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School music FAQs


You can find out more about our service and what we offer on this page.

How do I pay?

If your child begins lessons in the first half of a term (and so can have eight or more lessons) we will send you an invoice as soon as possible for that term's lessons.  If your child begins lessons in the second half of a term (and so cannot receive eight lessons) we will not charge you for that term.

You will normally receive an invoice for lessons in September, December and April. The invoice is for the current term's lessons and the invoice will be sent by post. The full list of payment options available to you can be found on the reverse of your invoice.  If you would like to pay by Direct Debit please contact us and we can arrange to send you a Direct Debit mandate form.

We guarantee your child will be offered at least 24 lessons in a full school year (3 terms - September to July) and we aim to provide 30 lessons.

Please note that if your child is unable to attend a lesson for any reason outside the control of Durham Music Service (e.g. school trip, illness, exams, forgotten instrument) this will count towards the guaranteed 24 lessons. 

Can I stop taking lessons?

If you wish to stop your child's lessons please let the Music Service teacher and Durham Music Service know in writing (by letter or email).

Notice of termination of tuition/hire must be received at the Music Service before the invoice for the following term is issued.  You will receive an invoice in September, December and April so you must let us know by the last day of the month before (i.e. August, November, March) or the fees for the following term will be payable.

If you discontinue lessons/hire part way though a term you will still be required to pay the remaining payments on your issued invoice.

Can I loan an instrument?

We usually lend instruments for one year. The loan period for larger or more expensive instruments is longer and can be up to three years for the most expensive to buy.

Can I buy an instrument?

Durham Music Service runs an instrument purchase scheme which enables parents to buy new instruments at discounted prices. As the instrument loan comes to an end your child's teacher will be able to offer advice on a suitable instrument and give you details of the instrument purchase scheme. If you buy an instrument privately please inform the Music Service so that the hire charge for the following term can be cancelled.

Is private tuition available?

We do not allow children to receive lessons outside of school on an instrument that is being taught to them, as it is confusing for the pupil and unfair on other children wanting lessons. Pupils can have lessons with the Music Service on a different instrument.

Can I change instruments?

It may be possible to change instruments but this is at the discretion of the teachers concerned. Usually pupils only have lessons on one instrument, although it is possible to have instrumental and singing lessons.

Are there any extra costs?

You will be asked to buy music books as your child needs them (usually available from local music shops) and occasional items of equipment. For example, woodwind pupils will need to buy replacement reeds, and string pupils will need to buy strings when they break. Teachers will try to keep costs to a minimum.

How do I insure my instrument?

You are responsible for arranging 'all risks' insurance cover for your child's hired instrument.

What do I do if my instrument gets damaged?

Parents are responsible for the safe care of any instrument belonging to the Music Service and will be charged for any loss or damage to it. If the instrument is damaged it must be returned to the instrumental teacher to be repaired by the Music Service authorised repairers. Repairs must not be attempted by unauthorised people. If the instrument is damaged or stolen on school premises, parents will be responsible for the replacement or repair of the instrument.

Pupils eligible for Free School Meals

If your child is eligible for free school meals on income grounds the following reduced charges apply:

  • Lessons   - £32 per term Important - see note below
  • Hire of instrument - £5 per term   Important - see note below

Note: In many schools other funding is used to support the cost of tuition/hire and there is no charge.                

If you have any questions, or require further information on any of the above points, please contact us.

Contact us
Durham Music Service
03000 262 368
Our address is:
  • Ushaw College
  • Durham
  • County Durham
  • United Kingdom
  • DH7 9RH
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