Information for Parents and Carers
We hope the information below will tell you all you need to know about how we organise tuition but please do not hesitate to contact the Music Centre if you need further advice.
Weekly lessons are given during the school day and initially pupils are normally taught in small groups. Lesson times are rotated wherever possible, particularly in secondary schools, to avoid pupils missing the same subject lessons every week.
To avoid confusion our very strong advice is that pupils should not receive tuition from more than one teacher on the same instrument (e.g. in school and with a private teacher). It can be very difficult for pupils to receive advice from teachers with different teaching styles.
Please note that the Music Service is unable to provide tuition for more than one instrument per pupil.
Tuition on guitar, woodwind and
brass instruments is offered to pupils in Year 5 and above. String tuition can commence from Key
Stage 1 if a teacher is available.
All teaching staff are highly experienced and qualified professional teachers and performers.
How will I track my child’s progress?
Regular practice at home is essential for good progress. Your child’s teacher will note down details in a practice diary every week. You are asked to refer to that diary each week to see the teacher’s comments and to add any of your own where appropriate. We have found this to be an effective form of communication between the teacher and home as well as a motivational tool to enhance learning. Once a year you will receive a written report as well as an invitation to attend a parents’ evening but please do feel free to contact us at any time if you have any questions or concerns.
As soon as your child is ready they will be encouraged to work towards their Red and Blue Badges, which are preliminary awards in preparation for more formal graded exams. All pupils are encouraged to participate in school assemblies, concerts and other activities to help build up their confidence as performers and to celebrate their success.
Tuition is currently free of charge but it is the Department of Education and Children’s intention to charge for lessons later on in the academic year. Please refer to the scale of charges document below. From time to time you will be expected to buy sheet music and, where appropriate, instrumental accessories such as reeds or strings. Your child’s teacher will advise, always mindful of best value for money. A practice diary is provided free of charge but a replacement cost of £3.00 will be required if it is lost or damaged. Red and Blue badges and all certificates are issued free of charge.
With the exception of children who have vocal tuition and those who have their own instruments, pupils are required to pay a termly hire charge, currently £17.00 per term. (Cheques should be made payable to IOM Government) This should be paid within the first two weeks of each term directly to the Music Centre, Lord Street, Douglas, IM1 1LE.
Instruments cannot be purchased from the Music Service and are not available to pupils who do not receive regular lessons from one of the Music Service’s instrumental teachers.
Pupils should not hire Music Service instruments indefinitely. There are many commercial hire-purchase schemes in operation, and it is hoped that as soon as recommended to do so by the pupil’s instrumental teacher an instrument should be purchased privately. This procedure will then release Music Service instruments for use by other children. Please do ask your child’s teacher for advice before purchasing an instrument to ensure your child has a suitable instrument and also to avoid potentially costly mistakes.
What happens if:
We lose or damage the instrument?
Pupils have a responsibility for hired instruments in their possession and, where appropriate, will be expected to pay for repairs or replacement. Any damage or loss should be reported immediately to the Music Centre. Please note that the Department of Education and Children does not insure the instruments and parents are urged to check that their household contents insurance will cover loss or damage.
My child receives free school meals?
The instrument hire charge is waived but you are still asked to buy music and other sundries.
We want to discontinue lessons and/or instrumental hire?
If parents wish to discontinue lessons, a written authority should be sent to the Music Service, together with the hired instrument where appropriate. We cannot refund hire charges if your child discontinues partway through a term.
My child is going to miss a lesson for any reason?
We appreciate it if you can let us know with as much notice as possible so the teacher can adapt their timetable if necessary.
My child’s attendance is irregular for no good reason or he/she regularly forgets to bring their instrument?
We shall send you a letter highlighting our concern and asking for your support in addressing any problems preventing your child from getting the best from their tuition. Your child’s school will also be notified.
In fairness to everyone, the Department reserves the right to discontinue the lessons and hire facilities for any pupil who does not make satisfactory progress through lack of practice or poor attendance
My child makes very good progress?
All pupils are encouraged to extend their skills and add to their enjoyment of playing by joining their school orchestras, choirs and other musical groups. Once your child’s teacher judges that your child has reached a suitable standard of playing they will have the opportunity to play in one or more of our centrally run groups which meet on Saturday mornings:
· Manx Youth Orchestras (various groups suitable for all levels of musical achievement from grade 1 and above)
· Manx Youth Guitar Ensembles (Junior and Senior)
· Manx Junior Wind and String groups
. Manx Youth Training Orchestra
. Manx Youth Concert Band
· Manx Youth Wind Orchestra
· Manx Youth String Orchestra
· Manx Youth Swing Band
The Manx Children’s Choir welcomes singers aged 7 – 12 years. No auditions are required.
The Manx Youth Choir is for singers aged 13 – 22 years. No auditions are required.
The Department of Education and Children runs its own examination scheme for grades 1-4 and these are free of charge. Once your child reaches a higher grade, they could take more advanced exams through the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM), Trinity/Guildhall College of Music or Rockschool. Fees are payable for these external exams. UCAS points (which can be used for entry to higher education establishments) are awarded to successful candidates at ABRSM grades 6, 7 and 8.
To apply for instrumental tuition in school please contact your child’s school Head Teacher (primary) or Head of Music (secondary).