Lessons at Avalon Music Academy are taught by professional performing musicians, with special understanding and patience for children and beginners. Our teachers possess the ability to inspire and motivate all students to their own level of achievement.

Classical instruction is based on the Royal Conservatory of Music curriculum. Students are prepared for exams so they enter feeling confident and comfortable. Students may also choose to study popular music rather than, or in addition to, Royal Conservatory.

For information on prices, and to see which instruments are taught at which location, please refer to the Locations page.

Click on an instrument to learn more:

Strings:
Violin
Viola
Cello
Guitar
Bass
Mandolin
Ukulele

Wind Instruments:
Flute
Clarinet
Saxophone
Recorder
Trumpet
Trombone
Tuba

Other:
Piano
Organ
Voice
Drums and Percussion
Music Theory
Ear Training


Violin Lessons

Children can start learning the violin as early as age 5. Beginning students will learn proper bow-hold and bowing technique.

From Classical violin to Celtic or country fiddling, the violin is a very rewarding instrument to play.

Violin students are also invited to play in the String Ensemble.

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Viola Lessons

Larger and deeper than a violin, but higher than a cello (by one octave), the viola is a wonderful, rich-sounding member of the string family. Taught from age 7 and up, though younger students are invited to begin with violin and switch to viola later on. This can be discussed with the teacher.

Viola students are also invited to play in the String Ensemble.

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Cello Lessons

The Cello is perhaps the most versatile of the string instruments. Quarter-size and half-size cellos are available for younger children. Cello is taught from age 5 and up.

Cello students are also invited to play in the String Ensemble.

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Guitar Lessons

At Avalon, we teach ALL styles of guitar, including rock, funk, punk, blues, jazz, classical and country, finger-style and flat-picking. The student moves at his or her own pace, learning to read notation, tablature or chord charts, as required by the chosen style of music.

Guitar lessons generally begin at age 7, but younger students are encouraged to begin with ukulele and work up to guitar.

For classical students, we teach the Royal Conservatory of Music's classical guitar curriculum and prepare students for exams.

Guitar students are also invited to play in the Guitar Ensemble.

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Bass Lessons

Bass guitar students will develop sight-reading and aural skills, and the performance technique needed for all styles of bass, including jazz (concert band), rock, pop, funk, folk, and country.

Though there are half-size and three-quarter-size bass guitars available, the instruments are fairly large, so the beginning age for bass players is usually around 9 or 10 years.

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Mandolin Lessons

Mandolin lessons are offered for those wanting to learn either bluegrass/country in the style of Sam Bush and Bill Monroe, or Celtic mandolin to accompany or swap with fiddle tunes. We also teach classical mandolin (Vivaldi wrote some great mandolin concertos!) to beginner or intermediate players.

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Ukulele Lessons

While it is generally agreed that seven years of age is a reasonable time to start learning the guitar, Avalon teaches the ukulele to children as early as age 4. Due to the natural progression from the four-string ukulele (usually adorned with animal stickers on the fretboard) to the six-string guitar, we have students at age five and six that are playing the guitar quite fluently, due to having begun on the ukulele.

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Flute Lessons

Whether you wish to be the play with an orchestra like James Galway or in a rock band like Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson, we can certainly show the way. For younger students with slightly less grandiose ambitions one can learn using a curved headjoint starting at around age 7 or 8. The curved headjoint makes the flute look like a candy cane, bringing the mouthpiece closer in for flautists with small-ish arms.

All woodwind lessons offer (Classical) RCM preparation and/or jazz studies, with focus on sound, fingering technique, repertoire, musicality and theory. Younger wood-wind-wanna-be’s are invited to begin with recorder lessons as young as age four.

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Clarinet Lessons

Clarinets come in many different sizes and pitch ranges - there are more out there than the Bb soprano and Bb bass clarinets which you see in middle school bands. Clarinet lessons start at age 8 or 9.

All woodwind lessons offer (Classical) RCM preparation and/or jazz studies, with focus on sound, fingering technique, embouchure, repertoire, musicality and theory. Younger wood-wind-wanna-be’s are invited to begin with recorder lessons as young as age four.

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Saxophone Lessons

Why study the saxophone? - just in case Michael Brecker can’t make his sax gig in New York and he needs a sub...

We offer instruction for all four saxophones – baritone, tenor, alto and soprano. Interestingly, the fingerings are common throughout the four instruments, which makes it possible to apply what is learned on one sax to the others. So children who have yet to recognize Clarence Clemon’s coolness factor can start on the alto sax and eventually work up to the larger tenor. Sax lessons usually start at age 9 or 10.

All woodwind lessons offer (Classical) RCM preparation (even sax) and/or jazz studies, with focus on sound, fingering technique, embouchure, repertoire, musicality and theory. Younger wood-wind-wanna-be’s are invited to begin with recorder lessons as young as age four.

