Instrumental Lessons Taught in Schools

For young people interested in taking part in instrumental lessons, start by talking to your school...

We work with nearly every school in Northamptonshire to provide Instrumental and Vocal lessons to children and young people. Last year we taught 21,784 young people to sing and play musical instruments.

These videos provide a short introduction to having lessons in each department:

Lessons in Schools

In most of the schools in the county, NMPAT works in partnership with the school to deliver tuition on a range of instruments: brass, guitar, keyboard, percussion, strings, voice and woodwind.  Tuition is not normally provided before Year 3, though some younger children may be suitable for violin or recorder tuition.  Pupils are taught in small groups up to a maximum of 6 pupils per hour.  Orchestral instruments are loaned free of charge for the first year, with a voluntary contribution to NMPAT for extended loan.  If you are thinking of purchasing your own instrument please see our guide below.

Payment for lessons is made directly to the school, and each school sets their own charging and remissions policy.  NMPAT is able to offer some support for those in financial need – click here to go to Financial Support.

Music Production

NMPAT are extending their offer and can provide tuition in Music Production, for students interested in small group and individual lessons.  Teaching is delivered from KS2 to KS5 and equipment can be provided.

As with instrumental lessons, the minimum booking time is 1 hour and we recommend 6 students per hour.

Students will be encouraged to follow the RSL awards scheme, allowing pupils to take graded exams as per traditional musical instruments.

NMPAT Direct Billing of Parents Scheme

Some primary schools have asked us to operate a Direct Billing of Parents Scheme, which means that payment for lessons is made by parents directly to NMPAT.  

In these schools, tuition is delivered, during school time, as 15 minute individual lessons.  In some circumstances lessons may be combined into a shared half hour.  Orchestral instruments are loaned free of charge for the first year, with a voluntary contribution for extended loan.  NMPAT teachers will visit schools 33 times in the year and we guarantee at least 30 lessons.

In schools where NMPAT has agreed to operate the direct billing of parents scheme, the financial relationship is between NMPAT and the parents.  The cost of these individual lessons is £115 per term. Where small group lessons, such as recorder clubs, are provided, the charge is £37 per term. 

For more information please see our terms and conditions for parents of children having music lessons in schools where there is an NMPAT Direct Billing of Parents Scheme.

Schools inviting NMPAT to operate as a supplier of music education in their school, in a direct billing arrangement, undertake to abide by the same professional relationship which currently exists between NMPAT, its staff and the school concerned.  Please ensure you read the full terms and conditions.

To sign up for lessons in a school with the NMPAT Direct Billing of Parents arrangement, please use the link below. You can check if your school is involved in this scheme using the list of schools on the registration page. The NMPAT Direct Billing of Parents scheme is only available in a select number of primary schools.


As part of our annual Service Level Agreement, we ask that all three parties (NMPAT, the school and the student) make commitments to ensure an effective working partnership.  These can be found under partnership working.


All instrumental teaching staff are qualified, experienced musicians who have been subject to a safer recruitment process and enhanced Criminal record check.

Teachers are regularly observed and receive training throughout the year to help them maintain and develop their teaching skills.

What happens if a teacher misses a lesson

Teachers are required to keep accurate records and sign in when they arrive at school.  Lessons are delivered for 33 weeks across a school year, leaving 5 weeks available for teachers to visit schools and make up any missed lessons.

Where appropriate, schools are refunded for missed lessons that cannot be caught up at the end of the school year.

If your school doesn’t offer lessons on the instrument wanted

To offer lessons with a specialist teacher at your local school, NMPAT needs a formal request from the school and there would normally need to be at least 6 students committed to taking the lessons. If you contact your headteacher they may be willing to see if other students are interested. This would be a school decision as instrumental lessons are not a statutory requirement. 

If your school is not able to offer the instrumental opportunities you require, please consider joining in with one of our Saturday Music and Arts Centres or get in touch to find out about opportunities for individual lessons out of school hours.

First Access

Most primary schools will be offering Whole Class First Access projects to one class in Key Stage 2 each year.  Children learn to play an instrument together as a class and the projects are funded by the Department for Education.  They are designed to be a springboard to further study and NMPAT can offer continuation projects (subject to availability), before students progress to small group and individual lessons.


All orchestral  instruments – strings, woodwind and brass – are loaned free of charge for students learning in schools, for at least their first year. For students benefiting from an extended loan we ask parents to consider a voluntary hire fee of £20 per term, to help cover the cost of instrument repair. Donation payments can be made at the ParentPay Shop.

Students would normally need to have their own guitars and keyboards (some schools do carry a small stock of instruments, it may be worth asking at your school before you buy).

Purchasing instruments

If you decide to purchase your own instrument, many schools will operate the ‘Assisted Purchase Scheme’, allowing you to buy musical instruments without paying VAT.  This is at the discretion of the school and they are under no obligation to do this – please contact your child’s school directly for more information.

NMPAT are unable to purchase instruments without paying VAT, but our teachers can provide advice if you are buying an instrument for the first time.  Please see the information below, and talk to your child’s teacher directly if you have further questions:

The prospect of purchasing a musical instrument can be daunting with so many makes and models available.

There are some well known makes of instruments which you will find in each section below.  You will be able to get an idea of a guide price by looking at the websites of various different retailers.  Students approaching the end of their first year playing will have been given a list of our usual suppliers as a guide to where you might like to look.

There are many cheap instruments available, and parents are warned to be particularly careful about buying unbranded, budget instruments. These do not represent value for money and a poor instrument will inhibit your child’s progress.

If you are in any doubt about the suitability of an instrument, please do not hesitate to contact your child’s instrumental teacher for advice, or contact:

Well known makes for flutes include:

  • Yamaha
  • Jupiter
  • Buffet
  • Pearl
  • Trevor James

There are many other makes, and reputable dealers will be happy to tell you about instruments which are comparable to those listed.

Well known makes for clarinets include:

  • Yamaha
  • Jupiter
  • Buffet
  • Le Blanc
  • Selmer

There are many other makes, and reputable dealers will be happy to tell you about instruments which are comparable to those listed.

Well known makes for brass instruments include:

  • Yamaha
  • Jupiter
  • Besson
  • John Packer

There are many other makes, and reputable dealers will be happy to tell you about instruments which are comparable to those listed.

"All children should have the opportunity to learn a musical instrument"

We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By agreeing you accept the use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.