Who should decide whether DC learns instrument?

(91 Posts)
GetStuffezd Mon 23-Sep-13 21:58:08

I teach in a Junior School. Recently we had a brass band in and, subsequently, letters were sent out to children (in lower years, who I don't teach) who were interested in learning a brass instrument. Obviously there were limited places so my colleague asked all the children who was interested in learning X,Y or Z and letters were given to those who expressed interest.

Friend has now had complaints from a couple of parents who are unhappy they weren't given the letters. Friend maintains the children weren't interested in learning, so what was the point of giving them the letter? I think I agree.
How would you feel if it were your child?

carolmillen Mon 23-Sep-13 22:01:49

I think all parents should have been given the letters.

morethanpotatoprints Mon 23-Sep-13 22:03:40

I think all communication should be given to the parents, they should ask their dc. It could open a conversation of no mum/dad I don't want to play a brass instrument but I'd like to play violin.

GetStuffezd Mon 23-Sep-13 22:03:52

Can I ask why, carol? I'm not disagreeing - but we discussed this in the staffroom and not one person thought giving all parents letters as the right option. I don't have DC so maybe I'd feel differently if I did - but at the same time, if my child expressed no interest in an activity, why should I put them forward for it?

hels71 Mon 23-Sep-13 22:04:44

I would send a letter to every child that was eligible. Parents should know what is available. Some children may say they are not interested because they think parents can not afford it or would not like it. Some may think at the time they are not interested but after chats at home might be. There just needs to be a system in place for allocating places if they are over subscribed.

GetStuffezd Mon 23-Sep-13 22:04:51

Fair point, morethan. At least that way I suppose all parents know the lessons do actually take place.

carolmillen Mon 23-Sep-13 22:07:00

I think that certain children won't put themselves forward, particularly in a group or if one of their friends doesn't show an interest but might do so if asked by their parents at home.

Also, even if a child shows an interest, it doesn't mean that their parents would be happy to support that (e.g if it means a time commitment or extra money).

ZZZenagain Mon 23-Sep-13 22:07:17

I also think the letters should have gone out to all the parents. It is for the parents to discuss with their dc whether they should take up an instrument.

sittinginthesun Mon 23-Sep-13 22:08:54

The system at our school seems to be a letter to all parents, and first come first serve on places.

Those who are very keen are often waiting by the school office door the next morning.

GetStuffezd Mon 23-Sep-13 22:09:34

Actually, I will say I think my opinion is at least partly formed by having to be the kid who was "encouraged" to play violin for years despite loathing it!!
Reading with interest.

partybags Mon 23-Sep-13 22:11:50

letters should have gone to all parents.

my own dd didn't want to learn the cello when it was offered at school. we chatted a bit at home about making the most of opportunities, and she is now in her 4th year of learning, and loving it.

some children aren't the best at speaking up in group situations, or may follow their friends' example, or give in to peer pressure, etc.

parents can't support and encourage if they don't know what opportunities exist.

applebread Mon 23-Sep-13 22:14:54

Letters to all parents. Some kids won't push themselves forward in a situation like this. Even if a child isn't desperate to learn trombone a year or two of music lessons may do them tge world of good broadening horizons and developing work ethic.

MirandaWest Mon 23-Sep-13 22:16:03

There was a similar thing at my DCs school - the brass teacher from the local music service came in and did an assembly. There was an email sent to everyone explaining about the music service and saying that lessons were available and explaining the procedure. I think that was the right way to do it.

AbbyR1973 Mon 23-Sep-13 22:17:31

I agree that I think parents should be asked for the reasons stated by others but also because some children might be interested by too shy/ inhibited to express their interest, or who feel anxious about trying something new but would still be interested. Parents are best placed to have these discussions with their children.

DeWe Mon 23-Sep-13 22:24:50

I think all children should have been given them. Dd1 at one point was in a class asked if they wanted to do something. She didn't put up her hand because she was afraid someone would laugh at her for wanting to do it. She was very upset (and would have benefitted from doing it too). because she then wasn't eligible.
My sister often missed out on that sort of thing because she assumed (often wrongly) that my dp wouldn't want her doing it. She used to get frustrated when I started doing it because she'd never asked.

