Frequently Asked Questions about Mississauga Fine Arts Academy

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Music School

The school offers a wide variety of instrument lessons in one place and allows students to perform regularly.

Attending a music school is recommended for children as it provides one-on-one instructions and gives an opportunity to children to perform regularly and gain stage experience.

While a private teacher might be a good and convenient choice for studying music, music school gives students an experience that private teachers cannot. Such as learning environment and equipment, a wide variety of instruments to learn in one place, which is especially important for parents with two or more kids, a variety of time slots available to accommodate parents' busy schedules, free recitals, opportunity to perform on big stages, reward programs to motivate students for practicing, picture day and much more.

The best music education for kids is the one that is tailored to their individual needs, ignites their potential to play a musical instrument, and helps to accomplish whatever musical aspirations you have for your child.

Several music colleges and universities in the Greater Toronto Area offer great musical programs; Humber College, Toronto University, and York University, to name a few.

Music lessons vary widely in cost depending on what musical institution you choose for your child. The price might be as low as $25 per 30 min class and as high as $100 per 30 min. It all depends on the programs that the music school offers. Geographical location is another aspect when it comes to choosing the school. Music schools in larger cities can be more expensive due to demographic and psychographic factors. When selecting a music school, it is essential to know the price.

Knowing what the school offers is essential when considering a music school for your child. There are questions that all parents should ask before enrollment to avoid any confusion:

  • Are there any hidden fees (participation in recitals, material costs, etc.)?
  • Does the school provide students with performance opportunities such as recitals; If so, how many per year?
  • Are recitals included in the tuition fee?
  • What if my child misses the class?
  • Does the school offer make-up classes?
  • What is the make-up classes policy?
  • Are the music teachers qualified?
  • Does the school provide one on one classes?
  • Are the classes tailored to individual needs?

Guitar Lessons

It is always better to learn guitar with an instructor. Life interaction and the teacher's example make the process more enjoyable and productive. A qualified instructor will inspire, motivate, and keep you accountable. This type of experience cannot be gained by self-education.

The speed of learning to play the guitar depends on several factors:
• Individual abilities and capabilities of the students
• Qualification of the instructor
• Frequency of classes
• The intensity of in-home practice
• Your burning desire to learn guitar (most crucial factor)

You definitely can. Thousands of books, self-teaching methods, and videos are available nowadays to learn guitar, but none can replace one-on-one life interaction.

Books are written by professional musicians and created to develop a structured approach to studying guitar. They contain fundamental knowledge about an instrument. They help obtain technical skills and teach how to read guitar music, which is a critical component in learning guitar. It will be essential to have a book for the class, especially for beginners.

Online classes are a great alternative to in-person classes for those who choose to study from home or far from their favourite teacher. Nowadays, technology allows learning guitar even if your instructor is thousands of kilometers away. It is excellent to do online classes, but they will never replace live interaction with the class teacher.

Practicing regularly is more important than the time spent practicing at any given time. It is better to practice 15-25 min every day than 2 hours once a week. Learning any musical instrument is to obtain specific motoric and muscle memory skills. Therefore, our muscles need to have more time to be trained. The more we make our muscles work, the faster we remember the task. As a result, we learn more quickly.

It is a great idea to set the expectations for your first class. Always talk to your teacher and express your actual needs, as they can be very different for each student and based on various factors. A 5-year-old child has a very different need than a 25-year-old who picked up a guitar for the first time. Setting the course for the future and letting your teacher know what you want to learn will save time and frustration.

Piano Lessons

Piano lessons help children develop good musical practices, improve concentration, and build self-esteem. Playing piano teaches them to understand rhythm, timing, and proper body position. Students can improve their vocal, speaking, and writing skills through private piano lessons.

Students who take private piano lessons will learn how to sing along with song lyrics, speak fluently, and compose original compositions.

If you would like to nurture your child's creativity, add a little structure to their lives, and have a lot of fun, then yes, it's highly recommended that children take piano lessons.

The best way to learn to read music is to take piano lessons at a local music school. Music schools' piano teachers teach students everything from basic theory to advanced techniques like sightreading. Students can also participate in recitals and competitions to showcase their talents.

Usually, around 3-4 children develop an interest in music. The sooner a child starts, the sooner they begin a lifelong journey.

No! Keeping things simple is the easiest and fastest way to learn.

Absolutely. Keyboards are an instrument in their own right and think of it as learning keyboards instead of learning piano.

