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Students living or attending school in Hertfordshire may be able to get financial support for instrument or vocal lessons with Hertfordshire Music Service teachers.

Financial Support 

Funding for music lessons from Hertfordshire Music Service is funded by Arts Council England, therefore is separate from the funding you may be eligible for from Hertfordshire County Council, such as free school meals or saver cards.

On this page you will find details of the financial support we offer for music tuition; who is eligible and how to apply.

*Funding is available for eligible families at 50% and 100% (means-tested financial support):

Financial support can be accessed by parents/carers who are in receipt of qualifying benefits.The income threshold relates to total household income.

  • Even if you receive free school meals from Hertfordshire County Council, you still need to apply separately to be considered for music lesson funding from Hertfordshire Music Service.
  • A separate application is required for each sibling.
  • Financial support cannot be backdated, so please do not start lessons before financial support is confirmed by         HMS  if you requireif you require financial support to fund       lessons. 
  • Your eligibility does not guarantee that you will receive financial support for music with HMS. After you have applied,      please check your emails and messages to make  sure your      application for financial support from HMS has   been accepted
  • Your application status can also be viewed by logging into your account, alternatively, please contact regarding financial support.
  • Parents/carers will need to provide a National Insurance number in their application so Hertfordshire County Council        can request an eligibility check for Free School Meals or              other benefits. We will only ask for proof of your eligibility         where we can’t obtain it ourselves.  

Pupils funded in September 2023-July 2024:

If you have received financial support during September 2023 and July 2024, please note:

  • Your financial support for music lessons does not automatically continue to the next school year (starting September 2023).
  • You will need to re-apply to HMS for funding at the beginning of each academic year, by creating a new application each year for help with fees.

Timeline for Financial Support applications for September 2024 - July 2025 

Applications for continuers open 1st February 2024.

  • Continuers applications will be prioritised until March 2024.

Applications will open to all students 1st March 2024.


Guidance for applying online

We have produced a short video to guide you through the online process of applying for help with fees. Please note that there is no sound on the video.

Download the guidance here.

Herts Music Service financial support

Parents and carers can apply for one of two different levels of financial support to help with the fees for instrumental or vocal lessons with us from September 2022 to July 2023:

  1. Level One 100% Financial Support for students in Year 3 or above who currently receive Universal Credit or other benefits that entitle you to free school meals. Pupils who receive protected Free Schools Meals or Pupil Premium until 2023 are not automatically entitled to help with music fees - you will still need to apply for help with music fees each year to show what benefits you currently receive in order to be considered. 

    Qualifying benefits - Click to show

    Children in year 3 or above are eligible for 100% financial support for music if they currently receive any of the following:

  2. Level Two 50% financial support for students in Year 3 or above who receive other qualifying benefits or Universal Credit with annual earned income of no more than £15,000.

    Qualifying benefits - Click to show

    You're eligible for 50% financial support for music if you get:

A child will only be able to receive one level of financial support.

Financial support is offered for tuition with us until the end of the academic year (July), to a maximum of 33 weeks, based on continuing eligibility, satisfactory attendance and progress by the student. Parents/carers will need to sign a Music Learning Agreement before financial support is confirmed.

Financial support cannot be backdated, so please don't start lessons before we confirm financial support as you may not be guaranteed the financial support and still be liable for the lesson fees.

We offer this financial support scheme and we may operate a waiting list if we receive more applications than the available funding allows.

Tuition is free for children in the care of Hertfordshire County Council.

Before you apply, speak to your school, HMS Music Centre or email to find out what lessons are available. 

How to apply

Level One 100% and Level Two 50% Financial Support

This discount will apply to a maximum of one 20 minute individual lesson, and a group lesson or ensemble, with HMS teachers online, in schools or in HMS music centres.

  1. Provide your National Insurance number, so that HMS can check your eligibility against Free School Meals and other benefits. HMS may ask you for further evidence if required after this initial check.
  2. Confirm that you agree to the Music Learning Agreement, which describes how financial assistance is offered and monitored across the school year.

You can start your application for help with music fees direct to Hertfordshire Music Service.

The Music Learning Agreement

The parent/carer (or the payer where this is different to the parent/carer) will be asked in their application for help with music fees to agree to the terms of the Music Learning Agreement below before financial support is confirmed by HMS. This agreement includes supporting your child’s good attendance and effort in the lessons.

The Terms and Conditions of all HMS instrumental and ensemble tuition is available on our Terms and Conditions page.

The Agreements Terms - Click to show

1. HMS awards financial support to eligible pupils across the county for music tuition and activities delivered by HMS teachers, on the basis that they show satisfactory attendance and musical progress across the school year.

2. Pupils can take up additional activities and opportunities with us across the county, and we want every child to enjoy their musical journey with us. If you are in receipt of funding, this support can also be applied to HMS music centre ensembles or choirs.

3. HMS will, subject to availability, provide a loan instrument for pupils in receipt of 100% and 50% financial support at fee of £15.00 per term. Please indicate if you require a loan instrument on the confirmation form.

4. HMS expects parents/carers to support their child to make the most of the opportunity HMS financial support offers. Parents/carers do not need to be a musician or have any musical experience to support a child’s learning at home. This support could include:

a. supporting the learning and practice objectives set by the teacher by reminding your child of set work

b. assisting with logistics e.g. making the instrument easily accessible at home and transporting the instrument to and from school

c. creating a quiet space for practice, free from loud noises and distractions

d. listen and praise practice and performances at home

e. inform the teacher of any planned or unplanned absences from lessons

5. HMS expects that all pupils who receive financial support will:

a. play and practice their instrument at home regularly – little and often is best to start with

b. do their best in lessons and ask questions if they don’t understand what or how to practice at home

c. contribute to their wider musical community by joining an ensemble or choir

d. if academic class lessons are missed for an instrumental music lesson, check with the class teacher if any homework has been set

6. The funding available is limited and we are not always able to offer financial support to every pupil who applies. Therefore, HMS will monitor the progress and attendance of pupils who receive financial support. 

7. HMS staff will support pupils to continue their learning both in and out of school whilst also working with parents/carers to ensure that expectations for attendance and musical progress is met.

8. The financial support will be withdrawn if 3 or more unauthorised absences are recorded within any one term without a valid reason such as exams, hospital appointments and school trips or continued musical progress is not met. HMS staff will contact parents/carers to discuss the absence reasons before the funding is withdrawn.

9. We must receive 4 weeks notice if you need to cancel a lesson for any reason as per the HMS lesson terms and conditions. If the required notice is not given, the lesson will be charged at the funded rate and not rescheduled.

10. This Music Learning Agreement needs to be confirmed by parents/carers before we can finalise an award of financial support. You may be charged in full for lessons that start before this agreement is authorised.

11. In order to stop lessons at the end of a term, you must inform HMS in writing by the relevant deadline detailed in the terms and conditions.

12. Any determination relating to financial support made by HMS shall be final. Please address any complaints regarding HMS tuition to Ben Stevens, Director of Music.

Please send any questions about the scheme to

Students and families can apply for funding for music with Young Sounds UK

You can apply if:

  • Your child is aged between 5 – 17 years old
  • Your child is an instrumentalist, composer, producer, singer or song-writer.
  • Your family are on a lower income.
  • You're eligible if the total income of any parents/carers in your home is less than £30,000 a year.
  • You may be eligible if it's between £30,000 - £40,000 a year.
  • It's unlikely you'll be eligible if it's above £40,000 a year.

Click here for more information!