Young audiences enjoying a Families@4 concert

Coming to concerts

At BCMG we see young people as discerning listeners, experimental performers and creative musical adventurers. We are passionate about creating the very best learning opportunities which allow young people to flourish, to feel part of a bigger musical community and open their ears to new sound worlds.

Young people are always welcome at any of our main programme concerts and in addition we have our Families@4 performances devised specifically with younger audiences in mind.

I enjoyed the performance because it had lots of different composers. My favourite piece was Oliver Knussen’s Ophelia’s Last Dance because it is a piece with lots of dynamics and he turned it from a medley to a piece…really good night.

Young concert audience member

BCMG presents a regular programme of concerts annually at the CBSO Centre in Birmingham. In addition each year we present concerts at various venues across the country, ticket prices and concert arrangements will vary at venues other than the CBSO Centre so do please check the relevant details.
The Families@4 performances aim to introduce young people and their families to the very best contemporary classical music in the most engaging way possible, always respecting young people as open-minded and discriminating listeners. These late afternoon bite-size concerts take place on the same day as BCMG regular concerts and explore two or three pieces from the evening performance in a relaxed and informal way. The BCMG Learning Team run craft and music activities based on the concert programme an hour before the performance. Ages 7+ recommended.


How much will tickets cost?
For concerts at the CBSO Centre tickets are just £1 for under 16s or free for children attending Music Maze, ZigZag Ensemble or Feel the Buzz. One accompanying adult ticket is available for each child at £10. Families@4 tickets are £5 each, children under 3 are free. Buy 3 tickets get a 4th free.
Please see individual ticketing details for concerts outside of the CBSO centre.

Where will we sit?
We try and ensure families and young people attending our concerts are as close to the musicians as possible with a clear view. At some family performances seating will be on cushions on the floor, although chairs will also be available for adults.

What refreshments are available?
At all our CBSO Centre evening concerts complimentary refreshments for all children and young people are available during the interval. At Family events, refreshments (including health snacks) are available during the activity café prior to the performance.

What other activities/attractions are available?
We provide complimentary programmes with an interesting introduction to the music presented, written specifically with young audiences in mind. We also have drawing activities and complimentary refreshments provided during the interval.
Each Families@4 Concert starts with an hour of activities prior to the concert itself. Designed to complement the music in the main programme activities are interactive, creative and musical and aim to provide enjoyable experiences and insight into the music that follows.

What parking is available?
CBSO Centre’s main entrance is on Berkley Street and there is space to drop off directly outside the venue and metered parking on all nearby streets. There are also car parks at Brindley Place and Mailbox, both within a 5-minute journey of the Centre. Limited free parking can be arranged for disabled visitors on request by contacting BCMG’s Marketing Manager.

How long will the concert last?
Evening concerts vary in length but are generally about 2 hours long, including a 20 minute interval approximately half way through. We realise that many of our concerts take place in the evening which can be problematic for younger children, so we are more than happy for them to leave at the interval. Performances specifically for families are no longer than an hour.

What ages are the concerts appropriate for?
This is a difficult question to answer and depends entirely on the individual child or young person. Many 8 year olds would find our concerts stimulating and rewarding, and in the same measure some 15 year olds would find the environment challenging. Due to the duration and timing of our concerts we would recommend not bringing children under the age of 8. We also realise that many of our concerts take place in the evening which can be problematic for younger children, so we are more than happy for them to leave at the interval. BCMG’s Learning Team will always be on hand at concerts so there is a recognisable face and we are always happy to answer any questions you may have.

Will children and young people like the concerts?
Again this is a difficult question and as with adults the answer will vary person to person! We always aim to make our concerts interesting and engaging and always have friendly staff available to welcome audiences and answer questions. We also provide a specially designed programme for young audiences and complimentary refreshments and drawing activities in the interval. Our programmes vary and it may be best to start by attending one of our specific family events or choosing a programme where you have a particular interest – such as instruments involved, type of music, theme etc. We offer very reduced ticket prices for children and young people as we are more than happy for young audiences to leave at the interval if this is appropriate.

How will we know what we’re watching/listening to?
A complimentary programme is available for all children and young people giving age appropriate descriptions of the music with interesting links and things to listen out for. Additionally many of our concerts include introductions by the musicians or conductor giving an insight into the piece in more detail.

Can we meet the musicians or try the instruments?
Whilst we take care to ensure younger audiences have the best view of the performers (reserved seating in the first two rows) our main concert programme does not provide opportunities to meet musicians or try the instruments. However we are a friendly bunch and musicians will often mix with the audience and be happy to be asked questions.

If we like this what else can we do?
We have a regular programme of concerts at the CBSO Centre in Birmingham, and would welcome you at any of these events. We also present an ongoing programme of workshops (Music Maze, ZigZag Ensemble and Feel the Buzz) for children and young people aged 8 upwards helping them to make their own music as well as school projects and family activities during the Family Arts Festival annually in October. Please email the learning team. for more information.