Chatswood Public School

Inspire, engage, nurture

Telephone02 9419 6127

Instrument lessons

Students from Year 1 to Year 6 can be individually tutored on the instrument of their choice within our lesson range - as detailed here.

The lessons are held at the school, in school time, where possible Instrument lessons are held weekly in term time, with some lesson places being available before and after school. All lessons last for 30 minutes. Please see the fees table on this website for an up to date fee schedule. Group lessons are offered for recorder students only. 

Lessons are offered in recorder, guitar, violin, viola,‘cello, flute, oboe, clarinet, saxophone (alto, tenor and baritone), cornet, trumpet, trombone, other lower brass, percussion, erzu, guzheng and piano. Although not currently available through our Program, we can help to arrange lessons in double bass and French horn. Please see below for these instruments' suitability to specific ages.

Application for instrument lessons choirs

To apply for instrument lessons, complete and submit the online form.

Lessons for continuing students usually start after Active Citizenship Week has finished. New students will begin as soon as possible after week 2 each year. Students will be notified by their tutors of the commencement date and time for lessons.

Choosing an instrument 

It is our experience that children learn best the instrument with which they fall in love (although you might like to consider size, for transport and expense!), but the question remains, 'When should they begin?' 

There are no 'rules' about the age at which a child should start to learn an instrument, however, from our experience and that of our instrument tutors and ensemble directors, and in consultation with the school teaching staff and executive, the Committee has formulated the following guidelines with regard to specific instruments. In all cases, the instrument tutors are happy to assess your child and his or her suitability and readiness. 

Violin and cello - from Year 1 

As string instruments come in very small sizes, there is no 'minimum size requirement' for starting, therefore lessons can begin in Year 1 . 

Flute and clarinet - from Year 3 

Flutes and clarinets are heavy. Students need both front teeth and some strength in their fingers, plenty of puff, and arms long enough to reach the bottom keys. 

Recorder - from Year 1 

The descant recorder is a small instrument and is the usual beginning instrument for recorder players, so students need only a finger span that can reach the lowest notes. This is usually achieved by Year 1. Students wishing to learn recorder will need to purchase a Yamaha descant recorder (YRS 312B II) and the appropriate level book, prior to the first lesson. Instruments and books are available through Ms Lucas, our recorder tutor. In their first year of tuition, students will begin in a group of up to 8 students and progress to a smaller group of 2 (or 3 if numbers are uneven). After a year of tuition, students will progress to individual lessons. 

Saxophone - from Year 4

Students need their front teeth, the strength to hold the instrument and the arm length to reach the lower keys. 

Trumpet or cornet - from Year 3

Students need their front teeth, and these need to be reasonably straight. They need the ability to blow a constant stream of air and the strength to hold the instrument up for periods of time. Smaller students may be better suited to the cornet initially, for this reason. 

Trombone or tuba - from Year 4

These brass instruments will be more physically demanding than the trumpet and cornet. Again the strength to hold the instrument and the ability to blow a constant stream of air are essential. 

Piano - from Year 5

Students wishing to study piano must have a piano or keyboard available at their own home for daily home practise prior to registering for lessons. A piano is preferred as it enables students to develop a 'touch' which cannot be achieved using an electronic instrument.

Percussion - from Year 3

Percussion lessons incorporate the drum kit with work on auxiliary and mallet percussion. Students must be tall enough to play the smaller drums and still effectively use the pedal. Written non melodic percussion music is different from pitched music.

Instruments for hire

We have over two hundred instruments for hire to our students for reasonable rates. We currently offer:

  • bassoon
  • bass guitar
  • cello
  • clarinet (alto and bass)
  • cornet
  • double bass
  • euphonium
  • flute
  • glockenspiel
  • oboe
  • piccolo
  • recorder (sopranino, treble, tenor and bass)
  • saxophone (alto, tenor and baritone)
  • tenor horn
  • trombone
  • trumpet
  • tuba
  • violin.

To apply for hire, tick the box on the online lesson application form and a paper hire form will be sent to your child's teacher's pigeonhole. The completed form should be taken to the first instrument lesson so that the instrument can be taken home that day.

Please read carefully the conditions of hire before signing, particularly those parts which refer to payments, refunds and return of the instrument.

The Two Year Rule

To ensure that as many students as possible can access our instruments, we have a 'two year rule' for hired instruments. 

After two years, you and your child will be aware if your child's level of commitment supports the purchase of your own instrument. If your child has hired the same, full sized instrument (i.e. wind or brass) for two years, then you are expected to permanently return the instrument to the school, however, if you would prefer to continue hiring the instrument please apply to the Music Program Committee to request the hire of the instrument for a third year. If we have a surplus of that instrument at that time, your application will be successful. (It often happens! Do write!)

Why the program is not offered in Kindergarten

Our program is open to students from Year 1 to Year 6.

By Year 1, students are familiar with the school and its routines. They are more mature and their concentration span has improved enough to cope with the length of a timetabled instrument lesson. They are independent enough to manage instrument lesson times and to cope with time out of class. It can be helpful that by Year 1, students understand the 'decoding' process involved in reading, which can then be applied to reading music.

The school teaching staff feels it is preferable that the kindergarten year be focussed in the classroom.

Related content