The piano is about exploring the music you love. Find a teacher who encourages your child's musical interests. If your children are having a good time while learning to play, it's a great lesson.

Yes, as most of the work is done by you and at home. However, your progress can be slow and frustrating without a good teacher who gives you guidance and direction.

Lessons can last from a few months to a few decades. It all depends on the student's interest and desired accomplishment level.

Not exactly, but some models do have good sound replication. However, note that keyboards are instruments with many features that cannot be replicated on an acoustic piano.

You can try learning piano independently, but it always helps to have an experienced guide by your side. Try asking a YouTube video for a better explanation, and you'll quickly discover the answer.

Voice Lessons

Professional voice lessons help you understand the power of your voice. They teach you how to control it better using breathing techniques necessary to sing correctly and safely.

You can start taking voice lessons at any age, young or old. However, starting young will allow you'll benefit from great vocal habits from the get-go!

Teaching yourself to sing is possible, but specific techniques and styles of singing require physical awareness and attention to vowel placement, which is easier with a teacher or another set of trained eyes and ears that can demonstrate proper positioning.

Learning to sing does not have an end date. Professional musicians are constantly growing and educating themselves on new techniques, keeping updated at all times. So, no specific number of "required" lessons to become a singer exists.

Yes! Everyone can learn how to sing!

Online vocal lessons are sometimes even more beneficial as the teacher can see the student's vowel placement and positioning. They are equivalent to in-person and sometimes provide greater attention to technique.

A vocal coach is more than just a teacher but a guide to understanding your voice and body. They can help you realize your instrument to its full potential.

A vocal coach and a voice teacher are the same.

Select a vocal coach/teacher that resonates with you and your voice the best — someone who understands your music taste and preferences as a person and respects your learning pace.

Yes, almost all professional singers have vocal coaches.

A voice lesson can consist of different structures depending on the teacher and the lesson time. Typical voice lessons include pre-warm-ups, ear training, technique building, song performance, and showmanship evaluations.

The best time to start voice lessons is anytime. Young or old, our voices are always with us. With guidance, anyone ages four and up can begin their voice journey.

Vocal Harmony Lessons

Vocal harmony is a style of vocal music where notes are simultaneously sung in a homophonic texture.

Harmony provides colour and enhances the main melody.

A learning musician can study the multiple harmonic textures available for a melody.

Yes! A trained and professional lead singer will be able to understand the specific timbres of vocal harmony and should be able to blend properly as a background singer as well as a lead.

Although theoretical knowledge will enhance your ability to write and perform accurate and effective vocal harmony, you do not have to learn music theory.

A vocal melody, or vocal line, is a melodic sequence written for the human voice. The vocal melody is usually the focal point of the entire musical composition.

Jazz harmony is notable for using seventh chords as the basic harmonic unit more often than triads, as in classical music.

Drum Lessons

There is no best age to start taking drum lessons. You’re never too early or too late to the craft! Whenever you develop a desire for it, you should go for it.

Drum lessons are super beneficial to better understanding the context of what you’re playing. You can get a better and deeper appreciation of the craft this way.

You can take as many drum lessons as you want. There's no set amount you'll be good after as it's constant development. Once you feel comfortable enough with a foundation to create your own voice through drumming, you can either keep learning or go solo! It's preferred you do both!

Yes! You can learn by ear, but you won't develop a greater understanding of the craft. You become locked into a surface-level approach to drums, while drum lessons can take your craft to another level.

Even though you can teach yourself to play drums at home, taking professional drum lessons would help you learn it better and faster.

Several research papers show that drummers generally have more neural links in the brain and better understand independence due to having to individually coordinate all four different limbs to do different things independently from each other.

A vocal coach is more than just a teacher but a guide to understanding your voice and body. They can help you realize your instrument to its full potential.

Professional drummers, those who make a living by playing drums for bands and artists, practice upwards of eight hours a day! A more reasonable amount is 45-60 min a day to keep things fresh and at the forefront of your mind.

If you can count to four, you can play the drums. Sure, there are more complex and advanced techniques, but it's not difficult to play along with your favourite pop/rock songs.

A good drum teacher is willing to adapt their teaching style to fit the student, not the other way around. Someone who keeps the student engaged and wanting to continue playing.

Drum lessons are always a lot of fun. Playing your favourite songs and understanding WHY you like them is just pure bliss!

