Your questions answered….

Q: Do I need a piano at home to take piano lessons?
Q: Do I need a full drum set to take drum lessons?
Q: How long does it take to learn an instrument?
Q: I don’t have any musical background or ability; can I still help my child practice?
Q: At what age should I consider private music lessons for my child?
Q: Can we try out a lesson to see if my child will like it?
Q: Does my child have to practise?
Q: Do we have to purchase an instrument?
Q: Are there any extra costs?
Q: Can I sit in on my child’s lesson?
Q: Does my child have to perform in the recitals and concerts?
Q: What instrument should my child start on?
Q: Do we have to start on piano?
Q: Can my 2 (or more) children have lessons with different teachers at the same time?
Q: Can my 2 children share a lesson?
Q: Do you teach adults?
Q: What is your inclement weather policy?

Q: Do I need a piano at home to take piano lessons?
A: It is ideal if you do have a piano at home, but you can start lessons with our piano teachers by using an electric keyboard to practice on at home. Most of our students rent or buy small electric keyboards 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.

Q: Do I need a full drum set to take drum lessons?
A: No you do not need a full drum set to start drum lessons. Students can start lessons by using a practice pad. This is a small dinner plate sized pad that costs $20-$30 that is used for practicing basic drum rhythms.

Q: How long does it take to learn an instrument?
A: 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.

Q: I don’t have any musical background or ability; can I still help my child practice?
A: Yes. Even if you don’t have a musical background you can ask the teacher for advice on how to help your child practice. By simply monitoring that they are doing exercises a certain number of times per day the student will progress. 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.

Q: At what age should I consider private music lessons for my child?
A: A child who enjoys going to the piano and indicates a strong interest in playing the piano (or any other instrument) may still not be ready for private lessons. In addition to interest, a child must be ready to accept the rules, guidelines and suggestions of the teacher. Will the child still be interested and not frustrated when the teacher asks the child to play a certain way, or hold his hand in a certain position? Additional considerations include fine motor control as well as the maturity and attention span necessary for daily, individual practice. Will the child happily focus for 30 minutes on a series of directed tasks? A child with a strong foundation in movement, vocal development, and listening is more likely to be successful and remain motivated than a child without. Consideration needs to be given to the importance of skill building and motivation over a long period of time rather than how early ones starts. Most importantly that the child enjoys their musical experience!

Q: Can we try out a lesson to see if my child will like it?
A: If you are unsure whether or not your child will enjoy a specific instrument or private lessons in general, we encourage a 2 month trial period. Starting any new physical movement takes repetition and practice. The learning curve is steep in the first few weeks, therefore in order to get a clear picture of whether you have made the right choice or not at least 8 consecutive weeks of lessons and practise is advised.

Q: Does my child have to practise?
A: Ideally, we suggest that your child practises only on the days that he or she eats. But seriously, any skill needs repetition in order to become proficient and enjoyable. Daily practise is recommended. As a beginner, practise sessions may only last 5 minutes/twice per day, but as a child becomes older and more proficient the practise session length will increase. Fitts and Posner (1967) suggested that the learning process is sequential and that we move through specific phases as we learn. There are three stages to learning a new skill: Cognitive phase – Identification and development of the component parts of the skill – involves formation of a mental picture of the skill Associative phase – Linking the component parts into a smooth action – involves practicing the skill and using feedback to perfect the skill Autonomous phase – Developing the learned skill so that it becomes automatic – involves little or no conscious thought or attention whilst performing the skill – not all performers reach this stage The leaning of physical skills requires the relevant movements to be assembled, component by component, using feedback to shape and polish them into a smooth action. Rehearsal of the skill must be done regularly and correctly.

Q: Do we have to purchase an instrument?
A: No. Most parents choose to rent an instrument for a few months until it makes sense to purchase the instrument once the child shows a lingering commitment to practising and lessons.

Q: Are there any extra costs?
A: Aside from registration and tuition, you will also need to purchase some books from which to practise. How often and how much these books will cost will depend on your proficiency level and how quickly you progress. For example, a beginner piano student will generally need 2 books to begin piano lessons, each under $10 – these may be used for 8 months. Whereas a more advanced student taking her grade 8 RCM flute exam may need 6-8 different books which may cost in total approx. $150 – these would become part of a library of books she would use for years.

Q: Can I sit in on my child’s lesson?
A: Absolutely! We have an open door policy at PSMD. If your child is more comfortable for the first few lessons having you in the room then we encourage your participation. In our experience, with some children there are times when it may be more productive to have mom or dad wait in the waiting room.

Q: Does my child have to perform in the recitals and concerts?
We offer recitals 4 times per year at PSMD, but it is not mandatory to perform in these recitals. All levels, from beginner to advanced, are invited to perform at these recitals. If you are interested in performing, we keep the recitals inviting, low-pressure and encouraging. For those who are unsure, it is always a good idea to attend a recital as an audience member, without the pressure of performing, and then make your decision.

Q: What instrument should my child start on?
A: If your child is showing an interest in a certain instrument it is always a good idea to start on that instrument as long as there are no physical barriers. Most instruments can be physically be played by 7 years of age. Certain instruments have been adapted for younger children or are less physically demanding. If you are unsure we are happy to set up a meeting with one of our instructors to discuss your specific needs.

Q: Do we have to start on piano?
A: Absolutely not! You can learn music on any instrument. As you progress on your instrument you will learn about music theory and at that time will be introduced to a piano and how it is laid out.

Q: Can my 2 (or more) children have lessons with different teachers at the same time?
A: We always do our best to make your lessons as convenient for you as possible. Registration for fall lessons begins in May. The earlier you register for fall lessons the more chance you have of having your pick of times. We are often able to have siblings taking lessons with different teachers at the same time.

Q: Can my 2 children share a lesson?
A: This is possible, but discouraged. Each child progresses at his own rate and will have his own breakthroughs and challenges. Having a private lesson will make learning more focused and more individual. If your child is not ready for a private lesson, why not enrol in a group lesson.

Q: Do you teach adults?
A: YES! Absolutely! Adult lessons are available for all instruments. There are specially designed method books for the adult beginner on most instruments. These books will get you through the basics quickly and playing familiar songs within a few short lessons. We have even designed a special lessons package for adult students. We understand that a weekly commitment to a lesson time is not always practical for adult students. The Adult Card gives you ten 30-minute lessons that can be scheduled at your convenience with your teacher.

Q: What is your inclement weather policy?
A: If lessons and classes are cancelled due to inclement weather you will be contacted by email provided that your email is on file in our system. Please be sure to check your portal account to ensure your contact information is kept up to date. The announcements and events line will also indicate any closures. Call 905-319-8025 in Burlington & Oakville to check for school closures. For morning classes we will generally follow the local school inclement weather closure policy. If local schools are closed, we are closed for the morning classes, but we will try to run afternoon and evening classes. Please call to listen to the message for updates.