What we are doing

We are thrilled to announce the launch of The Oxford and Cambridge Note Race 2017 to raise funds to provide much needed support to children and families locally and around the world.

How we are doing it


The Grade-1-athon invites accomplished musicians of at least Grade 8 standard and at least 18 years old to get sponsored to rediscover what it is like to be a novice, to take the first steps on a new instrument, to face the first examination. Given only one group lesson on Sunday July 9th, on a completely unfamiliar instrument, the participants have a few weeks before they all face their Trinity College London Grade 1 exam on Sunday September 10th. And then, on the same evening, they will perform in an orchestral concert in their respective city. This will have some audience members running for cover, others howling with laughter, and yet others, admiring the stoicism and tenacity of the entrants. Music for the concerts will be especially commissioned for the occasion and will be written to show off (or show up) the various sections of the novice orchestra. Tickets are now on sale for the Grand Finale concert in OXFORD and CAMBRIDGE. Please invite all your friends and relations! 

Dame Evelyn Glennie & Nicholas Daniel on their new instruments

The Note Race

 Musicians will join either the Oxford or the Cambridge team. The city achieving the highest average mark and the highest average funds has the honour of being overall winner. But most important of all, both teams will demonstrate the power of music to bring us together to raise significant sums to help children.

The charities we are fund raising for

Both teams will be supporting their local Home-Start branch. Home-Start Cambridgeshire and Home-Start Oxford help families, who might be struggling with post-natal depression, isolation, physical health problems, bereavement or other issues, to build better lives for their young children.

The Cambridge team will also be supporting:

The Alf Dubs Children’s FundLord Dubs, one of 10,000 Kindertransport children rescued before the outbreak of World War II, is leading efforts to help a new generation of unaccompanied child refugees, through the Alf Dubs Children’s Fund, administered by Citizens UK.

Blue SmileBlue Smile provides life-changing support to Cambridgeshire children with mental health difficulties.  Through arts-based therapy in schools, Blue Smile helps the most vulnerable of children to find happiness, fulfil their potential and make brighter futures.

How to donate

You can donate to Team Cambridge by visiting the Cambridge MyDonate Team Page. Either choose a musician you would like to support or make your donation via our catch all person, A. Donation at the top of the list.

You can donate to Team Oxford by visiting the Oxford MyDonate Team Page.


As Dame Evelyn Glennie said of her involvement in our previous Grade-1-athons:

‘My participation in the Grade-1-athon events was enlightening,  exhausting and exhilarating – it is jolly hard work but the rewards are extremely gratifying.’

What you can do

Everything you need to sign up for the Grade-1-athon can be found on the Information for Musicians page.

Volunteers, helpers, donors, sponsors, please visit our Get Involved page

Tickets for the concert are now available to buy online here and will also be available on the door.

Learn more about the charities we are supporting by visiting our team pages Oxford and/or Cambridge.

We will be posting further information on this website and we will also add information to our Note Race Facebook Group page.

Please follow us on Twitter @gradeoneathon.

If you have any questions, please contact us at cambridge@gradeoneathon.org or oxford@gradeoneathon.org as appropriate.



TCL new purple logo 600dpiWe are grateful to Trinity College London for supporting The Oxford and Cambridge Note Race 2017