First Access

First Access:
whole class instrumental teaching

Programme Summary

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

Through whole-class instrumental teaching, every child has first-hand experience of live music, group singing, ensemble playing, performance and composing, enabling all pupils to succeed, including those who do not have the encouragement or support from their parents/carers, or who need additional support for other reasons.

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What are the benefits of First Access?

  • Children will be able to make informed choices about learning to play a musical instrument. This will help them discover whether they wish to continue with instrumental lessons
  • First Access has the potential to complement and enhance 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 will be able to further their professional development. By placing themselves in the role of the learner alongside the children they are able to build upon their relationship with the children and their own music skills
  • First Access helps build partnerships, not only between teachers and the music service, but also with parents and other schools and the local community.

What does the programme cover?

General musicianship and singing will be introduced during the first half term of the programme, and will continue across the three terms. The flexible model includes high quality instrumental tuition, general musicianship skills, singing, composing, investigating music from around the world and performing.

What is the choice of instruments?

We offer strings, woodwind, brass, keyboard, guitar and percussion. Instruments are provided free. The instrument offer will depend on the availability of our staff in your area as each teacher specialises in different instruments. Please ask and we can advise you what’s available. Our teachers may also want to 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?

The main focus of the programme is for KS2 pupils, but the programme can be adapted for KS1. All instruments offered can be taught to KS2 but woodwind and brass are more suitable for upper KS2.

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?

A First Access Continuation programme is available for schools who would like to continue with a whole class approach after the first year. The programme allows for new players to learn alongside continuing ones for mixed year groups and whole KS2 in smaller schools, or for whole or part year groups to continue into a second and even third year before moving onto smaller group tuition.

Online Supported First Access: African Drumming

We also offer a different approach to First Access, which starts with an intensive session by a visiting master musician Zozo Shuaibu, followed by half termly visits, culminating in end of term performances. The teaching is supported by comprehensive e-learning materials developed by Zozo and Kevin Hamel. Although we have some sets of djembes to help you out we would look to you to purchase your own sets for the future.


Practical InformationDelivery and Expectations