Learn a musical instrument in Highland
Instrumental Tuition Service
Providing Instrumental Tuition in Schools
A thoir seachad teagasg innealan-ciùil dhan Sgoiltean
How does it work in Highland? / So…your child has begun tuition… / Instruments / Costs / Ongoing support / Contacts
Your child may have indicated that they would like to play a musical instrument. There are many reasons why this could benefit your child's wider education:
- playing an instrument can make you smarter
- learning to play can promote good discipline and organisational skills
- playing can boost your sense of achievement
- learning an instrument can provide life-long skills
- instrumental tuition can improve self-confidence
- tuition supports and enhances all aspects of Curriculum for Excellence in schools and the wider community
- learning to play is fun and can help relieve stress
If you agree to your child committing to learning an instrument, you need to get an information leaflet from the Instructor at your child’s school and return the form at the end of it to the Instructor.
If there are a number of pupils interested in learning, the Instructor may see them all as a group until a decision is made about suitability for specific instruments. There may be a few simple tests involved at this stage (especially if there are a limited number of instruments available).
Once decisions have been made about beginning lessons, the Instructor will send a Pupil Registration Form home. This form contains information required by Highland Instrumental Unit and must be sent to HIU quickly, as your child will now have entered into a commitment to learn and will be registered for appropriate tuition fees (see costs section below).
Once pupils have been accepted on to an Instructor’s timetable, lessons may be individual or as part of a group and will be a minimum of 25 minutes duration each week.
In Primary schools, lessons are by extraction from class at an agreed time each week.
In Secondary schools, lessons are usually by extraction from timetabled classes on a rotational basis
Back to top
Regular attendance at lessons - with music and instrument - is essential!
It is important that your child practises consistently and carefully at home. Beginners should manage 15-20 minutes daily increasing to 30 minutes or more as advised by the Instructor.
Parental support and encouragement are invaluable.
With beginner pupils, additional lessons with any other teacher on the same instrument are not advisable.
There are circumstances with advanced pupils where additional specialist support may be recommended by the Instructor at a later date.
Back to top
Your child will be issued with an instrument belonging to The Highland Council in most cases.
Instructors will give advice on instrument care. It is the responsibility of the pupils and parents to ensure the instruments are maintained in the condition that they are issued.
- Musical instruments are easily damaged and should be kept in their cases when not in use. Keep away from radiators and do not store in extreme temperatures.
- If the instrument is damaged this must be reported immediately to the Instructor. No attempt should be made to repair the instrument yourself.
- The Highland Council will pay for repairs to instruments it owns which have been accidentally damaged or require routine maintenance.
- In the event of an instrument being wilfully or negligently damaged or lost, you will be asked to pay for repair or replacement.
- Pupils should never allow any other person to use the instrument.
At a later stage you may wish your child to possess his/her own instrument. We would advise that the Instructor’s advice is sought before purchase.
Instruments can be bought through the Assisted Purchase Scheme without paying VAT, and often at discounted prices. This must be organised through the Instructor and with the agreement of the school. More information about this scheme can be found at:
Parents/carers purchasing their own instruments must also ensure that they are insured in case of theft/damage as the Highland Council cannot accept liability.
Back to top
The Highland Council supports Instrumental Tuition in its schools with a generous subsidy which allows fees to be maintained at a reasonable level.
Charges per instrument are £252 per year (this charge is set at a level which allows for a reasonable number of lessons being missed due to In-service days and occasional Instructor/pupil absence).
This can be paid by:
Direct debit (12 x £21 per instrument per month or part thereof)
After proof of entitlement has been received, the following exemptions apply:
Child Tax Credit, but not in receipt of Working Tax Credit, and your income is less than £15,860 (as assessed by the Inland Revenue)
Income-Based Job Seekers Allowance
Any income related element of Employment and Support Allowance
Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit and an income below £6,420 (as assessed by the Inland Revenue).
From time to time there may be other special circumstances which arise and if you feel your child should be exempt, a special exemption form should be requested from Highland Instrumental Unit.
Other costs which may be involved:
- Purchase of music where appropriate and replacement of reeds and sundries.
- Entrance fees for examinations or competitions as applicable.
- Membership of Regional and/or Area Music Groups when pupils achieve appropriate standards.
- Occasional specialist events and workshops.
As mentioned earlier, parental support and encouragement are invaluable at all stages of learning an instrument. This may take the form of supervision and encouragement during practice.
Weekly progress will be noted on the Pupil Progress Diary issued to all pupils. This booklet also contains advice on good practice techniques. Pupils are asked to complete the weekly practice record and have it signed by their parent/carer.
Annual progress reports are issued direct to parents/carers (normally around February of each year).
Once appropriate progress has been made, it may be that your child is encouraged to attend a school, Area or Regional Music Group.
Should parent/carers have any questions about progress or their role in the child’s tuition, a request for the Instructor to contact you should be made to the school in the first instance.
Additional information requests can also be made by contacting the Council’s Music Development Officer.
Administration, registration and invoicing are dealt with by:
Highland Instrumental Unit
Telephone: 01349 868218 or 01349 868215
Internet Security - Please note that internet email cannot be guaranteed as secure. Therefore, it is inadvisable to provide personal information by this method.
Any matters relating to specific school issues surrounding your child's lessons should be directed to the Headteacher.
For all other matters relating to Instrumental Tuition please contact:
Norman Bolton, Music Development Officer
Back to top