Music lessons are among the most popular forms of tuition but the costs can prove to be prohibitive for many youngsters.
High costs can become a cause for concern for parents with multiple children and problems can be compounded by the widespread regional variation in prices.
The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music has revealed that 3.5 million children in the UK - 36 per cent of the total child population - benefit from private, one-to-one music lessons. Some of these youngsters will be learning several instruments.
Music lessons are to a large degree dependant on a pupil's household income. According to the Sutton Trust, the richest fifth of households are four times more likely to pay for classes outside school than the poorest fifth.
The reorganisation of local authority trusts into music hubs led to the budgets of some music trusts being cut sharply.
It was hoped that the changes would bridge the divide between wealthier pupils and those from disadvantaged backgrounds by targeting funding at the less well off.
Conor Ryan, director of research at the Sutton Trust, said the pupil premium could be used to ensure those from poorer backgrounds benefit from music tuition.
"We would like to see a proportion of the money that schools get [through the pupil premium] made available through vouchers for either parents or schools to enable them to buy extra lessons in subjects like music," he stated.
The Musicians' Union recommends that its members charge a price that will help them cover extra costs they incur when offering lessons, such as insurance for any accidents and regulatory checks to ensure they are cleared to work with children.
Posted by Tim Colman