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Assisted Instrument Purchase Scheme information

Frequently asked questions

My child wants to try the instrument first to decide if it is right for them, before we buy it. Is this possible?
In most circumstances the tutor will have a good idea of what instrument is suitable, and you may not need to try it first. However, if you wish to contact the office, we can give you details of our suppliers so that you can arrange to visit them to try them out.

My child is leaving school at the end of the term and will no longer be having lessons with a St Helens Borough Council Music Service tutor in school. Can we still buy an instrument through the scheme?
Unless your child is also a member of the Music Centre and will be continuing with this membership after leaving school, then it will not be possible to use the scheme.

Can we collect the instrument from the office/shop so we can get it quicker?
The rules governing the scheme do not allow us to do this. The instrument must be delivered to your child in school or, if applicable, at the Music Centre activity.

Where do the instruments come from?
The Music Service is part of St Helens Borough Council. It therefore purchases instruments from the council's list of approved suppliers. We ensure the companies used give us good quality, value for money and offer good after-sales care. We do not keep a stock of instruments for sale but buy them individually when requested.

Who can purchase an instrument through this scheme?
The Music Service is allowed to provide this scheme to the parents/carers of any school aged young person living or educated in St Helens. Instruments have to be for their sole use as part of their instrumental music education.

Are there any restrictions as to the types of items that can be purchased?
HMRC guidance states that instruments have to be in support of a child's music education in school and that the instrument has to be portable. Pianos, large percussion items and those instruments found within school music departments are therefore generally outside of the scope of the scheme. 

Similarly, computers and software and other related devices cannot be purchased through this scheme. However, portable keyboards can. In all cases it is assumed that the child would take the instrument on a weekly basis to and from school for their lessons.

Can the pupil try the instrument first?
Generally, no, because we do not keep these instruments in stock. It may be possible for them to visit the music shop to try out several models. This may be particularly helpful for the more expensive/high spec. instruments. In a few rare instances suppliers have sent an instrument prior to order for a pupil to try before purchase. However, instruments cannot be returned after purchase unless faulty.

Can the parents/child collect the instrument from the Music Service office or the supplier?
The rules governing the scheme do not allow for this. The instrument must be delivered to the pupil in school or if applicable, at the Music Centre activity. Please don't tell them to come to the service offices to pick it up.