Information for parents

The two local authority music services deliver music tuition in schools in Gateshead and South Tyneside, supporting the work of music co-ordinators in primary schools and music specialist teachers in secondary schools. They do not in anyway replace the school staff who do not normally deliver instrumental lessons, even if they are excellent instrumentalists. The Music services also offer after hours activities in some schools and run ensembles in a range of styles and genres and at different levels. Music service and school ensembles offer progression routes to advanced ensembles such as Young Sinfonia, Folkestra and the National Youth Orchestra.

What to expect

If your child has been given the opportunity to learn an instrument, you can help at home by encouraging practice. For a beginner even a short time on a regular basis helps to make progress. Very few beginners sound great straight away, and all great musicians started somewhere. Be encouraging and positive rather than commenting on the defects. Your child’s teacher will probably welcome contact with you if you have any concerns or want to know more how to be able to help at home.

Information about instruments

Tuition is available on a wide range of instruments. However, choosing the right instrument for your child is also important. Wind and brass instruments are generally not started before year 4 or 5 to allow for sufficient stamina and strength to be able to hold and blow the instrument. String instruments other than the bass are available in small sizes so are not a problem for very small children. These however require high levels of listening and concentration even in the early stages. Orthodontic braces may present difficulties for older children playing wind and brass instruments. Usually after a period of settling where sound quality may be frustratingly poor, it is possible to continue playing, and to reach high levels of achievement. Your child’s teacher is the best person to advise about this issue.

Assisted instrument purchase

If you would like to purchase an instrument, there is an assisted purchase scheme available. This scheme enables the music service to purchase your choice of instrument with a substantial discount, usually in the region on 20%, on the retail price. Once we know exactly what instrument, type and model you want, we do the rest. In addition, the Arts Council has a 0% interest loan scheme called ‘Take it away’ for the purchase of high cost quality instruments. Contact us for further information about either of these schemes.


Graded exams are available for almost all instruments. There are a variety of exam boards – the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) Trinity Guildhall offer exams in the classical and jazz styles, and Rock school offers a range of exams for pop and rock instruments. Your child’s teacher is the best person to ask about progress and the suitability of exams for your child. The Music Hub does arrange exam days from time to time in which a visiting examiner spends a period of time at one of the centres carrying out assessments.


The local authorities in Gateshead and South Tyneside have set charges to schools for its services. It is the choice of school governing bodies as to whether these charges are passed on to parents and carers. Charges for membership of the ensembles may be found here.