Instrument Hire

How to hire an instrument from Ealing Music Service

In a nutshell…

  • Please read the procedure below for full details.
  • You will need to fill in a contract (EMS401) and Direct Debit (EMS402). YOU WILL NEED YOUR BANK DETAILS to complete the process.
  • You can normally pick up and drop off instruments Monday – Friday, 10am – 4:45pm during term time. You do not need to make an appointment, though if you are coming outside of term time, please call the office to check opening times before making a trip.
  • Check instrument availability on the right before you travel to EMS. (Please call to check availability if stock is listed as “Very limited”).
  • Note: We do not hire guitars, recorders, ukuleles or keyboard instruments (full list below). If you are looking to buy a guitar, have a look at our Guitar buying advice.


To hire an instrument, parents must apply for an instrument at the EMS offices at the Dominion Centre & Library in Southall. In order to speed up the process, you may fill in an EMS401 (contract) and EMS402 (direct debit), and bring them with you (DO NOT send in the post). Pupils must be resident in the London Borough of Ealing to hire an instrument. If you have not completed an EMS402 direct debit form, please bring the bank account details for an account you have signing permission.

If you are picking up a violin or cello, since they come in different sizes, it is best to bring the child who will be using the violin or cello with you – if this is not possible, you will need to know the length of your child’s arm (please measure from neck to wrist with arm held out).
Violin & Cello Sizes chart.

When you need to upgrade to a bigger size, please return your original instrument to the EMS office and exchange it for a larger one (please check availability on the right before you come in).

Instrument Availability

Availability of instruments cannot be guaranteed – please check the list on the right (or bottom if on a mobile device)before traveling to EMS. If the instrument you wish to hire is limited, please call 020 8843 9121 to check availability. Instruments are available on a first-come, first-served basis, although priority is given to new learners. Only parents or legal guardians will be issued with an instrument. This is Council policy, as you will have to sign and enter into a legally binding hire agreement. We can only issue instruments to other adults if the parent/legal guardian is registered disabled. Please contact the office to tell us about your circumstances.

Check here for our opening hours.

Parent Hire Charges

Instruments are categorised into 3 bands for the purpose of charging.

Band Instruments
(Please see availability above)
Termly Charge
Termly Charge
Termly Charge
Termly Charge
A Djembe, Tabla, Viola, Violin, £19 £19.50 £20 £20.50
B Cello, Clarinet, Cornet, Flute, Alto Saxophone, Santoor, Sitar, Trumpet, Trombone, £24 £24.50 £25 £25.50
C Baritone, Bassoon, Euphonium, Double Bass, French Horn, Oboe, Tenor Horn, £32 £32.50 £33 £33.50

Instruments are hired for a minimum of one term and will be charged at the above rates.

For more details, download an extract of the EMS Instrument Hire Policy. Parents are responsible for buying all consumables e.g. strings, reeds, oil, etc.

If your Direct Debit payments have not been processed, you can pay for your termly hire HERE.
NB: Please only click on this link if you have been instructed to do so by EMS.


EMS do not insure instruments on hire to parents and schools. Lost instruments will be charged for at full price. See Replacement Cost List. Instrument Replacement Costs

Therefore it is the hirers responsibility to insure the instrument. This is often possible through basic home contents or renters insurance – please check that your instrument will be covered on your insurance.

If not, here are a few companies that we have managed to get good musical instrument insurance quotes from in the past:





Damage or Loss

If you need to pay for the damage or loss of an instrument, you can do so online HERE.
Note: please only use this option if you have been instructed to do so by EMS staff.


Hired instruments should be returned either when your child leaves school or when they no longer use the instrument. Instruments can be returned Monday to Friday during term time between 10am – 4.45pm. It is possible to return instruments during holidays, however, please call first to check our opening hours. Please return instrument at least 10 days before your next direct debit payment for this to be cancelled in time. No refunds will be given for any direct debits that are taken before that time.

For more details, including terms and conditions, please see our Instrument Hire Policy.

How to find us

Click here for our contact details and a map.

Looking after your instruments

We would like you to take good care of your instrument. The downloads below have lots of useful information on looking after your instrument and what to do if youhave a problem:

EMS451 How to look after your String Instrument (Violin, Viola, ‘Cello, Double Bass, Guitar, Ukulele)

EMS452 How to look after your Woodwind Instrument (Flute, Clarinet, Saxophone, Oboe, Cor anglais, Bassoon)

EMS453 How to look after your Brass Instrument (Trumpet, Cornet, French Horn, Trombone, Baritone, Tuba)

EMS454 How to look after your Percussion Instrument (Tabla, Dholak, Dhol, Djembe)

EMS455 How to look after your Tuned Percussion Instrument (Steel Pan, Marimba, Xylophone, Glockenspiel)

EMS456 How to look after your Guitar Instrument (Guitar, Ukulele)

EMS405 Instrument Repair Slip (Must be filled in by an EMS Teacher)

Find “How to…” videos for Violin, Viola, Clarinet, Flute, Saxophone and Trumpet on our YouTube channel

Instrument Purchase

Parents may wish to purchase an instrument for their child. Your child’s teacher is always the best person to give advice on what to buy, however, there are initiatives available that may help you when making a purchase:

EMS407 Music Shop List

Take it away

Take it away aims to make musical instruments more accessible to children and young people by providing interest-free loans of up to £5,000. Find out how it works and what you can buy below.

