Who can be my guarantor?

Your guarantor can be your parent, grandparent, or other adult, not necessarily a relative. The guarantor must be resident in the UK, and must be available on the day of your appointment to sign necessary forms.

What should I write in the guarantor's statement?

Information about the student including achievements, musical experiences, character and personality. Appropriate details of family background and situation can also be helpful. 

What should I write in the student's statement?

Tell us about what playing your instrument and music means to you. How would it help to have a better instrument? What help does your playing need in terms of creating the sound?

Does my Head Teacher need to sign the forms?

A signature from your Head Teacher may required to support your application in affirming your identity and place of education. It is also important that the Head is aware of the value of the instrument which you may be using in school from time to time.

Can I return the forms by email?

Yes please! Scanned forms can be returned by email. If you're not able to do that then please post your application. 

Can I also send a video of my playing?

Video is not essential as we will base your selection of instruments on the information provided in your application; however if you would like to support this with video material feel free!

Please be aware that we may ask some of our more advanced applicants for video of their playing as a necessity, where they may be in line for one of our more special instruments. 

If I want to apply for a bursary where do I obtain the form?

The application for a bursary must come from the guarantor on whose income the bursary is assessed. Students cannot apply for bursaries themselves. Please request a bursary application form from Benslow Music Instrument Loan Scheme when you come to your appointment.

Are your bursaries means tested? 

Yes. Applicants from a household with gross annual earnings of £35,000 and below are eligible to apply for a bursary. 

What information will I need to provide when applying for a bursary?

The guarantor will need to provide evidence of all household income and benefits paid. Proof of income will be required. The letter accompanying the bursary application form sets out everything needed. Please only send copies with the completed form.

How long does it take before I will be able to come and chose an instrument?

This entirely depends upon your requirements and the availability of stock, however as a rough guide there is usually around a four week wait between us receiving your successful application and a trial appointment. 

How do you select instruments for me to chose from?

Your application form guides us as to the type of instrument suitable for your standard. We aim to match instruments with your level of playing and experience. Stock availability is an important factor. Some instruments are available to postgraduate students only. 

Can I find out which instruments I'll be trying in advance?

No. In the interest of fairness we do not under normal circumstances give out details of our instruments in advance. There may be exceptions where we need to discuss sizing and fingering systems however. 

What happens when when I arrive at Benslow Music for an appointment?

When you are invited to your appointment we will schedule a two hour slot for you to try the instruments on offer in our dedicated studio in our new building. The appointment is informal and relaxed, and we would encourage you to take as much time as you need in making your choice. Staff will be on hand to assist you if necessary.

What do I need to bring with me to the appointment?

We suggest that you bring your current instrument, shoulder rest, some music and bow if you have one. It is useful to bring your current instrument with you so that you can make a comparison.

Who can come with me?

You are welcome to bring your parents and guarantor (if different) with you. We welcome teachers accompanying their students but would like to stress that the student must come to the appointment. The final selection of instrument remains the choice of the student. Whilst we appreciate the opinion and expertise of teachers, we carefully select instruments from the stock available to suit students requirements based on our in-depth knowledge and experience.

Please Note

We strongly discourage young siblings under the age of 5, or dogs, to come to the appointment. Our venue is not a suitable place for babies, toddlers or very young children; the studio is limited in space and damage can easily occur to valuable instruments.

What happens if I do not like any of the instruments offered?

We may be able to offer an alternative instrument if none offered is suitable, but we can not guarantee to do so. Where this is not possible you would have the option to go back onto the waiting list.

If after the four week trial period I am not happy with the instrument what can I do?

Depending upon stock available we may be able to invite you back to chose from a further selection. This may not be possible however, and in this circumstance we would suggest that you either keep the instrument selected or return it to us and go back on the waiting list. We are only able to offer this review on one occasion, and it is important that you take your time making your decision in the first instance.

Where do I go for my required annual instrument service? 

Our on-site luthier Marco Matathia is available to service your instrument by appointment, and is on site on Mondays, Tuesdays and Saturdays from 0900-16000. If you are not based locally to Hitchin you will be given the name and address of an approved luthier/repairer local to you.

In the event of my instrument needing repair or maintenance can Benslow Music Instrument Loan Scheme advise me where to go?

Yes. You will be given the name and address of the approved luthier/repairer who you are required to use. You can also bring your instrument/bow for our on-site luthier to look at as well - Marco is here Mondays, Tuesdays and Saturdays. 

In the event of damage, Benslow Music Instrument Loan Scheme must be informed within 24 hours.

No repair or restoration work may taken place without the prior written permission of the Benslow Music Instrument Loan Scheme.

Can I take my instrument abroad?

You must contact us prior to going on tour for written permission - you can take it outside the UK as part of an organised educational trip such as an orchestra tour, musical competition or study. You are not allowed to take it abroad for leisure trips such as holidays. Instruments must always be carried on aircraft as cabin luggage and never checked into the hold. The instrument/bow must be insured on a Worldwide policy. 

Can I carry on using my instrument in a gap year?

Provided that you have a guaranteed offer and have accepted the place to study in 12 months time, Benslow Music Instrument Loan Scheme will allow you to continue your loan in a gap year between school and university/college. The instrument must remain in the UK during your gap year and you will be expected to be continuing your instrumental lessons.

Can I take a gap year between undergraduate and postgraduate study?

A break between undergraduate and postgraduate study is not normally allowed, however each case is individually assessed, and we advise you to contact us in the first instance to discuss the possibility.

Can I buy my instrument at the end of the loan?

Unfortunately we are not able to sell instruments to students. Our instruments are lent or donated for public benefit and to help future generations of musicians.

Can I return my instrument by post?

No. Instruments are far too valuable to be returned by post and must be returned in person. A receipt must be signed by a member of Benslow Music Instrument Loan Scheme.

In exceptional circumstances we may allow a bow to be returned by post. This will only apply to bows of less than £2000 value. Permission must be obtained from Benslow Music Instrument Loan Scheme in writing and in advance as special packaging will be required.

Am I allowed to get in touch with the owner of my instrument?

Yes, absolutely! If you choose an instrument/bow which is owned by someone else generously on loan to our scheme, we will provide you with their contact details (as well as informing them officially that you are borrowing their instrument/bow) and encourage borrowers to get in touch. Often the owner of an instrument is delighted to hear from the borrower, and may also be interested in attending concerts etc in support.