Music lessons

Music lessons FAQ


Should I choose group or individual lesson for my child?

Pupils vary in their styles and needs for learning and there are advantages for both group and individual lessons. The piano is usually only available as an individual lesson, with the exception of some high schools being able to offer shared lessons. Drum Kit and keyboard, dependent on the school are often only available as individual or paired lessons.

Group Lessons

The benefits of learning as part of a group is that children can enjoy learning with their friends supporting each other in a friendly atmosphere. Pupils can enjoy playing together with other performers, whether all playing the same part or perhaps on different parts. A little friendly competition can help challenge pupils to practice more, concentrate and try harder in lessons. A group lesson can also help keep the cost down for parents.

A group lesson works well when pupils all have the same level of interest/practice to progress. Where this varies a little our teachers are experienced at differentiating the work/ensuring pupils have a target that is relevant to their level within a lesson. If the abilities begin to vary too broadly it can become more challenging to maintain the same level of progress. In this circumstance we would write to inform you and offer a one-to-one lesson.

Individual lessons

Individual lessons are an advantage as pupils progress further on their instruments and need more specific focus on technique and areas of their playing. If pupils choose to take exams a one-to-one lesson would usually benefit a student more as in a group lesson every child will have different areas of the exam they need to focus on and as exam skills need to be precise and are broad this can be difficult in a group setting.


When do lessons take place in school?

Lessons in schools take place during the school day. Where lessons are needed to fall outside of school hours these will be communicated and agreed with guardians in advance.

Primary schools – the time of day advised in your starter e-mail for lessons is a guide. Our tutors liaise with the school / teachers to find the best time for the school activities. Children will be collected for their first lessons.

Secondary schools – Pupils should visit the schools head of music in their school on the morning of their first lesson to find out lesson details such as location / a specific time. Timetables are often displayed in music departments, the head of music will be able to direct your child to where this is kept and the system for their school. Students are not collected for their lessons in secondary schools.


How many lessons do I receive in a year?

For lessons in school, when starting at the start of the year you will receive 33 lessons over the school year. This is many weeks shorter than most school calendars to allow leeway for differing school holidays or tutor absence. Where lessons start after this date the number of lessons will reduce accordingly.

Please note our teachers visit schools on weeks according to the music service calendar, some weeks may differ to individual schools calendars.

Lessons at the Claremont Centre take place on pre-arranged dates please see our calendars

If at the end of the academic year our tutors have not been able to deliver the lessons invoiced we will offer refunds.


What happens after I have registered for lessons?

Once you have signed your child up for lessons they will be placed on our waiting list. We will contact you when we are able to offer you lessons in school with a start date. We will endeavour to keep in contact with you to offer you any alternatives for lessons if we are unable to set up your lesson request.

At the end of every academic year we will ask you to reregister to stay on the waiting list.


How am I invoiced for lessons?

Payment for ensembles and lessons is required in advance of them starting. Once the lesson is confirmed and details sent through, your termly charges will be sent in a separate e-mail and payment can be made via your music service speedadmin account.

Instrumental hire where applicable may not yet be included and will need to be paid on collection.

Our termly invoices are typically sent out 6 weeks in advance of the start of a term. This allows us to timetable and answer queries prior to the start of term and give notice to tutors where workload has decreased. We need to use time carefully and in order to guarantee staff provision for lessons, and must be able to ensure work is available prior to contracting teaching staff. We reserve the right to withdraw lesson provision or amend lesson times where payment has been made late and lessons are no longer available due to the need to re-timetable.


Claremont Centre useful information for parents

Lessons at the Claremont Centre take place on pre-arranged dates please see our calendars

First lesson / rehearsal

Please come to our main reception, the first week and let one of our admin staff or supervisory assistant in the reception area know you’re new, they will be able to greet you and explain the signing in system and show your child to their lesson / rehearsal. All our staff will have Trafford Council ID lanyards on.  We do have a tuck shop for pupils staying for some time where ensemble rehearsals have breaks, we encourage pupils not to use their mobile phones and socialise and get to know each other.

Your child does not need anything extra for their first lesson except for their instrument (excepting pianos) and any necessary accessories e.g. a reed for clarinet, saxophone, oboe. Your child’s tutor will advise on any necessary music further accessories as appropriate, this may be communicated via a note home or if they let us know to pass details on to yourselves. If a beginner, your child will likely not need any music for a few weeks this is dependent on the first steps of learning on their instrument and the tutor.

For students who have been playing for a while, we recommend they prepare some music to bring to the lesson that they’re comfortable playing (even if it’s not the last thing they practiced) and their most recent music books.

Location / Parking Offsite

Claremont Centre, 21 Claremont Road, Sale, M33 7DZ.

We’re a very short walk from both sale metro stop and the main sale bus routes.

If travelling by car please note the sat nav may take you to the wrong section of the road. We are on the one way system.

There’s not any onsite parking but there are local car parks, the road is pay and display and there are wardens who operate in the area.

Parents waiting room / Safeguarding Policy

We have a safeguarding policy which means our entrance hall is for pupils only whilst they wait to be picked up or wait between lessons. Parents are not allowed beyond the main entrance.

For full details of our child protection policy please visit


How can I hire or buy an instrument?

For instrument hire and purchase please see our Hire/Instrument Purchase page


What happens if my child was absent from their lesson?

