control the dynamics of their sound; answering questions about which instruments work well together for their texture and harmony. The band asks for volunteers to work with different tempos and count the band in – this generally results in some very experimental time signatures.

A short performance from the band and a sing-along to a well-known swing classic introduces a short demonstration and history of Swing Dance. Students learn the fun of easy solo jazz steps – ‘the Charleston’, ‘the Cake Walk’ and ‘the Messaround’ – and follow a routine everyone does together accompanied by the band. This was the dance of their grand- and great grandparents!

A teacher from Manorbrook Primary in Thornbury said

I just wanted to quickly say what a fantastic time we had on Wednesday when the workshop came to our school. The musicians were excellent and really delivered their expertise in a very child-friendly manner, whilst . . .  getting them involved. The children were so enthused about what they were hearing and learning about. They shall be talking about it for weeks I think! The staff loved it too and I can’t recommend it enough.

For more information contact Colin Gorrie on

We’re changing

On Wednesday 23 September 2020 Colston Hall changed its name to Bristol Beacon, and this means we’re changing too.

Bristol Plays Music is run by Bristol Music Trust, the charity that also runs the venue formerly known as Colston Hall. These two organisations will soon unite under one name: Bristol Beacon.

Click below to find out more about how we’re changing, watch our name announcement, and discover how we want everyone to share in the joy of live music.

More info Enter site