JOINING MUSIC LESSONS AND BAND
When can my child join band?
Most schools will hold demonstration concerts in Term 4, and notes will be sent home with all children in Years 2-5. Interested children will then be able to sit for an instrument trial (“blow test”) with a music teacher. Enrolment will then open, in preparation for starting lessons in the new academic year.
What happens in an instrument trial (“blow test”)?
Children may try out their choice of instrument with an experienced music tutor. Everyone is suited differently to different instruments. Children get the chance to try out the mouthpieces of various instruments, which are sanitised in between each use. The tutor will make a recommendation of instrument, which will be sent home with your child.
What is the process to enrol?
The results of the instrument trial, instrument information, and Terms and Conditions will be forwarded to you. You should review these carefully, and then complete the enrolment forms. You will receive confirmation information prior to the beginning of the new academic year. Enrolment can be done online.
What if my child has played in a band before, and moves to a TSA school in the middle of the year?
If your child has played in a band at their previous school, they are welcome to join band at their new TSA school. Please contact our office for more information.
What happens in an instrument trial (“blow test”)?
Children may try out their choice of instrument with an experienced music tutor. Everyone is suited differently to different instruments. The tutor will make a recommendation of instrument, which will be sent home with your child.
How do I choose which instrument my child should play?
The results of the instrument trial are important, but also children should play what they LOVE. They will be much happier to practice if they are excited about their choice. Make sure they like the sound of the instrument also: there are many videos on YouTube of different instruments to watch, and see what they prefer. You may also need to consider other aspects of the instrument, such as its portability, space, and expense.
My child only wants to play the drums…why do I keep hearing about percussion?
Drums are only part of what makes up percussion instruments. The percussion section of the band includes the glockenspiel, tambourines, cymbals, bass drum, gongs, other extras like cowbell, maracas, shakers, as well as the drum kit. Percussion students will learn all these instruments and will take turns playing the various parts.
How much will an instrument cost?
Musical instruments are an expensive item, and the price depends on the instrument. Even the least expensive are several hundred dollars. TSA offers a rental scheme for parents, and parents may also buy out their rental instruments. TSA also may have second-hand instruments available which have been completely serviced prior to re-sale. Please contact our office on 9651 7333.
Should we rent or buy an instrument?
Parents who are unsure their child will enjoy band and want to continue, may want to rent an instrument at first. For information on renting an instrument from TSA, please call 9651 7333.
Should I buy a used instrument on eBay or Gumtree, or from a friend?
Buyers should be very cautious buying a used instrument. We advise parents to not even consider a used instrument unless it is a known, quality brand (such as Yamaha, Pearl, Bach, Buffet, or Jupiter). If you buy a used instrument, you may not know the instrument’s service history, or how well it has been looked after. Do your research, or contact a music shop – they may have a selection of used instruments that have been serviced and are safe for purchase.
A major chain store is selling musical instruments, and the prices are great! Should I buy one?
TSA advises parents to purchase a known, quality brand (such as Yamaha, Pearl, Bach, Buffet, or Jupiter.) “Budget” instruments sold at discount stores are not of a high quality, so may only last a few months, cost more to repair, have minimal resale value, and may impact on your child’s learning.
What is rent-to-buy?
Parents may elect to purchase the instrument they are hiring. At any point in the rental period, please email TSA on firstname.lastname@example.org to obtain your buy-out price.
What does the insurance fee cover?
The optional insurance can be taken to cover theft, fire, and accidental damage to the instrument. Without insurance cover, customers are responsible for any loss or damage caused to the instrument. The insurance does not cover loss or damage due to negligence.
What if something happens goes wrong with my hire instrument?
Please notify TSA as soon as possible if your hire instrument requires repairs. Please do not undertake any repairs yourself, or take the instrument to another music shop for repairs.
What is an instrument service?
An instrument service is a complete inspection and any repair of the working components of the instruments, and a thorough cleaning inside and out. Used instruments are always serviced prior to sale, and all instruments should be serviced every 1-3 years depending on use.
Why are the lessons in a group?
Children are grouped into instrument type and age/experience for their lessons. Group lessons are beneficial to younger children just starting out, as they can work together on their learning. The group can inspire practice through some friendly competition, and a desire to keep up with the group.
I would like my child to have private music lessons – is this possible?
TSA does provide private lessons at some schools, but at most schools only group lessons are offered. Please contact the TSA office to see if private lessons are available at your child’s school.
What is a levy or resource fee?
