Music Lessons (8.30am-4pm) - We offer one-to-one specialist tuition on violin, viola, cello, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bass guitar, flute, clarinet, recorder, saxophone, piano, jazz piano (for Grade 4+ pianists), percussion, drum kit, trumpet, cornet, trombone, french horn, euphonium, tuba and singing.
No previous experience is required and we teach from beginner to Diploma level, preparing pupils for exams including music scholarship & higher education applications. Pupils selecting music lessons need to be aged 6+, in Years 2-13 at school.
Sometimes it is hard to know what instrument to choose. We have the following recommendations:
- Instruments suitable from age 6 - violin, cello, piano & recorder. (Taller pupils aged 6-7 who have a good set of second teeth may also manage the flute, clarinet or cornet!)
- Instruments suitable from age 8 - violin, cello, piano, acoustic guitar, brass (although larger brass instruments may not be suitable due to the size of the pupil), drum kit/percussion, recorder, flute, clarinet and saxophone. Voice - if aged uder 11 we recommend going to the Choir before opting for individual voice lessons.
- Instruments suitable from age 11 - All instruments including jazz piano (for Grade 4+ pianists) and composition.
Parents are a very important part of a child’s musical journey, so we ask parents of young or beginner pupils to attend the first few lessons to meet the teacher and where necessary receive advice on purchasing an instrument. In some instances, teachers may suggest parents attending regularly in order to help establish a good practice routine and aid setting up of instrument. As pupils progress parents can continue to attend their child’s lesson, but on a more irregular basis thereby encouraging pupil independence. On the last Saturday of term we have an Open Day where all parents are invited to their child’s lesson. Open Day is instead of a written report and is an opportunity to catch up with how your child is progressing, what their next challenges are and how you can best support them.
Learning an instrument or taking singing lessons can be extremely rewarding, but it is important to understand that to be successful, pupils and parents need to commit to regular lesson attendance, the hire/purchase of a reasonable quality instrument and almost daily practice. This is the key to making progress and of course makes learning an instrument fun.
Practice Notebook – JASSPA sells a practice notebook called Jot-a-note. It is designed to organise communication between pupils, parents and teachers and is particularly suited to U11s. It costs £7 and can be bought from reception. All instrumental pupils are expected to use a notebook for their teacher to write in on a weekly basis, but it does not have to be a Jot-a-note.
Lesson Length - The majority of pupils have a 30-minute music lesson but for Grade 5+ students we suggest 45 minutes. For advanced pupils we offer hour long lessons.
Performances - Learning an instrument is also about learning to perform, so there are concert opportunities where pupils can sign up to perform solos or duets with their teacher. Our concerts are friendly and supportive and pupils from beginner to advanced are encouraged to take part. Our teachers also prepare their pupils to perform at concerts in their weekday schools.
What am I committing to if I sign up for music lessons? Music lessons require a long term perspective because it takes a long time to master an instrument. Beginners are encouraged to complete a year’s worth of lessons in order to fairly assess interest levels and potential. For all other pupils, music lessons are a continuing course until we receive a term’s written notice. This means writing to us by the first day of term stating you wish to stop lessons at the end of the term. We also ask that pupils taking music lessons at JASSPA do not have music lessons on the same instrument elsewhere. (Where we have space we can offer 10 x trial lessons - do contact us if you would like to discuss trial lessons.)
1:1 Composition lessons (throughout the day) cover all styles from jazz to song writing and classical orchestrations. This option is a perfect compliment to the composition component for GCSE and A level Music, as well as being an excellent option for keen composers aged 11+. It is an advantage to play the piano but not essential. Composition classes are tailored to reflect the individual’s area of interest Lessons are taught one-to-one and are charged at the same rate as individual music lessons.
What am I committing to if I sign up for Composition lessons? Like music lessons, these lessons are a continuing course until we receive a term’s written notice. This means writing to us by the first day of term stating you wish to stop lessons at the end of the term.
Graded Theory Classes (9am - 1pm) are invaluable for all musicians as they broaden musical awareness and support instrumental work. For pupils intending to take ABRSM practical exams at Grade 6+ level it is also essential to have a pass in Grade 5 theory. We suggest starting our group theory classes when you are approximately Grade 3 practical level. An online exam is taken at the end of the school year for all pupils who have reached the required standard.
What level class should my child start with? As a guide, pupils should apply for a class 1-2 grades lower than their current practical level.
