First Position Strings

Ensemble-playing Workshops for adult beginners

…for adult players of violin, viola, cello and double bass, approximately Grade 1 - 5 standard...

Upcoming workshop dates:

  • Sunday 13th October ***FULL***
  • Sunday 10th November 
  • Sunday 8th December

14:00 - 17:00

Sharrow Performing Arts Space
Sharrow School,
Sitwell Place,
Sheffield S7 1BE

Tutor: Jenny Jackson

Fee per workshop: £18 / £15 concession (65+)


You can book workshops one at a time, or book multiple dates in advance: spaces are limited so it is advisable to book your place as soon as you can.

Have you started to learn to play an instrument recently, or are you a returning, rather rusty, player? Perhaps your aim is to join an orchestra?

These workshops will give you the opportunity to experience playing a part within a string ensemble and to practice the skills required for successful ensemble-playing. This includes learning how to follow a conductor, understanding your part (deciphering multi-bar rests, repeats marks and rehearsal marks, for example), practicing how to play in time with others, and picking up tips for how to recover and continue playing if you lose your place.

In each workshop we will tackle a number of pieces in a variety of styles, in simple keys. There will be a number of different parts to choose from, of varying levels of difficulty, and we will play music in first position only. We will start with short, easy-to-sightread pieces, before tackling some longer and more complicated arrangements that may need more than one rehearsal to to get together (the parts for these pieces will be sent out via email a few weeks before each workshop, as long as you have completed the booking form).

We will work to make the music sound as good as possible, observing the dynamics and articulation (including bowing), although the emphasis will be on enjoying learning how to play together rather than working on the technical aspects of playing your instrument.

As well as learning and developing your ensemble-playing skills, these workshops offer a chance to get to know other adult players in the city (you may even decide to form a quartet with people you meet!). We will have a break mid-afternoon for everyone to get to know each other better. Light refreshments will be provided.

You will need to bring:

  • your instrument
  • a music stand
  • a pencil to mark your part when necessary
  • a mute in case we play music that requires it (don't worry if you have not got one, however)
  • cellists should bring a 'Black hole', or similar, to stop their spike from skidding or damaging the wooden floor

***Please note that I cannot accept absolute beginners***


If you are interested in attending a First Position Strings workshop but are unsure of your suitability, or just want to know more about it, please contact Jenny:

Quotes from previous workshop attendees:

There’s been such a gap in Sheffield for adult beginners interested in learning to play in an ensemble, so thank you for organising this.
It was great to play in a group setting with someone other than a teacher etc.
Just to say I thought it was fantastic,
Just having it in first position and keeping it simple meant it was easier to concentrate on the difficult part of timing and playing together.
It was lovely to have a little break and get to say hello to other people there.