Anyway, sometimes I can enthuse one of my dc into doing something that they know little about. If my dc brought home a letter like that and I thought they might enjoy it, I'd show them some youtube of players, talk about marching bands, show them how it works.

If you just say "those who are interested in XYZ" well some of the children may not know what it entails.

And in addition, I was one of a group of 5 children chosen from my year to learn (free) violin. We were auditioned if we wanted to and the music teacher and form teacher discussed who would be chosen. I heard the conversation and I was very much the last choice...

In my group: I continued to grade 5 level at age 16, did grade 2 after learning for 5 terms.
Child A: Gave up at 11 when he moved school as next school only had a band not orchestra and he wanted to be in the band. Was looking at doing grade 1 after 2 years, but didn't want to as he was giving it up anyway.
Child B: Practiced sometimes, but had gym 5 days a week and didn't really have time.
Child C: Took the violin home and occasionally practiced.
Child D: Never even bothered to take her violin home after the first week. Was totally open about the fact that she had only wanted to be chosen to do it to lord over everyone and didn't really want to do the actual playing.
Child B, C and D gave up after 4-6 terms.

This was the cream of the children who had wanted to do it, parents had no say in the audition-it came totally out of the blue.

Bumpstarter Mon 23-Sep-13 22:40:52

Whether or not the teachers really explained what it meant to learn the instrument (The opportunities that would be available later, the amount of practise needed to get any good, the kind of music they would play, the way the teacher was going to teach it etc etc etc,) if the parents do not know about the opportunity they might, justifiably, suspect that their child may not have made an informed decision about it.

Allowing the parents to participate in the process may mean different kids end up choosing to put their name down. I can see why the teachers thought it fair. But I do wonder if they really explained to the kids what taking or refusing the opportunity would mean.

steppemum Mon 23-Sep-13 22:46:16

all children should have had the letter.

Not all children will speak up/put their hands up. Some will wait to see if it is a 'cool' activity.
Some will not get what it means, go home and chat to Mum, discover mum is supportive and decide to give it a go

souperb Mon 23-Sep-13 22:54:47

All children should have had the letter. Not everyone is brave enough to stick their hand up, not everyone has initiative to stick their hand up, and it's a conversation starter for parents and children on the subject of any instrument, or even learning any skill (e.g. I don't want to learn an instrument, but I'd prefer giving breakdancing/cookery/whatever a go if that is available).

I like to know what is available for my DC, even if we don't want to/aren't able do it, because it gives us ideas of what sorts of things are possible.

flowery Mon 23-Sep-13 23:00:52

All should get the letter. I missed out this way. We were asked in assembly when I was about 8 or 9 to put our hands up if we were interested in learning violin. I was shy about putting my hand up generally and also didn't think I would be allowed because of the money (not realising it was free).

A few years later I was able to start lessons but I missed out because it was done that way.

PatriciaHolm Mon 23-Sep-13 23:41:12

Letters to all children. Only sending to those you think might be interested smacks of prejudiced preselection; how can you possibly tell who really will be motivated by it? It's not your decision to make.

maree1 Tue 24-Sep-13 00:32:52

All parents should have been informed. The fair option.

TootsFroots Tue 24-Sep-13 00:38:54

I also think that letters should have gone to everyone. At that age the kids may not have thought it through. I would have thought it very odd not to be informed. I do think it would have been reasonable to let the parents know, in the letter, that you only want kids who are keen to play instruments to join the band.

TootsFroots Tue 24-Sep-13 00:41:07

It's 100% votes for sending the letter to everyone (so far)

peggyundercrackers Tue 24-Sep-13 00:49:44

im struggling with the fact that the teachers had a conversation about it and not one of them thought it was right to send the letters to all parents. I cant imagine what kind of education the kids are getting if the teachers minds are closed to children learning new things because they don't show an interest.

ClayDavis Tue 24-Sep-13 01:10:48

It does seem odd, peggy. I don't think I've come across a situation like this where all children weren't given the letters. That's with knowledge of schools in 3 different LAs. In the LA I grew up in the letters are sent out to every child in Year 1 across all schools. There would be outrage if the class teachers chose who to send the letters to.

