LESSONS
1. What do lessons cost?
2. How young do you take students?
3. Do you have music classes for Pre-Schoolers?
4. Do you do group lessons?
5. Do you teach adults?
6. Can two students' lessons be scheduled at the same time?
7. Can I attend my kids’ lessons?

INSTRUMENTS
8. I want my child to study music; I don’t know which instrument.
9. We have a keyboard. Will that be OK instead of a piano?
10. My kid wants to play electric guitar, but isn’t everyone is supposed to start on the acoustic?
11. Should a left-handed person play a left-handed guitar?
12. My 5- or 6-year old really wants to play the guitar. Is that too young?
13. I want my child to take piano lessons, but he/she wants to play the drums (or sax, or guitar, etc…)
14. Do I really have to buy/rent an instrument?

METHOD / PEDEGOGY
15. Do you teach Suzuki method?
16. Are you a Royal Conservatory school?
17. I want (my child) to take music exams, but not in classical music.
18. Do you teach theory?
19. Are your teachers certified?
20. How long will it be before I (or my child) can play songs?
21. Will the GUITAR students learn to read music?

MISC
22. Who drew the Avalon characters?
23. Where did the name Avalon come from?


1. What do lessons cost? The lessons fees differ slightly between our locations. Please click here to find the price for each one.
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2. How young do you take students?
That depends on the instrument. Generally, for piano, violin, cello or ukulele, you can start at age 5. For guitar, drums or voice, you can start at age 7. Most other instruments start at around age 9 or so.
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3. Do you have music classes for Pre-Schoolers?
Yes we do. Please visit our Preschool music page.
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4. Do you do group lessons?
We have group classes and ensembles for students who already play an instrument to a certain degree. Group lessons really don’t work well for beginning students because the teacher has to divide his/her time to focus on one student at a time while the others sit and wait. Please visit our Group Classes & Ensembles page.
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5. Do you teach adults?
Definitely. About 20% of our students are adults. The criteria is a little bit different, as adults move at their own pace. Adults know the importance of practicing, so they’re not going to hear the speech that the teachers normally reserve for some of the children.
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6. Can two students be scheduled at the same time?
With two different teachers – of course. As far as scheduling goes, we give priority to family members with more than one student enrolled. This way you can make one trip per week, and have the two lessons happen at the same time with two different teachers, or one after another with the same teacher.
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7. Can I attend my kids’ lessons?
Absolutely, in fact we encourage it. Each room has an extra chair, called The Mom Chair (sometimes it’s called The Dad Chair, the Uncle Chair...). Some parents just sit at the back of the room and watch quietly; others prefer to jump right in and be a part of the lesson. This latter concept works well most of the time.
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8. I want my child to study music, but I don’t know which instrument.
I guess we can assume that you’ve already tried asking your child which instrument he/she wants to play! One solution would be to start exposing your child to different musical settings. For example, we have many concerts and events that go a long way in inspiring other children to play an instrument. Visit our Concerts and Events page for more info.
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9. We have a keyboard. Will that be OK instead of a piano?
Despite the purists who may disagree with me here, a keyboard will do just fine, at least for the time being - the fact is that many students start out with a keyboard or synthesizer. The next best thing is a digital keyboard that has weighted keys to simulate the feel of a real acoustic piano. In time, if your child has shown a continued interest in the instrument, the you might consider taking the plunge and purchasing a digital or acoustic piano.
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10. My kid wants to play electric guitar, but isn’t everyone is supposed to start on the acoustic?
That’s actually a myth. There really are no significant benefits to starting on acoustic guitar, especially if the child or teenager already has his heart set on the electric guitar. Indeed, if a child is young enough to have not been exposed to the rock music of the teenagers, we will usually start him or her off on an acoustic guitar. But a kid who wants to play Van Halen or Ozzy Osbourne will likely get frustrated if he has been given an acoustic guitar but wants to play electric. There is one exception – small fingers (age 5 to 8) are really best to start on a nylon string acoustic instrument, be it a classical guitar or ukulele.
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11. Should a left-handed person play a left-handed guitar?
Only if he/she has already started playing. Otherwise, left-handed people should almost always use a right-handed guitar. There are circumstances in which a person simply is not comfortable playing a right-handed guitar, at which point a switch should be made. Be careful with this line of thinking, though, because a beginner guitarist ALWAYS feels uncomfortable with the first guitar, regardless of which hand is used.
