Instrumental lessons taught in schools

Instrumental lessons taught in schools

We work with nearly every school in the County 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

Lessons in Schools

In most of the schools in the County, NMPAT works in partnership with the schools to deliver tuition on a range of instruments: Strings, Brass, Woodwind, Guitar, Percussion, Keyboard and Voice. Tuition is not normally provided before Year 3, though some younger children may be suitable for Violin or recorder tuition. Schools set their own charging and remissions policy. Pupils are taught in small groups up to a maximum of 6 pupils per hour. Any payment for lessons is made to the school.

Orchestral instruments are loaned free of charge for the first year, with a voluntary contribution for extended loan.

Lessons in Direct Billing Schools

Some schools have asked us to operate a Direct Billing system, which means that payment for lessons is made directly to NMPAT for lessons. In these schools all lessons are delivered as 15 minute individual lessons. The teacher will visit school 33 times in the year and we guarantee at least 30 lessons. 

The cost for lessons in a direct billing school is £115 per term. For some large group lessons, like recorder clubs, the charge is £36.75 per term.

Orchestral instruments are loaned free of charge for the first year, with a voluntary contribution for extended loan.

To sign up for lessons in a Direct Billing school, please use the link below. You can check if your school is involved in Direct Billing, using the list of schools on the registration page:

First Access Lessons

Many Primary schools will also be offering Whole Class First Access projects where all children learn to play an instrument together. These projects are funded by the Department for Education and are designed to be a springboard to further study in small groups and individual lessons.

My school doesn’t offer lessons on the instrument wanted

To offer lessons with a specialist teacher at your local school, the Trust 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 outside of school. We can offer individual lessons out of school hours.


All instrumental teaching staff are well 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, this gives 5 weeks when teachers can visit schools to make up any missed lessons.

Where appropriate, schools are refunded for missed lessons at the end of the school year.

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

Financial support for lessons in school

NMPAT makes available a small number of bursaries and subsidies to assist with the costs of music education to support students in financial need, where Pupil Premium funding is not available. If you would like to apply for this funding, please see our Financial Support page.

Commitments by students

Students must provide (where appropriate) their own music books, strings and reeds, as advised by the instrumental or vocal teacher. Every effort will be made to offer students the free loan of an instrument (subject to availability and not including guitars, keyboards and drum kits) particularly in the early stages of study.

Advice for students

  • You will be expected to commit to their learning and play between lessons – remember the more you play, the better you get!
  • You will be provided with practice diaries to write down what they should be practicing between lessons and to record when they have practiced.
  • Aim to make music every day if you can.
  • Always remember to think about your posture.
  • Listen for a good sound.
  • Have fun when you play, that way your personality will shine through your music.


Instrument Loan

All orchestral  instruments – strings, wind 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.

You would normally need to provide 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. However, this is at the discretion of the school and they are under no obligation to do this. Please contact your child’s school directly. NMPAT is unable to purchase instruments without paying VAT.

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 and we have listed some of these 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 now 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 the Head of Woodwind or the Head of Brass at the Music Trust Office.

Well known makes 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 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 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.

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