ASHBROW Junior School has started its first orchestra.

Year 4 and 5 pupils from the Sheepridge school make up the group, which has just had its second rehearsal.

Most of the pupils have played their brass, woodwind, string and percussion instruments for less than a year.

But there are several more experienced Year 6 violin players.

Last September, pupils began paying for peripatetic teachers from Kirklees Music School to give them extra-curricular lessons on their chosen instruments.

The instruments are loaned from the music school.

Peter Simons, from the music school, conducts the orchestra.

Marion Byrne, Ashbrow Junior's music teacher, said: "The children love coming. We are not very good yet, but we are hoping for great things."

She said the orchestra would build on work done during a Government pilot scheme called Wider Opportunities.

Wider Opportunities ran from 2002 to 2003 and aimed to increase music in primary schools.

It involved 13 councils, including Kirklees.

Ashbrow Junior was one of a handful of schools involved from this area.

Year 3 and 4 pupils - now in Year 4 and 5 - went to music workshops run by Kirklees Music School and visiting professional musicians.

They also had taster sessions, to help them choose an instrument to play and then received 10 free lessons.

At the end of the pilot scheme, the pupils performed with children from the other 12 pilot areas at a concert at London's Barbican Centre in March.

Mrs Byrne said: "It has been a wonderful opportunity for the kids and we didn't want them to lose the enthusiasm. So we started the orchestra.

"We have never had one, just a few violin lessons. Thanks to help from various people, the opportunity is now there for all children."

Mrs Byrne also thanked a member of the public - known only as Mr Wormald from Greenhead - who gave his son's old drumkit to the orchestra.

She said: "We were touched that he thought about us."