Instrument Hire FAQs and Policy

This page contains:

  1. Frequently Asked Questions
  2. Definitions and Conditions of Hire
  3. Important Information for Hires beginning in September
  4. Pricing
  5. Delivery / Collection

1. Frequently Asked Questions

What happens after the first term, how do I pay in the future?

  • After the first term has lapsed, if you are still in possession of the instrument you will be sent a hire invoice each term by email.
  • Please ensure you inform us of any change of contact details.

How do I return the instrument at the end of hire?

  • Please call or email us to let us know you wish to end the hire.
  • You can return the instrument via your local Essex library.
  • Please fill in this form for returns:
  • Please email to confirm the instrument has been dropped off.

Who is responsible for maintenance and upkeep of the instrument?

  • Beyond the first month of hire, hirers are responsible for maintenance, upkeep and repair.
  • Please inform us before having a repair made to an instrument.
  • Hirers are also responsible for replacement of lost, stolen or damaged instruments.
  • As certain instruments can be very costly (Bassoons, Tubas, Euphoniums, French Horns, Oboes, Double Basses) we would recommend taking insurance out to cover your hired instrument.
  • Please ask us for a valuation for your instrument if you are looking to take out insurance.For all queries, email:

For guides as to care for your instrument, please click on the relevant instrument on this page

2. Definitions and Conditions of Hire

The Owner: Essex Music Service, a traded service of Essex County Council.

The Hirer: Usually the parent or guardian, or the student if over 18.

The Instrument: Any instrument offered for hire, including the case and any accessories (bow, cleaning rods etc).

  • Instruments can be reserved for 5 working days. If no application form is received after this time, the reservation will lapse.
  • The minimum hire period is one term, except for hires starting mid-term.
  • Fees will be invoiced termly. If the hire starts after half term, and the full termly fee is over £10, the fee will be halved for the first term only.
  • The hire can be terminated at any time by returning the Instrument to the Owner, but any fees already paid are non-refundable.
  • The Owner does not guarantee to provide any particular Instrument at any time. Students taking lessons from Essex Music Service tutors will take priority.
  • The Owner reserves the right to refuse a hire without giving a reason, and to terminate an agreement with one month’s notice. Fees will only be refundable if less than half a term has elapsed.
  • The Hirer is liable for the loss of, or any damage to, the Instrument. The Hirer should procure adequate insurance cover for the Instrument.
  • The Owner may request evidence of insurance cover before issuing the Instrument. In such cases, the hire will commence upon issue.
  • The Hirer must seek the Owner’s approval before any repairs are undertake and the Hirer will be responsible for any costs incurred.
  • The Instrument will remain the property of the Owner at all times, and the Hirer enjoys no right to buy the Instrument at any time.
  • The Hirer must notify the Owner of any change of address.
  • The Hirer will be responsible for any costs incurred in the event of defaulting payments and/or non-compliance with this agreement.
  • Any dispute over this agreement will be referred to arbitration.

3. Important Information for Hires beginning in September

If the instrument is to be used for lessons starting in September, you will be contacted in August once stock availability has been confirmed.

  • Please allow at least 2 weeks for us to get your instrument ready.
  • At present you will not be able to collect your instrument from our office, your instrument will be delivered to your school.
  • Please be aware that as September is the busiest time of year for hires, register for your instrument as soon as you are notified that your child has been assigned lessons.

Please note that:

  • Instruments are billed termly
  • Delivery is not available throughout the school holidays.
  • At the beginning of term (our busiest time) extra time should be allowed for delivery.
  • Instruments are not dispatched until payment is received.
  • We are unable to guarantee availability of instruments, or delivery dates.
  • Instrument hire for the first term is paid in advance.
  • You can view size guides and further information.


Please read our conditions of hire above before signing up: by continuing with your application, you must agree to these conditions.


4. Pricing (2023-24)

Flute £32.50
Oboe £37.50
Clarinet £32.50
Alto Sax £50
Tenor Sax £50
Bassoon/Mini Bassoon £42.50
Trumpet/Cornet £32.50
French Horn £37.50
Tenor Horn £42.50
Baritone Horn £45
Bari/Euphonium £45
Trombone (tenor only) £32.50
Tuba £37.50
Violin (all sizes) £18.00
Viola £18.00
Cello (all sizes) £22.50
Double Bass (all sizes) £37.50
Guitar (all sizes) £12.50
Electric/Bass Guitar & Amp £42.50
Keyboard £22.50
Music Technology Pack £22.50


  • We offer a 50% reduction in hire fees for people on low-incomes, and free hire for all Looked After Children, children subject to a Special Guardianship Order, Child Arrangement Order or Children adopted from care.
  • Please apply for the Tuition Discount via our website if you are eligible for this support. Financial assistance – Essex Music Education Hub (


5. Delivery / Collection

  • There is a £10 per instrument delivery charge for instruments delivered to schools
  • There is also a delivery charge of £10 if an instrument is swapped for a larger size or a different instrument at a school.


Published June 2024