Music Lessons

Individual Music Lessons – Primary (Years 3-6)

Many Primary boys enjoy learning a musical instrument at Edgecliff. The School has a specialised music teaching staff offering tuition on the following instruments, many of which are available to hire:

  • Violin, Viola, Cello, Double Bass
  • Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon, Saxophone
  • Trumpet, French horn, Trombone, Euphonium, Tuba
  • Piano
  • Classical Guitar
  • Percussion (Orchestral)

All of the music teachers at the School are professional musicians at the top of their field, as well as being highly experienced educators.


If you would like your son to learn a musical instrument at the School, please fill out the application form, which can be found on the Parent Portal, or Music Lesson Application

Completed forms should be sent to the attention of Mrs Carter at the Edgecliff Music Office.

Lesson Times

Lessons for boys in Years 3 to 6 are generally scheduled between 9.00 am and 3.00 pm on a rotating basis. Lessons last for 30 minutes. A rotating timetable means that boys have a different lesson time each week. This ensures they do not miss the same class repeatedly.

If a boy learns two instruments at the School, the lesson time for one instrument will take place outside school hours, subject to the teacher’s availability.

This is the School’s policy so please do not ask for it to be changed for your son. Not all teachers are available before and after school, as they teach at other schools or perform with Australia’s premier orchestras and ensembles.

It is assumed that lessons will continue from year to year, so you don’t need to re-apply for lessons at the end of a school year. By the same token, we expect that you will be continuing in the following year.

Parents Attending Music Lessons

Music Tutors are not expected to have parents attend lessons. However, there are some tutors who will ask parents to attend to help with a boy’s practice at home. There are certain expectations if parents attend a lesson.

  1. Parents should contact the private tutor to request permission to attend, and only do so if the tutor is happy for this to occur.
  2. Parents should not interrupt the teacher during the lesson, to give instruction to their son. We are happy for notes to be taken on how to help him with his practice at home. I recommend attending 2 lessons per term only, unless the teacher asks for more.
  3. Parents should not record the lesson or take any photos unless permission is sought from the tutor. This would only be for home practice purposes.

Instrumental Music for Infants (Years K-2)

To boys in Years K-2 we offer individual lessons in violin, viola, cello and piano. These are the most suitable instruments for younger players.

When Infants start an instrument, we try to schedule their lesson at the same time each week. This helps the boys get used to the rhythm of music lessons. It also gives parents the opportunity to attend lessons. Parental involvement helps boys to back up tuition with home practice.

All Infants boys who learn violin, viola or cello take part in Infants Strings, an ensemble which takes place during the school day on Wednesdays. Infants Strings performs on Edgecliff Day and at the Infants Concert in November. Parents do not attend this group lesson.

The more advanced boys in Years 1 and 2 are chosen for Harwin Strings by the Director of Strings, Mr Nicholas Parry. This group meets on Monday at 7.45am.

The Importance of Practice

Sometimes we forget that music is an art form. Mastering new skills takes time and practice. The best progress is made on an instrument when boys practise for a short time each day.

Every boy who learns an instrument has a Music Record Book in which the teacher writes the practice instructions for the week. Parents are required to sign this book each week to confirm that their son has completed his practice.

There is a Practice-a-thon in the middle of the year to encourage regular practice. Boys are set challenges and can earn achievement stickers and House Points. The House with the most Practice-a-thon points receives a special prize.

A Guide to Good Practice (please share with your son)

  • Be organised. Arrive on time for your lesson and make sure you have your music and instrument with you.
  • Listen to your teacher and practise the things you work on in your lesson.
  • Remember to read your teacher’s instructions in your Music Record Book.
  • Practice makes perfect: regular home practice will help you to make the best possible progress and will increase your enjoyment of music.


Fees for Instrumental Lessons

Boys receive 30 lessons a year and should commit to a year of lessons. This gives the boy a good opportunity to progress on that instrument.

Music fees are payable twice a year and are charged to your school account. The fees for 2024 are below.

Semester 1 (Terms 1 & 2)16 lessons$1304.87
Semester 2 (Terms 3 & 4)14 lessons$1141.76

If your son receives 30 lessons before the end of the school year, and his tutor is available, you may elect to have extra lessons, which will be billed to your account.

Instrument Hire

The following musical instruments are available to hire from the School:

  • Violin, Viola, Cello, Double Bass
  • Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon, Saxophone
  • Trumpet, French horn, Trombone, Euphonium, Tuba
  • Xylophone

Instrument hire forms are available from the Music Office.

Hire fees are $66.25 per term and are charged to your School account.

Please note, that guitars can be purchased for approximately $100. Therefore, it may not be worth hiring a guitar at $66.25 per term.

When allocating instruments, priority is given to boys starting an instrument.

After a boy has been learning an instrument for a year, it is advisable to consider buying an instrument. This has been shown to be a great motivator for progress.

