Lessons in School: Information for parents

We provide instrumental and vocal lessons to all state schools and academies in the county as well as some independent schools. We also offer National Curriculum class teaching.

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

Children playing musical instrumentsInformation for parents

What kind of lessons are available?

NMPAT offers schools the opportunity to provide instrumental lessons 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. Most schools make a charge for this tuition which is payable by parents to the school.

NMPAT provide Direct Billing for a number of primary schools, in which case arrangements for music lessons in school and payment for tuition with be direct with NMPAT. To check if your school is involved in Direct Billing, use the list of schools on the registration page:

Registration for Instrumental Lessons in Direct Billing schools

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

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.

My school doesn't offer lessons on the instrument we want - what can we do?

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 Regional Music and Arts Centres or get in touch to find out about opportunities for individual lessons directly through the trust.

We can offer individual lessons outside of school hours. 

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.

Application for 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 this application form for further details.

Commitments to Partnership Working: 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


Do I need to buy an instrument?

All instruments 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 Parent Pay 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).

Loaned instruments

Parents are required to complete and sign a loan form taking responsibility for any instrument loaned to them. If an instrument needs to be repaired, it must be handed back to the teacher who will arrange for this to be done. 

Parents should not make any arrangements for instruments to be repaired or attempt their own repairs. Parents will be charged for the cost of a replacement instrument if it is lost or accidentally damaged, however minor damage incurred through fair wear and tear will not be charged for.

If you have been loaned an instrument, please complete an instrument loan form:

Purchasing Instruments

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.

primary school children playing clarinetsWell 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.

primary school children playing trumpets​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.