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Music tuition

The Community Music Service (CMS) provides individual and group tuition for children, young people and adults. We deliver weekly ensembles both in schools and at the music centre, workshops and projects including partnership work with professional orchestras and music education organisations.

CMS teachers deliver a programme of live music concerts in schools and children’s centres. We also offer curriculum advice and support to schools and support our team of staff with continuing professional development.

Our vision

To provide opportunities for every young person to develop through music and enjoy high quality musical experiences

Our aim

To inspire and enable all children within the music education hub to learn an instrument, to make music with others, to sing and to have the opportunity to progress.

Composing, performing and listening to music enables personal expression, reflection and emotional development. The active involvement in music individually and communally increases self‐discipline, creativity, aesthetic sensitivity and fulfilment.

Enquire about learning a musical instrument

At the Music Centre Toggle accordion

Lessons for adults and children

The Community Music Service (CMS) is pleased to offer music centre lessons for adults and children (18 years and under) who live in Barking and Dagenham, to further their interest in playing a musical instrument of their choice and to provide opportunities for children to play in ensembles with other CMS pupils.

Our vision is to provide opportunities for all children and young people to develop through music and enjoy high quality musical experiences. Music provides experiences that can develop a person’s potential in many areas of their life.

Playing a musical instrument and performing with others helps to concentrate the mind, supports self confidence and team work, encourages self expression and can be great fun. The CMS teaches thousands of young people and you could join them in making the most of the opportunity to play an instrument.

Music Centre lessons are available to all children and adults who live, or who are educated in the Barking and Dagenham. The lessons will take place at the Sydney Russell School from Monday to Thursday after school starting from 3.30pm.

Music at school Toggle accordion

The Community Music Service (CMS) provides individual and group tuition for children, young people and adults. We deliver weekly ensembles both in schools and at the music centre, workshops and projects including partnership work with professional orchestras and music education organisations.

CMS teachers deliver a programme of live music concerts in schools and children’s centres. We also offer curriculum advice and support to schools and support our team of staff with continuing professional development.

The council is determined not to let any economic disadvantages put a ceiling on achievement and this includes music. The council has a clear principle that music is free at the point of delivery and that no parents pay for tuition. This is supported by schools who contribute towards the costs of music tuition for their children. The CMS strives to ensure as many pupils as possible have the opportunity to learn to play an instrument.

CMS teachers visit each primary, junior and secondary school weekly and provide instrumental lessons. In junior and primary schools whole classes learn to play instruments through the Wider Opportunities programme.

Instruments Toggle accordion

Instruments taught in junior and primary schools are:

  • cello
  • clarinet
  • euphonium
  • flute
  • mini double bass
  • oboe
  • percussion
  • trombone
  • trumpet
  • tuba
  • viola
  • violin

Instruments taught in secondary schools are:

  • bass guitar
  • cello
  • clarinet
  • drum kit
  • euphonium
  • electric guitar
  • flute
  • guitar
  • keyboard
  • mini double bass
  • percussion
  • piano
  • oboe
  • saxophone
  • singing
  • trombone
  • trumpet
  • tuba
  • viola
  • violin

Enquire about learning a musical instrument

Individual tuition Toggle accordion

Individual tuition means 1 pupil, 1 teacher. Individual instrumental tuition consists of three terms of ten 30 minute lessons at a cost of £220 (per term) for 10 lessons of 30 minutes

Music Centre lessons are available to all children and adults who live, or in the case of children, are educated in the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham. The lessons will take place at the Sydney Russell School from Monday to Thursday after school starting from 3.30pm.

Payment details will be sent to you when a place has been confirmed.

Individual music tuition application form

Group music tuition Toggle accordion

Group instrumental tuition is a year foundation programme starting in September, taught in groups of up to 6 and is available for junior/primary school children of the following years in these instruments:

  • school year 2 to year 6 in recorder
  • school year 4 to year 6 in guitar

The lessons consists of three terms of ten 30 minute lessons. Annual payment is £132 for 30 lessons of 30 minutes

You must have a guitar or recorder for tuition for each of these. if you would like to purchase either from the CMS, we have them available at a cost of:

  • recorder £7 each
  • acoustic guitar (depending on size) £40 to £65 each

(prices fluctuate, ask at the CMS office for current cost)

If you would like to apply for group tuition, complete the form:

Music Centre lessons are available to all children who live or are educated in the London Borough of Barking & Dagenham.

