First Access

First Access: whole class instrumental teaching

The First Access Programme gives every pupil the opportunity to take part in a sustained period of tuition on a musical instrument as outlined in the National Plan for Music.

Whole-class instrumental teaching involves every child in first-hand experience of live music, group singing, ensemble playing, performance and composing. It enables all pupils to succeed, including those who lack encouragement or support from their parents/carers, or who need additional support for other reasons.

Benefits of First Access

  • Children can make informed choices about learning to play a musical instrument and discover whether they wish to continue with instrumental lessons
  • First Access enhances the music curriculum and  ethos of the school as well as the wider community through building upon musical events, traditions and resources within the school
  • School staff involved with the delivery of First Access benefit from CPD
  • First Access helps build partnerships, not only between teachers and the music service, but also with parents and other schools and the local community

Package Includes:

  • Class set of musical instruments
  • All teaching resources
  • Provision of a specialist music teacher
  • School performances for parents
  • Access to local area music centres
  • 1 year free subscription to Charanga PLUS access to Charanga resource training
  • Opportunity to take part in Discover Arts Award for every First Access pupil


Cost: £49.40 per hour (Minimum provision is one hour per week)

Where back-to-back teaching is possible, schools can purchase additional sessions in 45-minute blocks at £37.05

First Access FAQs

What is the choice of instruments?

We offer strings, woodwind, brass, keyboard, guitar and percussion. Instruments are provided free.

We also have innovative instruments ideal for younger players and SEND pupils: ukuleles, toots and doods, pbuzz, pbones and ptrumpets

Please ask and we can advise you what’s available. Our teachers may use the school’s percussion instruments for some lessons.

How many children can we have in a class?

We take a normal class size of around 30 children. Obviously some classes are smaller and some slightly larger.

Can a teacher learn too?

We place a strong emphasis on you and your staff being involved in these programmes and schools have reported enormous benefits for pupils and staff as a result of direct participation. We will only provide this programme if there is at least one regular member of the school staff taking part every week. This can be the class teacher or a member of your teaching support staff.
As a general rule we would work to an approximate ratio of one adult to 12/15 children

Which year groups do you teach and how long are sessions?

We have a wide range of instrument suitable for KS1 and KS2. We deliver sessions in 45 minute blocks plus 15 mins for set up and clearing away. If you purchase multiple sessions for the same day which can be delivered consecutively then we will only charge for 45 minutes delivery time on these subsequent sessions.

Can we charge children?

No, charges for this whole class activity cannot be passed on to parents or carers.

Can we continue after the first year?

If you enjoyed your first year and would like your class to progress for another year we offer a First Access Continuation option. New players can learn alongside continuing ones for mixed year groups in smaller schools, and sometimes groups continue into a second and even third year before moving onto smaller group tuition.

Practical InformationDelivery and Expectations