Playing music with other people is a great way to improve your musicianship and technical skills, and have fun doing it.


Northern Rivers Conservatorium provides a range of opportunities for ensemble playing, catering for different musical styles and levels of playing ability. There are also exciting opportunities to perform, including regular community performance nights.

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Northern Rivers Conservatorium - NRYO

Youth Jazz Orchestra

Monday  |   6:30 – 8:00pm

YJO, as they are affectionately known, relish the challenge of mastering and performing Latin, Swing, Funk and Ballad tunes by composers and arrangers such as, James Morrison, Gordon Goodwin, Sammy Nestico, Duke Ellington and Bob Mintzer. YJO consists of the most talented young musicians across the Northern Rivers region. Many YJO alumni have gone on to further study at the some of the top tertiary institutions across the country including Queensland Conservatorium of Music and Melbourne’s Monash University.

YJO perform regularly across the region and over the years have had the pleasure of sharing the stage with stellar artists such as; John Hoffman (Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra bands), internationally acclaimed pianist and composer Paul Grabowsky and leading music educator and conductor Richard Gill. In 2021 YJO will share the stage with the incredible James Morrison and his band.

The Music Director for YJO is Trombonist, Pianist and Drummer, Lawson McGuinness is the assistant music director and has performed with great musicians such as James Morrison, Emma Pask and Mark Vincent. Lawson is currently on leave until 2022. Justin Bannister who has accepted the offer to facilitate YJO rehearsals for the remainder of 2021.  Justin joined the Conservatorium this year teaching piano, voice and drums and has a wealth of song-writing and performance experience nationally and internationally. 

Enrol here – https://enrol.nrcac.edu.au

Youth Jazz Orchestra Jr

Tuesday | 6:30 – 8:00pm

YJO Jr is a music group for intermediate students who play woodwind, brass or percussion instruments.  The ensemble is designed to develop basic sectional and improvisational skills.  

Skills learnt in the YJO Jr workshop process are created to help students progress to YJO and a myriad of performance opportunities.

The Music Director is Trombonist, Pianist and Drummer, Lawson McGuinness and has performed with great musicians such as James Morrison, Emma Pask and Mark Vincent. 

Enrol here : https://enrol.nrcac.edu.au


Chamber Strings

Michael McCabe

Wednesday  |  5:30 – 7.00pm  |  Concert Room

This is an ensemble designed to complement and enhance the work that the students are doing in their lessons. The repertoire covers a number of styles from baroque through to rock/jazz. It is here that we explore listening skills for pitch, rhythm, tone and texture within the ensemble as well as the basic “playing together”.

Chamber Strings is a multi-generational ensemble currently with the minimum standard of 3rd grade through to 6th-7th grade. This group is conductor-less to encourage the players to listen and communicate with each other.


Click here to enrol – https://enrol.nrcac.edu.au

 Junior Strings

Michael McCabe

Tuesdays  | 5:15-6:00pm

Designed for primary school aged students currently learning violin, viola, cello or bass from Beginner to Second grade levels. Young players have the opportunity to develop their skills alongside students of similar age and ability.

This ensemble aims to assist the students in developing

  • technical and musical skills
  • reading skills
  • confidence
  • ensemble skills
  • good posture
  • best performance practise

Junior Strings is the ideal ensemble in conjunct with their private lesson.

Skills learned in this ensemble will prepare members to progress to higher level String Ensembles and in time, the opportunity to join ensembles of other musical genres.

Enrol today by clicking here: https://enrol.nrcac.edu.au


Cello Ensemble

Seeking Expressions of Interest!

Th Cello Ensemble repertoire ranges from classical to contemporary, and parts can be arranged to suit your ability (or just above, to scaffold you to the next level!).  Collaborations between Cello Ensemble and other String Ensembles are a regular feature of the Conservatorium concert calendar.

Enrol here: https://enrol.nrcac.edu.au  

World Music Ensemble

Seeking expressions of interest!

The world Music Ensemble is an eclectic mix of musicians that get together for one hour a week to play music from around the globe. Arrangements are created for the ability of the ensemble members.

Reading music, while not essential, helps. Improvisation and ensemble arrangement/orchestration is encouraged. All instruments and voice are welcome. Performance experience is also a focus as the ensemble performs in the local community whenever it can.

Enrol in World Music Ensemble today by clicking here: https://enrol.nrcac.edu.au


Youth Rock Band

Seeking expressions of interest!

The NRC Rock Band is the perfect ensemble for those of you with a love for rock music. Catering for a variety of skill levels, previous repertoire of Rock Band includes The White Stripes, The Cranberries, and Greenday.

Focusing on performance experience, Rock Band have performed at the 2017 Byron Bay Guitar Festival which was a great success. There is also an emphasis on musical devices such as song form, improvisation, and groove.

Enrol in rock band today by clicking here: https://enrol.nrcac.edu.au

Jazz & Blues Improv

Seeking expressions of interest!

In this ensemble, learn repertoire and improvisation in a blues and jazz idioms. Reading music and understanding chord and scale theory is encouraged. Playing tunes and improvising is the main focus of the ensemble. All instruments and voice are welcome. Beginners to advanced and all ages are welcome

Enrol in Jazz & Blues Improv by clicking here: https://enrol.nrcac.edu.au