Our History

Bury Music Centre was founded in September 1973 as a direct result of an instrumental course for young people, organised by Jeffrey Wynn Davies who had just been appointed the first Music Adviser to the former County Borough of Bury. Its first ‘home’ was the Mosses Community Centre in the heart of Bury. From the outset, young people from schools in Tottington, Ramsbottom, Radcliffe, Whitefield and Prestwich were encouraged to join their counterparts in Bury on Saturday mornings each week, and so a truly Metropolitan Centre came into being some seven months before the actual date of Local Government re-organisation.

– As Bury MBC Instrumental Teaching Service, we taught in all high schools and virtually every primary school until August 1993 when the Service was discontinued as part of Bury Council’s financial policy.

– Rather than leave Bury schools bereft of instrumental teaching, in September 1993 Bury Music Service Limited, a non-profit making organisation, was established by Jeffrey Wynn Davies ex LA Advisor for Music, Paul Jarvis ex LA Head of Strings became Director of Studies and Lawrence Yates, ex LA Head of Brass, became Director/Senior Teacher. Both Paul Jarvis and Lawrence Yates have since retired.

– Since 1993, Bury Music Service Limited has been far and away the biggest provider of musical instrument lessons and other music support within the Borough. The Company is delighted to be carrying on the tradition of bringing music to Bury’s schools.

– We offer tuition on a whole range of instruments, and most pupils have free use of their chosen instrument.

– We also provide vocal coaching in some of the high schools.

– We have become highly involved with the Wider Opportunities Project and provide this service to an increasing number of primary schools. This project continues to thrive with pupils taking part in concerts, with some pupils taking the opportunity to graduate to small group lessons.

– Curriculum cover is also provided in some schools.

– During each spring term, we are involved in ‘Children of Bury Sing’ to which Bury’s primary schools are invited to take part in at Bury Castle Leisure Centre.

– We have an excellent teaching staff and almost all are music graduates who are selected for their teaching ability and caring attitude towards children. A number of our current teaching staff were themselves our pupils who have graduated to become excellent teachers.

– Over the years we have had, and indeed, are still obtaining, outstanding results in national music examinations, largely with the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music and also Trinity College London. Over the years a number of our pupils have graduated to the Royal Northern College of Music and Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester. Indeed, some of our past students now play in national orchestras, e.g. The Hallé, Liverpool Philharmonic, the London Symphony Orchestra and the National Orchestra of Wales. We currently have students who perform with the Hallé Youth Choir and Youth Orchestra.

– Bury Music Service is also responsible for running Bury Music Centre. The imposition of fees for lessons and attendance at the Music Centre has obviously had some impact on numbers, but despite this the Centre is still able to boast several orchestras, bands and ensembles as well as groups formed especially for specific occasions and run by staff in their own time. Almost all of the groups which existed before the discontinuation of the LA service are still performing.

– On Monday, Tuesday and Friday evenings plus Saturday mornings, at its Mersey Drive campus, the Music Centre welcomes over two hundred and fifty young people aged eight to eighteen. These youngsters play in a tremendous variety of performing units, including bands, orchestras and groups graded to cater for the different levels of age and experience. A number of the groups have taken part in the National Festival of Music for Youth with outstanding results.

– Our senior orchestras and concert bands have performed at the former Free Trade Hall, the Royal Northern College of Music, the prestigious Bridgewater Hall in Manchester and Birmingham Conservatoire.

– We hold concerts throughout the year in Bury venues, with our showcase concerts being held during the summer term. These take place over three or four evenings and feature all Music Centre pupils from the most junior groups through to our Youth Orchestra and Youth Concert Band. We have many requests from schools and charity organisations to supply groups to support school fairs and concerts. At the invitation of the Town Hall and LA, the Music Centre has also provided groups to play for various civic events.

