FolkActive Youth Ensemble

The FolkActive Youth Ensemble welcomes any musician aged 11-19 to develop their folk music skills. You will get expert tuition and learn in a welcoming, inclusive environment.

  • Learn how to improvise harmonies, compose tunes and play by ear
  • Explore techniques from the folk genre, including common modes and tune types
  • Develop your instrumental technique and musicianship
  • Gain skills in arranging music and performing with confidence

Of course, it is also about making friends and having fun! The ensemble is allowed lots of opportunities to socialise, so you’ll get to know like-minded people.

You will need your own acoustic instrument and the confidence to hold a tune or musical idea without sheet music notation.

The ensemble is led by Chris Nichols, educator and founder of folk band Threepenny Bit.

The FolkActive Youth Ensemble meet roughly once per month (four times per term) on a Sunday, 10am-1pm at Cantell School, Violet Road, Southampton, SO16 3GJ.

The dates for 2023/2024 are:
Autumn Term: 17th September, 8th October, 19th November, 10th December
Spring Term: 14th January, 4th February, 25th February, 17th March
Summer Term: 21st April, 12th May, 26th May, 16th June

Sessions cost £10 each, billed either £40 per term or with a small discount to £110 for the year if paid annually. If cost is a barrier to attending, please contact us to discuss – we have funding available.

You will develop skills through multiple public performances throughout the year, often collaborating with other local music groups and ensembles. Recent performance highlights include the prestigious Winchester MayFest folk festival and English Folk Dance and Song Society’s Youth Folk Takeover Day at Cecil Sharp House in London.

To gain the most from your experience, we encourage commitment to attending rehearsals and practicing individually between sessions. This dedication will support your development as a folk musician and strengthen ensemble cohesion. If you know you will miss a rehearsal or performance, simply give us as much advance notice as possible.

How to Join
To get involved with the FolkActive Youth Ensemble, contact Chris at We look forward to making music with you!

Supported by Southampton Music Hub.