Skip to content

We Make Music


Tinderbox logo

Spotlight On… Tinderbox

From grass-roots youth work to award-winning arts and music productions, Tinderbox Collective are a creative community of young people, musicians, artists and youth workers.

Tinderbox aims to ignite a spark in people – one which fills them with confidence, imagination and sense of possibility, and which enables people to achieve things they never thought possible.  Their work uses music and the arts to bring people together and strengthen communities, providing exciting opportunities that support young people to build their confidence, skills, self-esteem, and professional experience. They balance an ambition to create high quality and original work, with a drive to be genuinely inclusive and foster active and creative participation from everyone involved.

Projects include an original and experimental orchestra, a creative technology studio and maker-space, as well as several vibrant youth clubs built around music, arts and game-design. They also run a wider community music programme working with children in hospitals, care settings, schools, libraries and other targeted partners, offering a range of creative workshops, courses and apprenticeships. 

Tinderbox have been the lead organisation driving the national “We Make Music Instrument Libraries” initiative that has so far made hundreds of instruments available through public libraries. They have also led on establishing the Scottish Youth Music Exchange, a project that aims to share practice among out-of-school, non-formal music education projects in Scotland. Tinderbox’s year-round programme works with thousands of children and young people aged 10-25, from complete beginners to young professionals and all levels in between.


Tinderbox Orchestra

See also: Primary, Secondary, Participatory, Creative Learning, Musicianship, Instrumental Specialism, Community, ensemble, audience.

Tinderbox Orchestra have transformed preconceptions about what an orchestra can be. They put on spectactular live shows featuring some of Scotland’s most talented young musicians from across genres, and an international cast of professional collaborators, blending rappers & singers with strings, brass, woodwind and back-line.

The orchestra started in 2010 and was the founding project of Tinderbox Collective. The focus has been on writing and perfoming original, unexpected and high quality music with a diverse and eclectic band.


Orchestra Courses

See also: Primary, Secondary, Participatory, Creative Learning, Musicianship, Instrumental Specialism, Community, ensemble, audience.

Tinderbox have run a huge variety of music and orchestra courses all over Scotland, working with small groups to projects with over 100 young people. Orchestra courses and music workshops cater to all abilities from ages 10-25, and are tailored to each groups needs and interests. Workshops and courses have ranged from 2 hour crash courses, to full day sessions, to 10 week courses, and have been delivered with various schools and organisations across Scotland. They usually lead up to a large performance and cross over with other Tinderbox projects.  

The focus of courses tends to be composing & writing music, improvisation and dynamic performance. In order to help support large groups of such varying abilities, Tinderbox have developed flexible scores and ‘part 3s’ which provide more accessible options, so that everyone in the group can participate at the level that suits them best.


Tinderbox Youth Club

See also: Primary, Secondary, Participatory, Creative Learning, Musicianship, Instrumental Specialism, Community, ensemble, songwriting.

The Tinderbox Youth Club is based at experience.  It’s a drop-in club but most participants attend regularly. The first half of each week involves small-group sessions including brass, strings, guitars & bass guitars, singing, songwriting, rap, and a ‘café’ area supported by youth workers where young people can just hang out with each other. People then come together for an open-mic session where anyone can perform a solo or small group piece to their peers in a supportive atmosphere. Finally everyone comes together to play a few songs as a big band/orchestra.  This club is where participants from all across Tinderbox Collective’s projects can come together and meet each other, share music they have been developing and rehearse for collaborative concerts.


Tinderbox Online Music School

See also: See also: Primary, Secondary, Participatory, Creative Learning, Musicianship, Instrumental Specialism, Community, ensemble, Online.

On Saturday mornings, Tinderbox take to zoom to run a series of small group lessons on a range of different instruments including guitar, keyboard, songwriting, strings, brass, woodwind, and music production for complete beginners to advanced young players. The lessons take place in different ‘breakout rooms’ and there is a main room (which is facilitated) where people can hang out, share music, and perform songs to each other.  Participants can turn up for their lesson or hang out in the main space for the whole session. 

People who have borrowed instruments from the instrument libraries are particularly encouraged to join the online music school to get started.


Partner Workshops

See also: Participatory, community

Tinderbox work closely with a range of other youth clubs, community groups and organisations organisations who work with targeted groups to help bring music into their work, by delivering workshops, playing at community events and putting together longer-term creative projects. These include:

North Edinburgh ArtsA vibrant community Arts Centre in Muirhouse, Edinburgh, an area that features highly on the SIMD.  Tinderbox are based here and run their weekly youth music clubs and other workshops in the venue.

