Q: Are there benefits in taking myself or children to
your learning centre instead of having lessons in our home?
A: Yes! In general, those who take lessons at a music school are
more motivated to continue in music:
- It's a professional learning environment. The studios are
private. There is no distraction from TV, ringing phones,
dishwashers, pets, other
household members and visitors.
- There are many teachers from which to choose, not just the
private teachers who are willing to come to your home.
- A student is part of a community of music makers. Home
lessons can be a lonely activity because a student spends the
bulk of their playing time alone in their own practice room.
The weekly encouragement of fellow musicians and teachers
within a school is invaluable.
- You are exposed to a musical environment. Often, people
get into playing music because their friend does, or they've
listened to a particular musician that's really touched
them. A store stocked with instruments and people playing
them is very motivational for learning.
Q: Can I teach myself to play an instrument?
A: There are some very accomplished musicians who are
self-taught. Several "Teach Yourself" books and DVDs
However, you will learn quicker and be able to do more
if you have an instructor who teaches you the proper technique.
In the early stages of learning, we highly recommend that you
take lessons so that you do not develop any bad habits which can
be difficult to break and will impede your progress.
Q: I would like to learn to play, but I don't think I have musical
talent. No one else in my family has ever done anything in
music. People say that I'm "tone deaf." Can I learn?
A: EVERYONE has musical talent. We've never found anyone
who couldn't respond to or participate in music at some level.
And, some learn to play more quickly and easily than others. If no one in your family makes
music, you would become a great example for them by starting.
Q: How much time should I spend practicing every day?
A: It's not so much the exact practice time that's important,
but consistent daily practice. A beginner can start with 15-30 minutes per day, depending on
your age. After that, the time will vary depending on your
ability. Eventually, you will no longer feel like you are
"practicing" -- you'll be playing because you love it!
Q: My child takes in-school orchestra classes. Should
he also take private lessons?
A: Most educators recommend private lessons on an
instrument in addition to in-school band or orchestra classes.
Private lessons allow the individual attention a child needs to
progress more rapidly on their instrument, and to perform to the
best of their abilities. They give a student an opportunity to focus on their own
musical interests and goals. Also, when your child
comes to our school for a lesson, he or she is with a
professional who is dedicated to their particular instrument.
Q: How can I help my child succeed in music?
A: You can nurture your child's musical talents in the following ways:
- First, provide a quality instrument by a major instrument maker and make sure
that the instrument is always in good working order.
- Schedule regular daily practice times and provide a quiet place where your child
- Be nearby during practice times as often as possible and praise your child's
efforts and achievements.
- Provide your child with regular opportunities to play music with and for family
and friends in a relaxed setting.
- Expose your child to a variety of musical experiences. Listen to music together
on the radio, watch music programs on television, attend concerts, music festivals
and participate in community music events.
Q: At what age should a child start lessons?
A: It depends on the instrument, their physical size and
attention span. Their attention span must long enough to concentrate during the lesson and
practice for 10 minutes or more at a time. The ages given here
are simply a guideline:
Piano -- Children can begin as early as age 5. Your
child should be able to recognize numbers one through five and
understand the correlation between the numbers on the page and
the finger numbers. If he or she knows the alphabet letters A
through G, that is all that is required. Your child should be
able to sit still for about 10 to 15 minutes while focusing on
having fun at the piano.
Woodwinds -- Children as young as age 5 can begin learning
the recorder, which is a great stepping stone to any musical
instrument. Progression to flute, clarinet and saxophone depends
on the child's physical size. For example, fingers must be large enough to
cover holes and reach keys. Also, a child must have the strength
to hold the instrument -- saxophones are larger and heavier than
flutes and clarinets.
Brass -- Brass instruments are often too heavy for a child younger than age 9. Many young
children simply don't have the strength or the manual dexterity
needed. Also, playing these instruments requires significant
breath control, lung capacity, and special mouthing techniques, so most experts
recommend brass instruments for older children.
Bowed -- It is possible to start at age 5,
depending on your child. By this age, they have started reading,
which many teachers believe is important. Violins come in
different sizes ranging from 1/16-size to full-size, so a child's physical size is not
Guitar -- Because guitars come in small sizes,
children can usually begin learning the guitar at age 5
Drums -- Rhythm and percussion is the most basic of
all music which can be taught at a very young age. For lots of
information and pictures of kid's percussion, you can browse the
Kid's Drums page in the Percussion
Q: Should I rent or buy an instrument; which is
better for my child?
A: Purchasing or renting an instrument is a substantial
and significant investment, especially when the children are at
an age when they change their minds regularly. Here are some
things worth considering:
Renting an Instrument...
- Renting can be a good way to see if your child has the
interest for long-term commitment.
- If it doesn't work out and the student loses interest, you
can return the instrument, no questions asked.
- When renting at Allegro Music, all of your rental payment
can be applied to the instrument you are renting or a step-up
Owning an instrument can have a positive psychological
- Students tend to take more pride in their instrument and
take better care of it.
- Students are more committed to the learning process.
Students tend to see it as more of a long-term investment.
- Even if the student stops playing, they are more likely to
pick it up again in the future, if the instrument is readily
available. Other members of the family may also enjoy playing
the instrument or it may be passed down from generation to
Q: Does studying music earn Ontario high
A: In Ontario, students that have worked through the Royal Conservatory
of Music (RCM) exam program to reach grade 7 or 8 are eligible to use these
levels as equivalent to high school credits:
If you achieve grade 7 in the practical exams on any
instrument including voice plus a theory level of grade one rudiments, you have
reached the equivalent level of a grade 11 high school credit.
If you achieve grade 8 in practical exams on any
instrument including voice plus a theory level of grade two rudiments, you have
reached the equivalent level of a grade 12 high school credit.