Frequently Asked Questions - Academy
Adults can begin learning an instrument at any time. In fact, many people invest the time during their retirement years to learn a musical instrument!
For children, starting at the right age is a key element of success. Children put into lessons too soon may feel overwhelmed and frustrated and want to stop lessons. A child who is driven to learn may be an exception to the starting ages given below if taught by the right teacher. Children older than the suggested earliest starting age usually do very well.
Birth to 5 years old: Kindermusik classes are highly recommended. See Benefits box on the previous page.
Piano/Keyboard: 5+ years. By this age children have longer attention spans, can retain information and have the hand size and finger strength needed for playing.
Guitar: 8+ years. Guitar playing requires a fair amount of pressure on the fingertips from pressing on the strings, which may discourage younger students who also may not have the fine motor coordination necessary.
Voice: 8+ years for group instruction, 10+ years for private lessons. Due to the physical nature of voice training (lung capacity and development of vocal chords and lung capacity), the younger body is generally not yet ready for the rigors of vocal technique taught in private lessons.
Drums: Children can begin hand drumming at any age and drum set lessons as soon as they can reach both the pedals and the cymbals. Music4Kids sells quality junior sized drum sets for this purpose.
Flute, Clarinet, Saxophone, Trumpet, Trombone: 9+ years. Wind instruments require lung capacity, physical exertion and the physical size to be able to hold and reach all the notes on the instrument. Therefore 9 years and older is the recommended age to start. (Band starts in 5th grade in the Grants Pass School District and in Middle School in the Three Rivers School District.)
Violin: 5+ years. Some teachers will start children as young as 3, but the most productive learning occurs when the beginner is 5 years or older. (String instruction begins in the 4th grade in the Grants Pass School District.)
The most noticeable difference between a keyboard and a piano for the beginning student is the strength needed in the fingers to push down the keys; the learning process is the same. We use electronic keyboards in our keyboard classroom and one digital piano which has weighted keys that require the same strenth to play as an acoustic piano.
The type of instrument used once a week for classes is less important than the student's practice instrument. Students who have a piano to practice on at home will develop the finger strength needed to play the piano. Students who practice on a piano at home are welcome to play on our digital piano during classes. Please let us know if you would like your child to play on the digital piano in class. If we have more than one request, we will rotate those students on the piano on a weekly basis.
If your child has take lessons previously, private lessons are required. However, if your child is an absolute beginner, you have the option to begin in a class. There are advantages to each approach. In a class students learn in a social atmosphere where they may be motivated by the group to practice. Learning with others also tends to make simple beginning concepts more interesting.
In addition, classes require students to learn to play in unison with others, which aids tremendously in learning to keep a steady beat while playing and learning to play songs from beginning to end without pausing or stopping. This ability to play in ensemble is something that private students do not always attain.
On the other hand, students get more personal attention in a private lesson and may progress further in the same amount of time.
Classes are a good way to begin, moving to private lessons after basic concepts and skills have been mastered.
Kindermusik classes: Except for Kindermusik for the Young Child, new students may join Kindermusik classes at any time (unless they are full). For Kindermusik for the Young Child, we only accept new students in the first four weeks in the fall semester or in the first week of the second semester.
Musical Instrument Classes: We accept new students in these classes only during the first 2 weeks of the class. Classes may begin in September, February or June/July.
Child and Youth Ensembles: We accept new students in the first two weeks of the fall semester, in the first two weeks immediately after the Christmas break, and within two weeks after our annual recital in June.
Adult Ensembles: We accept new students at any time.
Kindermusik classes: These classes provide an introduction to music without the pressure of performance, so students do not perform.
Ensembles: Ensembles perform at various community venues throughout the year, on the small stage at our store several times in the year, at our Holiday Music Night and also at our annual Spring Recital.
Classes and Private Lessons: Students who are in their second year of study and above have the opportunity to perform during our Holiday Music Night and at our annual Spring Recital. Beginners are encouraged to participated in Music Parties where they perform for smaller groups of family and friends. We also offer opportunities for students to perform on the small stage at our store during First Friday Art Nights and during the holiday season. All performing opportunities are optional, but highly encouraged. The younger a student begins performing for others, the easier it is to share their musical gifts as they get older.
An apprentice teacher is an advanced music student who has been recommended to us by their instrumental or vocal teacher, and many have teaching experience gained through assisting music teachers in local elementary and middle schools. Young beginning students look up to these high school and college age students and have great respect for them. This helps motivate the students to practice and excel in their lessons. Apprentice teachers teach under the guidance of a master teacher.
All of our master teachers have a music degree from a college or university or they have extensive experience teaching and/or performing experience. In addition, we carefully select teachers who demonstrate caring attitudes toward their students. We believe that a positive, caring relationship between the teacher and the student is a critical aspect of the learning process.