Rock Trust: Providing support and accommodation for young people struggling with homelessness. Instrumental lessons, jam sessions and songwriting workshops.

Amazing Harmonies: All ages singing and community group in Muirhouse, Edinburgh.  

Seamab School: Residential primary school for children in care. Tinderbox offer instrumental lessons and participant led music making.

LGBT Youth Scotland: Organisation who support LGBTQ+ young people in Scotland.

Expecting Something: A Wester Hailes based project run by Starcatchers that works with new and expectant parents under 25 and their babies.

SCORE Scotland: Strengthening Communities for Race Equality Scotland. An anti-racism and multi-equality voluntary organisation based in Wester Hailes.

Action For Children: UK children’s charity committed to helping vulnerable children and young people, and their families. Tinderbox run regular songwriting and music production projects with the Edinburgh BAME Boys group.

Edinburgh Multicultural Family Base: Supporting children and families, especially people who have recently moved to Edinburgh. Tinderbox play a regular family ceilidh and run music and songwriting workshops with children and young people.

Cyrenians: a charity aimed at tackling the causes and consequences of homelessness.

West Pilton Neighbourhood Centre: A bustling community centre in Pilton, an area that features highly on the SIMD.


Instrument Libraries

See also:, See also: Primary, Secondary, Participatory, Creative Learning, Musicianship, Instrumental Specialism, Community, ensemble, audience, instrument libraries.

Tinderbox are a lead organisation and founding partner in the We Make Music Instrument Libraries programme – a national initiative and campaign to get musical instruments into public libraries so people can borrow them for free, just like taking out a book.  The project grew out of their youth club in Edinburgh and a partnership with the local Muirhouse Library to enable children to take instruments home with them.  The national campaign was launched in 2022 and there are currently 14 instrument libraries up and running in Edinburgh, Fife, North Ayrshire, the Scottish Borders and West Lothian, with a number of other library services keen to join as well. As well as loaning instruments, we host music workshops and live performances at these libraries, equip them with music production software & equipment, and develop online resources so people can access learning opportunities from home. Each library is paired with different music groups and organisations, and in Edinburgh you can find instruments at Craigmillar, Drumbrae, Muirhouse, Wester Hailes, Moredun, and the music library at Central library. 


Tinderbox Lab

See also: See also:, See also: Primary, Secondary, Participatory, Creative Learning, Community, Digital technology, music production, online.

Tinderbox Lab is a digital arts programme and makerspace, where artists are brought together across disciplines who have an interest in creative technology, electronics and interactive media. Tinderbox deliver a range of projects, commissions events and opportunities, including workshops for schools & youth groups. From building robots to designing computer games and making synthesisers, the workshops teach about topics such as basic circuits, electronics, computer coding and software.  These workshops often cross-over with Tinderbox’s other programmes, including projects in their digital arts lab, orchestra and music hubs. This creates pathways for young people to develop their interests in different ways.

If you are interested in a games design, creative technology or other workshop for your school or youth group, please contact us at



See also: Primary, Secondary, Participatory, Creative Learning, Musicianship, Instrumental Specialism, Community, ensemble, audience.

Tinderbox work with a number of Primary Schools, Secondary Schools, Colleges and Universities in Edinburgh, delivering music workshops and longer-term projects with students and teachers. They have developed courses in Digital Music Making, Composition, Improvisation, and Alternative Orchestras, that schools have found fun and effective, and we are particularly interested in collaborating on creative projects and cross-curricular ideas.

Please get in touch at if you are interested in working with Tinderbox.


Music in Hospitals

See also:, Participatory, Creative Learning, Health and Wellbeing, ASN, Community, songwriting, instrumental specialism, musicianship, creative learning. 

Tinderbox deliver several workshops each week at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh in partnership with Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity.

The workshops involve singing, song-writing, learning instruments, digital music production and creating fun and enjoyable experiences for children with long-term health problems. As with all Tinderbox programmes, where possible, ways are found for this work to come together with the other projects, such as their orchestras and music hubs.

How to get involved

If you want to get involved with Tinderbox, you can find out more at-


Tinderbox Project
North Edinburgh Arts Centre
15a Pennywell Road
Edinburgh EH4 4TZ

Back to top