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Recorder Lessons

For children not strong enough to cart around a saxophone, or not focused enough to finger the keys on a flute, we offer recorder lessons. Recorder is the most popular instrument in public schools because it is an easy, inexpensive instrument to learn (the starting price is about the same as a McDonald’s happy-meal).

Recorder is not solely a transitional instrument. There are musicians who successfully pursue mediaeval recorder playing, and even classical. Take J.S. Bach’s Brandenburg Concert No. 4 for example (make sure it’s the recorder version...)

Recorder lessons start at age 4.

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Trumpet Lessons

Somewhere out there is a smoky jazz nightclub that will, in the distant future, stage a jazz band with trumpeters currently taking lessons at Avalon. The same goes for the symphony orchestra chair that will eventually be occupied by a child taking lessons here. And then there are the kids who like to play the trumpet because it’s loud!

Trumpet lessons can start at around age 9 or 10.

All brass lessons offer (Classical) RCM preparation and/or jazz studies, with focus on embouchure, sound, repertoire, musicality and theory.

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Trombone Lessons

Trombone students will learn to develop and enhance their performance skills, interpretive ability, and knowledge of repertoire. Ultimately, the goal will be for the students to express their own musicality through performance and improvisation. Trombone lessons can start at around age 10 or 11.

And it will only take 75 more trombone players for your child to take part in a rousing rendition of the old classic, “Seventy-Six trombones”...

All brass lessons offer (Classical) RCM preparation and/or jazz studies, with focus on embouchure, sound, repertoire, musicality and theory.

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Tuba Lessons

The tuba is a much more exciting instrument than most people realize. In an orchestra or concert band, everyone hears the tuba. The lessons are geared to keeping players excited about learning, improving and improvising. But don’t worry, not all students will be obliged to play the A&W Root Bear Tuba Solo in B-flat.

Tuba lessons can start at around age 10 or 11, though some children may be best to begin with the tuba’s cousins, euphonium or baritone.

All brass lessons offer (Classical) RCM preparation and/or jazz (concert band) studies, with focus on embouchure, sound, repertoire, musicality and theory.

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Piano Lessons

For children, producing a single note on the piano does not require the dexterity demanded by the string instruments. As a note can be played on the piano with just one finger, a simple familiar melody can be learned after a few minutes into the first lesson. This instant gratification factor makes the piano a very popular instrument for young children.

Regardless of level, the piano is still a very demanding and rewarding instrument to play; lessons are taught from beginners straight through to Grade 10 Conservatory and ARCT.

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Organ Lessons

After the obvious similarities between piano and organ, one has to consider that organists are frequently busier than pianists, what with the foot pedals (yes, there is a whole set of keys down below to be played with the feet).

Between the unequivocal repertoire given to us by J.S. Bach, and the distinctive 1970’s Hammond B3 organs that contribute to the classic rock sounds of Joe Cocker (and the like), the organ can be an extremely rewarding instrument to pursue.

It is sometimes recommended that organists-to-be begin by developing their skills on piano at the beginning. Give us a call if you would like to discuss it. Organ lessons are $20 per half-hour.

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Voice Lessons

Studying voice is one of the more difficult pursuits for any musician (or musician-in-training). Voice students do not get the quick gratification that pianists do (by pressing a finger down on a key to produce a note). Rather, the lessons address breathing techniques and muscle control. And - we do singing as well! Rest assured that our voice instructors possess the knack for making the lessons equally as fun as electric guitar lessons.

Presently, we offer voice lessons in pop/rock style and musicals (for when auditions open up again for “The Lion King”).

Voice lessons can generally begin at age 7.

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Drum and Percussion Lessons

Children age 7 and up can learn to redirect energy into the drums. From basic beats to complicated poly-rhythms, students will learn rudiments, technique and sight reading. Beginner, intermediate and advanced students are welcome.

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Music Theory

The importance of music theory is often overlooked - possibly because it is difficult to teach in a way that keeps the student interested. Our music teachers meet this challenge head-on. Although theory is applied to all instruments within the lessons, advanced students may wish to study music theory in the general sense, whether to gain acceptance in a post-secondary program, or simply to develop a greater understanding of music and musicianship.

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Ear Training

How is it that a musician can hear a string of notes or chords and play them back without seeing music? This is the result of ear training. Although perfect pitch (the ability to produce or identify any given note by ear) is something one is born with, the rest of us can be taught RELATIVE-pitch. Relative pitch means that, when one note is provided, the musician can produce or identify any other notes relative to the given note. So what’s the point of all this? A musician whose ears are well trained has a much easier time hearing, identifying with, and anticipating music that is being played.

The most spectacular example of a musician possessing the gift of perfect pitch is in the case of Mozart who, while still a child, attended a chamber music concert with his father. That evening, the boy wrote out the entire musical score on paper. It was so perfect that he was accused of stealing the music until he was given a chance to demonstrate that he could indeed hear any notes on any instrument and transcribe them to paper, or play them back.

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