Instrument Hire Alternatives

If you are unable to hire from EMS, you may wish to investigate hiring an instrument from commercial businesses such as those listed below:

The Assisted Instrument Purchase Scheme enables pupils having music lessons at LEA-maintained schools to purchase musical instruments without paying VAT.

How does the scheme work?

Once the parent/pupil has chosen an instrument and supplier, they should ask the school to place a formal order with the instrument retailer.

  • The parent pays the school/music service the ex-VAT price for the instrument plus any administration charge.
  • The retailer supplies the instrument to the school.
  • The school can reclaim the VAT on the instrument in the usual way. (Local authorities are refunded any VAT they incur in delivering their non-business statutory activities).
  • The school then gives the instrument to the student.

Alternatively parents whose child is taught by an EMS teacher may use the EMS Assisted Purchase Scheme as detailed in EMS408 below.

EMS408 Assisted Instrument Purchase Scheme (AIPS).


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  • Instrument Availability


    Instrument Size (if applicable) Stock level
    Violin 1/8 Available
    Violin 1/4 Available
    Violin 1/2 Available
    Violin 3/4 Limited
    Violin Full OUT OF STOCK
    Viola 12" Very limited
    Viola 13" OUT OF STOCK
    Viola 14" OUT OF STOCK
    Viola 15" OUT OF STOCK
    ‘Cello 1/8 Available
    ‘Cello 1/4 Available
    ‘Cello 1/2 Available
    ‘Cello 3/4 Very limited
    ‘Cello Full OUT OF STOCK
    Double Bass 1/4 OUT OF STOCK
    Double Bass 1/2 OUT OF STOCK
    Double Bass 3/4 OUT OF STOCK
    Double Bass Full Not available
    Flute (normal) n/a Available
    Flute (curved head) n/a Available
    Bb Clarinet n/a Available
    Oboe n/a Available
    Bassoon n/a Available
    Alto Saxophone n/a Limited
    Trumpet n/a Very limited
    Cornet n/a OUT OF STOCK
    Trombone n/a Very limited
    Baritone n/a Not available
    Euphonium n/a Not available
    French Horn Kinder Horn Very limited
    Tabla n/a Available
    Guitar, Ukulele, Recorder, Piano, Keyboard, Tuba, plus anything not listed above n/a Not available

    Stock levels updated 04/11/19

  • Holiday Hours

    During the school holidays EMS cannot guarantee that the office is manned throughout the day. Therefore, please call to check we are open before you make a journey to pick up or drop off instruments. 020 8843 9121
  • Find us

    Opening Hours

    The Ealing Music Service offices are open for instrument issue/return and phone queries during the following hours:

    Term time:
    Monday to Friday,
    9:00am  - Office opens for phone calls
    10:00am - Instrument issue/return available
    4:45pm - Office closes

    Out of term time:
    Opening times vary, please call to confirm times.

    Day Closures 2019

    The EMS offices will be closed for events on the following days:
    Wednesday 3rd July - all day ('Tutti' concert)

    Easter Closure 2019

    The EMS offices will be closed from Monday 8th April to Tuesday 23rd April 2019

    Summer Closure 2019

    The EMS offices will be closed from Friday 2nd August to Tuesday 27th August 2019

    Christmas Closure 2019

    The EMS offices will be closed from Friday 20th December 2019 to Monday 6th January 2020

    How to find us

    Our offices can be found at the Dominion Centre & Library in Southall. To find EMS, head for the reception via either of the two entrances and take the green door to the right of the reception desk. EMS can be found at the end of the corridor.


    Parking for the Dominion Centre & Library is found off Dominion Road. There are two car parks, a small free car park for staff/users of the centre on the right (nearest the centre) and the Featherstone Terrace Car Park (pay and display) which costs £1.20 per hour or £4 for the whole day. Directions straight to the car park can be found here using google maps.

    BusesBus Info

    The following buses stop very close to the Dominion Centre & Library: 105, 120, 195, 482, E5, H32.

    For further advice on planning your journey, visit

  • Upcoming Events

    • MfY Regional Festival ’20

      March 18, 2020
      March 18, 2020
      10:00 AM - 8:30 PM

      Ealing and Harrow Music Services are joining forces again to bring you a fantastic opportunity for children and young people to showcase their musical talents at the...   Read More

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