What makes learning with Music for Life special?


Being awarded ‘Music Not-For-Profit Organisation Of The Year 24-25’ highlights the exceptional quality of our musical activities. Since 1995, Music for Life has been well known for providing outstanding tuition to children through enthusiastic, specialist freelance instrumental and vocal tutors. Championing musical opportunities for young people, we are proud to positively give back each year and develop new and exciting ways to promote music.


Lessons take place within school, during the school day at a time agreed with the school. There is strong evidence that learning to sing or play an instrument can positively enhance many other aspects of your child’s learning and development as well as having huge mental health benefits. It’s a great opportunity for your child to be part of the musical community in school as well, engaging with different people in a different context and making music together.


Learning to sing or play an instrument means you can get involved and play with others. There are lots of opportunities for your child to join one of the many groups that run in our partner schools. As well as these, Music for Life runs monthly Saturday Ensembles at Cransley School. Please see our Ensembles page for more information and if you are interested in joining one of the Ensembles on offer, please do get in touch.

choosing an instrument

How do you decide?

There really is no golden rule when choosing an instrument for lessons. Initially, we’d say to choose something your child is enthusiastic about to keep motivation levels high. Aside from this, consider the following:

6 – 8 year old

Piano, keyboard, violin, guitar, ukulele and recorder can be started from this age and make an excellent start to your musical journey.

8 – 9 year old

As long as children can hold them comfortably, wind & brass instruments can be started – trumpet, trombone, saxophone, flute and clarinet.

drum kit & singing

These tend to be restricted to high school. There are some exceptions though so please get in touch if you’d like to learn.


Find out what is currently being taught in school. We may not be able to arrange lessons on other instruments straight away, but we do our very best!

Lesson Types & Cost

Once you have chosen an instrument, you have three different lesson types to choose from. The number of lessons you would book is set according to the time of the year you book, based on how many lessons it will be possible to provide before the end of the academic year. Remember though, all new courses are only committed to the first term, before you get the option to continue. 

shared lessons

Typically, the tutor will identify two students that are around the same age, standard, and experience on the same instrument and pair them together to create a 20 minute lesson together. If no suitable pairing exists, a 15 minute individual lesson will be taught until such a time. Please note, this option isn’t available for piano or drums. 

20 minute individual

This is the most popular option available, particularly for those students that have been learning for a year or more. Most types of students are on this course with us, with many beginners starting on this lesson type. Piano and drum kit courses need to start with 20 minute lessons at least, as shared lessons aren’t available due to the nature of these instruments.

30 minute individual

Typically, more experienced players opt for these longer lessons to enable greater depth in the music and progress. Although mostly for more experience learners, we do also have beginners, including young beginners, choosing this option with great success.


Shared lessons typically cost around £29.95 a month, Individual 20 minute lessons cost around £45.75 per month and individual 30 minute lessons cost around £58.25. Course fees can vary as some schools provide a subsidy, so please check the booking portal for individual school pricings. 

Frequently asked questions

When will lessons take place?

Tutors will visit your child’s school to provide lessons during school hours at a time agreed with the school. You will be contacted by Music for Life shortly after you book advising you of when lessons are likely to start, and again a few days before the course begins to confirm the date and time of the lesson. You will also receive a letter in the post along with a practice diary that should be taken to each lesson. 

In primary schools, the day of the lesson will be specified and the tutors’ visit slot will be shown too for a guide as to when the lesson will take place. For secondary and middle schools, the day will be of the lesson will again be specified, but you will also receive a first lesson time at the start of the course. Future times will be displayed on the music notice board within school as the times typically rotate wherever possible, to ensure rotation around the curriculum week. 

A few lessons are provided outside of the school day either before or after school. If this is the case we will let you know prior to lessons starting.

If a group lesson is not possible, do I have to pay for an individual lesson?

No, not immediately.

The only exceptions are piano and drums as these lessons are not taught in a group due to the nature of the instrument. If there is nobody suitable to share with, we would provide an individual 15 minute lesson so the course can begin and lessons can start. If you decide to continue, many parents then upgrade to an individual 20 minute lesson for the next academic year. 

Is an individual lesson better than a group lesson?

Not necessarily. For the experienced player an individual would be better yes, however for beginners, many students find that learning with a friend gives a sense of comradery as they are starting their musical journey together. They can help each other out if each get stuck at certain points of learning and having a practice buddy usually means they are motivated to practice more between lessons. The other advantage is that the shared lessons are also the cheapest option, so it is a great entry point for the beginner to try lessons with a friend before continuing on a perhaps upgrading to an individual lesson. 