The lessons will take place at the Sydney Russell School from Monday to Thursday after school starting from 3.30pm.

Group music tuition application form

Wider Opportunities programme Toggle accordion

This exciting programme involves the whole class and is a music lesson which includes learning a musical instrument. The Community Music Service provides instrumental teachers and instruments to schools who ‘buy in’ wider opportunities provision.

The class teacher and Community Music Service tutors work together with the whole class using orchestral and/or percussion instruments. Many schools and classes benefit from this opportunity to learn an instrument. This is the first access to a musical instrument for an increasing number of pupils.

Wider Opportunities lessons take place in year 5. The orchestral instruments may be taken home for practice and brought to schools for the music activities/lessons. There may be a charge for instrument hire and insurance.

After the programme has ended the pupils have the opportunity to continue learning the instrument through instrumental and vocal lessons given in junior/primary and secondary schools by CMS instrumental teachers.

Buying or hiring instruments Toggle accordion

Instrumental hire and insurance

If instrumental lessons are offered, the pupil will be given an instrument allocation form. You will need to contact the Music Centre to book an appointment to complete the necessary paperwork, pay insurance and collect the relevant instrument.

All orchestral instruments are hired and insured for pupils at a charge to parents of £20 per annum (this excludes pianos, keyboards, guitars, bass guitars or percussion instruments). This covers the maintenance and replacement of the instrument. Parents are required to pay an excess fee of £35 (£10 for guitars) should the instrument be lost, stolen or damaged beyond repair.

Your personal information

The CMS holds a secure database of parent/pupil information and only uses information necessary for providing a good service to you and necessary statistics for government funding. If your circumstances change, keep the Music Centre office up-to-date. This will ensure we keep you informed with the latest news and any changes in our service.

Assisted instrumental purchase

School aged children who attend a school in the borough and are taught by the CMS, are able to purchase an instrument through the CMS via the assisted instrumental purchase scheme (AIPS). It allows students to purchase instruments without having to pay the VAT. Contact the Music Centre for more details.

Purchase of music and accessories Toggle accordion

It may be necessary for parents/carers to purchase music or accessories to support your child’s further progress on their instrument.


Reeds, strings, oil, rosin etc., can be purchased through your child’s music teacher or from the Music Office.


If it is necessary to purchase music, it is illegal for music to be photocopied due to music copyright laws, therefore, a request may be made by your child’s instrumental teacher.

Music can be purchased from a number of retailers, here are some options:

Online retailers

Prices may differ and there may be a postage charge.

High street music shops

Advance Music

79 Station Lane, Hornchurch

01708 442748

Music Land

54 North Street, Romford

01708 737977

Cliff Owen Music

8-10 Cameron Road, Seven Kings

020 8597 0813

CMS Music Office

We will require payment before music can be ordered and we can only bulk order to obtain free delivery, so there may be a delay in getting your music. Alternatively, you can pay an additional £1 for the music shop to post your book to us individually.

The price for music and accessories can change, contact the Music Office if you need the latest price.

Examinations Toggle accordion

Examinations are held each term at the Music Centre. We hold the CMS beginners IPE exam, Associated Board Royal School of Music (ABRSM) practical and theory exams plus Rock School practical exams.

Intermediate Performance Examination (IPE) practical exam

This is a gentle introduction where the examiner gives encouraging feedback. When they pass this exam a certificate will be sent to the pupil's school (LBBD only) to be signed by the head teacher or head of music and handed to the pupil.

Associated Board Royal School of Music (ABRSM) practical exam

CMS pupils are entered from Grade 2 to Grade 8. To enter a Grade 6 practical level you will need to have passed Grade 5 Theory. The AB grades are recognised as international benchmarks & are valued by teachers & institutions all over the world. Grades 6 upwards also carry UCAS tariff points.