1:1 Theory is for pupils wanting to study Grade 6+ theory, or those wanting to work at a fast, personalised rate to get to Grade 5.
What am I committing to if I sign up for a Theory class? Theory classes are a yearlong course from September-June and ask all members to attend regularly and complete homework each week. Theory as a one-to-one lesson is usually booked on a termly basis with an agreed end date for taking an exam. If considering Theory but not sure which class to sign up for, do contact us for advice.
Junior Choir is a great option for 6-12 year olds. Develop a good musical ear, have fun with your voice and tackle a technically and musically challenging repertoire. The choir covers a variety of musical styles from classical through to show numbers and performs twice during the year – no audition or entry level required. Recent repertoire: Medley from Oliver! The Musical, Moon River - Mancini, Nine Lives - Peter Thorne and Dona Nobis Pacem. The Junior Choir is conducted by JASSPA’s Director Beverly Sizer.
Community Choir aims for inclusivity with the opportunity for teens and adults to sing together. We welcome readers and non readers that want to have fun singing in an informal but vibrant ensemble. Pick up tips to improve your vocal technique and work on harmonies, all whilst singing a variety of music and working towards performances in our concert hall. Recent repertoire: Lean on Me - Bill Withers, White Winter Hymnal - Robin Pecknold, Ave verum corpus - Mozart, A Tribute to the Beatles - arranged by Roger Emerson and Cantique de Jean Racine, Op. 11 - Faure. It has been scientifically proven that singing aids mental well being so why not take this opportunity to come and sing with us! Tutors: Beth Littlewood and Richard Sizer.
What am I committing to if I sign up for a Choir? The Junior Choir is a yearlong course from September-June. All members should attend regularly and take part in performances. We accept applications to join the choir during the school year prior to concert repertoire being set – please contact us and we will be to update you here. Our Community Choir asks for a termly commitment.
Piano Ensembles (duos and trios throughout the day) - Playing as part of an ensemble has so many benefits to musical development. It helps us to become better listeners, better sight readers and most importantly it is lots of fun! Pianists can sometimes miss out on this, but there is actually a lot of music to discover for two, three or even four pianists, using one piano or two. In this class, you will learn all about musical textures, when to take the lead and when to follow, and the unique role that each person must play in order to bring a piece of music together. Classes will be grouped according to current playing level. Suitable for Grade 2+. Tutors will be instrumental specialists from our teaching team.
What am I committing to if I sign up for a Piano Ensemble? These are yearlong courses from September-July. PIanists will be placed with similar level pupils in groups of two, three or four. The number in each group will depend on the number of applicants. All members should to attend regularly and take part in concerts. Where spaces permit, we may be able to accept applications during the school year – please contact us and we will be to update you here.
Ensembles for Grade 2-6 instrumentalists - Joining ensembles for the first time can feel rather daunting, However, most musicians would agree that coming together and playing with others is actually the most fun and exciting part of being a musician. Our Ensembles are designed to provide a welcoming, encouraging and, most importantly positive atmosphere in which to gain experience of playing with others. Tutors will be instrumental specialists from our teaching team. Strings, Wind and Brass players welcome to join!
Chamber Music (duos, trios and quartets) for Grade 6+ Instrumentalists - a chance to develop your ensemble skills with young musicians keen to explore more challenging and diverse reperotire. Each year our chamber groups will be re-jigged giving students the opportunity to work in different players. We also cater for pupils wanting to explore jazz/improvisation.
What am I committing to if I sign up for an Ensemble or Chamber Music? These are yearlong courses from September-July. All members should attend regularly and take part in performances. We accept applications to join during the school year prior to concert repertoire being set – please contact us to find out where we have spaces.
Music exams - We are an exam centre for ABRSM, LCM and Trinity exam boards. Pupils can be put forward for a music exam by their teacher but there is no compulsion to take an exam if studying with us. Many pupils play purely for pleasure and others dip in and out of the exam system as and when it suits them. The choice is very much an individual one but all pupils wishing to take exams must have good attendance and show excellent practice routines.
For pupils who take exams at JASSPA, their teacher will give them an application form when they are ready to enter. This includes all the necessary exam information from fees to dates and rehearsal arrangements. In addition, for non-pianists we provide an experienced accompanist and include generous rehearsal times.
Aural: Trinity and ABRSM exams have an aural section. In order to help prepare for this we run additional aural classes in the run up to exams. Full details of aural classes are listed on exam application forms and all students are encouraged to sign up for them.