CYMH Instrumental School


HMDT’s Instrumental School offers students ages 5 upwards an extensive curriculum including group and individual instrumental tuition, singing, musicianship and ensembles, as well as the Orchestra and Choirs of CYMH.



CYMH offers the following programmes

For students in Year 1 and 2, we offer the Minis programme.

Minis take part in two classes – a singing and drama/movement class building performance skills and an instrumental class to develop all-round musicianship skills. Students will take part in dynamic and engaging music theatre and movement, learn instrumental skills, benefit from increased confidence, and participate in exciting performances and develop strong team building skills.

Year 1– Students in year 1 will take a combined GM and Recorder class, alongside the I Can Sing! Mini group session.

Year 2 – Students going into school year 2 will take part in the Autumn term instrumental tasters, alongside the I Can Sing! Mini group session. At the end of the Autumn term, students will then select which instrument they wish to learn for the Spring and Summer terms. Instrumental tasters and subsequent lessons will be 40 minute group lessons. At the end of the academic year, having tried both options, they will then make the choice to join I Can Sing! or the CYMH Instrumental School as their main programme. If they join I Can Sing!, instrumental lessons are still available as additional one-to-one lessons.



For students in Key Stage 2 (Years 3 plus) who have been in the ICS! Minis programme, or join the Saturday Programme at a similar level.

Students progress towards Grade 1 on their chosen instrument through small group lessons, and join the Yellow Ensemble/ Choir in which they also continue to develop their theoretical knowledge. Elements of general musicianship are be incorporated into their instrumental learning and Ensemble/ Choir sessions in a fun and meaningful way to develop their musical communication skills.

Students who have already been learning an instrument elsewhere will be able to join our Yellow Ensemble programme (see ‘The Ensemble Programme’ below).



For students playing at a Grade 1 standard on their instrument who are ready to explore music through ensemble classes. Additional choir and theory classes are also offered. 

Green Programme students receive a 20-minute individual lesson and attend instrumental ensembles which continues to incorporate general musicianship in to their musical learning. Green students also play alongside our more advanced Blue students in the CYMH orchestra and can additionally opt to attend music theory classes at 2-3 or 4-5 Grade level, or join the choir.

Students who already learn an instrument elsewhere and are playing at a Grade 1+ level will be able to join our Green Ensemble programme (see ‘The Ensemble Programme’ below).



For students who are playing at a Grade 3 level and above. Entry is by audition.

The Blue Programme offers students the opportunity to develop their instrumental studies further at the Saturday Programme with individual lessons, small chamber ensembles, and the CYMH Orchestra. They can also opt to attend music theory classes at 2-3 or 4-5 Grade level, or join the choir.

Students who learn an instrument elsewhere and are playing at Grade 3 or above will be able to join our Blue Ensemble programme (see ‘The Ensemble Programme’ below).



For students who are playing at a Grade 3 level and above who wish to develop an understanding of Jazz. No Jazz experience necessary. Entry is by audition.

This programme is available either with Instrumental lessons or as an ensemble programme. If you wish to continue with your classical training, members of Jazz Blues can also attend Choir, Grade 4-5 theory classes, or the CYMH Orchestra.



The Ensemble Programme is developed for students taking instrumental lessons outside of the Programme.

This programme allows students to participate in group activities to further their musical studies, ensuring that all students are able to experience the most important aspect of being a musician – group music-making and playing alongside other musicians. Ensemble students will take part in all other aspects of the curriculum, meeting and learning from their peers whilst taking part in the applicable Ensemble sessions, as well as the CYMH Orchestra.


Instrumental lessons give students an opportunity to learn an instrument, selecting from a choice of strings, wind, brass, percussion or guitar. They learn in small groups, pairs or individual lessons based upon each student’s curriculum. As part of our new curriculum the instrumental lessons at Minis, Yellow, Green and Blue level will incorporate elements of general musicianship through a variety of fun methods helping develop note reading, listening and other musicianship skills.

N.B. We only offer piano as an individual lesson.

Choir Green and Blue Programme students have the option to continue singing in a choir, developing their ability to use their voice, to sing in parts and getting to learn more advanced vocal repertoire. 
Ensemble sessions continue the practice of encouraging students to play and learn together. Teachers design special arrangements, tailored not only to the particular group of instruments, but also, on many occasions, to the particular students. The students learn elements of general musicianship working through their instruments and developing further musical awareness.
CYMH Orchestra gives students the chance to explore a wide range of repertoire, including contemporary music and occasionally new HMDT Music commissions. The orchestra may also accompany the choir or other performers at some of the school’s many performances.

Exams offer students the opportunity to be externally assessed and receive certificates commending their achievements. Exam preparation includes set pieces, scales, sight-reading and aural. We offer ABRSM, and Trinity exams. As well as instrumental exams at all Grade Levels, students can study for their ABRSM Grade 5 Theory in a special preparation class. 

Students are put forward for exams by tutors at the end of the previous term, and then confirmed after the first week of the new term. For example: 
  • Student A is proposed as an exam candidate at the end of the Autumn term for the Spring term exam centre. 
  • Parents are contacted to ensure practice is sustained through the term break.
  • Student A is confirmed as an exam candidate after their first lesson in January.
  • Parents are then informed and invoices are sent.
  • Following payment, candidate is entered for their exam.

Grade 2-3 and 4-5 Theory  Green and Blue Programme students have the option to attend additional music theory classes according to their grade level. Grade 2-3 Theory class covers the theoretical basics and helps to build up a fundamental theoretical knowledge. Grade 4-5 is a chance for more advance students to prepare for Grade 5 Theory exams and widen their theoretical knowledge.  



My child is progressing at a much faster rate than the other children in their group! What happens now?

Students progress at different rates so even if they start in one group, they do not always stay with that group. The multi-strand programme allows for students to move up and down the different colours as needed. Please note, that students are only moved on a recommendation from their teachers, and sometimes need a couple of additional lessons to make sure they are playing at the same standard as the other students in the higher level group.


My child is in Year 6 or Year 7 and has had no experience, but I would like them to start learning an instrument. What can you offer?  

Private lessons on a chosen instrument through Our Music Lessons For You Programme. Once your child reaches the right level, they would then be able to join the Yellow Programme.


Can my child change to another programme if they don’t enjoy the one they’re doing?

We do not encourage students to switch between CYMH and I Can Sing! programmes however, students can move to another programme for a transfer fee of £25.00. If they decide to return to the original course, the fee is £100.00.



The times below are for main programme elements only and include breaks. Instrumental lessons will be scheduled outside these hours. Please note that timings are advisory only, and are subject to change.


Minis: 09:00 – 10:45

Yellow: 09:30 – 12:30

Green: 09:40 – 13:30

Blue: 09:40 – 13:30

Jazz Blue: 09:00 – 11:30



Click here for term dates



Please read the eligibility, fees and the application process page here >




 Photos: Clive Barda