For full information visit ABRSM.

Associated Board Royal School of Music (ABRSM) theory exam

There is a fast track theory class that pupils are invited to attend when they reach the appropriate level (usually as they reach practical exam grade 5). The class follows the syllabus requirements for grade 5 theory.

Pupils enter the exam after 1 year of study.

For full information visit ABRSM.

Rockschool exams

Rockschool is Europe’s number 1 rock music exam board, they offer rock musicians the opportunity to get the same qualifications that classical musicians can get. All their graded music exams have original set repertoire, encourage improvisation and have an element of free choice so you can play the music you love and get a qualification.

They are committed to making music examinations and qualifications practical, flexible and fun. Start from debut grade for beginners and then progress through grades 1 to 8.

For full information visit Rockschool.

Exams your child will take

Wider Opportunitiespupils learn an instrument for one year as part of a whole class instrumental lesson. During the year pupils are taught how to play and read an octave, they can improvise short melodic and rhythmic phrases and have been introduced to different types of music and genres.

If they choose to continue learning in Year 6 they will be working towards an intermediate performance examination (IPE) exam. 

Peripatetic (peri) pupils are those continuing from the whole class lessons or those starting in school or at the Music Centre in small groups or individual lessons. They will be working towards their first examination which is the intermediate performance examination (IPE) exam. They will then progress through the ABRSM Practical exams and will need to take the ABRSM Theory exam when they are working towards taking a grade 6 practical exam.

For those pupils learning rock type instruments - electric guitar, bass guitar and drum kit - they will be invited to take Rockschool exams which start at debut grade, then grades 1 to 8.

Music in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Toggle accordion

Barking and Dagenham Music Hub (CMS) commissioned an important piece of research on Music in the EYFS settings in the borough. 

The aim of the research was to establish what is already happening across the borough in EYFS school settings in regards to music education and singing and also to find out from schools if there are gaps in their provision or areas for development. The resulting document from this research is the EYFS Acoustic Futures report, highlighting our findings.

From the information received we are putting together a bid to trial a new pilot which aims to address issues raised during the consultation process.

Other useful information for parents Toggle accordion

Applying for instrumental/vocal lessons in schools

  • tell the school that you wish your child to have an opportunity to learn a musical instrument
  • if there are spaces then you will be given a Parental Consent form to complete
  • if there are no spaces then your child will be placed on a waiting list


The school will organise pupils to meet the instrumental teacher who will assess their suitability for the specific instrument. The assessment is based on physical suitability, basic musical understanding and enthusiasm/commitment.

Instrumental teaching policy

All instrumental lessons are free to pupils who attend schools in Barking and Dagenham schools. The instrumental lesson takes place in school or at the Music Centre.

Lessons are 30 minutes in length. Pupils are taught in small groups, pairs or individually unless offered within Wider Opportunities programmes:

  • Beginners: group of 4 to 8
  • Grade 3 or 4: In smaller groups or pairs
  • Grade 5+ : Individual lessons

Achievements and progress

All instrumental and vocal pupils are regularly assessed by CMS instrumental tutors. At the end of each term CMS tutors will review the term. They will discuss and agree with your child their targets for the upcoming term. This will be written into your child’s practice book so that it can be referred to throughout the following term. If you have any questions for the instrumental tutor, add a comment in your child’s practice book and the tutor will write their response or contact you directly if requested.

Every child currently having instrumental lessons will receive a printed progress report. This will be handed to them by their instrumental tutor during a summer term lesson.

Quality and standards

CMS is supported enthusiastically by councillors and significant funding is provided via the schools forum. In terms of governance a CMS advisory group is in place which meets termly. Members of the group include councillors, the head and deputy head of service, the principal inspector, the head of the Adult College and representatives from infant, primary and secondary school head teachers, a student representative and a parent representative.

CMS enjoy positive relationships with schools and regularly seek feedback in the form of surveys and through the advisory group. Evidence suggests our service is valued and stakeholders and service users are very positive about the service they receive.

Community Music Centre

Adult College, Fanshawe Crescent, Dagenham RM9 5QA

020 8270 6690