Bishops Music Department Policies and Expectations

Practical Teachers:

  • Boys who want to be part of the Bishops Music Department must take lessons with one of the Bishops appointed staff members on their instrument.
  • We expect that those boys who take lessons at Bishosp do not take lessons on the same instrument simultaneously with another teacher, as we have found this to be counter-productive to a boy’s musical development
  • Only boys who take lessons with a Bishops teacher may perform in Bishops concerts and ensembles on that instrument.
  • Any "extra" lessons in the form of master classes or workshops may be undertaken only with the teacher's consent.
  • It is the policy of the College Music Department not to have parents sitting in on their son's lessons.

Application for lessons for existing college boys:

  • Boys wishing to begin lessons while at the College need to make contact with the Music Department Administrator or Director of Music via email or in person
  • At times there are waiting lists and these are managed on a first-come, first-served basis.

Application for lessons for new Grade 8s:

  • Application forms will be made available at the end of the third term of a boys grade 7 year. These forms need to be completed and returned to the College Music Department by the due date as indicated on the form.
  • The Music Department Administrator will then contact prospective pupils to arrange an interview for boys at the College, during the course of term 4. However, boys at Bishops Prep boys will not be contacted as they will be interviewed at the Prep School during a time arranged by the Head of Music. This excludes Saxophone, Clarinet and String players, who will still be contacted for an interview at the College.
  • The teacher allocation process begins with this individual interview which is managed by the full-time staff (and in some cases in conjunction with part-time instrumental staff). During the interview boys will be asked to play at least two pieces as well as scales.
  • During the interview process staff try and ascertain the aims/ambitions of a boy, the personality of the boy concerned, his experience and musical ability, and in this process we attempt to find the best fit between teacher and pupil. We have highly qualified teachers on the College staff and in some areas more than one, which gives us a greater ability to find the best personality fit.
  • Please also be aware that there may, now and again, be teething problems in new relationships, especially in the first term when boys are struggling with everything that is new. This is a normal and part of the growing process. As a department are more than happy to help your son through this initial stage of forming a new relationship with his new teacher, just as he does in every other subject.
  • Once all the interviews have been managed parents will received email notification of their son’s teacher in the last few days of the fourth term.

Lesson Fees:

  • Arts & Culture: Music 1 (Grades 8 & 9) – Boys taking this course are expected to have a one-hour lesson per week on their first instrument (excluding Voice, which may 30 minutes per week, and Percussion, which may be 45 minutes per week). Boys taking this course pay 50% fees for their first instrument only.
  • Subject Music (Grades 10 – 12) – Boys taking this course are expected to have a one-hour lesson per week on their first instrument. These lessons are free of charge.
  • Additional Instruments (all grades) – Boys taking either of the above courses who take lessons on additional intstrument(s) are expected to have a 30 minutes lesson per week (or one hour by mutual agreement of the teacher, parent and pupil) and these are charged for in full.
  • Extra-Curricular Music – boys taking music as an extra-curricular are expected to have a 30 minute lesson per week (or one hour by mututal agreement of the teacher, parent and pupil) and these lessons are charged for in full.

Missed Lessons:

  • If a boy is to miss a lesson he must give a minimum of 24 hours’ notice to his teacher.
  • This notice must be given to his teacher (whose cell phone number will be in his music notebook) and not communicated through the House Director or via email.
  • If this does not happen, the lesson will be charged for; this applies to all boys.
  • Boys will in all instances receive adequate notification of changes to the school timetable. When this happens, it is the boy’s responsibility to contact the teacher and organise an alternative lesson time.

Discontinuing Lessons:

  • If, at any stage, a boy would like to discontinue lessons on his instrument, a parent needs to give a full term’s written notice. We will need to receive this at the end of the previous term for termination to be at the end of the following term.
  • If it is felt that a boy is not making sufficient progress on his instrument, he will be put on a term’s probation. If after a term there is no change, the teacher may, together with the Director of Music, decide that the boy will discontinue lessons.
  • However, a parent may give notice at the end of a year for their son to discontinue lessons for the following year, without a term’s notice.
  • However, boys who committ at the end of a year to continue with lessons the following year will be required to give a term’s notice if they choose not to take lessons the following year.


  • Boys who are having instrumental lessons in the Bishops Music Department will be expected to be part of the ensemble programme.
  • All Brass players will be expected to be a member of the Bishops Brass Band and all String players a member of the String Ensemble. These ensembles are regarded as estuary ensembles and an integral part of the teaching programme associated with these instruments.
  • All other wind players will be expected to be part of one of the individual ensembles (e.g. Flute Ensemble).
  • Membership of the Windband, Jazz Band and Orchestra are by audition, with the expectation that the player auditioning is at a minimum of a Grade 4 ABRSM level.
  • Positions in the Chapel Choir are generally limited to 50 singers and this is by audition only. The a capella ensemble, Simply Blue, is also by audition and is only open to boys in Grade 10 – 12, with preference will be given to boys who have had some experience in the Bishops Chapel Choir. Boys who only play a keyboard instrument are encouraged to be part of the Bishops Chapel Choir in order to gain ensemble experience.

Lunchtime Concerts:

  • All subject music boys will be expected to attend the termly lunchtime concerts as well as the guest performer’s concert – this is also an integral part pf the learning process. Any other boy is welcome to attend these concerts.