We've been asked a lot of questions over the years, and here we've put together pretty much everything we've been asked.
But is we've missed something, just get in touch!
The teaching is provided by independent, self employed teachers. All have professional qualifications (degrees, diplomas, etc) and are DBS checked.
For 4 and 5 year old beginners, with classes designed for those taking their first steps in music. The focus is on developing key musical skills such as rhythm work and aural perception, and includes preparatory exercises leading to the first steps in piano playing.
For 6 and 7 year olds, puoils go from the first steps in acquiring piano skills to the students’ first venture into Graded Exams.
For age 8 and upwards, focusing on key piano skills including treble and bass clef reading, rhythm work and aural perception. It includes ensemble playing, whilst exploring a wide range of repertoire from classical to modern.
For older beginners and those returning to the piano. Including adults.
For 5 year olds, similar techniques are used as in the piano classes - basic musical skills are taught, leading to the first steps on guitar playing. There are a variety of activities in each lesson designed to develop solid musical skills while learning to play, using half or three-quarter size guitars.
For 6 and 7 year old beginners, this is the ideal introduction to guitar playing. Small guitars are available and lessons are structured to suit this age group.
For 8 years old and upwards, these classes are pop and rock based, which suits the aspiring guitarist looking to put down that ‘Air Guitar’ and pick up the real thing.
In all courses the teachers plan each lesson to include a wide variety of activities, covering all the key musical skills needed to get the most out of playing.
Classes usually start following Open Days when teachers provide free taster lessons, but can start at other times of the year, depending on the number of pupils on their waiting lists.
These follow a taster lesson and comprise two hour long lessons for pupils to try out before making a long term commitment. No instrument is needed, and no books are required either. After the two weeks, you should know if the next step is regular classes.
Regular classes usually start following the Short Courses, depending on numbers. Classes can start at other times of the year, depending on waiting lists and pupil numbers.
Group Classes are an hour long.
In all classes a wide range of musical skills are taught, above and beyond those needed to simply play a few tunes or pass exams. Aural training, rhythm training and note reading are given a high priority as are ensemble playing skills, in preparation for the world beyond the class room or examination. The lessons include everything that is normally taught in a one to one lesson, plus much else besides. One to one lessons are only usually provided where a pupil requires extra coaching.
Pupils don't need to re-enrol for classes. Classes run on from one term to the next and one year to the next.
Being good in academic subjects can help someone learn a musical instrument but is not guaranteed as the skills required are quite different.
An enrolment form is needed from you, with a deposit, and a completed Direct Debit mandate. Forms are provided once a pupil has started a short course.
An instrument is essential when a student is to have lessons, as they will need to practice in between lessons. We provide an information pack which has details of suitable instruments at a range of prices. Or why not borrow, if you can?
Practice between lessons is essential, a little and often to start with. Every day for 10 minutes at the outset, building up as students progress. Within a few weeks, a minimum of 15 to 20 minutes a day is needed.
Pupils make MUCH more progress with help from parents and family, as pupils need to practice every day.
Parents can help by making practice part of the daily routine, and if a day is missed, making sure extra is done to make up. Parents can also help by checking the homework that is set and helping to make sure that it’s been done.
Parents can check what has been set with a call or email to the school.
Note also that for younger children learning piano, (up to and including age 7) parents must attend with their children during classes - this is necessary to support the children both in the lesson and at home, where regular practice, with parental support, is essential.
These are always available on the Website, and generally follow the school holidays. Note that for Saturday classes the teachers usually hold ONE Saturday class during half terms, etc. The teachers may occasionally need to re-arrange dates. If you contact the teachers during holiday periods, they will get back to you as soon as possible after the start of the next session and the office will pass on any messages.
You can always phone to listen to a recorded message with the latest holiday dates.
The office is also closed during the holidays.
In most cases, the school acts as an agent for the teacher and collects fees on their behalf, by Direct Debit. We let you know the fees for each half term, and collect soon after.
Cash and Cheques are NOT accepted as a regular payment method for lessons.
Where a teacher collects their own fees, separate arrangements apply.
Just as in a regular primary or secondary school, there is no refund for missed lessons, but teachers will try to arrange a make up lesson when possible. You just need to contact the teacher to let them know. If you call the office, we can forward a message to them. The teacher will also email you details of homework from the missed class.
The school does not normally close due to snow. If we need to, we would let you know.
Do speak to your teacher. There are many classes running, and the teachers are often able to arrange a transfer to a class at a different time, or even a different day. If you can’t transfer, you would then need to give notice that you wish to stop lessons
You are invited to discuss any concerns you may have with your teacher, the sooner the better. The teachers will always try to address concerns as soon as they can. If you call the office, we can forward a message to them.
Teachers enter students for graded exams, which are accredited by Trinity or Rockschool, depending on the instrument. Points from these exams count towards UCAS points for University entry. An additional fee is required for exam entry.
Teachers usually arrange exam sessions at least once a year, for pupils who are ready to take an exam. Exams are often held on a Sunday. However, the teachers are in the hands of the exam boards, and this is not always possible. Whichever day of the week the exams are on, students will need to attend DURING THE DAY, so parents may need to take children out of their regular school to attend the exam session.
All students have the opportunity to play in the schools concerts, held at least twice a year.
Please let us know, and we can arrange for your son or daughter to have a separate assessment with a teacher, with a view to them joining a n existing class.
Should you wish to discontinue lessons you can do so at the end of term or at a half term.
We must receive notice in writing no later than 5 weeks before the end of the term or half term OR the first day of the term or half term if it less than 5 weeks to the end of the term or half term.
It is not possible to stop lessons part way through a term, except at the half term holiday. For full details, click here
There are free taster lessons for all beginner courses, so click here to find out more and book your taster.
Where a pupil has already been learning you would be welcome to meet one of the teachers for an assessment to see if may be possible to join an existing class. Click here to contact us and it’ll be set up for you.