Key questions for parents answered:
Who organises the lessons?
The school, you should also address any questions about lesson payments to the school. Brent Music Service (BMS) supplies the tutor to teach the lesson.
What equipment is my child expected to have?
- an instrument (to be bought or hired)
- a music tutor book (to be bought)
- a music stand
- a practice notebook (the first one will be provided by the BMS tutor free of charge) and pencil.
Other specific equipment, depending on instrument being learnt
- Flute: large cotton handkerchief
- Clarinet: 1½ strength B-flat Clarinet reeds made by Rico or Vandoren, cork grease
- Saxophone: 1½ strength E-flat Alto Sax reeds made by Rico or Vandoren, cork grease
- Strings: replacement strings and rosin will be needed from time to time, seek advice from your child’s tutor before purchasing
- Guitar: replacement strings and equipment (will be needed from time to time, seek advice from your child’s tutor before purchasing)
- Brass: valve oil or trombone slide cream (will be needed from time to time, seek advice from your child’s tutor before purchasing)
- Piano/keyboards: a piano or keyboard needs to be available for home practice
What if I want to hire an instrument?
BMS hires instruments directly to parents, except for guitars, keyboards, drum kits and Indian instruments, which must be purchased. The cost is £25 per term (£5 per term concessions). The BMS tutor will give your child a hire form during the first few weeks of term.
You will need to post or hand-deliver the completed form, with payment, directly to the BMS office. Instruments will be issued at October half term.
What will my child be doing in lessons without a hired instrument until October half term?
The BMS tutor will show your child how to set up and look after the instrument. The tutor will also teach some basic music theory, aural skills and co-ordination skills in preparation for having the instrument at half term.
What music books will I need to purchase?
The BMS tutor will issue an order form for any books which are required this year. BMS can supply these books, or they may be obtained from your local music shop or the internet
How can I communicate with the BMS tutor?
Your child will be issued with a practice notebook in which the tutor will record homework to be completed. Please use this book to communicate with the BMS tutor.
How will I know how my child is progressing?
Each term, the BMS tutor will assess your child and either award a certificate at the end of term if your child has completed a BMS Level, or give your child a letter explaining why they have not reached the standard. During the year, you will also receive a full report from BMS on your child’s progress.
What about grade examinations?
On average, it takes one year for most instruments, or two years for a string pupil (in group lessons) to reach Grade 1 level.
If the tutor thinks your child is ready to enter an exam, you will receive a letter which will explain the entry process and will ask you if you wish your child to be entered. Please note that grade examinations carry an entry fee of £36 upwards. Extra music will also need to be purchased for the examination.
What should I do if there is a problem with the instrument?
If there is a problem with your child’s instrument, such as broken strings or sticking valves or keys. It is best ask your child’s tutor for advice rather than try to repair the instrument yourself.
What if I want to buy my own instrument?
Your child’s tutor will be happy to advise you on an instrument suitable for your child’s level of playing and budget. See instrumental section below for more specific advice, if applicable:
- violins, violas and guitars are generally cheaper to buy than hire (over the course of a year), with the average price being about £50 - £100
- string instruments come in different sizes, so please make sure you purchase the correct size instrument as advised by the BMS tutor
- be aware that instruments appearing to be good value online can sometimes be of poor quality even for beginner standards. The BMS tutor may recommend reliable brands to look out for.
We sincerely hope that your child enjoys learning music with Brent Music Service.