City Lit Blog

Choosing an Instrumental class at City lit

Story added 14th Aug 2019

Choosing an Instrumental class at City lit

Welcome to the City lit instrumental department. We offer a range of different instrumental classes from complete beginners to regular Orchestra workshops for our most advanced players, and so there’s sure to be a class that’s right for you here in the heart of Covent Garden. N.B. if you are interested in String instruments please see here for more information

Group Learning

All of our classes are group sessions and learning in a group is great fun. You will find lively discussion, theory quizzes, individual exercises and good company in your class.  

Classes for absolute beginners

If you are an absolute beginner, new to playing the Recorder, Flute or Clarinet and new to reading music notation, then it’s easy: just start at the very beginning with the level 1 class and work through each of the classes in the order listed below.  If you have any questions please email us and we’ll be happy to help.

Choosing the right level for returning players

If you have existing playing skills you don’t need to start at the very beginning: just join us at the correct level for you.

Each Level corresponds (roughly) to an ABRSM grade. So for example, Clarinet level 3 is approaching grade 3 standard repertoire. If you look at ABRSM exam pieces you will get an idea of what each level is learning to play. You may also be interested in our ensemble classes.

Please check the individual course outlines for more details of the books you are requested to buy for each class as this will often give you the most clear indication of the level of a class.

If you are unsure of your current level, please email us and make an appointment to come and play to us for some advice.

Changing classes

In the first couple of weeks, if you feel that the class you have chosen is not the right level for you, you may move to a different course. You can do this online, by logging into your City Lit account (this is the quickest method), or phone Enrolments on (020) 7831 7831.
N.B. you must lodge your request before the third session of your course. Please ask your tutor for advice if you are not sure whether you’ve chosen the right course.

If you begin to find the level is unsuitable later on in your course then don’t panic, there will still be plenty to learn and you can then choose a more appropriate level the following term. That’s the idea of the short course modules, they allow flexibility because everyone learns at different speeds.

If you have any doubts at all, please contact us to arrange an advice session. Bring some music, play us a piece and we’ll help you choose.


The full sequence of Recorder classes (from September 2019)

Level 1: from complete beginners to simple scales and melodies, including basic music-reading 

Level 2: from simple scales and pieces to confidence playing on your own in a variety of styles as well as in ensembles

  • Recorders: Return to Playing  (Wednesdays in all three terms)

Further Recorder classes:

Termly classes -

  • Recorder consorts and ensemble: achieve confidence playing one to a part in small ensembles and as part of larger ensembles whilst developing technical skills and knowledge of specific repertoire of a grade 3 to 4 standard    (Wednesdays in all three terms)
  • Recorder consorts and ensemble: advanced: improve technical fluency, ensemble skills and stylistic awareness working on ensemble repertoire of a grade 5 to 6 standard. (Mondays in all three terms)

Short courses –

  • Recorders: English ensemble repertoire: a short course for advanced players of any size recorder, covering repertoire from Elizabethan madrigals through to 21st Century compositions (Four sessions on Sundays in term 1)
  • Recorders: advanced technique: a short course for advanced players who wish to improve techniques such as double-tonguing, alternative fingering and vibrato (Four sessions on Sundays in term 3)

The full sequence of Clarinet classes (From September 2019)


Level 1: from complete beginners to simple scales and pieces including reading basic music notation

Level 2: from simple scales and pieces around grade 1 level to grade 2/3 repertoire

Level 3: from grade 3 repertoire, develop your technique and musical skills through ensemble and solo repertoire up to grade 4 standard

Level 4: achieve fluency at grade 4 standard and move onto grade 5 material including improved technique, tone and sight-reading skills

Advanced Clarinet: from grade 5 upwards, work on technique through solo and ensemble repertoire

  • Clarinet advanced workshop and ensembles (Mondays in all three terms)


Ensemble classes

Our ensemble classes come in a variety of forms – flute and clarinet choirs, wind ensemble, chamber music or orchestral with some being termly, others short courses over a couple of days or a weekend. N.B. you will need to contact the music department to check your level and availability for your instrument

Termly classes –

  • Chamber music 1: suitable for those who are at least grade 3 standard and confident music readers (Tuesdays in all three terms)
  • Chamber music 2: suitable for those who are at least grade 4 standard and confident music readers (Fridays in all three terms)
  • Chamber music: advanced: for players at grade 6 or above with good sight-reading skills (Thursdays in all three terms)
  • City Lit Wind Ensemble: a mixed wind ensemble for players at grade 5 standard or higher (Tuesdays in all three terms)

Short courses –

  • Flute and Clarinet choir: play a range of genres of music and develop your sight-reading and ensemble skills, for intermediate/advanced flutes and clarinets
    • ME136A (14th December 2019)
    • ME136B (29th March 2020)
    • ME136C (31st May/7th June 2020)
    • Orchestra workshops: fun, intensive workshops for players of grade 6 and above


The full sequence of Flute classes (from September 2019)


Level 1: from complete beginners to simple scales and melodies

  • Flute 1A (Fridays in term 1)
  • Flute 1B (Fridays in term 2)
  • Flute 1C (Fridays in term 3)

Level 2/3: from simple scales and melodies to solo and ensemble pieces at around grade 2 to 3 standard

  • Flute 2/3A (Fridays in term 1)
  • Flute 2/3B (Fridays in term 2)
  • Flute 2/3C (Fridays in term 3)

Level 4: gain fluency at grade 3/4 and work on grade 4/5 material

  • Flute 4A (Fridays in term 1)
  • Flute 4B (Fridays in term 2)
  • Flute 4C (Fridays in term 3)

Level 5: expand your playing and musical understanding in this advanced class working at grade 5 and above

  • Flute 5A (Fridays in term 1)
  • Flute 5B (Fridays in term 2)
  • Flute 5C (Fridays in term 3)

Other flute classes:

Flute choir (Four Sundays in term 2)


Musicianship and music theory

Why not take a complimentary course to enhance your understanding of musical skills and musical notation. Please see our Musicianship and music theory programme for some ideas.