These guidelines will help you have a successful and rewarding experience while learning an instrument. These are practical tips that we have discovered from years of teaching with hundreds of music students each year across our music schools in Mississauga, and Vaughan (serving students from Woodbridge, Maple, Kleinburg, Nobleton and Bolton).
Adults can start at any time. Their success is based on how willing an adult is to commit to practicing. For children, starting at the right age is a key element to the success of their lessons. If a child is put into lessons too soon, they may feel overwhelmed and frustrated and want to stop lessons. The last thing you want to do is turn a child off of music just because they had one unpleasant experience which could have been prevented.
The following guidelines have proved to be successful in determining how young a child can start taking music lessons.
The preschool music program is a fun, group music class for children ages 3-4 years old designed to teach the basic fundamentals of music.
All classes are 45 minutes once per week
Alfred’s Basic Piano Prep Course is an example of a preschool piano program. It combines general musicianship activities with those that develop performance skills at the piano. Skills taught in the course focus on keyboard performance, listening, pitch matching, technique, singing, rhythm and music appreciation.
At this age, students have begun to develop longer attention spans and can retain material with ease.
At this age we recommend singing lessons that teaches students how to use their voices properly, in a fun, relaxed environment.
Due to the physical nature of the voice, proper breathing techniques, development of the vocal chords and lung capacity is emphasized at this age.
The earliest we recommend for guitar. Guitar playing requires a fair amount of pressure on the fingertips from pressing on the strings. Children under 6 generally have small hands and will find playing uncomfortable and too difficult.
The average age of our youngest drum student is 6 or 7 years old. This varies depending on the size of the child as they need to be able to reach both the pedals and the cymbals.
Different students require different teaching approaches. Our teachers have experience with students with learning disabilities and special needs. We also look at the whole child and recommend that along with the fundamentals of music, students learn to play by ear, improvise, play contemporary songs, etc. We believe students learn better in a one on one environment where a teacher can cater to their special learning needs. The teacher can work at the pace of the child.
This may be your child’s first or only experience with private music education. To ensure a positive experience, make sure the teacher is qualified and has the ability to cater to your child‘s interests and needs in a professional school environment, where a student cannot be distracted by TV, noisy siblings, pets, ringing phones. With only 30 minutes of lesson time per week, a professional school environment can produce better results since the only focus at that time is learning music.
As with anything, improvement in music takes practice. One of the main problems with music lessons is the drudgery of practicing and the fight between parents and students to practice every day. Here are some four ways to make practicing easier:
Set the same time every day to practice so it becomes part of a routine or habit. This works particularly well for children. Generally the earlier in the day the practicing can occur, the less reminding is required by parents to get the child to practice. A good tactic that seems to work well is once the child completes all their homework, music practice, household chores, etc, then they are rewarded with electronic usage.
We recommend the place of learning not to be in the basement or up in the child’s bedroom. Typically students like to practice in the hub of the home where there is family activity.
We use this method often when setting practice schedules for beginners. For a young child, 20 or 30 minutes seems like an eternity. Instead of setting a time frame, we use repetition. For example, the student is to practice a piece 4 times every day, and a scale 5 times a day. The child then does not pay attention to the amount of time they are practicing an instrument, but knows that when they are on repetition number 3, they are almost finished.
** PLEASE SEE OUR PRACTICE CHART AND FEEL FREE TO MODIFY ACCORDING TO YOUR CHILD’S NEEDS
Parents can encourage children to practice by granting them occasional awards for successful practicing. In our school, reward a young student for a successful week of practicing with stickers on their work. We do find, however that praise tends to be the most coveted award.
Music should be something that you enjoy for a lifetime, so try not to put unrealistic expectations on yourself or your children to learn too quickly. Everyone learns at a different pace and the key is to be able to enjoy the journey.
We understand life is full – full of school, full of life, and full of fun. Some weeks will be easy to practice– other weeks more of a challenge. We do know that the more children practice, the better they get and the better they get, the more encouraged they are to practice.
Every DeGazon Music student receives a Dictation book (for piano, bass, drums, other instruments) a Tab book for guitar.
It is recommended that students’ learning with method books be supplemented with popular and fun music e.g. Popular Hits of 2013 in Big Note or Easy Piano, which we have as part of our music school inventory, sheet music from the internet – www.sheetmusicdirect.com or www.musicnotes.com (web music to be purchased by student), chords and lyrics etc.
