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Frequently Asked Questions

Starting music lessons is an exciting time, but often raises a lot of questions for those getting started. Below are some of the more common ones we've been asked over the years:

  • What is the youngest age a child should start learning music?
  • How often should my child be practicing?
  • What are the benefits of enrolling my child in RCM examinations?
  • If my child is nervous, should I still encourage them to participate in concerts?
  • Is it true that music lessons will make my child smarter?
  • I frequently hear the term "head voice" during vocal lessons. What is it?
  • How often should I tune my piano? Where can I go for repairs?
  • Is it best to start with an acoustic or electric guitar?
  • Do I need to own an instrument to take lessons?
  • For piano classes, do we need a piano or can we use a keyboard?
  • Is it better to rent or buy a violin?
  • What dates during the year is the school closed?

  • Don't see your question here? Email us and we'll respond in less than 24 hours.


    What is the youngest age a child should start learning music?
    Starting young is a wise thing to do! However formal lessons for piano should not begin until the age of 4. Learning to play the piano requires focus and a good attention span, which in most cases is not achievable until age 4, always depending on the child of course.

    Most importantly, if you plan to put your child into music lessons once they turn 4, it is very important that they've had frequent exposure to various types of music for the first three years of their life beforehand. This early exposure to music in the early years of their lives will increase their amount of interest in playing, since the child won't abruptly be introduced it. This exposure can be as simple as playing different styles of music around the house! The "Baby Mozart" CD's and DVD's are a fun way for children to get involved in music in their early years as well. Our Tuneful Tots early music education program is also an ideal way for young children, aged 3 to 5, to begin to develop an aptitude towards learning music.

    Finally, a teacher who knows how to be personable with children at the young age of 4 is very important for them to succeed in lessons. Their introduction to music needs to be positive but informative, and the balance between both is required for them to succeed. A teacher who doesn't push them enough will create boredom and lack of motivation in the student, and a teacher who pushes too hard will create frustration and a negative attitude towards music.

    For stringed instruments, such as guitar and violin, it is often recomeneded to start a little later, around the age of 6 or 7. This is in part due to the effort required in pressing down strings for certain lengths of time. Percussion insturments, which require a fair amount of hand and foot coordination, may be best suited for older age groups (7+) as well. However, if the motivation is there, try it out for a month and see!

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    How often should my child be practicing?
    Ideally, if kids practice about a minimum of 20 to 30 minutes a day, this is enough to show some level of progress each week. The more advanced they get, the more practice is required. In all cases the more practice the better, however it is important not to force students to practice when they really don't feel like it, or they may start to resent their piano lessons and this is the last thing you want for them. Students should always be feeling positive about their lessons and the songs they are learning...Parents who are enthusiastic and involved with the new songs their kids are learning can usually make quite an impact on the child's positive attitude towards piano. They love sharing their new learned talents with family members, and a great way for kids to practice is by asking them to teach you something. Kids love teaching their parents/guardians what they've learned in their lessons!

    If you're a parent who doesn't know much about music but you still want to help your child practice, you can assist by reading out loud to them everything that is written in their notebook. It is the teacher's duty to write clear and concise notes each week to guide the student when practicing.

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    What are the benefits of enrolling my child in RCM examinations?
    Having a goal to reach is a great way for students to stay motivated in their lessons. RCM exams give the students something to work for and something to be proud of. It also teaches them how to play under pressure and how to stay focused in test situations, which will be a part of their lives once in school.

    Since the requirements of the examinations are quite specific, it brings out the best in piano playing. The repertoire ranges from 1600's to music of today, and it is a great way to teach students how to be a versatile piano player, to play various styles and not only stick to one genre. It is important to note that If kids are pushed into exams, this can sometimes lead to them resenting piano all together. It is important for them to understand first why they are doing these exams, and how it is beneficial for them. Once they can understand this, they are usually quite excited for their next level of learning and their next certificate that they get to frame!

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    If my child is nervous, should I still encourage them to participate in concerts?
    When thinking of performing in front of an audience of over 100 guests, it is perfectly natural to instantly react with nerves. A parent should still encourage their kids to perform, and let them know that they deserve to share their talents and hard-work with an audience and that being nervous is normal. Help them channel these nerves into excitement and let them know it's chance for them to show off their talents! After a concert, whether or not your performance was note perfect, you always feel good because you had the courage to do it and the chance to shine.

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    Is it true that music lessons will make my child smarter?
    Much research has shown that starting music lessons during the early years of brain development can enhance children's abstract reasoning skills necessary for learning math and science. Since music is it's own language, it also argued that it can make learning second and third languages easier to do. To learn more, please see the following resources:



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    I frequently hear the term "head voice" during vocal lessons. What is it?
    "Head voice" is the term used when teacher's are referring to the higher quality sound produced by the human vocal chords that is not forced and is produced naturally. Many people these days sing in what is called their "throat voice" which produces a more harsh/yelling sound. This is more than likely due to the fact that so many singers on the radio today sing in this fashion. Singing in throat voice creates risk of damaging the vocal chords as it puts a significant amount of pressure on them. It is vastly important as a singer to understand when is appropriate to use which voice, and be able to find out how to use their head voice and strengthen it with training

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    How often should I tune my piano? Where can I go for repairs?
    A consistenly tuned piano is essential for optimal use of your instrument. Accordingly, pianos should be professionally tuned at every change of a season. As a great investment, these instruments should be protected and maintained regularly.

    We would be happy to recommend a few experienced piano technicians upon request!

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    Is it best to start with an acoustic or electric guitar?
    This is by far the most common question asked by prospective guitar students! Generally, we recommend starting with an acoustic guitar. Why? It's a slightly steeper learning curve, but once a student makes the switch to an electric, the transition will be seamless. This is not the case when starting with an electric and then hopping to an acoustic.

    However, if the student is very eager to play "hard rock" music, an electric guitar would be more appealing and keep them motivated. Another option is to start with an acoustic-electric guitar, which is fitted with pickups just like its electric cousin and able to plug in to any amplifier for increased volume and effects.

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    Do I need to own an instrument to take lessons?
    An instrument is needed in order for students to practice at home in between lessons and progress at a reasonable pace. If you are unsure whether you want to invest in an instrument right away, there are several rental programs available in the city. Give us a call at 613-459-6027 or send us an email for more information!

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    For piano classes, do we need a piano or can we use a keyboard?
    For beginner piano students, starting with a keyboard is just fine. As long as it has "weighted" keys, and preferably an attachable pedal, it will carry any child through lessons for the first few years. You can often find reasonably-priced keyboard at Future Shop, Best Buy, Costo, or any music retail store.

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    Is it better to rent or buy a violin?
    For beginner violin students, especially those still growing, we strongly recommend renting a violin at first - likely because they will quickly grow out of it! We suggest contacting local stores like Musicare or The Sound Post to see what size is right for you or your child.

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    What dates during the year is the school closed?
    The school is closed for most statutory holidays. Refer to our calendar for more information.

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