BlackMogul Tue 24-Sep-13 01:25:08

I would find it odd that a teacher just asked the children. They are not best placed to judge for many of the reasons already stated. I think if places are limited it has to go on ability so where I live, there is a short "test" to gauge likely musical ability in year 3.

ZingWantsCake Tue 24-Sep-13 01:33:45

I also think all parents should have been notified.

especially because some of the children may have missed school that day (due to illness) and were unaware of the opportunity and never had a chance to express their interest.

if there's way more interest than available places first comes first served is normally the way to go. or a second "lesson" should be available

ClayDavis Tue 24-Sep-13 01:36:17

Ours start lessons from beginning of year 2 so there is a 'musical aptitude' test towards the end of year 1. They do require commitment to LA and school orchestras from year 3 onwards and can and do remove places from those who aren't committed.

ZingWantsCake Tue 24-Sep-13 01:52:17

and kids not showing an interest due to worrying about the money is a real thing.

mine have music lessons. we can afford them.

but last year DS2 gave up football because he was half- arsed about it and I said I'm not wasting money on something he doesn't really want to do. who can afford that?
so DS3 said this year that he'd like to do football but he won't because it is expensive and he doesn't want to waste our money (bless him)

it took me a while to convince him that I'm more than happy to pay for football and that he should worry about the expense, we have money budgeted each month for stuff like that!

Eventually I asked him that if football was free would he want to do it or not. he thought about it then said no.
he said he likes playing in the garden but not at school.
and he wanted to know if he can change his mind later and maybe do it next year.smile

he chose to do chess club and guitar instead (both started today, he loved both) - which combined will cost 4 times as much as the football would have! ( but I'm not telling him thatgrin )

seventiesgirl Tue 24-Sep-13 06:40:06

Agree with all parents being given a letter. I too would have been one of the shy ones not putting up a hand when asked but if given the chance to go home and talk to mum and dad may have been interested.

Unlike my older sister I never had piano lessons (even though we owned a piano) or ballet lessons "because I never expressed an interest". I still feel regret about this and am going to make sure my son gets an opportunity to try activities at least in case there's something out there that really rocks his boat!

alpinemeadow Tue 24-Sep-13 06:57:11

Only sending the letter to those who express an interest risks excluding the shy and those lacking in self-confidence, the ones who are away ill (very good point zing!), the ones who (wrongly) think their parents wouldn't want them to. A parent might discuss with the child and encourage them to have a go - child may then give up after a fortnight, or love it and carry on for years. My answer to your question is therefore - i would want to get a letter!

noramum Tue 24-Sep-13 07:12:36

All parents should have received a letter. Our school works in partnership with a children music trust and offers from Y1 onwards piano, cello and violin lesson.

For us it is great as the 20 min lesson is during the day so we don't have to wiggle another activity into the small after-school time we have as we both work.

We actually favoured the piano but DD was determined to learn the violin and still loves it.

I think while some children will be putting their hands up it is not fair to children who may be shy or absent. Also talking through it with the parent will make some aware what it is and what it involves and they may decide to take it up.

AbbyR1973 Tue 24-Sep-13 07:15:34

Actually I think that "musical aptitude tests" are not the way forward either. It rather suggests that you should only do music if there is a fair chance that you are going to be good at it. Music is not just about whether you might be good enough play in orchestra's later on or do something amazing with it, although clearly it would be nice to identify children with a particular talent. Music is also a broadening hobby that children can take on through their whole lives. Also the choice of whether to do it or not should be available from the off, not just restricted to older ages. DS started violin last year in reception. Letters came out to the whole school and DS had seen some older girls playing in assembly and said he wanted to do it.

alpinemeadow Tue 24-Sep-13 07:21:14

Also, school is usually thought of as partnership between school and parent (and child!), so i would expect parents normally to be involved in decisions like this. An imperfect analogy might be if you were discussing option choices - all schools would assume children would discuss it with parents! Yes, options are (much) more important, (i said analogy was imperfect!) but choice whether to do musical instrument or not is not un important!

alpinemeadow Tue 24-Sep-13 07:27:57

Yes and v agree with abby against aptitude testing being the criterion. Aptitude is something you can develop to some extent (not to transform your aptitude but definitely increase it) - a bit like those vr and non vr tests, because you can definitely 'hone' your ear. So even if you clunk through the aptitude test you can still learn to play some instruments competently!

friday16 Tue 24-Sep-13 09:05:57

Friend has now had complaints from a couple of parents who are unhappy they weren't given the letters.

