Instrumental Music Service
West Lothian Council's Instrumental Music Service provides instrumental music lessons to primary and secondary school pupils and opportunities for these pupils to play in one of the many bands and ensembles that perform regularly at a range of venues and events locally, nationally and internationally.
The Service is delivered in schools by professional instrumental music instructors who provide a structured and progressive music curriculum which is encapsulated in the four capacities of Curriculum for Excellence - to enable each child or young person to be a successful learner, a confident individual, a responsible citizen and an effective contributor. The Instrumental Music Service is managed by the Coordinator of Instrumental Music who is based within Education Services.
In line with current procedures instrumental instructors are visiting 2 schools per day. This may mean your child's instrumental lesson day and timetable will possibly change in the future. Any changes will be made following the publication of awaited guidance from the Scottish Government on the provision of music in schools and also as we progress through the route map. Your child's instructor will provide information of any changes required in the future.
String, percussion and bagpipe (through the use of electronic chanters) lessons are being delivered in the usual format in schools.
The Scottish Government guidance for schools at this time has restricted the playing of Brass and Woodwind instruments until specific guidance is published. Students studying a woodwind or brass instrument will still attend weekly lessons but will not bring their instrument. They will be asked to record specific pieces/exercises which will be discussed with their instructor during their lesson. There is a great deal of work that can be achieved during the lesson using this approach, not just in music theory but in many aspects of playing that sometimes cannot be addressed in normal lessons. The instructors are doing their utmost to ensure the current lesson structure is of benefit to students.
At this time, we do not have an anticipated date from the Scottish Government on when current guidelines may change.
As well as musical development, the many general benefits gained from learning to play a musical instrument include: enhanced listening and concentration, discipline, co-ordination, language development, memory and social skills. It helps your child to become part of a team and to respect other team members whilst increasing your child's confidence and participation in the wider school and community.
The lessons are once a week during the school day. In primary school, lessons are most likely to be at the same time every week. In secondary school, lessons follow a rotation timetable ensuring pupils are not extracted from the same subject each week. Instrumental music student reports will be completed annually by the instrumental instructor.
Should you wish to discuss any aspect of the Instrumental Instruction Programme, a brief note or phone call to the head teacher in the primary school or the principal teacher curriculum at the secondary school is all that is required. A meeting with one of the visiting instrumental instructors can easily be arranged if necessary.
Should you wish to discuss any aspect of the Area Ensemble programme please contact the coordinator of instrumental music.
We will provide your child with 30 lessons throughout the school session (39-week academic year) An accurate register will be kept with your child's weekly attendance. Where tuition commences at a time other than the beginning of the session in August the number of lessons we aim to deliver (30 lessons) and the fee payable will be reduced accordingly.
Standard lessons will be in groups and last for 20 - 30 minutes in primary and consist of 3 - 6 pupils. Lessons in secondary schools should be half of a school lesson period and consist of 3-4 pupils in S1-S3 and 1-2 pupils in the senior phase. Group size and length of lesson may change without notice.
An instrument will be provided but we would encourage you to rent or buy an instrument when your child is settled into lessons.
It is possible to purchase an instrument through your child's school using the Assisted Instrument Purchase Scheme (AIPS) which allows you to buy a musical instrument without paying VAT. Your child's instrumental instructor will be able to offer you advice on the best make, model etc. to purchase.
The Assisted Instrument Purchase Scheme enables pupils at local education authority schools to purchase instruments free from VAT. The scheme is intended to support the progress of a young player by providing greater access to quality instruments at a low cost. This procedure has the full approval of HM Customs & Excise.
The assisted instrument purchase scheme is strictly for pupils attending community schools who receive musical tuition as part of the curriculum. This allows students to purchase new instruments without paying VAT.
All the way through instrumental music teaching, your child will be encouraged to assess themselves, first with Music Medals, then by sitting SQA and external examinations. Music exams passed at grades 6, 7 or 8 also score valuable points on University and College application forms (UCAS). There are bands and ensembles in most schools that usually play weekly after school hours. There are also Area Ensembles playing all kinds of music from popular to jazz to classical. These bring young musicians from different schools together to perform, often with professional musicians at prestigious venues around the world.
Your role in supporting your child is an important one.
- Encourage regular practice in a quiet place and listen to them playing from time to time.
- Be positive, especially in the early stages.
- Encourage your child to attend lessons regularly.
- Be prepared to buy music and accessories.
- Don't hesitate to contact your child's instrumental teacher if you need advice.
- Encourage your child to take up opportunities to perform solo and in groups.
There is a charge of £354 for the academic year beginning August 2020 and ending June 2021. Payment can be made on line using ipayimpact (same as school meals, trips etc.) The £354 charge can be paid in full or split into 10 monthly instalments of £35.40.
Where a child/young person has a sibling(s)who is already in receipt of and paying in full for tuition from West Lothian Instrumental Service, the tuition fee will be reduced by 50% for as long as the sibling remains in receipt of, and paying for lessons.
No tuition fee shall be payable in the following circumstances:-
1 - if the child is entitled to and in receipt of free school meals and/or school clothing grant
2 - Studying a relevant SQA exam (S4-S6) in music, in the year they sit the practical element of the full exam on the instrument taught by the Instrumental Music Service.
Instrumental instructors provide instruction in a range of brass, woodwind, strings, bagpipe and percussion instruments. Availability of specific instruments varies in different cluster areas. Children are invited to apply for lessons at certain key stages - P5 for brass, strings, woodwind and bagpipe and S1 for percussion. An additional opportunity will be provided at S1 for those who are not already participating in the programme when all disciplines should provide an opportunity to be selected where space and time allows.
Your child will have received a presentation in their school from the school's instrumental instructor who will have advised your child what instruments are available in their school and what to select on the registration form.
Please email email@example.com and we will send you the registration link.
The Instrumental Music Service team from Education Services will be happy to answer any questions you may have.
You can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Education Services' Instrumental Music Service Team is:-
Steven Gray, Co-ordinator of Instrumental Music
Hugh Foster, Instrumental Music Service Support Officer