Doncaster's Music Service provides music to all ages and all backgrounds and believes that the opportunity to play a musical instrument should be available to every child, regardless of financial or social circumstances. A full music support service is offered to all schools.


  • to help provide a rich and responsive music education for Doncaster children;
  • to assist schools in their efforts to raise standards in music, and
  • to support music as an educational and leisure pursuit in the local community at large.

Each week, pupils from all over the Doncaster area come to the William Appleby Music Centre to take part in one or more of the many activities, including orchestras, bands, guitar groups, recorder groups and theory classes. The young people play music together, make new friends and, perhaps above all, have fun. There is a place for everyone.

If you need any more information, you can look at our frequently asked questions section or complete the eform at the end of the page. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Does the Music Service offer lessons to adults?

Doncaster Music Service only provides tuition to children and young people who live within the Doncaster Area where their school has purchased our services.

How much do lessons in school cost?

Doncaster Music Service does not make any charge directly to parents for instrumental or vocal lessons in any school in Doncaster.  Neither do we make any charge for attendance at Music Centre ensembles for pupils who live within Doncaster Council area.  Schools buy teaching provision from the Music Service.  To offset the cost of this, some schools will then ask for contributions from parents.  This is a matter for the Headteacher and school governors to decide and, providing they do not make a profit from charging, or charge for curriculum tuition (i.e. tuition for performance at GCSE, AS, or A level examinations) they are entitled to do this.  If your child‘s school does ask you for a contribution, the Music Service has no influence on this and cannot answer queries relating to it.  Your child‘s instrumental tutor may not be aware of the school‘s policy and therefore is unable to answer queries in connection with this.

My child wants to learn a certain instrument but the school says it is not possible.  Why is this?

Individual schools decide which instruments (or family of instruments) they would like to have taught in their school.  They also decide how much time they wish to devote to each of these.  It may be that your child wishes to learn an instrument that is not currently taught in school (your interest may encourage the school to reconsider this for the future) or all available spaces are filled on a certain instrument: in this case most schools will operate a waiting list.

My child’s school does not purchase lessons from Doncaster Music Service, do you provide private lessons?

Doncaster Music Service only provides lessons to schools who purchase from the Music Service and does not offer private lessons.  The Music Service does not have a list of recommended private tutors.  The service welcomes discussions with any school who do not currently engage with the Music Service.

Can my child get Music Theory Lessons?

Music Theory lessons are held via MSTeams (online) term time only.  Initially classes are intended to prepare pupils for grade five, but can be extended if appropriate.  At present, theory lessons are charged at £20 per term.  Please complete the music theory class application form, classes are subject to availability and you may be placed onto the waiting list.

How do I apply for a place in an ensemble at the William Appleby Music Centre?

Your child's Doncaster Music Service Tutor may nominate your child to attend an ensemble, however, should your child be interested in attending an ensemble please get in touch with the Doncaster Music Service office via email at and we can advise you the most suitable group for your child to join.  If your child has private lessons, please complete the eform or email to ask what standard is needed.

How much does the William Appleby Music Centre cost?

The William Appleby Music Centre is currently free for children who live within the Doncaster Council area.  Pupils from outside the area pay a small termly subscription, please contact for further advice.

Are parents allowed to take photographs and videos at the William Appleby Music Centre concerts and events?

To comply with current Data Protection Legislation, consent will be sought from each parent when completing a membership form.  Once responses are received, the Music Service will inform parents at the relevant concert whether they are able to take photographs/videos during the concert.

Can my child borrow an instrument?

Instruments are loaned to pupils who receive lessons from one of the Music Service’s tutors subject to instrument and availability.  For the first academic year there is no charge for the instrument, for the following academic year there is a small termly charge, a remissions policy exists, see PDF below or please contact for further details.

DMS Remission Policy
Download (123KB - PDF)

How do I pay the instrument hire charge invoice?

At the beginning of each term you will receive an invoice from Doncaster Council.  All the ways to pay are listed on the back of the invoice.  The Music Service office cannot take payment for your instrument hire invoice, however please contact for any queries in relation to the charges.

Can I buy an instrument more cheaply for my child?

Please visit our Musical Instrument Purchase Scheme page for more information.

Can my child undertake music exams and how much do they cost?

Your child’s instrumental tutor will advise you when your child is ready to undertake an exam.  The Music Service will send you details including instructions on how to enter and dates the exams will take place.  Details of examination fees can be found at ABRSM, Trinity College London and London College of Music.  (A remissions policy is in place - please contact for more information).

Is there any other financial support for my child to learn a musical instrument?

Awards for Young Musicians is a registered charity that supports young musicians.  Please visit their website for more information: Awards for Young Musicians

The William Appleby Memorial Trust will consider individual requests for financial support on application, please contact them for more information via email to

History of the Doncaster Music Service

Instrumental music teaching in Doncaster schools had its beginnings as far back as 1932 when Arthur Allsop, a market gardener and talented violinist from Selby, was allowed to go into two Doncaster schools at the end of the school day to teach the violin to small groups of children.  He died suddenly in 1945, but by that time his work had grown to encompass other schools and had led to the formation of two orchestras, Beechfield Strings and its training orchestra, Doncaster Schools' Orchestra.  In 1946, the Local Education Authority appointed William Appleby, a young teacher from the then Doncaster Grammar School, as its first music organiser.  A highly successful trainer of choirs, he subsequently became nationally known through his work as presenter of the BBC's Singing Together programme.  (The late TV broadcaster Richard Whiteley mentions these in his book "Himoff!") Under his direction instrumental music flourished and in 1967 a Schools' Music Centre was established with Peter Bear as its Head.  William Appleby died in 1973 and in the following year, under Local Government reorganisation, Gerald Gentry was appointed as the Authority's Music Adviser.  He was succeeded in 1980 by Peter Bear, under whose direction the service has become nationally and internationally known for the excellence of its provision.  Peter Bear retired in July 2001 from his position as Head of the Service.  The William Appleby Music Centre was based at the Carr House Centre (now Mary Woollett Centre) until July 2012, after out-growing the St.Sepulchre Gate building.  The Danum Road site was originally Danum Girls Grammar School, and the Music Centre shared the building with Carr House Middle School until its closure in 1997.  Following the establishment of the Doncaster Music Education Hub in 2012, the Music Service offices are now based in Bentley My Place (Youth Hub) and rehearsals are held in various locations in Doncaster.

 If you cannot find the answer to your questions, please complete the eform below. 

The Music Hub

Doncaster Music Education Hub is a collection of partners working together to provide every child in Doncaster the opportunity to sing and learn a musical instrument, and to perform as an ensemble regardless of race or gender.  The Hub partnership is led by Doncaster Music Service who have over 80 years of experience in music education, and darts (Doncaster Community Arts), a national portfolio organisation working collaboratively with a wide range of strategic partners to create a rich tapestry of musical opportunities for the young people in Doncaster. For more information, please visit the Music Education Hub pages.

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Last updated: 13 September 2023 11:23:21

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