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Centre for Advanced Training

Our Centre for Advanced Training (CAT) spans classical, folk, and contemporary styles, and delivers musical excellence for ambitious young musicians aged 10-18

Sage Gateshead’s Centre for Advanced Training (CAT) is a high-level music training programme for young people with exceptional potential and passion for music. It is part of the Department of Education Music and Dance Scheme network.

Taking place on Sunday during term time, students receive tuition, ensemble training and classes in music theory, alongside individual guidance and development. There are exciting opportunities to compose music and work alongside inspirational visiting artists, as well as multiple performance opportunities.

The CAT is open to a wide range of musical genres and instruments including voice.

If you’re interested in joining or have any questions, you can email our team on:

Key Information

Apply now

Applications close on Friday 21 April 2023.

Age: 10 – 18

Day: Sundays, term time

Audition Required

Term Dates

September 2022 – July 2023 (PDF)


Each programme area follows the below curriculum.

Core Curriculum
  • 60 minute 1:1 lesson
  • Music Language (aural/theory/musicianship skills)
  • Small ensemble / piano class
  • Performance opportunities
  • Enrichment programme (including Improvisation and Presentation Techniques)
  • Guidance from study leader team
  • Workshops with visiting artists
Extension Curriculum
  • 1:1 lesson in a second instrument / voice / composition
  • Youth Ensembles

The CAT promotes multiple performance opportunities throughout the academic year. These range from a regular lunchtime concert series and end of year festival in the halls of Sage Gateshead to occasional external concerts.

The CAT scheduling is fully integrated with our Youth Ensemble provision which includes exciting performance experiences as well as work with musicians of international standing. Students must apply and audition for these ensembles separately.

The Centre for Advanced Training isn’t just for young people who want to make their music their profession. Former students have gone on to pursue a variety of careers and attend universities across the UK.

We do all we can to ensure that as well as having an enjoyable and fulfilling time in their musical studies, we prepare the young people with skills that will aid them in whatever career path they choose.


Our Centre for Advanced Training programme is available in a range of musical genres and instruments, including voice.

How to Apply

For the 23/24 school year we will once again be doing auditions via video. You will be sent all the information you need when you are offered an audition.

You can watch a video of our in person audition process on our Ask Us Anything page.

For audition you may be asked to demonstrate the below elements. Please be assured that the audition panel will be assessing your overall potential, and an offer of a place doesn’t necessarily require an established skill level in all of the below areas:

  • Playing or sing two contrasting pieces of your own choice (A pianist is provided for voice auditions, but instrumentalists are welcome to bring their own, or use a backing CD if appropriate)
  • your knowledge of scales and arpeggios (instrumentalists) or ability with simple studies (singers)
  • your level of sight reading on your instrument / voice
  • your level of aural perception through a series of listening tests
  • your ability to improvise (popular and contemporary only)

If successful, you will be asked to complete a short written paper to establish your current level of understanding of music theory.

Having gone to Leeds College of Music and studied a Jazz degree at music conservatoire, I’ve recently completed my teacher training and I’m responsible now for planning and delivering my own exciting music curriculum to the students of Blyth. All of which wouldn’t be possible without the years of tuition and support I received at Sage Gateshead. My weekends have not been better spent since!

Jonny Thornton – Former student

Inside Centre for Advanced Training

Meet some of our Centre for Advanced Training students and tutors to get a taste of the programme.

Information for Students

Timetables, auditions, and other useful information for current and prospective CAT students to help make the most of your learning experience.

More information