Trafford Music Service does not refund or credit for lessons where the child’s tutor was in the school to teach lessons. This includes holidays taken during term time and pupil absence due to illness. The exception may be where there may be a long term illness, in these circumstances please contact our office to discuss if the situation arises.

For lessons that take place in schools we may be able to reschedule a lesson or issue a credit if we are informed in writing to by the payer or guardian a minimum of 7 calendar days in advance of the missed lesson.

For more detailed Terms and Conditions, please visit our Terms & Conditions page.


What happens if my child’s tutor is absent?

There may be occasions when a lesson cannot take place either due to a tutor absence or the school has requested the lessons do not take place e.g. due to Inset Days or SATS.

Trafford Music Service may send an alternative tutor, or dependant on school circumstances there may be double lessons or an extra visit in a week to compensate. However the most common occurrence is that due to the academic year being 6 weeks longer than our 33 week lesson provision there is opportunity to make up for tutor absence through these weeks when lessons would not usually be taking place.

Trafford Music Service tutors track lesson numbers electronically so we can easily see how many lessons pupils have received over the year to ensure pupils get their lesson entitlement.

If for any reason at the end of the academic year it has not been possible to complete your child’s full course of lessons due to tutor absence, refunds or credits will be given.

In circumstances where our tutor is unable to teach at the Claremont Centre, we will either find cover for these lessons or we will move your child’s lessons to one of our make up weeks. You will be notified of what will be happening as soon as we are notified of the tutor absence. We have several make up weeks throughout the academic year but should your child be unable to come to the scheduled make up lesson you will be refunded for the missed lesson.


What accessories or music do I need?


Tutors tend to have their own preferences on tutor books and will advise you on which books will be useful and when to purchase them. Tutors will have teaching materials ready usually for the first few lessons as beginners. Some instruments such as guitars may rely more on material devised by tutors.

It can vary dependent on the child’s stage of learning/rate of progress but we generally recommend you allow up to one book a term (these are mainly less than £10.00). It is mostly for more advanced pupils that the need for a book this often occurs. Sometimes beginner tutor books can last years!

Most music is commonly available in music shops (who will often order it in if it is not in stock) or online. If your child attends a group lesson it is most useful if pupils can purchase material in a reasonably timely manner to prevent delays to the group. We do advise tutors give warning to parents when books are needed to allow time for purchasing.


Some instruments have accessories which you will need to purchase and are not included in hire. Tutors do not carry spare accessories so they will need to be bought in advance. You will be advised when you come to our offices to collect instruments for hire should you need any guidance.


Are there formal exam opportunities?

Music exams can be a fantastic way of measuring your progress and giving you a goal to work for. By working on a variety of different pieces, with accompanying technical work, you have a target to aim for that helps you improve as a musician.

Every child is different for the amount of time they take to reach an exam level and it can take a few years before initial grades are reached.

These exams are not compulsory but if you wish to enter them, Trafford Music Service hosts ABRSM exams for pupils. You will be recommended by your teacher if you should be entered for an exam. All these exams are nationally recognised and formally accredited and your teacher will advise you as you progress.

Not all instruments and instrument styles are able to be entered into ABRSM. Your tutor will recommend where a different exam board is appropriate and you need to enter in privately. Guitar, vocal and percussion in particular have a broad range of exam boards that depending on style are accessible.

We would usually recommend individual lessons when pupils start reaching a level for examination to allow material to be covered in depth and appropriately to each child.


When are annual reports?

Our tutors write annual reports to update you on your child’s general progress during that year. These normally come out around the end of Spring term or the beginning of summer term.

In individual lessons tutors also write in Trafford Music Service Practice Books and may communicate messages to you through the book. This is also a good way of tracking what students should be practising.


Recommended ages

Our recommended year groups are an approximate guideline and suggestions depend on the physical capability of a student. Starting an instrument too soon where a child may not be able to achieve a comfortable hold or play with good posture can be counter-productive. It can sometimes be better to start later on an instrument or begin with a ‘starter’ instrument and transfer when the time is suitable.

Some schools only allow lessons for specific year groups. Please visit the lessons in school page to find out what takes place in your school. For any concerns or queries regarding instrument choices and year groups please e-mail


When can my child have piano lessons?

Our piano lessons are usually recommended to start from Year 2 upwards. Lessons in school below junior age is at the agreement of the school.


Help – I have a problem with my hired instrument?

If the instrument belongs to Trafford Music Service – the first thing to do is email for advice.  It’s always helpful if you can include a picture.

As we have had instruments damaged through good intentions, please DO NOT attempt any home repairs or ‘cosmetic’ improvements.  Put the instrument back in its case keeping it as safe as possible.

When we have received your email, we will then forward it to your child’s tutor for advice.  Sometimes a tutor can repair the instrument in person if they have time – if not, they will recommend the next step and we will contact you with the details.

We may be able to issue you with another hired instrument whilst your instrument is in repair – dependent on availability and timescales.

Instruments do suffer from wear and tear and occasionally will need some attention to keep them in good order.  If you have a hired instrument and it has been damaged through inappropriate use unfortunately you are responsible for the cost of the repair.  As it is our instrument, we will organise the repair and invoice you accordingly.

You are also responsible for the cost of ancillary items such as new strings, reeds etc – your tutor will give advice on when/where to purchase these items and what to ask for – however, we do keep a small stock for sale at The Claremont Centre.


My stringed-instrument string is loose?

Please see link to point 9 on FAQ in Covid Times.