Beginning at age 4, 5
Beginning at age 5, 6
Beginning at age 6-11
*after Alfred level 2, a student can decide to continue with RCM and/or Big Note level fun music
Ages 12/Teen/Adult Beginners
For your convenience – the sale of guitars
Dictation book – the teacher will recommend material based on their individual voice
We tell people that Alfred is one of the most common and widely used books throughout North America (like the Coke or Pepsi of books). They have huge staffs of music educators to constantly improve the course material. These books also have age appropriate material so that an adult beginner and a child beginner are taught at the proper level for their intellectual development. This series also has fun, supplemental themed books such as Christmas books, jazz books, pop books, etc.
For our classical students the Royal Conservatory has a syllabus and publishes books on a graded system. The teachers will recommend which books to buy. All Royal Conservatory students will need a minimum of their graded piece book and the accompanying studies book. They also can benefit from a technique book, but some teachers will teach the technique without requiring the student to purchase a book for it.
Yes! DeGazon Music offers instruction all year round in two separate terms:
Despite the two terms, students can be enrolled in lessons at any time during the school year.
Students can purchase required music material through DeGazon Music, but this is separate from the lesson tuition fees. Your teacher will give your child the books they need from our inventory at the studio. Our office will process the book order and email you an invoice with the details.
If the studio is out of stock, an order for your book(s) is sent to head office, we generally have the books ready by the next lesson with an invoice inside the front cover of the book.
Any outstanding book fees will be processed with the next tuition payment on the 24th of each month.
We are open on PD Days therefore lessons go on as usual. On Statutory holiday Mondays, lessons are rescheduled to the Friday of the same week at the same lesson time. Please see our Key Dates & Holiday Breaks page for all important studio dates on the DeGazon Music calendar for this year.
Why 24-hour notice minimum? – “it takes a village”
A minimum of 24 hours (the more time the better) allows all families more opportunity to schedule make ups in the space created by student absences.
It is understood that your teacher was there for your absence and therefore has been paid for that originally scheduled lesson time, whether you attend or not. Therefore, makeup lessons can only be scheduled in place of another absent student or an open lesson time during the instructor’s teaching day and time.
Two makeup lessons maximum per school year session (September – June)
-To retain the best teachers for you, we pay them even when a student is absent. We will attempt to accommodate up to 2 makeup requests as a courtesy to our families and absorb the costs of the additional lesson time.
– Makeup lessons are based on availability within the teacher’s scheduled hours and they are not guaranteed.
– We strongly recommend lessons are made up within one month of the absence. Please do not leave makeups to the end of the year.
Please do not call, leave a voicemail, email the studio nor involve the teacher to report an absence or request a makeup as it will not be acted on.
All absences must be submitted via the Parent Portal https://app.jackrabbitclass.com/portal/ppLogin.asp?id=508592
Each family is responsible to schedule their own eligible makeup lessons via the Parent Portal https://app.jackrabbitclass.com/portal/ppLogin.asp?id=508592
Q. If I chose not to book my make-up lesson(s), will I get a refund at the end of the term?
We are not able to refund or carry-forward outstanding make-up lessons beyond the term.
Yes! You receive an electronic payment confirmation email automatically each time an electronic payment is processed. Also, your complete transaction record is always available 24-7 online and you can at any time.
Our customer portal is easy to use and gives you access to key information like transacting and payment history, current enrollment, make up lesson records and access to online Terms and Conditions under the ‘Policy Tab’. If you do have any questions, feel free to contact us and we are more than happy to guide you through the portal. Click here to go directly to the portal now!
It is ideal if you do have a piano at home, but you can start lessons by using an electric keyboard to practice on. Many of our students rent or buy small electric keyboards to practice on at home. We recommend a keyboard that has regular sized keys and a touch sensitive response. A touch sensitive keyboard means if you press a key harder it will play louder and if you press a key softer it will play quieter.
No, you do not need a full drum set to start drum lessons. Students can start lessons by using a pair of drumsticks and practice pad. This is a small dinner plate sized pad that costs less than $60 that is used for practicing basic drum rhythms. If you are committed to continuing with lessons, we do recommend that you rent or purchase a drum kit.
There is no set answer of how long it takes to learn an instrument. With regular practice a basic level of playing can be accomplished in a few months. Most of our students take lessons on a long-term basis because they want to be constantly improving and they find the lessons enjoyable.
Yes. Even if you don’t have a musical background you can ask the teacher for advice on how to help your child practice. With your encouragement and by simply monitoring that they are doing exercises a certain number of times per day the student will progress.
Remember, each week your teacher writes notes in your student’s dictation/note book summarizing what was worked on and what is to be practiced during the week between lessons. Reading these notes each week and supporting your child’s learning through encouragement to practice is a great help.
Many parents occasionally sit-in on their child’s music lesson to get an idea of the proper way a song should sound or how the student should be positioning their hands. For more information and tips, please refer to this article: