Q. Does Toronto Guitar School only teach guitar?
A. No. We teach almost all instruments including piano, bass, drums, voice, ukulele, strings, woodwinds and brass. We also teach songwriting, music theory and recording arts.
Q. Why should I choose to study at Toronto Guitar School?
A. Toronto Guitar School is a great choice for studying guitar or any other instrument. We offer lots of excellent perks, like 3 concerts per year, a highly developed band program, workshops, special events and very friendly personalized service. Our teachers are among the best anywhere, all being accomplished professional musicians that genuinely care about you and your progress.
We use a performance based approach to learning which is designed to get you on the fast track to success through opportunities to play with others. We are a smaller school so you are never just a number and we value every student as a member of our musical community.
Q. What styles of music are taught at the school?
A. Our teachers are well versed in all popular music styles and many specialize in particular genres like rock, blues, metal, classical, folk, jazz, latin and musical theater. No matter what style of music you would like to learn, we will have a teacher that can teach it. We encourage you to let us know more about your preferences and interests when inquiring about lessons so we can match you with the right teacher.
Q. Does Toronto Guitar School rent or sell musical instruments?
A. Although Toronto Guitar School does not rent or sell instruments, we have great relationships with many retailers in Toronto that can provide quality musical instruments and accessories at reasonable prices. Also, on occasion, we do acquire instruments that we are able to sell or rent, so feel free to ask! Also feel free to reach out and we can help you get the instrument you want and will need for your music lessons through a local retailer.
Q. Do I need much computer knowledge to take online lessons?
A. No. It’s relatively easy to get set up for online lessons. You do need a reasonably updated computer or tablet and a stable internet connection, but the rest is straight forward. Our teachers use the Zoom platform to deliver online lessons. You can sign up and download the software for your computer or laptop at https://zoom.us/. It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with how Zoom works before your lesson as the program gives you the opportunity to test your audio and video to make sure they’re working properly. You will also need to optimize Zoom for the requirements of a music lesson and the school office can help you with that free of charge.
Q. Can I use my smartphone for online lessons?
A. Yes you can but it’s better to use a tablet, laptop or computer for the following reasons:
- The small screen size makes it difficult to read music or tab notation
- Crucial audio settings needed to improve the sound quality for your online lesson are often not available on a smartphone, iPad or tablet
Q. Will my child get distracted or lose focus during an online lesson?
A. We can’t guarantee it, but most children adapt very quickly and easily to technology and usually enjoy using it. Although it would seem that the teacher would have better control in an in-person setting, children losing focus and attention hasn’t been a major problem for our teachers.
Rest assured, in most cases your child can benefit from an online lesson just as much as from an in-person lesson. However, it is important to prepare for the online lesson by ensuring your child is in a focused environment away from any distractions.
Q. Is my child too young for music lessons?
A. In general, children 3 years old and up are capable of taking music lessons. We are careful to assess your child’s aptitudes and abilities in the first lesson to determine what type of learning will be the best fit and approximately when they will be ready for dedicated studies on an instrument.
Q. Am I too old to learn a musical instrument?
A. No. You’re never too old to learn and enjoy playing. It is commonly known that children learn things faster and easier than adults, but age has never prevented anyone from learning music and reaping the many rewards that it can bring. Be sure to put music lessons on your bucket list!
Q. How much will lessons cost?
A. Depending on what lesson plan you sign up for weekly can cost as little as $150 -270 dollars per month.
Q. How much will an instrument cost?
A. Most musical instruments are affordable but those on a tight budget can choose a less expensive option or rent at the beginning. This is something best discussed in detail with the school office before you begin lessons so you are assured in getting the right instrument for yourself, or your son/daughter.
Q. Do I need to have a piano at home to take piano lessons?
A. No, but a fully-weighted electronic keyboard and amplifier/headphones would be essential for practice purposes. For online lessons an amplifier or interface is essential so that the teacher can hear you properly. But before making a purchase, or if you’ve made a recent purchase, please consult with just to make sure you have the right instrument.
