Private Music Tuition

In this section:

Instrumental tuition can be arranged through the music office. This is mostly during school hours in individual practice rooms within the Music suite. Private music tuition fees are additional to School fees. Instrumental and vocal lessons are open to any student at Westminster School. These lessons are offered on a rotating basis during the school day for 30 minutes per lesson per week. Any student studying music as a subject from Year 8 onwards is expected to have instrumental lessons.

The Instrumental Music Tuition enrolment form is available from the Music Office for instrumental and vocal lessons. A Music information booklet is available from the Music Office and will be sent out to all families with instrumental tuition forms. Please read it carefully as it details many aspects of the Music program including instrumental tuition. For continuing students a new handbook will be distributed at the beginning of Term 1 of the new year.


The following instruments are available for hire from Westminster School Music Department:







French Horn






Hire fees are outlined in the annual Music Policy Booklet available from the Music Office. Preference for the hire of instruments will be given to elective music students.

Hire fees are charged to School accounts during Semester 1 and Semester 2. If a student discontinues lessons or changes instruments, the original instrument must be returned to the Music Office immediately and signed off in the instrument loan folder. Instruments should not be returned to the storage area.

The Music Department will not cancel or alter the hiring arrangement unless this procedure has been followed. Instruments must be cleaned before they are returned. Failure to follow this procedure will incur further hire charges.


Students and parents are reminded that they are responsible for the safekeeping of instruments during the hire period. If an instrument is lost or damaged in any way, please inform the music office promptly so that the appropriate action can be taken. Music and books should not be rolled up or jammed into instrument cases as this can damage music and instruments. Students are expected to clean instruments regularly and should seek assistance of instrumental staff in this matter. All students must take their instruments home over the holidays and are asked to take particular care when transporting them.

The School covers the cost of general maintenance of School instruments. However, parents will be expected to pay for excessive damage and/or neglect, or replacement if the instrument is lost. School instruments in need of repair are to be submitted to the music office. Parents and students are requested not to undertake their own repairs or make their own arrangements for the repair of instruments.


All students are encouraged to buy their own instruments in order to make the School instruments available for new students. Instrumental and departmental staff may be consulted regarding the purchase of a suitable instrument.


Instruments may be stored in the Music Department in the shelving provided for instruments near the entrance to the Band Room. Instruments should be taken home at the conclusion of the school day.

Privately owned instruments – students who bring their own instrument to School should ensure that the case is clearly labelled to distinguish it from other instruments that may appear similar. For your own benefit, it is advisable to write down the serial number and any distinguishing features of the instrument. If the instrument is lost at any time, this will make its recovery much easier. Families are advised to have appropriate insurance cover.

Instrumental Tuition Program

Visiting instrumental teachers provide private tuition on campus for a wide variety of instruments.

Procedures for Commencing and Withdrawing from Instrumental Lessons

Application forms are available from the Music Office. Students will be allocated a music tutor and a lesson time, and a contract will be sent home to the address listed on the application form. Contracts need to be signed and returned to the Music Department as soon as possible. The initial engagement will be for a period of 16 lessons for a full semester (two terms) and it is expected that students will be committed to attending each of these 16 lessons. Once the enrolment form for instrumental and vocal tuition is returned parents are liable for one semester’s fees (16 lessons). Music tuition will continue from term to term and may be terminated by either the parents or the tutor by giving to the other not less than one term’s notice in writing. The parents may pay to the music tutor an amount equal to one term’s fees in lieu of such notice.

Lesson Allocation

Instrumental lessons usually take place during the school day. Preparatory students from Reception to Year 5 are allocated a set day and time. Lessons for Year 6 to Year 12 students are arranged on a rotational basis on a given day. Preference is given to senior students requesting lessons during lunch hour or recess, though this may not always be possible.


Timetables for all individual lessons are posted on the noticeboard in the Music Centre. Senior School students should check this weekly, on the morning of their lesson in case any changes have been made. Class teachers will be notified if alterations have been made to lesson times for Preparatory students, alternatively tutors may choose to contact parents directly with any changes, but should also inform the Music Office of any such changes.