Quite right too. Next time the school talks about wanting to involve parents in a partnership to support behaviour and learning, it's to be hoped that the school is reminded that it's not a one-way street.

alpinemeadow Tue 24-Sep-13 09:12:29

It is interesting that there seems to be such a clear divide between staff room and parents on this!
Get, you'll have gone to work by now but it would be interesting to know more about the teachers' side - is it that they feel unless the interest comes from child not parents the motivation won't be there? I can see that side of it as well, but i think that doesn't discount the 'shy, lacking in self confidence' argument on the other side of the divide. I can certainly think of cases in which initial parental encouragement has led to a lasting and rewarding interest being developed!

flowery Tue 24-Sep-13 09:16:57

My son learns violin and piano, he's year 2 and doing really well with both - he loves it. He got interested because his whole class had a go when he was at pre-school, combined with the fact that I obviously have a violin at home, plus DH and I both play the piano.

But without those things, in circumstances described by the OP, he would have been hesitant at putting his hand up in front of everyone and would have missed out. I would have been angry as a parent.

alpinemeadow Tue 24-Sep-13 09:28:39

Flowery that's a very interesting point about your playing at home - are parents more likely to encourage a child to take up an instrument if they themselves already play one? To the extent that that's true (suspect it is, but don't want to make assumptions), the way to ensure every dc has an approaching-equal opportunity would be that all children learn an instrument as part of the school day. That happens, or certainly used to happen, in some primary schools - eg whole class violin for a year - but is presumably very expensive so not all schools will want to spend the resources on that.
However, that's derailing the thread slightly - still say parents should have been sent the letter!

flowery Tue 24-Sep-13 09:38:14

Well I think parents are more likely to encourage if they play, yes. DH and I both got a lot out of playing, so when DS1 expressed an interest in getting out my violin and having a go, and enjoyed playing at pre-school, I did encourage it. Also, obviously his practice sessions with me are much more effective than they would be if he did them alone or if I had no clue, so he's making good progress which again is encouraging for him. Violin sound pretty horrendous at the beginning. grin

But my point really is that left to his own devices, knowing DS1's character, he would not have put his hand up and would have missed out.

I think all the class learning in pre-school for a year was good, and it prompted DS1's interest in my violin. Whether any of the other children kept it up (making it arguably "worth it"), I don't know - it wasn't our local pre-school so they all went to a different school.

ClayDavis Tue 24-Sep-13 09:53:44

IIRC there's a sort of 'second intake' in year 5 in my home LA. They do now provide a year of instrument teaching in class in year 4 for all children. I think that's funded by local businesses though rather than the music service itself. I don't know how that feeds into being accepted for lessons in year 5 onwards.

I learnt the violin (and subsequently viola) at school. Initially in whole-class lessons starting in Y3 (iirc).

I think abby has a v good point about aptitude testing. I had no talent whatsoever, but I liked music and I liked playing with my friends and through dogged persistence I got good enough to play in a highly regarded young people's orchestra.

I consider my musical education to have been one of the most valuable parts of my education. I got so much out of it, especially in terms of the knowledge of what it's like to work as part of a very close and effective team.

I think it's such a shame that only kids who's parents can afford to pay get that kind of opportunity these days.

To get back on topic ;) My DD1 is shy and would be quite likely not to put her hand up if asked to express and interest in class, so I agree that letters should have gone to everybody.

ha ha flowery beginner string players do sound really terrible, don't they? When I learnt they didn't let kids take instruments home for a while (1 or 2 terms, I think) because they'd had cases of parents discouraging kids because they sounded so awful...

titchy Tue 24-Sep-13 10:00:55

Entirely agree with everyone else. Apart from the obvious reasons that have been pointed out - it's generally thought of as good to communicate with parents and let them know what's going on and what opportunities are available. I take it your school doesn't think communicating with parents is particularly important?

rabbitstew Tue 24-Sep-13 10:34:54

My dss' school does two years of whole year-group musical instrument teaching, in years 4 and 5, so some schools do still do that, strongandlong.

flowery Tue 24-Sep-13 10:48:57

"When I learnt they didn't let kids take instruments home for a while (1 or 2 terms, I think) because they'd had cases of parents discouraging kids because they sounded so awful..."