Lesson and hire charges are subject to change.


Hired instruments must be labelled with the boy’s name, year and the Edgecliff Preparatory School phone number. Labels will be given to boys by music staff.

Repairs and Damage

If an instrument is damaged please do not try to repair it yourself. Bring it to the Music Office where the damage can be assessed. Maintenance costs are to be met by the School but parents are responsible for the cost of any damage to school instruments. Please read the Instrument Hire form carefully before signing it to see the costs for which you are responsible.


There are many opportunities to participate in the musical life of the School through ensembles, orchestra, recitals, group lessons, choirs and chamber music groups.

When a boy has reached a satisfactory standard on the instrument he learns at school, he is expected to take part in a group. All ensembles are graded so that boys work and perform at a level appropriate to their ability.

Places in advanced ensembles are determined by the Director of Music and offered by audition. Boys who learn an instrument outside school are welcome. As boys progress, they will be invited to be in the School Orchestra.

Places are offered with the understanding that a year’s commitment is expected from all boys, whether they learn in or outside school.


School Orchestra School Orchestra Edgecliff Chorale (Y 6)
Grammar/ Ascham Ensemble Wind Ensemble Year 6 Chamber Choir
Grantham Strings Flute Ensemble Year 5 Chorale
Haydn Strings Ionisation Percussion School Choir (Years 4 & 5)
Allegro Strings Marsalis Brass Ensemble Year 6 Choir
String Quartets Ellington Jazz Ensemble Year 5 Choir
Harwin Strings Armstrong Jazz Ensemble Year 4 Choir
Infants Strings Concert Band Year 3 Choir
String Trios Blocko's Percussion Band Year 2 Choir
Charlton Guitar Ensemble Kindergarten Choir

We also offer after school Taiko drumming lessons for boys in Years 5 and 6.


School Orchestra boys can audition to take part in the Sydney Grammar School Combined Preparatory Schools’ tour. In the past we have visited Singapore, New Zealand and Perth. There is a Grammar/Ascham weekend in March each year and a Choir Tour when possible.

Commitment to Ensembles

All boys who learn an instrument at School are expected to be in a music ensemble, unless they are a beginner and are not ready for this. Boys who learn piano can join one of the Choirs in Year 4, 5 and 6.

Morning rehearsals generally begin at 7.30 am and afternoon rehearsals at 3.00 pm. Boys are expected to arrive 10 minutes beforehand to unpack and tune.

Lunchtime rehearsals usually start at 12.30 pm. Boys eat their lunch at 12.20 pm outside the rehearsal room with the conductor supervising. There are some recess ensembles. Monday rehearsals after school start at 3.20 pm (due to sport).

Ensemble rehearsal times and arrangements for auditions will be emailed to parents before the School Year begins.

Ensembles Auditions for Boys who Learn Outside the School

We encourage boys who learn an instrument outside the School to join ensembles.

If boys are be interested in auditioning for an ensemble, parents should contact the Director of Music who will arrange an appointment for the boy to play for staff. If the boy has reached the appropriate standard, he will be placed in an ensemble.

To arrange an audition please email and mark the message to the attention of the Director of Music.

Procedures for Missed Lessons and Rehearsals

Missed Lessons

Teachers are required to give 30 lessons a year, and you pay for 30 lessons a year. The School year is approximately 36 weeks, which gives a buffer to allow for lessons to be missed for school events and unforeseen circumstances.

If your son misses a lesson due to an excursion, an assessment or the absence of a teacher, the teacher does not necessarily need to make up the lesson because the number of lessons given is counted across the whole year.

In the event of illness or injury, if 24 hours’ notice to the School Office and the Music Office is given, teachers will find an alternative time to give your son his lesson.

If you email the School office, please put in a note asking them to notify the Music Department.

If the Headmaster grants leave and your son has a music lesson, separate notification to the Music Department is required.

If your son fails to attend his lesson it will be counted as having been given.

If he is sick on the day of his lesson and notice has not been given, teachers are not expected to make that lesson up unless they can fit it into their busy schedule.

Missed Rehearsals

If a boy cannot attend an ensemble rehearsal, an explanation to the Director of Music or conductor is essential, particularly if the rehearsal is before or after school.

Please email the Music Office or ring 02 9366 0114. You may also email the School Office and ask them to pass on the message. This is very important so that we know where your son is before or after school.

Discontinuing Lessons

Discontinuation forms are available in the Music Office.

Before you submit a discontinuation form, please email or speak to your son’s instrumental music teacher.

We require one term’s notice for the discontinuation of instrumental lessons. However, subject to approval by the Director of Music, a discontinuation form can be received by Week 5 of the current term for discontinuation at the end of term.

If discontinuing lessons at the end of a year, written notice may be given any time before the end of Term 4.

For enquiries please phone the Music Department on 9366 0114 or email