– Since January 2012, Bury Music Service has become a member of the Greater Manchester Music Hub. Membership of the Hub has brought even more exciting opportunities for our pupils, our Brass and String Bands/Orchestras have played at Media City, with our woodwind pupils looking forward to playing there in the near future.

– At the present time we have thirty five teaching staff and three administrative staff.

– In the Summer term of 2014, Mrs Gemma Price became the new Head of Service.

– Whilst Director of Studies, Paul Jarvis, commented that “the Music Centre is a very special place that has influenced the lives of countless youngsters, long may it continue”.

Q. What is Bury Music Service’s commitment to my child?

A. We guarantee 30 lessons per year for your child. It is possible that your child may receive more than this number of lessons – at no extra cost to you. The extra lessons are built into the academic year in order to take into account such things as teacher absence etc.

Free use of an instrument*, if you are a resident of the Metropolitan Borough of Bury, or your child attends a Bury LEA school. * Please note this does not apply to guitar, piano, keyboard or percussion .

An assessment system with certificates awarded at different stages of progress for the early grades. We thus monitor your child’s progress continually. The system is flexible and informal, and tests take place during their music lesson.

Your child may be entered for external music exams with either the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) or Trinity College, London. Parents are required to pay the fee for these exams.

Annual parents’ evenings. You can come and discuss your child’s progress with his/her tutor.

Easy access to Bury Music Centre’s weekend performing activities.  Your child’s music tutor will advise as to when vacancies in junior groups are available.

Q. Can I choose tuition on any instrument?

A. Yes, provided that we have a viable number of pupils wishing to learn a particular instrument at a school, we can provide the expert staff.

Q. When should my child start to play?

A. You should refer to the chart on your brochure for suitable starting ages – they do vary. If your child wishes to learn a woodwind or brass instrument they will need to have their second teeth nicely settled. We teach Year 2 and upwards.

If your child “missed out” at primary school, don’t despair, many high school beginners go on to be excellent players.

Q. Why offer tuition in groups?

A. In our experience and that of many similar services, group tuition really works. The benefits of being able to learn and perform together from the earliest stage are very considerable. Lessons are masterclass in style and there will be a significant amount of individual tuition given within the group. We recommend beginning lessons in a group.

Q. What size are tuition groups?

A. This will vary. Normally pupils will be in a group of four players, but group sizes can sometimes change to ensure the best educational benefits.

Q. As a beginner, will my child be able to learn for a trial period?

A. In practice, yes. Although we ask you for a two term commitment (in order that we can plan efficiently,) we will in fact be assessing your child during the first term. If we have any concerns, we will advise and talk to you about this. There could be a number of reasons for initial difficulties so we will try to resolve the issue with you.

Q. Will my child have a lesson during the school day?

A. Tutors visit primary schools at set times. Secondary schools are usually offered a rota system so that pupils are taught at different times each week. In addition, where possible, there are opportunities for older students to have a lesson during their lunch break or after school.

Q. Can my child have an individual lesson?

A. We don’t recommend individual lessons to new starters, but pupils can eventually progress onto an individual lesson if they feel it will benefit them. There is no new starter discount for individual lessons.

Q. Is there a reduction for members of the same family?

A. Yes, you will get a discount off lessons for siblings. Please see our Scale of Fees. (Applies to Standard Group or Individual Fees only).

Q. What does the Service ask of us as parents?

A. We ask that termly fees are paid in advance. A monthly Direct Debit scheme is available, please ask for details.

We would ask you to give half a term’s notice in writing if you wish your child to discontinue lessons. We regret that lessons may only be discontinued at the end of a school term and that if your child is unable to attend a scheduled lesson, there can be no refund of fees.

We ask you to encourage your child, particularly during the early stages of tuition, to practice. Competence on a musical instrument is not acquired overnight! However, the rewards for patience and perseverance are very tangible and lasting.

We hope that this information has been of help to you. If you would like any more information, please contact us between the hours of 9.30am – 4.30pm Monday to Friday or use our contact form.