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12. My 5- or 6-year old really wants to play the guitar. Is that too young?
We can start young children off on the ukulele with the intent on moving towards the guitar. The ukulele is essentially a “Little Guitar”, except that there are only four strings, and they’re made of nylon, so they’re soft underneath the fingers. We put stickers on the fretboard, and most of the chords use only one or two fingers, so the kids can be playing “The Wheels on the Bus” at the first lesson. After six to twelve months of the ukulele, most children will be ready for the guitar. We have small, 1/8-size guitars for this.
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13. I want my child to take piano lessons, but he/she wants to play the guitar (or drums, etc…)
If the child does not already have his or her sights on another instrument, then the piano is a great way to go, as there are indeed some benefits to starting on piano. But a kid who wants to play guitar (or anything else) will likely get frustrated if he has to take lessons on a different instrument. What we don’t want is for a child to give up music because he isn’t enjoying it. And although our teachers are very good at helping a student learn to enjoy an instrument, we can’t force it on people.
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14. Do I really have to buy/rent an instrument?
Although you can use our piano/drums/guitar while you’re here, you are really going to have to have something to practice on at home, to make the lessons worthwhile. Drummers can just buy a drum-pad ($25) at the beginning, and work up to a full kit later on. Pianists should read FAQ #9.
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15. Do you teach Suzuki method?
We teach many aspects of the Suzuki method, but not the method as a whole. Suzuki students learn note reading later than with other methods. We sometimes get kids coming to us who were studying Suzuki. Though their ears are well developed, they are sometimes behind in reading music. The Suzuki aspects that we DO adopt include starting the lessons at a young age, involving the parents, as well as using specific Suzuki
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16. Are you a Royal Conservatory school?
We teach the Royal Conservatory curriculum, but there is only one Royal Conservatory school in Canada; it’s located in Toronto. Our teachers are Royal Conservatory trained; and we do prepare our students for Conservatory exams.
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17. I want (my child) to take music exams, but not in classical music.
At the moment, there is nobody in Canada who gives music exams to non-classical students. If you want to be graded and tested, you have to study classical.
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18. Do you teach theory?
Definitely, in all instruments. We find it works best to give theory in doses, and then apply it right away. So, for example, a short lesson in accidentals could be followed by a song that has several sharps, flats and naturals. We also teach theory as a subject.
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19. Are your teachers certified?
All our classical teachers are Royal Conservatory trained. Some of them have their ARCT (Associate of The Royal Conservatory of Music) Teacher’s certificate, and others are working towards it now. Some of our teachers have their B.A. in music; others are currently working towards it now.
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20. How long will it be before I (or my child) can play songs?
PIANO: At the first lesson, the student will learn two or three songs.
ALL OTHER INSTRUMENTS: That depends on how much time you are able to put into it each week. Kids who practice every day after school will be playing songs in no time. Adults usually have more difficulty finding the time to practice, between the spouse, kids, career, dishes, etc. It usually takes between three to six months to gain some significant basic skills on an instrument.
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21. Do the GUITAR students learn to read music?
Definitely. Classical and Jazz guitarists read mostly Standard Notation, while most other guitar styles use TAB or chord charts, as well as some Standard Notation.
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22. Who drew the Avalon characters?
They were drawn by Lynn Johnston, cartoonist of For Better or For Worse. The colouring was done on computer by Charlene Parton. Larger images of the two characters are available for downloading on the Student Stuff page. More of Lynn’s artwork can be found in the family and parenting books by Andie Parton. Andie’s website is www.andieparton.com, and Lynn’s website is www.FborFW.com.
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23. Where did the name Avalon come from?

The Isle of Avalon is the legendary place King Arthur is said to have been taken to be healed when he was dying. Avalon was a centre of magic, spirituality, free thought and knowledge. It was inhabited by the druids and priestesses, Arthur's sister Morgan among them. Knights such as Lancelot and Galahad could visit Avalon with the assurance that their stay would be a peaceful one: sword-play was not permitted in Avalon, but musical instruments were welcome. Glastonbury, England is commonly regarded as being the geographical place where Avalon was located once upon a time, in the Sixth Century.

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