That's a shame. sad Hopefully the no taking home policy reduced that, although presumably without practice it took some people longer to sound reasonable anyway?!

NynaevesSister Tue 24-Sep-13 11:08:43

Oh this makes me sad. I too watched a sister miss out on lots because she was too shy and would never put her hand up.

I am really sad that teachers are still like this. It really isn't fair.

MrsCharlesBrandon Tue 24-Sep-13 11:19:33

DD2 picks up her Cornet today. All children in yr4 are given an instrument (different instrument per class) to learn, and tutors come in weekly. DD1 had a flute last year and is continuing to have lessons. They both also had 2 years of violin tuition and gave up, but they can read music now which is more than i can!

I think parents should have had a letter too, or at the very least an email.

noramum Tue 24-Sep-13 11:51:02

Abbey: I agree, each hobby should be tested regardless if a child is "tested" as good or not.

Alpinemedow: neither DH nor I play an instrument, I actually can't sing, totally tonedeaf. But: it was clear that DD should try it out. DH now learns the violin together with DD as he does the practice sessions with her.

Yes, we were concerned about the sound a violin makes. But DD actually plays beautifully.

Periwinkle007 Tue 24-Sep-13 11:51:23

yes I agree - letters should have gone home to everyone. Otherwise I can see why parents might think they were given to the best behaved children, the richest children, the poor children, the underprivileged children, the whatever children and so on. Some kids wouldn't think about it until later, something like that needs to be a considered decision I think.

difficultpickle Tue 24-Sep-13 13:47:58

I wonder if it wasn't offered to all children as teachers find it a real pain when pupils are popping in and out of lessons to go to music lessons? At ds's previous school some of the teachers got really irritated at having to manage their pupils' attendance at music lessons (reminding them to go and then helping them catch up with what they missed in their school lesson).

At ds's current school he has three music lessons a week and it is an expected part of his teachers' jobs to ensure that pupils are helped to catch up on what they missed.

Obviously the fewer pupils who are dipping in and out of school lessons, the easier it is for the teaching staff to deliver their lessons.

Periwinkle007 Tue 24-Sep-13 13:51:20

Bisjo - I just assumed it was for children in a couple of years and limited spaces would mean that lessons were restricted to lunchtimes/before/after school

avolt Tue 24-Sep-13 13:55:02

Having a junior school age dc, the problem is that some really don't have the oomph to try anything new without a bit of encouragement. So mine, for example, may not have expressed an interest at the time, but after chatting about it, me reassuring her that she would be able to do it, would then be interested.

For that reason I think the letter should have been given to all parents. I know mine isn't the only one like this.

lunar1 Tue 24-Sep-13 13:57:30

I find it worrying that a whole staff room full if teachers can't see what is wrong with this system. You are rewarding confidant children and penalising the shy ones.

I would speak to you head about putting some training in place regarding understanding children.

If you approach other things in this way then many pupils in your school are getting a raw deal.

difficultpickle Tue 24-Sep-13 13:58:04

Maybe it has changed but when I was at (state) school my music lessons were during school time and I would miss an entire school lesson. Ds's are during lesson time although his school lessons are an hour long so he doesn't miss all of the school lesson to attend his 30 minute music lessons.

I remember one teacher at parents' evening complaining that it was hard to keep track of ds because he had two music lessons a week. Mind you she was the same one that told him he wouldn't do well at his new school and the only teacher who didn't congratulate him on his scholarship. One of his previous year's teachers also complained generally that it was hard for her to manage her class because of the amount of comings and goings there were during lesson time.

Periwinkle007 Tue 24-Sep-13 14:01:24

oh gosh I never realised they would miss classes. at my school piano or drama lessons were either in one of the PE lessons or class music lesson or at lunchtime. I never missed any main classes and we had 3 PE lessons a week I think if I remember right.

I think my daughters' school does all music lessons in lunchtime or before/after school. Mind presumably that does seriously limit how many children can have them.

NoComet Tue 24-Sep-13 14:06:45

At junior age all DCs should take letters home.

