Music


AUTUMN TERM 2020 UPDATE - Due to Covid-19 all music lessons are being taught online. New pupils already playing an instrument are welcome to join us during this period, but beginners will need to wait for face to face lessons to resume. Please use the CONTACT form top right to register interest in taking music lessons.

Instrumental & Vocal Tuition -  We offer one-to-one specialist tuition on violin, cello, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bass guitar, flute, clarinet, recorder, saxophone, piano, jazz piano (for Grade 4+ pianists), percussion, drum kit, trumpet, cornet, trombone, french horn, euphonium, tuba and singing.

No previous experience is required to join us for music lessons and we teach from beginner to Diploma level, preparing pupils for exams including music scholarship & higher education applications. Pupils selecting music lessons need to be aged 6+, in Years 2-13 at school.

Sometimes it is hard to know what instrument to choose. We offer trial lessons which can be booked on an individual basis wherever we have spaces. We also have the following recommendations:

  • Instruments suitable from Age 6 - violin, cello, piano & recorder. (Taller pupils aged 6-7 who have a good set of second teeth may also manage the flute, clarinet or cornet!)
  • Instruments suitable from Age 8 - violin, cello, piano, acoustic guitar, brass (although larger brass instruments may not be suitable due to the size of the pupil), drum kit/percussion, recorder, flute, clarinet and saxophone. Voice - in the first instance we recommend going to JASSPA’s choir for U11s before opting for individual voice lessons.
  • Instruments suitable from Age 11 - All instruments including jazz piano and composition.

Parents are a very important part of a child’s musical journey, so we ask parents of young or beginner pupils to attend the first few lessons to meet the teacher and where necessary receive advice on purchasing an instrument. In some instances, teachers may suggest parents attending regularly in order to help establish a good practice routine and aid setting up of instrument. As pupils progress parents can continue to attend their child’s lesson, but on a more irregular basis thereby encouraging pupil independence. On the last Saturday of term we have an Open Day where all parents are invited to their child’s lesson. Open Day is instead of a written report and is an opportunity to catch up with how your child is progressing, what their next challenges are and how you can best support them.

Learning an instrument or taking singing lessons can be extremely rewarding, but it is important to understand that to be successful, pupils and parents need to commit to regular lesson attendance, the hire/purchase of a reasonable quality instrument and almost daily practice. This is the key to making progress and of course makes learning an instrument fun.

Practice Notebook – JASSPA sells a practice notebook called Jot-a-note. It is designed to organise communication between pupils, parents and teachers and is particularly suited to U11s. It costs £6 and can be bought from reception. All instrumental pupils are expected to use a notebook for their teacher to write in on a weekly basis, but it does not have to be a Jot-a-note.

Lesson Length - The majority of pupils have a 30-minute music lesson but for Grade 5+ students we suggest 45 minutes. For advanced pupils we offer hour long lessons.

Performances - Learning an instrument is also about learning to perform, so there are concert opportunities where pupils can sign up to perform solos or duets with their teacher. Our concerts are both friendly and supportive and pupils from beginner to advanced are encouraged to take part. Our teachers also prepare their pupils to perform at concerts in their weekday schools.

What am I committing to if I sign up for music lessons?  Music lessons require a different perspective to group activities because it takes a long time to master an instrument.  Beginners are encouraged to complete a year’s worth of lessons in order to fairly assess interest levels and potential. For all other pupils, music lessons are a continuing course until we receive a term’s written notice. This means writing to us by the first day of term stating you wish to stop lessons at the end of the term.  We also ask that pupils taking music lessons at JASSPA do not have music lessons on the same instrument elsewhere.

Composition lessons cover all styles from jazz to song writing and classical orchestrations. This option is a perfect compliment to the composition component for GCSE and A level Music, as well as being an excellent option for keen composers aged 11+. It is an advantage to play the piano but not essential. Composition classes are tailored to reflect the individual’s area of interest and current pupils include GCSE students and pupils keen to hone their song writing and improvisation skills. Lessons are taught one-to-one and are charged at the same rate as individual music lessons.

What am I committing to if I sign up for Composition lessons? Like music lessons, these lessons are a continuing course until we receive a term’s written notice. This means writing to us by the first day of term stating you wish to stop lessons at the end of the term.

Music Theory is invaluable for all musicians as it broadens musical awareness and supports instrumental work. For pupils intending to take ABRSM practical exams at Grade 6+ level it is also essential to have a pass in Grade 5 theory. We suggest starting our group theory classes when you are approximately Grade 4 practical level.  An external examination is sat at JASSPA in June for all pupils who have reached the required standard and this is decided upon after a mock exam in the spring term and class assessment. 

What level class should my child start with?  As a guide, pupils should apply for a class 1-2 grades lower than their current practical level. We also offer one-to-one theory classes. If considering Theory but not sure which class to sign up for, do contact us for advice.

What am I committing too if I sign up for a Theory class?  Theory is a yearlong course from September-June and asks all members to attend regularly and complete a small amount of homework each week.  Theory taken as a one-to-one class is usually booked on a termly basis with an agreed end date for taking the exam.

Choir is a great option for 6-11year olds. Develop a good musical ear, have fun with your voice and tackle a technically and musically challenging repertoire. Conducted by JASSPA’s Director Beverly Sizer this class covers a variety of musical styles from classical through to show numbers. Junior Choir performs twice during the year – no audition or entry level required.

What am I committing to if I sign up for Choir?  Choir is a yearlong course from September-June and asks all members to attend regularly and take part in performances. We also accept applications to join the choir during the school year prior to concert repertoire being set – please contact us and we will be to update you here.

Music exams - We are an exam centre for ABRSM, LCM and Trinity exam boards. Pupils can be put forward for a music exam by their teacher but there is no compulsion to take an exam if studying with us. Many pupils play purely for pleasure and others dip in and out of the exam system as and when it suits them. The choice is very much an individual one but all pupils wishing to take exams must have good attendance and show excellent practice routines.

For pupils who take exams at JASSPA, their teacher will give them an application form when they are ready to enter. This includes all the necessary exam information from fees to dates (Hyper link to MUSIC EXAMS on CAL ENDAR MENU) and rehearsal arrangements. In addition, for non-pianists we provide an experienced accompanist and include generous rehearsal times.

Aural: Trinity and ABRSM exams have an aural section. In order to help prepare for this we run additional aural classes in the run up to exams. Full details of aural classes are listed on exam application forms and all students are encouraged to sign up for them.