Year 3 Recorder, this is our first access music tuition and comes at no cost to families. The KFA fund recorder purchases and children are taught in small groups. We expect that most will carry on learning until February after which those have shown an interest (through their participation and attention in lessons and practice at home) carry on and prepare for joining the Orchestra in Year 4. Mrs Harper teaches children on a Monday afternoon.
Year 4 Children who have shown some commitment to practice and made progress are invited to learn another instrument:
Brass – cornet, trumpet, horn or trombone
Strings – violin or cello
Woodwind – clarinet
Lessons start by the end of the first half term. From year 4 lessons are charged to families*. While families may well be asked to buy a tutor book, instruments are provided on a free loan. At the end of year 4 most are keen to continue and we strongly encourage not making a decision to stop lessons until they’ve had a taste of ensemble playing in String Group or Wind Band (usually in Year 5). Ensemble playing gives children opportunities to perform as well as learn and is a social as well as academic and musical experience.
Some children choose to join Edsential ensembles mid way through year 4 or in upper key stage 2.
Year 5 Children join the Wind Band or Recorder and String Orchestra. Because they have a good grounding on their instrument and have prepared over Summer, they make a super start and are soon ready for concert debuts!
From September in year 5, children who do not have their own instrument and wish to continue borrowing one from school will hire one on a termly basis (currently £15 per term). Hire fees cover servicing and replacing instruments that are defunct through natural wear and tear. They do not cover damage which is the responsibility of the family hiring the instrument advise advise checking your home insurance.
Some children playing in Recorder Group are offered a different size of recorder (tenor, treble or sopranino) recorder. Treble (and sopranino) recorders use different fingering which is taught in the first half term. Recorders are loaned at no cost.
Year 6 Children take on more complex parts in Band and Orchestra. They also offer some instrument workshops in Summer term to year 3 who aspire to take up an instrument from year 4.
At some point children really benefit from having their own instrument. Families can order through school and save 20% VAT. Instruments make super gifts and we can advise. By using a school instrument in year 4 this is a less risky purchase as children will have a good idea that they want to continue. It also means that for keen children, families may want to skip a beginner model and buy one that will see their child through High School music.
*Please remember that no child should miss out due to financial hardship. Bursaries are available and families needing support are asked to make an appointment with the headteacher or deputy headteacher.
No instrument is easy. This agreement shows how by working in partnership, school, children and their families can nurture a new generation of musicians and opportunities for our young people throughout their education and adult lives.
Brass with Mr Harper
Cello with Mrs Singleton
Clarinet with Mrs Harper
Guitar with Create Music
Piano with Mrs Harper
Recorder with Mrs Harper
Violin with Ms Meagher (from September 2023 Ms Sherwood)
“The benefits of persevering are so much more than what everyone usually obsesses over, which is having fun. Fun is great, but it is a momentary thing—it’s not something you can fill your life with, or that will sustain you through hardships.”
Nicola Bernedetti ~ violinist
Practice and paying for lessons
To enjoy making good progress instrument practice should be daily and no less than 5 times a week. A short daily practice will much more effective than a one hour bash once a week). Beginners won't have the stamina for a longer practice and a 5-10 minutes will be enough. As children gain experience, stamina and include public ABRSM exams alongside ensemble playing, practice time should increase.
Cost of lessons 2021-22: £10 for an individual lesson or £6.20 for a paired lesson. This is much more reasonable than private lessons and if financial hardship is a barrier to children learning, please see Ms Stewart, headteacher and subject leader for Music. We can support with some or all of the cost through a bursary; there is an application form for families experiencing genuine financial hardship.
There is no charge for recorder lessons as this is our first access provision for all children.
Paying for lessons: We have excellent instrumental tutors. Teaching your child is their profession and income. Therefore it is important that all lessons are paid for promptly whether this be through a school bursary or from parents who pay for their child's lesson. If children are unwell or otherwise absent from school lessons are charged for. Should the teacher be unwell or children are on a school trip, the lesson is either rearranged or refunded. Invoices are sent out termly and should be paid within seven days of receipt. If anyone is experiencing financial hardship and is finding paying for lessons, please see the headteacher for a confidential chat. If a child chooses to give up their instrument, we require half a term's notice which should be paid in full.
Many current and ex-pupils can be heard up at Vale Royal Wind Band and Super Strings and the Cheshire Youth Orchestra. Some have studied Music at university. Some of our amazing alumni have played further afield with the Liverpool Phil, Halle and National Youth Orchestras and the Halle Choir. A few have played or sung at the Royal Albert Hall as part of the BBC Proms music festival.
When you learn to read music you are learning another language with symbols for sounds, just like English. Symbols also tell us how long a sound lasts, a measurement like in Maths. We hope these posters help you to learn this beautiful language.
Tunes for different instruments, originally written by Mrs Whitham to keep music alive in lockdown and which now make for some useful practice material. Don't worry too much about which instrument - just find one you can play!