How will I know how my child is doing?

Each week, the tutor will make notes in the practice diary that we send to you ahead of the course start date. They will update you on progress weekly and let you know what happened during the lesson so that your child knows what to practice.

At the end of the first term of a new course of lessons you will receive a report written from the tutor. After the first term has been completed, you will receive a yearly report from the tutor during the summer term (June typically), along with an invitation to renew for the next academic year. 

How do I get an instrument?

At the point of booking, you can select that you require hire or purchase. Although you cannot hire or buy an instrument directly from us, we currently have four instrument suppliers that we recommend, offering a range of hire and purchase options for you to explore. You will need an instrument for the course of lessons and it will need to be taken into school each week. The only exception to this is piano and drum lessons, as you will be able to use the school instruments in these cases. 

What music do I need to buy?

After the first lesson, the tutor will let you know directly via the diary what music book to obtain for lessons. Please note that some tutors (and typically drum and guitar tutors) will devise their own materials as opposed to a formal publication. 

How do I book an exam?

When your child is ready for an exam, the tutor will let you know via the practice diary. They will let you know how and where to book the exam and provide all the information to you so you know exactly where and what to book. There are various exam boards that the tutor will choose from including ABRSM, Trinity, Rock School to name a few. Music for Life students undertaking exams each year have a more than 96% pass rate with many achieving Merit or Distinction. It may be less common for drum or guitar students to undertake exams, but it is possible to do so if your child is interested in doing this, please let the tutor know via the practice diary, or let us know and we will advise you further. 

How much practice should be expected?

Learning a musical instrument is incredibly fun, exciting and enjoyable, but with it requires practice to master many complex skills along the journey. Typically, many tutors ask for little and often in terms of practice between lessons, so as a guide, aim for 10 minutes a day. If you can try to get into a practice routine and have the instrument and music easily accessible, we find this makes shorter practice sessions far more productive. The more advanced you become, this 10 minutes of practice should be extended, but this will happen organically over time.

What happens if my child is absent from a lesson or doesn’t attend?

If an absence is going to be expected such as a hospital or dentist appointment or a school trip, please let us know at the office as soon as you can. You may know more than a week in advance and so in this case, please let the tutor know via the practice diary. The tutor will try their best to rearrange that lesson and reschedule it, perhaps in way of providing a double lesson the following week.

If we are unaware of an absence, in many cases the tutor will count this as a missed lesson, likewise, taking a holiday during term time will mean that scheduled lessons will be missed. 

What happens if the tutor is absent from a lesson?

The tutor will ensure that the full course of booked lessons will be taught during the academic year. As the academic year is around five weeks longer than the longest course of booked lessons, this allows for the occasional absence to occur throughout the year. Such absences like illness, INSET days, school trips (if the tutor is made aware prior to the trip), SATs won’t count towards the course total.

At the end of each month, tutors will provide their register to us at Music for Life and we will therefore keep track of lessons, assisting tutors throughout the year where we think that there may be a shortfall. If there is such a shortfall of lessons booked and lessons taught, we will provide the necessary refund during the summer break. 

What does my child need to take to their lesson each week?

Students need to take their instrument, practice diary and their music. Primary students need to take their own keyboard in for lessons on the lesson day, as availability is not always guaranteed in primary school and each keyboard is programmed differently, which can lead to confusion when practising at home. High school students don’t need to take their keyboard in each week as largely there are keyboards in school that can be used. 

Piano and Drum lessons can use the school instruments and don’t need to take the instrument into school each week.

What is the notice period to cancel lessons?

At the end of the very first term of lessons, you will receive a report written by the tutor and the option to continue, change or cancel lessons. 

Outside of this, for all other cancellations we require a term’s notice. 

My card has been charged at the point of booking – is this right?


When you book via our booking portal, you have the option to pay for the full course of lessons at that time, or arrange monthly payments. For the monthly payment option, one payment is made at the point of booking and the monthly subscription will start the month that lessons are due to begin, running until the end of the course. All monthly payments go towards the full course of booked lessons with no interest applied to the amount – it is purely the total cost, divided into equal payments. There is no correlation between lessons taught in a given month and the monthly payment.

Ready to start your musical journey?