At Charters School, we believe in giving high quality musical opportunities to all of our students, knowing that they can gain real pleasure and satisfaction from joining others to play and sing. Music teaches many skills such as teamwork, resilience and communication. It is hoped that the skills and experiences gained through joining in these activities at school will give great enjoyment and will benefit our students throughout their lives.
Secondary school is the perfect opportunity for your child to get involved in Music, whether continuing from their lessons in primary school, or starting something new. Music can provide an excellent means of making friends, and the benefits of learning an instrument can be significant, as this excellent TED talk explains:
MUSIC INSTRUMENT AND SINGING LESSONS
We currently provide facilities to accommodate over 130 vocal and instrumental lessons each week, as well as Music Theory tuition. Lessons are provided by our own teachers as well as teachers supplied by Berkshire Maestros. Lessons are usually individual and last for 30 minutes, although some group and 20-minute lessons are available. Students receive approximately 30 lessons during the year.
All lessons take place during the school day and parent/carers accept that this will usually result in a student being withdrawn from their normal school subject class for the duration of the music lesson. Music lesson times are rotated each week so that students do not miss, wherever possible, the same subject. Sixth Form lessons must be arranged during free periods only, and some slots may be available before and after the school day.
The Music teacher is not responsible for escorting children to/from lessons. Students are encouraged to self-manage their attendance at music lessons by knowing (and having an up-to-date copy) of both their music and academic timetables. They should also monitor the school Music Notice Board to confirm the day and time of their lesson each week (or any changes) and are responsible for excusing themselves from their academic lesson. Timetables will be emailed out to students by their Music teacher or will be available online from Berkshire Maestros. Students do not have to take examinations, but they are encouraged to do so if they wish.
We will do our very best to accommodate all those students who wish to have lessons. There is occasionally a waiting list operating for certain instruments. We encourage you to register for lessons in September as soon as possible, and in advance of the end of the summer term wherever possible, to ensure the smoothest possible transition in the next academic year.
ENROLLING FOR MUSIC LESSONS AT CHARTERS
Private music teachers are available for the following instruments: Piano, Drums, Electric Guitar, Ukulele, Keyboard and Music Theory. Terms and Conditions for our private music teachers and an application form for their services are can be found at the bottom of this page.
For all other instruments and Voice, please go to the Berkshire Maestros website.
REGULAR REHEARSALS AND PERFORMANCES
We are fortunate to have a wide range of musical ensembles at Charters. The majority are open to all students, with only a few requiring audition, due to the number of spaces available. Concerts take place throughout the School year both within School and at community events and we regularly go on tour to countries such as Spain and Holland. In addition to our regular staff-led ensembles, students often meet in small groups to rehearse chamber music and are encouraged to establish and run groups according to their own interests. There are also opportunities for students who have formed their own bands to perform, including annual Charterstock and Charters Unplugged events.
Where the opportunity arises, we also hold workshops and masterclasses with visiting artists, most recently with composer Matthew Barley. Across KS3, students also participate in workshops on African Drumming, Samba and Gamelan led by visiting artists, as part of their Music curriculum.
If you have any queries about Piano, Drums, Keyboard, Ukulele or Guitar lessons, please contact our Music Administrator. For information about ensembles and other events, please contact our Director of Music.
Terms and Conditions for Musical Lessons
TERMS AND CONDITIONS effective from July 2021
TIME OF LESSONS
Private music lessons take place during the school day. Parents/Carers accept that this will usually result in a pupil being withdrawn from their normal school classes for the duration of the lesson. Lesson times are rotated each week so that students do not miss the same subject lessons, wherever possible. The music teacher is not responsible for escorting children to/from lessons.
Pupils are responsible for monitoring the school Music Notice Board to confirm the day and time of their lesson each week. Timetables will be emailed out to students by their music teacher or will be available online from Berkshire Maestros. There are usually between 10 and 13 weeks of teaching per term. Very occasionally either our private teachers or Berkshire Maestros may need to change their teaching day and/or time of class. Teachers will always inform school and students if this is the case and they will always make up any missed lessons either in person or online.
Lessons will begin as soon as possible following receipt of a completed enrolment form, subject to there being space available on the teaching timetable. Where space is not available, a waiting list will apply. The minimum commitment and charge for lessons is until the end of the term in which attendance begins. Trial lessons/sessions may be available by special request, depending on the availability of the music teacher.
Fees are payable termly in advance to the specific teacher, prior to the commencement of lessons. In the event of financial difficulty, please contact the teacher immediately to arrange a payment plan or to discuss other available options. Failure to either make payment prior to the first lesson of the term or to contact us or the music teacher will lead to the withdrawal of tuition. The easiest way to pay for lessons is via direct bank payment to the teacher. Examination fees are payable to the teacher in the term that the examination entry is made.
Examination entries are submitted by the instrumental teacher acting upon the instructions of the parent/carer. Responsibility for the notification of results lies with the teacher. Parents/Carers undertake to make their own arrangements for accompanists. Charters School is not liable for the payment of examination fees or accompanist fees.
Lessons missed by pupils due to short term sickness, school trips/activities, revision leave, exams, forgotten time etc. may be made up with an extra lesson at the teacher’s discretion. When 5 or more consecutive sessions are missed in the same term due to illness/injury we will credit a maximum of 5 lessons. A medical certificate may be required. When staff miss a session due to illness or travel delay they will do their best to make the session up (e.g. through an extra lesson or a double lesson).
In the event of an emergency or closure of the school (full or partial) due to an event outside our control (e.g. a pandemic, flooding, heavy snow or industrial action) sessions will not be made up or credited.
Charters School does not accept liability for loss or damage to students’ instruments or personal possessions. Parents/Carers should arrange appropriate insurance for these items.
Students are expected to behave in a responsible and courteous manner at all times; to attend lessons regularly and to practise between lessons. Poor attendance, disruptive or anti-social behaviour by either the pupil or by the parent/carer, may result in tuition being withdrawn. No credits will be given in such circumstances.
Parents/Carers agree to provide instruments, music and accessories as required, and to arrange for accompanists where required. Berkshire Maestros provide a rental scheme for many instruments.
Notice must be given in writing if a pupil wishes to withdraw from lessons. The notice period is one half-term. If the required notice to withdraw from lessons is not given, a late notice charge of one half-term’s fees will be payable towards the cost of rescheduling lessons and/or loss of planned income. Payment of the late notice charge does not entitle a pupil to attend lessons. If a pupil withdraws part way through a term, the term’s charges remain payable in full. Lessons will continue term on term and year on year until appropriate written notice of withdrawal is received.