FAQs: instrumental & vocal tuition

Frequently asked questions about instrumental teaching and instrument loans.
Q: Will lessons be at exactly the same time each week?
A: Wherever possible instrumental teachers will devise a rotation system to avoid the need for pupils to miss the same part of the same lesson repeatedly.

Q: Are the loaned-out instruments insured?
A: The form you will need to complete in order to loan an instrument will ask that you check if it's covered on your household insurance. In most cases this is quite straight-forward. 

Q: I am a parent/carer: how do I find an instrumental teacher for my child?
A: You should approach your school first. They will arrange everything with the Music Partnership.

Q: How much practice is needed?
A: If a child is to make reasonable progress, he/she will need to be encouraged to practise regularly between lessons. Progress depends more on frequent and regular practice rather than length of practice, especially in the early stages. Four practice sessions of 10 −15 minutes each week will achieve more than two sessions of 30 minutes. The physical and mental demands are considerable, particularly for younger children.

Q: How can a parent who feels that they have no musical training help?
A: Encouragement and moral support are vital. Often your mere presence whilst practicing and appreciative comments will be invaluable. Try to attend any musical activity your child takes part in.

Q: What do I do if something goes wrong with the instrument?
A: Most things that go wrong, although apparently disastrous, are in fact relatively minor. Contact your child's instrumental teacher who will be able to advise, repair or arrange for repair and may even be able to loan a replacement instrument. However, it is important that children understand that instruments are delicate and must be handled with care and parents should not attempt to carry out repairs themselves.

Q: Can my child have a longer lesson, or an individual lesson?
A: Yes. The length of lesson is determined by the arrangement that you have with the instrumental teacher and the payment which you make. However, any subsidies allowed by the Partnership will remain at the standard rate.

Q: Will any other costs be involved?
A: Although some music may be provided for pupils in the early stages, from time to time teachers will recommend pieces for parents to purchase. It is also necessary to pay for 'consumable' items on certain instruments eg. strings and reeds.

Q: What happens after loaning an instrument for one year?
A: Where instruments have been provided, they have been loaned on the understanding that after a year the pupil will have a good idea as to whether they enjoy learning the instrument, and that parents will provide their own instrument in order to release loan instruments for new pupils. Advice will be given by the instrumental teacher, and a number of options are available. In particular, parents may wish to take advantage of the scheme which allows for the purchase of musical instruments without paying V.A.T.
A small administrative charge is levied. Further information and application forms are available by telephoning 01629 532850 or emailing the Music Partnership.

Q: Are there music groups that my child can join?
A: The instrumental teacher will, when appropriate, suggest that your child is ready to join one of the local Music Centres where opportunities are available to perform with others of a similar standard in bands or orchestras. Experience shows that young players gain an enormous amount from these activities, and that their progress is enhanced considerably.