Welcome to Music at Simon Balle All-through School!

An introduction to our music and our music centre

Musical learning at home


  1. Make sure you understand what you have to practice and are working towards

  2. Have set times for practice 3 or 4 times a week

  3. Have a quiet space to practice with support from someone when needed.

  4. Have lots of encouragement and praise

  5. Perform to others at home and celebrate what you are achieving

  6. Stay in touch if you have questions!

Top Tips for Practise!

  • Practise regularly and often, rather than once a week for half an hour just before your lesson. The length of practice will be suggested by the teacher but 3 x 20 minutes per week is suggested to start with. When you get above Grade 5 standard, you should be looking at 30 minutes per day, 6 days a week.
  • Take note of what your instrumental teachers have said and practise what they want you to practise, not what you want to practise!
  • Set aside a regular time of the day to practise. Avoid being distracted and really concentrate, even if only for 15 minutes.
  • If you play a wind instrument, you may have been told to play long notes first. This is to improve your playing, not to sound an alarm to others that you are about to play!
  • Scales and arpeggios are an important element of music. They are what music is all about. Therefore, you are not being asked to learn them as a punishment. You will be amazed that if you know all your scales, you will find it easier to sight-read and play music.

You will be amazed at how much better you will get in just a short space of time. Remember, lesson time is not for practice. Now, how many weeks have you been working on that piece?

Things to Remember...

You are responsible for checking your music lesson time each week. When looking at the timetable, check you have the correct:



Write it down on your iPad or practice book.

If your music lesson is at the same time as something that you really cannot miss you should speak to your instrumental teacher. If they are not in school, come and see Mrs Pearson in the music office at break time.

If you know you are on a school trip when you should have a music lesson, it is your responsibility to tell your teacher at least a week in advance. If you do not do this, you will miss the lesson and it will not be made up.

If you forget your instrument or music, still attend your lesson!

Check your school email at least once a day – that is the way we will tell you of any changes to your lesson times. It is the way we will get messages to you.

If you are ill, please get someone to ring in and tell us. 01992 410408

Advice for Parents/Carers: 'How Can I Help?'

Take a regular interest in what they are practising….

This is the single most important thing you can do. Students who are left to their own devices are the students who progress the slowest. All children at some time need nagging and nagging and nagging to get them to practise. There is usually a ‘low’ point in their musical life when they will be bored with the instrument. However, with your help, they will get through that.

You can also:

  • Give them a regular time to practise during the week and get others in the family to leave them to it

  • Listen to them practise and give them encouragement

  • Make sure that there is a music stand for their music

  • Nag them during the ‘low’ times!

  • Read through their practice book and make sure they are doing what has been asked

  • Remind them on the day of their lesson and ask what the lesson time is

  • Ask them what was done in the instrumental lesson when they get home.

  • Even the smallest bit of regular encouragement can make all the difference.

After all, you invest heavily in the cost of lessons and instruments. Why not protect your investment?

Information for students – please go through this with them!


There will always be difficult moments when learning an instrument, but essentially it should be fun! The most satisfying way to make music is by playing with others and it is a vital part of progress. Indeed, it is seen as an extension of the actual lesson. Groups run at lunchtimes and after school throughout the week and encompass most of the instruments taught. Details of relevant ensembles are available from your child’s instrumental teacher and on the music notice board. It is part of our work, our aim and our ethos that every musician participates in a weekly ensemble if appropriate.

Being a young musician requires both determination and self-discipline but it is almost unparalleled in terms of the rewards and satisfaction it can bring. Years of pleasure lie ahead for your child and we hope both you and your child enjoy this time.


Practice is the vital ingredient in learning a musical instrument, just as training is vital to learning to play football. We recommend having set practice times 3 or 4 times a week.
Practice should be fun and should lead to their enjoyment of music through the improving of their ability. There will be times when they really do not want to practise and may even hate playing your instrument because of it (oh yes, we have all been there!). But – if they do not practice, they will not get any better.

Timetables are completed by all the instrumental teachers, these are available online (linked above), or on display in the Music Block. It is the responsibility of the pupil to check their lesson time every week, and ensure they attend on time. We do send email reminders, but these are simply a reminder and should not be used as the main way of remembering.

Where there is a change of day, we always try to ensure that you are informed by email. We do send reminders, but these should never be the main way of remembering!

Timetables are organised carefully, so that all students are accommodated. If you cannot make a lesson, or have a specific request for the next week:
Speak to your teacher a week in advance to let them know. They might be able to change your time
If short notice, speak to Mrs Pearson, or Miss Morgan in the music office. There might be nothing she can do.
For House Sports and other all day in school events, come to your lesson as normal.
On the day requests cannot be accommodated, as it is too short notice.

When the teacher is available and the pupil does not attend, the lesson is forfeited and no refund can be made. When the teacher is not available the lesson can be made up at a future date or alternatively the fee will be credited. Students are expected to inform their teacher of school trips etc at least a week in advance, otherwise the lesson will not be made up. You can always email information to us.

33 lessons are taught within 39 weeks in the school year. There will therefore be weeks when a lesson is not taught – we do ensure that 33 lessons in total are taught in the school year. Invoices are issued once a term, each for 11 lessons. More or fewer lessons may be taught in the term, but 33 will be offered in each year. Teachers are required to keep a detailed record of a pupil’s attendance that we use as our source of information for any queries about the accounts.

We have a variety of concerts across the school year, there is so much to be involved in. We do expect everyone involved to attend, our ethos of commitment has to be taken very seriously. We believe that performing can make a difference, and
Our concerts are well publicised on our ‘What’s On’ page, and in newsletters, students involved are made well aware of these concerts in advance.

We believe that regular communication is the key to progress – please ensure we have your correct email so we can stay in touch. It really makes a difference.

Care of the instrument is vital. We strongly recommend you do not attempt repairs yourself – things are often less serious than they appear, and a wrong move could damage the instrument.
Your first port of call should be your instrumental teacher, who may be able to help, or at least advise where to have it fixed. However, if this is not possible, please come to the music office, where Mrs Pearson …

In the event that a repair is necessary, please take it to the teacher who may be able to help, but if not, will advise where to have it fixed.

From time to time the teacher will ask for you to purchase some music. Fair warning will be given, but it will be expected that wherever possible, the music will be purchased – if there are problems you should contact the teacher. Always take the recommendation of the teacher before buying or hiring an instrument – we have years of experience and can prevent you ending up with what the shop wants to get rid of! It is far cheaper to purchase through the school – you can save the cost of the VAT. Do ask!

Invoices for lessons are issued in advance every term and prompt payment is expected.

Lessons can only be discontinued at the end of a term and parents are required to give 11 lessons’ written or email notice to the instrumental teacher of termination or to pay 11 lessons fees in lieu of notice.

The teacher will suggest the way to record work and make comments and give messages to parents. You will be advised of how your child is progressing during the year.