Q. How often should I or my child practice?
A. Daily practice for at least 30 minutes is encouraged to achieve noticeable progress. When the practice is focused and deliberate, most students will notice improvement. That said, the great players we all know usually practiced for endless hours daily, inspired by their own creativity and driven by their innovations.
For most, moderation is key, but the more you can practice without overdoing it, the better. We also recommend choosing a certain time of day to practice and to stick with it if possible. Mornings are great because the mind is usually fresh and receptive. Practicing before school or work is often a great way to relieve stress and prepare your mind for more learning or other challenges.
Q. Is it possible to practice too much?
A. Yes. If you develop pain as a result of practising, you should reduce the amount of time you practice. Serious injuries can and do occur because of over practice, like repetitive strain injury and carpal tunnel syndrome. Your teacher will often guide you through a comprehensive practice regimen that is specifically tailored to your skills and will help you avoid injury.
Q. How long does it take to be able to play well?
A. This depends on the individual, but on average, given a practice commitment of 30 minutes a day, it would take a few months to become competent at a basic level on most instruments. That said, it is still possible to play simple melodies or songs on some instruments in your first lesson!
Q. I’ve gotten busy and don’t have time to practice. Should I quit taking lessons?
A. Although we won’t discourage you from continuing your lessons, without regular practice you won’t be able to make noticeable progress, which will be a frustrating experience. Many of our students struggle with this same issue.
Like anything else in life, getting good at something takes time and effort. It’s important to remember why you signed up for lessons and to safeguard your practice time so that you will be able to enjoy the many rewards of learning music. If you are struggling, remember you are not alone and we’re here to help. Feel free to talk to your teacher and we’re confident together you will be able to find a solution that will work for your particular circumstance.
Q. I didn’t practice this week. Should I skip my lesson?
A. No. It’s important to attend your weekly scheduled lessons even if you didn’t practice as much as you wanted. Part of your journey of learning music is developing the discipline of regular practice, which will be a challenge at times. Skipping lessons only makes the problem worse. Attending your scheduled lesson will give you the opportunity to talk to your teacher, who will be able to help you get back on track and make the progress you want.
Q. What’s the best instrument for a child to start on who has never tried a musical instrument?
A. Many children are drawn toward guitar as their instrument of choice because of its popularity in music and the whole “rock star” phenomenon. Guitar is indeed a good instrument for the complete beginner. Piano is another good choice because of the clear and understandable layout of the keys themselves which are easily played with the fingers. If the child has shown an aptitude to sing on their own, voice might be the best option.
The choice should ultimately be made by the parent and child after careful and considerate guidance by a qualified teacher who can point out the varying aspects of each instrument.
Q. Can I take lessons bi-weekly or on a casual basis?
A. We understand that some people would prefer more flexibility with the scheduling of lessons due to busy lives, but we don’t offer lessons on this basis because of 3 reasons:
- After years of experience delivering quality music lessons, we have found that there is no better way to learn than by taking a consistent, weekly lesson with a qualified teacher.
- Many of our teachers have full schedules and waiting lists and simply cannot accommodate bi-weekly lessons.
- We have found that many students get discouraged at their lack of progress when taking lessons on a bi-weekly basis and they often drop out.
Q. My child wants to play drums, but I am worried about the noise. What should I do?
A. Fortunately, drum students have the option of using a “practice pad”, which is a device designed specifically for drum practice that is very quiet and almost not noticeable behind a closed door. Also, there is the option of the student using an electronic drum set with headphones that makes about the same sound as a practice pad. These alternatives can give your child the opportunity to learn and play drums at home while reducing noise levels.
Q. Do I have to learn to read music to play an instrument?
A. No, but we generally encourage all of our students to learn how to read music in order to reap the many benefits that come with this knowledge. Written music is a language, no different than the words you are reading right now. Imagine if you were unable to read these words! You would be missing out on important information and the enjoyment that comes from reading a book or story.
Musical literacy opens the doors to a whole world of written music that you can enjoy for years. It also enables you to function in a band or ensemble setting where written music is used to communicate the notes of a composition or song. It might seem tedious or even boring at first, but try to look ahead at the big picture and your perseverance will pay off!