Music Service

Music ServiceThe Music Service is committed to supporting and fulfilling the musical aspirations of all young people living in the borough, both in and out of school, and engaging people of all ages in a variety of exciting musical activities.


Summary of the service

The Oldham Music Service delivers instrumental and vocal tuition at Key Stage 2, 3, 4 and 5.

This small group tuition model usually sees pupils learning in groups of up to four per half hour and produces the high standards for which Oldham’s young musicians are nationally renowned. Tuition is available in all orchestral and band instruments as well as steel band, guitar, bass guitar, keyboard, ukulele, all voice types and music theatre.

The Service provides class music tuition in primary schools based on the new KS1 and KS2 National Curriculum for Music as well as choral instruction and training. CPD is also provided for specialist and non-specialist music teachers in schools.



Whole Class Instrumental Tuition

Whole class instrumental teaching programmes (Wider Opportunities) are available for strings, brass, woodwind, mixed brass and woodwind, guitar, percussion and samba (all subject to availability).

Pre-Wider Opportunities classes prepare children (usually Year 3) in the basics of music and they then are better able to make the most of the following year’s instrumental sessions.

The Ongoing Opportunities scheme in which up to ten gifted and talented pupils from the previous year’s Wider Opportunities cohort are given an additional year’s tuition on the instruments free of charge to the school.

Additional benefits to schools participating in Music Service programmes include the ‘Come and Play with the Hallé’ days at the Bridgewater Hall. Once again in 2013 around 1000 children from Oldham took part in a concert with the world class Hallé Orchestra in an exceptional concert hall – for most, a once in a lifetime experience.


Hands and Voices

Hands and Voices uses music and songs to teach ‘Signalong’ to Nursery/Reception children.

pipes-300We teach signs for classroom routines, topics, instructions and anything else you want to sign with the children, using specially written songs to traditional tunes. It also includes classroom percussion skills, listening and responding to music, signs for nursery rhymes and familiar songs and fine motor control exercises.

Hands and Voices is particularly beneficial for classes with children for whom English is an additional language or children with a language delay. Because the whole class and the teacher learn at the same, it helps to integrate all children into the class and gives the children confidence to communicate with each other.


Development through Music – children with SEN

Music is a powerful, unique form of communication that can change the way pupils feel, think and act. It offers children with learning difficulties opportunities to:

  • Demonstrate their ability in an area not dependent on language skills
  • Improve listening, concentration and attention skills
  • Produce sounds and develop expressive language
  • Practise turn-taking
  • Experiment and try new ideas where there are no right or wrong answers
  • Develop co-ordination and functional fine motor skills”

(taken from QCA Planning, Teaching and Assessing for Pupils with Learning Difficulties 2009)

Oldham Music Service has been working with individuals and small groups of children with a range of special needs, including ASD, language and global delays and low self-confidence. The sessions are geared to the needs of the children and include songs and instrument activities to develop social skills, communication skills and gross and fine motor skills.

As the children gain confidence, experience and develop their skills in the weekly sessions, it will help them to engage more with their peers and classroom activities.


Choral Work – KS1 – 5

Specialist teachers will work with children’s choirs to produce choral singing of excellence. Attention paid to breathing technique, voice production and the development of suitable repertoire. Choirs can either be selective or whole class / school.



Curriculum Music

Foundation Stage to KS2

Our specialist class music teachers use the National Curriculum guidelines as a basis for their planning and delivery. They strongly believe that music should be a fun and creative learning experience for all involved and will also, if necessary, support non-specialist class teachers. In EYFS, music will have a particular focus on enhancing speech, language and communication development.

If necessary, planning time and time for discussion with class teachers should be included in the hours which the specialist teacher spends in the school.

The Music Service is in agreement with suggestions outlined in the National Curriculum Music Teacher’s guide regarding the Assessing Process. The document states that:

‘recording every aspect of each child’s progress is neither necessary nor desirable. Records should be selective and brief. Significant achievements or weakness may be noted and may serve as a basis for planning appropriate future challenges and possibly form part of an annual report’.