That said, I always turned blood donation letters into paper darts, because neither of my parents could donate.

PickleFish Tue 24-Sep-13 14:23:10

we had various clubs and activities that we were asked if we wanted to participate in, and letters weren't sent home. Parents didn't have to pay, though. I learned handbells for a couple of terms that way, and some craft clubs, and other similar activities that required a certain amount of commitment - so children had to volunteer their interest themselves. Other times people came into the school to hand out letters about joining a community/all-schools' choir, and other such things, and again, they would give the letters to whoever said they wanted one. I now regret

flowery Tue 24-Sep-13 14:47:42

Where has the OP gone? I have to say I am also surprised that in an entire staff room of teachers none of them thought of any of the concerns raised by parents on this thread.

morethanpotatoprints Tue 24-Sep-13 14:59:15


I think all the schools round here have dc come out of a lesson for music lessons. The after school lessons are done at local high schools by the LA peris.

GetStuffezd Tue 24-Sep-13 18:43:45

The OP went to work!!
To reiterate - the incident was nothing to do with me or my class, but happened in a class further down the school. I was interested in seeking parents' opinions and it looks pretty unanimous...

My class are year six and if had been me I think I would have said "help yourself to these letters here if you're interested." I've done this with the extra-curricular clubs I've run in the past with no problems.
It's great to hear all your views and they are definitely taken on board, but please don't cast aspersions as to "what kind of school" would operate like this. We're a very small, happy little outstanding Junior school and the vast majority of our parents think we are doing a great job!

UniS Tue 24-Sep-13 19:17:20

I'd say it's up to the children to express an interest. If they are not interested to put their hand up their not going to be interested enough to practise.

I run a spaces limited sport club at DS's school. Letters are given to the children in each class who express an interest. Those that then return the info slip in good time are sorted into a waiting list and 6 at a time are invited to join the club for a set number of weeks.

Friends who want their kids to learn said instrument ( or in my case sport) can always make enquiry for classes not linked to school. I do get parents asking on behalf of their kids about the school group, I always tell them when the next waiting list will be opened and say their kid has to ask for eth letter when its offered.

schilke Tue 24-Sep-13 19:37:13

Periwinkle - it would be rather inconvenient for the teacher if they could only teach at break and lunch. What do they do for the rest of the day?! My dh teaches trumpet and could give you lots of information on how learning an instrument helps academically. You might miss 20mins of literacy, but the lesson is benefitting you in other ways. My dd1 misses break and 15 mins of literacy for her lesson - I'd rather she missed literacy than PE!

flowery Tue 24-Sep-13 19:40:13

"If they are not interested to put their hand up their not going to be interested enough to practise."

If you read above about the kind of children who might not put their hands up, you will realise that's patently untrue.

I think year 6 might be a different kettle of fish to be fair OP, but certainly with younger ones, there is a real risk of potentially keen and talented musicians missing out if your school relies on sticking a hand up to establish who is interested in lessons.

UniS Tue 24-Sep-13 21:01:39

It may not be perfect- but I have an over subscribed club each year by that method.

alpinemeadow Tue 24-Sep-13 21:03:48

Not all parents can get to, or afford, classes not linked to the school though peri - that's why school provision is so valuable. I'd have the same concern about the sport group - the shy 'i'm no good at sport so that's not for me' child may be too lacking in self confidence to express an interest, though they might really enjoy and benefit from the club.

Not sure i'd agree that yr 6s are immune to that either. I can't se any great problem with sending the letter to all parents, who can then discuss it with their dc.

flowery Tue 24-Sep-13 21:16:31

Not sure what being over subscribed has to do with it. Surely for something like a children's sports club it shouldn't just be about bums on seats? Whatever happened to being inclusive, fair and giving every child an opportunity.

I agree I would send letters regardless of which year the children are, my comment about year 6 being different was because the OP teaches year 6 and I think her point of view is more understandable in that context.

Periwinkle007 Tue 24-Sep-13 21:16:55

I never suggested out of school lessons. OUR school (a state school) do do them just before/after school and lunchtimes. That is what is says on the info. I have no idea how they organise that as it is for classes further up the school.