Lesson Attendance

As outlined in the policy booklet if a student misses a lesson through illness the usual charge will apply, unless 24 hours notification is given to the Music Office (T: 08 8276 0236). No charge will be made in the case of long-term illness or injury (eg broken arm), provided that the Music Office is notified. No charge will apply if a lesson is missed due to school reasons, such as excursions or camps, provided the Music Office is notified. Messages via voice mail can be left on the Music Office phone.

If students miss their lessons without explanation, parents will be notified via an absentee slip, which will be sent home. If the music tutor is unable to provide music lessons due to illness or because of other commitments, the Music Department will be notified as soon as possible, so that students can be notified. The music tutor will then make up missed lessons in the above circumstances, or credit the missed lesson to the following term’s account.

Fee Schedule

Tuition fees are due within fourteen (14) days of the date of issue. If the tutor does not receive payment by the due date, lessons may be discontinued, or late payment may incur a 10% fee increase.

Westminster School also charges an administration fee per semester which is billed to the School account.

Music Diaries

All instrumental students are encouraged to take a music diary to each lesson. This enables the tutor to record comments and instructions, and for students to record lesson times and other information. It also provides a valuable means of communication between the tutor, student and parent. Music diaries can be purchased from the Music Office.


In order to make steady progress, students should develop a regular practice routine. Efficient practise each day will yield better results than spasmodic efforts. Parental guidance and encouragement in this regard is most beneficial.

Please consider the following points:

  • Your child will need a room in the house where they can practise without being disturbed. Preferably well ventilated, with good light to assist in reading music. The purchase of a music stand (if appropriate) to promote correct posture is also advised.
  • Regular, daily practise is essential, as a guide 10-20 minutes per day for beginners, gradually increasing to 25-30 minutes daily. It is recommended that students practise at the same time everyday to establish good playing habits quickly. Practising for shorter periods everyday is far better than playing for a long session once a week.
  • Parents of younger students may consider a “Star Chart”, where, for example, your child is set a goal of twenty days’ practice with a reward at the end of it.
  • Tutors will assist by telling students what and how to practise.
  • Generally speaking, if a student makes a mistake when practising, they are playing too fast. If a mistake is made, the student should: slow down, isolate the mistake and work on that section, and spend time on the trouble spots. A pencil, not a pen, should be used to mark music. Circle the sections that are proving difficult, and practise those sections more than the rest of the piece.
  • Periodically the student could make a recording of themselves playing, to help analyse their progress.
  • Parents can greatly assist by taking an interest in what the student is playing and offer encouragement.
  • Only practise on the days you eat!


Where possible tutors are encouraged to give parents a contact phone number so that absenteeism can be advised directly to the tutor. Parents are encouraged to contact instrumental tutors regarding progress, and development of their child’s instrumental lessons and practise.

Contact with the instrumental tutor should NOT be made at School without initially contacting the Music Office or the Director of Music. This procedure must be followed in order to make an appointment with the instrumental tutor.

Tutors are able to obtain from the Music Department, via student records, the current contact address and telephone number of parents for billing and communication purposes.

Music Staff

Michael Degenhart Head of Performing Arts / Director of Music
Christine Gould Coordinator of Instrumental and Vocal Music
Elena Harrison Senior & Preparatory School Music Teacher
Tiffany Hunter Preparatory School Music Teacher
Karen Wandel Preparatory School Music Teacher
Donna Dunbar Performing Arts Assistant


Instrumental Tutors are available for the following instruments:


Guitar/Classical Guitar



Electric Guitar/Bass

Vocal Jazz











Double Bass


Performance Groups

Big Bands
Senior Concert Band
Senior Orchestra
Senior Vocal Ensemble
Jazz Ensemble
Vocal Jazz Ensembles
Guitar Ensembles
Flute Ensembles
Rock Bands
Senior String Ensemble
Preparatory School Junior Choir
Preparatory School Canto Choir
Preparatory School Concert Choir
Preparatory School Chapel Choir
Preparatory School Concert Band
Preparatory School String Ensemble
Preparatory School Flute Ensemble