If schools require Music Service staff to assess children in their music lessons, they should provide the support of a classroom assistant, relevant class information and at least one non-contact session

The Music Service will provide an assessment sheet which will assist the class teacher when he/she is compiling their end of year reports.


KS3 – 5


Support for GCSE, BTEC and A Level work is available, with particular emphasis on the performing element. Schools are reminded that pupils undertaking tuition as part of an external examination course should not be subject to a charge for such tuition.

In addition to this, the Music Service also has the facility to work with High School Music Departments to support them in developing their curriculum and schemes of work.


The Oldham Music Centre

The Music Service also provides opportunities for young musicians outside of school. Every week around 1,000 young people attend various groups held at the Music Centre. These include Wind Bands, Orchestras, Choirs, Brass Bands, Swing and Jazz groups, a contemporary music ensemble, various brass and woodwind ensembles and even classes for pre-school children.

To see and hear examples of recent Music Centre performances visit the Music Centre website.

The service is also providing activities within the community including ‘satellite’ ensembles in various extended schools settings, Community Pop Choir, adult instrumental classes in brass and woodwind, an adult Community Wind Band and community Ukulele and ‘blues’ groups.


I enjoyed going to the  Hallé because it was a great experience for me, and I would like to carry on playing the violin next year.



Benefits of the service

  • All tuition is given by appropriately qualified specialist Teachers.
  • OMS teachers receive regular CPD and take part in performance management.
  • All children having instrumental tuition have free use of an instrument whilst receiving lessons from an OMS teacher in their school.
  • The progress of all pupils is monitored by pupil record cards and annual reports to parents.
  • The Music Service serves as a ‘hub’ to coordinate the musical activities of young people across Oldham, both in and out of school, and to facilitate enhanced opportunities with professional and other visiting musicians. Music Service pupils are tracked as they progress between Key Stages and a comprehensive record of their musical experience is built up.
  • Oldham Music Service is the lead delivery partner within the area for the Greater Manchester Music Hub.  This brings significant advantages to the region including strong and vibrant links with groups such as the Hallé, BBC Philharmonic and Camerata Orchestras, resulting in greatly enhanced opportunities for Oldham’s young musicians.
  • An invitation to the annual Schools’ Music Festival, which celebrates the talents of around 3000 young musicians from across Oldham.
  • Programmes of popular and light music workshops for schools including performances by ensembles from the Camerata Orchestra, workshop days with members of the Hallé Orchestra, string, brass and woodwind workshop days at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, steel band and percussion workshops.
  • Schools using the service will have access to the class music resource base and the choral and instrumental music libraries based at the Oldham Music Centre.
  • School-based class music inset work for non-specialist primary teachers.
  • Short term projects in World Music.

A ten-year study indicates that students who study music achieve higher test scores, regardless of socioeconomic background.


Service standards

The Oldham Music Service is a major delivery partner in the GM Music Hub, the largest and most innovative new Music Hub nationally. One of our key roles is to support all schools in developing an exciting, challenging and effective music curriculum for all children and also a range of high quality extended musical opportunities where children can make significant progress.

In 2013’s annual  survey of school customers, an average of 87.5% rated the Music Service as good or excellent across a range of key indicators including pupil progress, staff punctuality, staff / pupil relationships and pupil enjoyment / motivation.


The range and diversity of what is on offer and the absolute professionalism with which all your staff deliver their duties is nothing short of outstanding.


Prices, Agreements and Timescales

Prices for 2016-17 are the same as for 2015-16!

Download (PDF) – Service Overview and Prices

Service Level Agreements run from September each year.

Download (Word) – Music Service SLA 2016-17.

Download (PDF) – Recruitment Timeline for September 2016.


Resources to download

Download (PDF) – benefits to pupils of learning an instrument (intended for parents).

Download (Word) – Sample letter to parents about instrumental tuition 2016-17.



Telephone Gerard Booth, Director of Music, on 0161 770 5660

or email using the contact from below:


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