I also have music teachers in the family so I know about the 'what to do for the rest of the day' thing too but in a school of children there are PE lessons and class music lessons going on all day as well as staggered lunchtimes so the situation of music teachers sitting around twiddling their thumbs shouldn't actually need to arise.

ClayDavis Tue 24-Sep-13 21:33:10

I think that depends on the system though Periwinkle. Ours are peripatetic and have 12 primaries and 6 secondary schools to cover. The brass/woodwind etc teacher might only be in any particular school for one day a week.

alpinemeadow Tue 24-Sep-13 21:34:21

Ah - You're right peri you didn't suggest out of school lessons - it was unis who suggested parents could enquire about classes not linked to school. Sorry, not concentrating properly - tiring day!

I agree the fact that the sports club is oversubscribed doesn't mean that nobody's being left out who might enjoy it. It doesn't have to cost much or be an admin hassle to tell all parents - in fact many schools now have a mass text facility, so it could take two minutes to give all parents the opportunity to have some input!

ClayDavis Tue 24-Sep-13 21:38:07

Quite a lot would send it out as an e-mail or put it in the weekly newsletter as well.

Hulababy Tue 24-Sep-13 21:44:23

We offer violin lessons for a restricted number of pupils in Y2. Letters go home to all Y2 pupils, 90 of them. I think this is right tbh - then parents and child can discuss it at home.

FWIW if a child starts the lessons and shows no interest at all then the violin teacher does speak to the parents about this and whether the child should continue or not.

Periwinkle007 Tue 24-Sep-13 21:51:12

our school say any children who want to try and instrument have to audition, then if they do take it up they must pay for the whole year (although at DRASTICALLY reduced rates)

I think music is hugely important for children to experience but I would still not want them to miss English or Maths for it. I am not so worried about PE because I know they do other sport. I suppose every situation is different.

My kids probably won't get an instrument choice, we have a piano so therefore whatever they learn will be the piano, if we can't afford lessons then they will have me teach them. Better than nothing though.

AbbyR1973 Tue 24-Sep-13 21:53:33

DS1 has violin lessons during classtime- he goes out of the class for his lesson. I'm not particularly bothered that he might have missed something.
School music service is vital- DS's individual violin lessons cost £3.50 each and then £15 to hire the violin per term, so only about £30-40 for a whole term.
WhenI last took piano lessons 15 years ago, it cost me £16 per half hour privately. One can easily see that private music lessons are simply beyond the reach of some families.

Periwinkle007 Tue 24-Sep-13 22:00:51

yes I think our school is £40 a term but I expect private lessons are about £30 a lesson.

noramum Tue 24-Sep-13 22:02:53

DD's lessons are at 2isch and it normally is art&craft time. So yes, DD sometimes misses out on painting a picture.

The teacher always has a go with any potential pupil and only the decides if it is worth it. DD is the youngest her teacher ever taught and she offered us 1/2 term place to see if it actually possible or not.

The piano teacher has a huge waiting list and most parents look outside school for lessons actually as it is so difficult to get a spot.

ClayDavis Tue 24-Sep-13 22:05:43

Ours is a single annual charge of between £27 and £80 which is subsidised by a grant for those that can't afford to pay.

Parmarella Tue 24-Sep-13 22:11:25

I think all parents should get the letter.

At our school, DS who is introverted, had strings demonstrations. He watched quietly from the back, not "showing" an interest but he thought about it for a few days and then told me he was mesmerised by the violin and could he please have lessons. He felt very passionately he wanted to learn, which is lovely.

Such a shame if children like that were to be overlooked!

MerryMarigold Tue 24-Sep-13 22:16:47

I was going to say the same thing as many others.

ALL parents should have been given letter.

Ds1 would never put himself forward but would probably love it.
Ds2 would instantly put himself forward (confident!) but does other activities and the instrument would not be a priority in the end.

And that's just the difference.

Parents need to judge this, especially if they were lower years like Y3 and under.

SE13Mummy Tue 24-Sep-13 23:25:16

Yes, all children should have been given a letter to take home.

