Minimum Starting Year
Trumpet/ Cornet – Year 3
Tenor Horn/ French Horn – Year 3
Euphonium/ Baritone – Year 3
Trombone – Year 3
Tuba – Year 3
Flute – Year 3
Clarinet – Year 3
Saxophone – Year 5
Oboe – Year 3
Bassoon – Year 3
Violin – Year 2
Cello – Year 2
Double Bass – Year 5
Guitar* – Classical – Year 3
Percussion* – Year 3
Piano** - Year 3
Electronic Keyboard* - Year 3
Piano/keyboard required at home for practice
Voice - High School Pupils
* No free use available
** Mainly Music Centre based
The above shows recommended minimum starting ages.
Some of the Brass instruments are more suitable than others for the very young; this is dependent on the shape and size of the lips (the “embouchure”). Generally brass players would require their 2nd set of teeth. Thinner lips and a tighter lip shape would normally suggest a smaller mouthpiece although this is not always the case.
If the lip shape (embouchure) is not suitable for their choice of instrument, the pupil may be advised by their teacher to change to a larger mouthpiece, hence, a larger instrument such as a Tenor Horn, Baritone, Trombone, or Tuba.
Having short arms may be a problem when choosing the Trombone but this is easily overcome as the child grows.
Pupils would normally transfer to French Horn once a good sense of pitching has been established on either a Trumpet or Tenor Horn.
Woodwind instruments are all one size with the exception of the Bassoon where a mini version is available. Size is one consideration when thinking about which instrument to learn as the player needs large enough hands and fingers to reach and cover the keys. Year 4 is recommended but some Year 3 pupils may be suitable. Bassoonists are usually able to hold and control the instrument once in Year 5.
It is also recommended that pupils have their 2nd set of front teeth before starting lessons or they may encounter problems in blowing.
The Saxophone is also an option to those in Year 5 or above. Some choose, once a proficient player, to take it up as an additional instrument.
Pupils can start on Violin and Cello at an earlier age than most of the other instruments. These instruments come in different sizes and the correct one will be issued to each pupil. When they grow they can be moved onto the next size.
Some pupils start on a Viola which is slightly larger than the Violin but most learn the basics on a Violin, then transfer to the Viola usually at High School. A few pupils learn it as a second instrument.
Many youngsters enjoy learning the Double Bass because of its sound and the independence of the instrument when playing in an orchestra. Some Mini-Basses are available for beginners but it is best if the teacher assesses whether the pupil has the physical strength to hold down the strings, also if the parents will be able to transport a larger instrument when the pupil gets bigger.
Please inquire if you are interested in the Ukulele.
Tuition does take place in a small number of schools but it is based around the Drum Kit only. If the pupil wishes to join a Music Centre band then they may have to transfer to the Music Centre lessons in order to cover other areas of Percussion work not available at school.
Some lessons do take place in a small number of schools but is dependent on the availability of an instrument and room.
If lessons are taken up it is important that the pupil is able to play an instrument between lessons either at home, school or other convenient location if progress is to be made.
Pupils will need an instrument to work on between lessons if any progress is to be made.