Most students pay an additional levy per term, which pays for items used by the whole band, such as sheet music, percussion items, and music stands. Some schools also charge a facility hire fee to TSA, and this is passed on to students.
How many lessons are held per term?
Children in group lessons receive an average of 9 lessons/performances per term.
What if my child has an excursion or a school event on their lesson day?
Please contact your child’s band director directly by email about any whole-school event affecting your child’s lesson. Email addresses are located on your school’s ‘Band Notes’ page of this website.
COMMUNICATION WITH TSA
What should I do if my child will be absent from their lesson?
If your child will miss a group lesson, let their tutor know by email in advance if possible. No make-up lessons are arranged for group lessons unless the whole group is away for an all-school event such as an athletics carnival.
If your child has a private lesson, please contact their tutor in advance of the absence, so a make-up lesson can be arranged.
If your child will be away for an extended period such as overseas travel or a broken arm, please contact the TSA office in advance, or as soon as possible.
How can I contact my child’s tutor or the band director?
Please use your child’s tutor or band director’s email, or contact the TSA office. Email addresses are located on your school’s ‘Band Notes’ page of this website. Private mobile numbers are not provided.
How do I reach someone on a weekend or after hours?
The TSA office is open from 9:00am to 4:30pm, Monday to Friday. If you send an email or ring, it will be dealt with during office hours.
Why should my child attend band camp?
TSA Camps provide students with an intensive weekend of musical development that is equivalent to more than a term’s worth of weekly tuition at school. Students have over 8 hours of face-to-face teaching, and the intensive environment increases the children’s motivation and enjoyment of their learning.
My child is on a special diet. Will this be catered for at camp?
If your child has specific dietary requirements, please note this on your camp medical form. If your child requires a completely different meal, there will be an additional charge.
My child has severe allergies or another medical condition - can they still come to camp?
There are children with allergies and anaphylaxis at each camp we hold, and TSA staff are experienced at helping children with other medical conditions have a successful stay. Please ring our office to discuss your specific concerns with a camp coordinator.
What activities happen at camp?
As well as group musical tuition alternating with band rehearsals, children have the opportunity for fun activities such as a waterslide, canoeing (with PFDs), a disco, and a movie. A final concert is held for parents and families at the end of camp.
Who supervises the children at camp?
Supervision is one of our main priorities, and we aim for one supervisor for every six students. This includes experienced camp coordinators, music tutors, and parent volunteers. Camp coordinators and parent volunteers look after overnight supervision. All TSA staff have been screened with a Working With Children Clearance.
My child wets the bed/sleepwalks…can they still attend camp?
Yes! Children (or their parents) feeling anxious about attending for these reasons should rest assured that our camp supervisors are parents themselves, and have been running camps for many years. They are sympathetic, and camp may be an opportunity for a child to have a successful overnight stay. Parents may also stay at the camp, for a fee which covers meals and accommodation. Please contact our office prior to camp.
What time is band rehearsal held?
Each school is different, but most schools hold band rehearsals in the morning before school, or afternoons after school. Children should arrive promptly to help set up.
CHANGES TO LESSONS OR BAND
My child wants to quit music lessons and band – what should I do?
If your child does not want to continue with lessons or band, please discuss with their tutor in the first instance. You may also notify the TSA office by email or phone. Discontinuing lessons or band must be notified prior to the start of the next term, before lesson groups are formed and invoices generated.
How do I return a hire instrument?
Per the rental terms and conditions, all hire instruments must be returned to TSA at our office in Dural. We are located above Dural Music Centre (behind Dural McDonalds) at 286-287 New Line Rd, Dural. Instruments must be in our possession prior to the end of a month, as the rental fee will be charged again on the first day of the next month.
Instruments can also be returned by Australia Post (we recommend registering the post) to Dural Music Centre.
A third option for returning instruments is to use a reputable courier service, at your expense.
We would like to change to lessons with an external tutor – who should we call?
Please call the TSA office to make any changes to your child’s tuition. All changes must be made prior to the start of the next academic term.
What equipment will my child need to be in band?
Your child will need a music stand for home practice: this is important for posture and breathing. They will also require a tutorial book, which can be ordered through the TSA office or upon enrolment. They may also require other ongoing consumable items such as cork grease and reeds (for saxophones and clarinets) and valve oil and slide grease (for trumpets and trombones).
What opportunities will my child have to perform?
Depending on the school, children will have the opportunity to perform with their band in assembly performances and school events, and chamber music evenings. Some schools will also send bands to participate in eisteddfods or music festivals.