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Frequently Asked Questions

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  • When and where does teaching take place?
    Sheffield Music Academy takes place every Saturday during term-time from 8.30am-5.00pm at Birkdale Senior School, Sheffield. As our timetables are tailor made for each student the exact hours vary for each individual.
  • Can I afford to join?
    Any student can apply to study with us no matter what their personal circumstances or background. As a small charity, we work closely with the Department for Education who fund a limited number of means tested bursaries every year. We are also supported by businesses and smaller trusts to contribute towards fees and help pay for instruments and associated learning costs. This support ensures that we can provide eligible students with a high-quality music education without the worry of financial restraints. The maximum available bursary at present is £3,800, with minimum fees of c£120 for the year. 90% of our current cohort receive support towards their tuition. (Figures accurate as of March 2022). ​ Tuition fees vary per student and are based upon a student's tailored timetable. If you are successful at auditions, we will provide you with a quote based upon the agreed timetable. All fees include: 30 days of tuition, at least one workshop and/or masterclass per year, 40+ performance opportunities and lunchtime concerts, exam/performance rehearsals with an accompanist, books, and resources. Read about Archie and Becky, two example SMA students, and their Saturday timetable and rough estimate fees to give you an idea...
  • Am I good enough to join?
    Passion and dedication to music is the most important aspect to life as an SMA student! Children 8+ should be already established on their instrument and be able to read music, even if at a basic level. Children at secondary school age should be further on in their studies but no formal training or grades are needed for entry. Please contact us to discuss further if you are unsure.
  • What happens in the audition?
    Students will meet SMA's Music Director and will be asked to perform two contrasting, unaccompanied pieces on their first instrument and one each for any further studies. Depending on their age/standard they may also be asked to play some scales or sightread. Auditions last from 20-30 minutes. Students will also be encouraged to share what they love about music and why they would like to study it further. Parents/carers are welcome to stay in auditions, particularly for younger applicants.
  • Will Sheffield Music Academy take me away from my current teacher?
    Not necessarily. We would never make a student leave a teacher they are happy and working well with. We are more than happy to work alongside a student's existing tutor to ensure your musical progression. We always discuss student and parent's preferences and needs before you join us. ​ If you are eligible for a bursary it may be that SMA will fund your lessons with an external tutor but you will still be expected to attend the Saturday school as part of your membership.
  • Will the classes suit my needs?
    Every student receives a timetable that is tailor made for them with selections from our wide curriculum of classes. From one-to-one instrumental lessons and choirs to small ensembles, aural, theory and composition classes, students get a chance to experience all aspects of creating and enjoying classical music. Classes are designed to challenge and inspire. We also work with staff trained to adapt and accommodate classes to suit a range of special educational needs.
  • What opportunities are there to perform?
    Students have the opportunity to perform every single week in our lunchtime concerts. Not to mention the weekly performance classes and workshops as well as our regular master-classes with professional performers. Academy students have previously performed in Sheffield City Hall and The Crucible as well as at Bradfield Festival of Music, The Broomhill Festival and Sheffield Classical Weekend. Giving students the chance to perform is a key part of Sheffield Music Academy, as are the opportunities for discussion, learning and improvement that performance provides.
  • What will happen after I graduate from Sheffield Music Academy?
    Sheffield Music Academy gives students a place to grow and thrive as musicians and many of our graduates go on to study music at University or Conservatoire. Other graduates follow non-musical careers and qualifications but take the dedication, drive and enthusiasm that learning music at SMA provides. We regularly support our graduates in applying and auditioning for conservatoires and colleges as well as ensuring that they are fully equipped to navigate the application process. But no matter where they go and what they do all our graduates take a passionate love for music with them as leave the Academy. Scroll down to explore our Alumni achievements...

Example Student timetables and tuition fees...

Archie is 9 years old and attends SMA from 8.30am-1.15pm. He attends Junior Choir, Junior Strings Class, and Junior Strings Orchestra. He also attends Theory and Aural Grade 2 classes, and then has a 30-minute 1-1 lesson with his violin teacher after lunch.

Archie’s fees are c£2,000 a year

or c£67 per week.

Becky is 17 years old and attends SMA from 9.15am-5pm. She attends the Senior Piano and Advanced Composition classes, and then has 60-minute 1-1 lessons on the Piano and Oboe with her instrumental teachers. After the lunchtime concert, she participates in the Woodwind Trio and Chamber Orchestra until 5pm.

Becky’s fees are c£4,300 per year

or c£143 per week.

How Can I Apply?

Click below to get started with your application!





No formal qualifications are required to apply and we welcome applications from young musicians at all stages of learning as long as they bring passion, enthusiasm and dedication with them.


"SMA pushed me to develop my versatility in music which has inspired the way I perform"

Melissa Doody, Student at the Royal Academy of Music

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