Frequently Asked Questions
Starting Music Lessons:
What is the youngest age my child can start lessons?
Most WSM students start as young as 4 years old, however we do have a few especially keen 3 year old students! It all depends on your child. If you have an especially mature 3 year old, they may enjoy and flourish in music lessons. Some students and parents prefer to start a few years later, but whatever decision you make, it should be right for your family.
For the majority of students they are ready at age 4. At that point, children are mentally and physically prepared to begin their music lessons. Children can learn to replicate rhythms and learn the basics of proper technique as well as playing basic pieces right away. Beginning at such a young age helps to foster discipline, focus, dexterity, and a lifelong appreciation of music.
My child does not sit still and can’t focus for 30 minutes. How could they learn to play an instrument?
WSM lessons are a combination of musical training, movement, games and activities. When given the proper tools and skills, children can focus for long periods of time on things they are interested in, so even very young children can be engaged for a full lesson. Music lessons have been shown to help develop focus, concentration and perseverance, and contribute to their child’s success in other areas.
How long are lessons?
Most students start with 30 minute lessons, however at your trial lesson, your teacher will recommend a lesson length that is most appropriate. For young students in our Suzuki programs, the private 30 minute lesson is in addition to the weekly 30-minute group class. As students advance in repertoire, they will need more lesson time (45 or 60 minutes) especially if they are preparing for an RCM exam or competition.
What are the at home and practice requirements for private lessons?
Practicing is the key to success! How much practice depends on the student, however practicing should be a routine, every day occurrence for all students. Consistent practice will reap better results long term than 1-2 really long practices right before your next lesson. We work with parents to help make practicing as enjoyable as possible, and with students to ensure they realize the small efforts they make every day in practice compound to really big success on their instrument!
Do you teach adults? Is it too late to learn?
Yes we teach adults and no, it’s never too late to learn an instrument! We love our adult students and are inspired by their journey. Many adults find great pleasure in learning an instrument later in life.
Can I have a trial lesson before registering?
Absolutely! All students get a free trial lesson when they start their journey at WSM to see if the teacher and WSM are a good fit for them. Click here to book your free trial lesson today!
My child hasn’t turned 4 yet. What types of music lessons can we do?
For children younger than 4, Early Childhood Music classes focus on learning the foundational aspects of rhythm, pitch, and a love of music. Classes also periodically feature instrument demonstrations so your child is better equipped to choose a musical instrument when they’re ready for formal private lessons. Inquire about our Early Childhood Music classes HERE.
What instruments do you teach at Willowdale School of Music?
We offer private instruction in the following instruments:
Suzuki Method program for violin (to be taken in addition to private lessons)
Kids Choir (group singing class for ages 7-12, can be taken as a stand-alone class)
Do I need to buy an instrument in order to take lessons? How will I know what size or price range to look for?
There are a few very reputable shops in Toronto that rent and sell instruments of all sizes and calibers. Most even have a rent-to-own program. These shops are equipped to give you the right size instrument (since small children cannot use an adult-sized violin or guitar) and have a few different price points for purchases or rentals, depending on your budget. Click on the links below for more information:
Do I need to buy or rent an instrument to bring to my trial lesson?
We will provide an instrument for your trial lessons! You only need to purchase or rent an instrument once you have decided to register for private lessons. Your teacher will be able to tell you exactly what to get and where to get it at your trial lesson.
Which Suzuki Method group class should my child register in?
While our beginner ensembles are usually based on age, our more advanced classes require students to be at a certain level in order to register:
Suzuki Violin Book 1: ages 4-6
My child only wants to join an ensemble - do they have to take private lessons?
Violin- Our Suzuki Method group classes are designed to build on the skills your child is building in their private lessons. Students who are not registered for private lessons are not eligible to join one of our ensembles.
All other instruments- Kids Choir is open to all students ages 7-12 whether or not they are also enrolled in private lessons.
Do I have to attend the ensemble with my child?
For our Suzuki Method group classes, we suggest that parents attend classes whenever possible. By sitting in on the group class, you will have a front-row seat to your child’s progress throughout the year, and have all the information you need to help them practice at home.
For Kids Choir, parents are encouraged to sit in the waiting room during class, and the teacher will update parents as necessary on what students should be practicing at home.