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If you cannot find the answer to your question here, please email wamc@doncaster.gov.uk


How much do lessons in school cost?
Unlike many services now, Doncaster Music Service does not make any charge directly to parents for instrumental or vocal lessons in any Local Authority school. Neither do we make any charge for attendance at Music Centre ensembles for pupils who live within Doncaster borough.

Schools buy teaching provision from the Music Service. To offset the cost of this, some schools will then ask for contributions from parents. This is a matter for the Headteacher and school governors to decide and, providing they do not make a profit from charging, or charge for curriculum tuition (ie. tuition for performance at GCSE, AS, or A level examinations) they are entitled to do this.

If your child‘s school does ask you for a contribution, the Music Service has no active interest in this and cannot answer queries relating to it. Your child‘s instrumental teacher may probably be unaware of the school‘s policy and is not able to handle money in connection with this.


My child wants to learn a certain instrument but the school says it is not possible. Why is this?
Individual schools decide which instruments (or family of instruments) they would like to have taught in their school. They also decide how much time they wish to devote to each of these. It may be that your child wishes to learn an instrument that is not currently taught in school (your interest may encourage them to reconsider this for the future) or all available spaces are filled on a certain instrument: in this case most schools will operate a waiting list.

Some instrumental lessons are available at the Music Centre for a reasonable charge, and you may decide this is an option you prefer to take.


How do I get lessons at the Music Centre?
School pupils have their instrumental lessons arranged through school. Most lessons take place in school, but some "school" lessons are held at the Music Centre for a variety of reasons. In situations where lessons are not available within school (for example, if the school prefers not to provide facilities for a particular instrument) instrumental lessons can be purchased with staff at the Music Centre for a reasonable charge. This includes Keyboard and Piano lessons.


Can I get Theory of Music Lessons?
Theory lessons are held at the Music Centre on Tuesdays between 4.00pm and 5.30pm. Initially classes are intended to prepare pupils for grade five, but can be extended if appropriate. At present, lessons are free to pupils in DMBC schools.


How will I know how well my child is doing?
Annual reports are written for all pupils who have received more than six lessons. They are submitted by staff at the following times and released to pupils (in lessons) around one month later:

  • Mid November - years 9,11,13
  • Mid February - years 6,8,10,12
  • Mid May - years 3,4,5,7
In addition Parents Evenings are held just before the Easter break. Staff give invitation letters to pupils from February onwards.


How good is the Music Service?
Doncaster Music Service was the first to be inspected by OFSTED in May 1999. The report praised the quality of management and recognised that almost 90% of teaching observed was satisfactory or better. A survey of schools in 2008 showed that 89% felt their music provision was good or better with no schools reporting it as unsatisfatory.

In a survey of pupils in 2009, 90% described the teaching they received as good or better with 61% placing it in the outstandng category.


When can my child come to Music Centre?
The instrumental teacher at your child's school invites children to Music Centre when they have progressed far enough to join a group, orchestra, band, guitar group, recorder group etc. If your child has private lessons, phone the Music Centre office (01302 734810/734811) to ask what standard is needed.


How much does Music Centre cost?
Music Centre is free for children who live within Doncaster borough. Pupils from outside the borough pay a small termly subscription (details from the office 01302 734810/734811).

A "Gift Aid" voluntary contribution scheme allows parents to assist the continuing work of the Music Centre and to help to offset the need to make mandatory charges for Music Centre attendance. For information about this please contact the Music Service on 01302 734810.


Can I buy an instrument more cheaply?
You can buy an instrument through our Instrument Purchase Scheme at a discount and free of VAT. Your child must be having lessons at school or be attending Music Centre. Please ask the Music Centre office (01302 734810/734811) for a form which gives full details or you can download the form in PDF format to print off and fill in from here.

Pdf download VAT free form   list of suppliers

You choose an instrument from any supplier, complete the form and return it to the office together with your cheque made out to DMBC. We process it and send the receipt back to you. You can then collect your instrument from the supplier.

If you are wanting to sell (or buy) a used instrument, you can use our free web service to advertise your requirements.


Can I borrow an instrument?
Instruments are loaned to pupils where available and as required. There is a small termly charge for this (a remissions policy exists), but payment is deferred until after the first full term of lessons.


Are parents allowed to take photographs and videos at concerts?
The 1998 Data Protection Act allows for parents etc. to take photographs and video recordings of concerts on the understanding that they are for personal domestic use. The Music Service supports this so that relatives may keep cherished records of their family's formative experiences.

Parents who do not wish images of their children to be used in the media, in our displays or on our website should contact the Music Centre office, and are advised of this in the letter inviting pupils to Music Centre.


Is there any danger of hearing problems associated with loud instruments?
Damage to hearing is caused chiefly by two factors - the loudness of the sound and the time exposed to it. There are strict regulations set by the government regarding the protection of workers, and the LEA has a duty to protect its pupils from harmful environments.

The Music Service carried out a survey of noise levels at work in 2001, and the results can be found here. This survey concerns the risk to staff, but general guidelines can be made for pupils from this. Brass players and loud woodwind (eg.saxophone) should be concerned if they are playing for more than an average of five hours per day. Electric guitar players (playing at concert volume) should use ear protection if they are playing for more than one and a half hours per day. Percussionists and drummers playing at concert volume are in danger from peak levels (over 140dB), and would be well advised to wear ear protection during all playing.