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

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

If you have already received confirmation of your eligibility for 100% or 50% financial support from Hertfordshire County Council, let us know here

School subsidy

Many schools in Hertfordshire provide a school subsidy that we can pass onto parents who apply for lessons directly with us.

Financial support cannot be backdated, so please do not apply to start lessons before financial support is confirmed by your child's school or HMS Music Centre, if you require this subsidy in order to pay the lesson fees. 

Herts Music Service financial support

Parents and carers can apply for one of three different levels of financial support to help with the fees for instrumental or vocal lessons with us from September 2021 to July 2022:

  1. Level One 100% Financial Support for students in Year 3 or above who currently receive Universal Credit or other the 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

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

    • Income Support

    • Income-based Jobseekers Allowance

    • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance

    • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999

    • The guaranteed element of State Pension Credit

    • Child Tax Credit (as long as you’re not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and you don't get more than £16,190 a year)

    • Working Tax Credit run-on (paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)

    • Universal Credit (with annual earned income of no more than £7,400 after tax and not including any benefits you get).

  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 £15,000

    Qualifying benefits

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

    • Child Tax Credit, payable at a higher rate than the family element (more than £547.50)

    • Working Tax Credit

    • Housing Benefit

    • Council Tax Support (not including second adult rebate)

    • Universal Credit with annual earned income of no more than £7,400 (for 100% music help) or £15,000 (for 50% music help) after tax and not including any benefits you get.

  3. Level Three 25% financial support is for pupils of any age who wish to learn an instrument but require financial help, and who do not qualify for state benefits.

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 apply to start lessons before we confirm financial support.

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 ask.hms@hertfordshire.gov.uk to find out what lessons are available. 

How to apply

Level One 100% and Level Two 50% Financial Support

This subsidy 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. 

To apply...

  1. Speak to your school or HMS music centre about the lessons or activities with HMS that you can apply for, and what you may need to pay.

  2. Check your eligibility by completing an online form at www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/freeschoolmeals or by calling Hertfordshire County Council’s Customer Service Centre on 0300 123 4048 (8am-8pm Monday to Friday, 9am-4pm Saturday).

  3. If you are eligible, Hertfordshire County Council will confirm you are financially eligible for help with music fees. This does not guarantee financial support for music tuition at this stage.

  4. We ask that you confirm this eligibility by completing the HMS financial support eligibility form where you can provide the application reference number provided, your child’s name and where the lesson will take place.

  5. Do not start lessons until you have financial support confirmed by HMS, or you will be charged in full.

  6. HMS will assess your application and we will write to you to confirm either that you can receive financial support, that you have been added to a waiting list for financial support, or that you have been unsuccessful.

  7. When we contact you to offer financial support, you will need to complete an online Music Learning Agreement to accept the terms of the financial support, including supporting your child’s good attendance and effort in the lessons. We need to receive this before confirming financial support.

  8. When we confirm financial support to:

  9. Agree what you will be paying. Your school or we will advise what you need to pay, if you're receiving 50% support.


Level Three - 25% financial support

What can be funded?

One individual, shared or group instrumental/vocal lesson with an HMS teacher in a school, online or at an HMS music centre.

Who is eligible to apply?

This fund is for any child who wishes to learn an instrument but required financial help and does not qualify for state benefits. Applications will be considered from both new and existing HMS pupils. If you are already having lessons with HMS, your HMS teacher will be asked for a reference when you apply.

To apply...

  1. Speak to your school or HMS music centre about the lessons or activities you can apply for, and what you may need to pay.

  2. Apply online to request 25% financial support for a specific lesson. You can apply from Weds 9th June for lessons in September 2021.

  3. HMS will assess your application and we will write to you to confirm either that you can receive 25% financial support, that you have been added to a waiting list for financial support, or that you have been unsuccessful.
  4. Don’t start lessons until we confirm financial support, or you will be charged in full.
  5. When HMS contacts you to offer financial support, you will need to complete an online Music Learning Agreement to accept the terms of the financial support, including supporting your child’s good attendance and effort in lessons. We need to receive this before we can confirm financial support.

  6. When HMS contacts you to confirm 25% financial support:

  7. Agree what you will be paying: your school or HMS will advise you what you need to pay if you are receiving 25% support from us.

Confirming your eligibility for Financial Support

If you have received the result of your eligibility check for 100% or 50% financial support for music fees through Hertfordshire County Council (HCC), you need to let us know by filling in the HMS application form.


At this stage, your eligibility does not guarantee that you will receive financial support for music.

The Music Learning Agreement

The parent/carer (or the payer where this is different to the parent/carer) must read and agree to the terms of the financial support as detailed in the Music Learning Agreement below before financial support is confirmed by HMS. The Terms and Conditions of all HMS instrumental and ensemble tuition is available on our Terms and Conditions page.

The Agreements Terms

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 50% or 100% funding, this support can also be applied to an HMS music centre ensemble or choir.

3. HMS will, subject to availability, provide a loan instrument for pupils in receipt of 100% and 50% financial support. 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 (i.e. if you receive 25% funding the lesson will be charged at 75% of the full cost).

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 complete the fields below to show that you have read, understand and agree to the terms of the Music Learning Agreement, in order to accept any financial support that is offered by HMS, including supporting your child’s good attendance and effort in the lessons. Your acknowledgement will automatically be emailed to music.remission@hertfordshire.gov.uk.

Please send any questions about the scheme to music.remission@hertfordshire.gov.uk.

  • I understand I have read and agreed to the Music Learning Agreement

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