As a parent I'd be annoyed if my child had been overlooked for an opportunity such as music lessons because she didn't put her hand up. As a primary school teacher I've always handed out this sort of letter to every child...and contacted parents of children that I've thought would benefit from/be good at instrumental tuition but who absolutely wouldn't put themselves forward for it.

schilke Wed 25-Sep-13 00:05:23

Music service vital? Might depend on where you live. I live in SE and there are no subsidised lessons in schools in my local town. We pay about £38 an hour and the teachers get paid about £22. Hmm.... Of course for group lessons music service might be getting more than £50 hour (depending on number of children), but teacher still getting £22.

Sorry totally off topic! Yes, everyone should get a letter. My dh has just done lots of demos and he says to children to take a letter if interested, but these are secondary school children so vastly different.

hels71 Wed 25-Sep-13 07:35:50

Mind you, brass lessons are best started once children have all their second front teeth, and every brass player I have ever met suggests from about year 5 so maybe the letters should have been for older children anyway!!
As for cost of lessons. DD's school offer lessons through the music service at £11.80 per 20 minute lesson, 10 lessons a term. Our local brass band offers 10 lessons and loan of an instrument for £25....

schilke Wed 25-Sep-13 10:15:42

Actually, hels I think people are changing their opinion on the adult teeth thing. Dh always used to say wait until second teeth are through, but the thought currently is that you don't have to wait. The trumpet is resting against the gum not the teeth, so it shouldn't make any difference. We have experimented with dd2! She started in January this year when she was 6.5 with baby teeth. She has 1 adult tooth now and is going to do grade 1 this term....she might not have any front teeth by then!

hels71 Wed 25-Sep-13 19:24:01

my DD is desperate to learn trumpet...but she can't even hold the thing yet, her hands are too small!!!

schilke Wed 25-Sep-13 19:40:35

Ahh. Well, my dd1 has actually started on the cornet as it's easier for her to hold. She can get her hands round the trumpet, but the weight of it drags her downwards. The bell ends up facing the floor! She is desperate to move on to the real thing.

pusspusslet Wed 25-Sep-13 20:34:44

Parents should have received the letters, because primary school children are far too young to understand the benefits of learning to play a musical instrument, and far too young to make an informed decision.

ljny Wed 25-Sep-13 20:41:18

Oh this makes me sad. I too watched a sister miss out on lots because she was too shy and would never put her hand up.

I am really sad that teachers are still like this.

I had a child like your sister. Agree this is sad.

I actually think that every child should be allowed to do music, at least for a few terms. All or none.

It's so sad that PE is compulsory but music was only available to the confident children.

Music is also quite helpful to maths.

tiggytape Wed 25-Sep-13 21:52:19

All children should get the letter

Like a lot of children my DD especially knows that we cannot afford many clubs and activities and that money is tight. She might not have put her hand up for a letter because she might think we can't afford it and she shouldn't ask.

However we do try to find money for things she really wants to do so for things like that, we'd normally talk about it at home when letters arrive and see whether it is a bit of a whim or something really important to her.

I'd hate to think of her not even putting her hand up because she'd worry it might automatically cost us money that we might not have.

Saracen Thu 26-Sep-13 00:33:24

I'm in agreement with everyone else, for an additional reason: what about the children who put their hands up to say they were interested, but whose parents cannot afford it or feel it isn't the right time for their children to take it up or whatever?

I'd be cross if the school had led my child to believe this was something she would be allowed to do, when I might decide otherwise.

(Sorry if someone else has raised this; I haven't read the whole thread.)

HmmAnOxfordComma Thu 26-Sep-13 16:47:28

Absolutely in agreement with everyone else.

For all of the above reasons (especially shyness) but additionally for this reason: SEN.

My ds with AS is not brilliant at listening to whole class instructions, especially at the end of the day or in a long assembly. He missed out a couple of times at primary school for this very reason - teacher only asking the children themselves and not informing parents of an opportunity. One was recorder club - held, unusually at his school at lunchtime, and free - I knew nothing about it until the rest of his year had been doing it for six months, and he couldn't then join as he would have been too far behind!

I think it is very bad SEN practice to offer opportunities like these directly to the children and not even tell the parents. Especially at lower junior age.

CaterpillarCara Thu 26-Sep-13 20:31:21

All parents should have the letter. My DS would never do any club if it was chosen based on putting his hand up there and then. He needs the chance to talk it through at home and think about it.

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