Violin Lessons

It all depends on where you are starting, how serious you are about your lessons, how much you practice, and your goals. On average, it will take about a year to go over the basics of the Suzuki book or RCM violin technique before becoming comfortable with reading music.

If you want to achieve a goal and learn a skill, you have to budget for it. Lesson prices for any instrument are roughly the same. Teachers and school program coordinators work very hard to ensure they provide extraordinary value to their students; thus, they need to be rewarded for it.

If the student is a small child, you must ensure the instrument is the correct size for that child. The best way to tell is to extend your left arm to ensure you can grab around the scroll when you hold it.

Violin lessons can vary. It all depends on where you take classes and who teaches it; if you do it privately outside a school, or at a private school, or public school program.

No it's not, as long you want to learn and practice diligently.

Beginners should play as much as they possibly can! At the early stage of learning the instrument, you need to spend a lot of time building muscle – it's like a workout. The more you do it, the sooner you can achieve your goals. For instance, if a student is five years old, it's recommended to practice for about 20-30 minutes daily. It is better to do a little each day than a lot but skip days. Mature students usually practice one to two hours daily to stay on top of their skills and complete their examinations.

Yes, a four-year-old can learn to play! It all depends if the child is mature enough to listen to instructions and get motivated to play. We all grow at different rates, so for some people, three years old is a good start, while others might have to wait until they are seven or nine.

Learning both a piano and violin is helpful. The two complement each other well and help the student develop a good ear for music, sight-reading skills, and musicality.

Cello Lessons

Yes, you can, but “self-teaching” depends on how high your standards are. Playing notes is one thing, but playing the notes with quality - sound production and profound musical interpretation is a different level of playing the cello. A string instrument will expose flaws more quickly to the audience than a piano or a guitar.

Most cello teachers recommend the age of six or seven as the best age to start cello lessons.

Yes definitely. By learning cello online, you can learn at your convenience and not worry about taking the subway or driving to your cello lessons. With an internet connection, you can access an online library of lessons regardless of where you may be.

It is never too late to start a musical instrument.

To properly hold your cello bow, your four fingers must drop naturally into place, and your thumb to go half on half of the Nook. Then you angle your fingers inward to apply pressure making those knuckles turn.

Student cellos are the lowest-cost, averaging around $300-$400, while the highest-cost cellos, professional level, can be well over $10,000.

Cellos are measured by the length of the back, from the full-sized cello of 30 inches or more intended for adults over five feet tall to 1/8 cellos designed for children between four and six years old. Be aware that different cello manufacturers make cello sizes at slightly different lengths, but they will fall within a few inches of each other.

The most important thing is comfort and practicality; you'll likely be more comfortable with the smaller instrument if you are between two different sizes.

Bass Lessons

Yes, it is possible to teach yourself to play bass guitar. However, having a good instructor can fast-track your progression. A bass teacher will identify weaknesses or improper techniques and broaden your student's musical taste.

The pursuit of musical achievement is endless, and every student's goal is different. Still, in under a year, a dedicated student should be reading notation and have essential fretboard awareness and various techniques (pick, slap and pop, pizzicato).

The best online bass guitar lessons are the ones that are consistent and fun. Bass guitar instructors who introduce new material regularly, motivate students to succeed, and hold students accountable are the best.

The basics are easy to pick up. As with almost every instrument, there is a wealth of material to digest and study ranging in difficulty to keep any level player engaged and progressing musically.

You can practice playing the bass guitar unplugged in a quiet room. However, playing it through an amp or with headphones is better so that you don't hit the strings too hard, strain your hands, and possibly cause an injury.

Although bass and guitar look similar, they are two very different instruments with different functions. There is some overlap between the two instruments, like the left-hand technique, but it doesn't matter which one you learn first.

Yes, there are different-sized bass guitars that will make playing and learning bass a breeze; There are full-sized basses for adults to miniature ukulele basses for smaller hands.

Flute Lessons

The fundamentals of playing the flute are easy to learn. Like any instrument, the more you play the instrument and explore challenging repertoires, the more the learning curve increases.

Yes. You can experiment with playing the flute on your own. However, seeking instruction (private or in-class lessons) is highly recommended as soon as possible. A flute instructor can teach proper practice techniques, aid study/repertoire selections, and guide your performance practices.

Private lessons vary in price. Generally, at a music school, flute lessons can range from $25-35 per hour. Professional flute players (i.e., members of an orchestra or university professors) usually charge $60-100 per hour.

There are many student flute models, and they usually have covered tone holes and do not have a B-foot. The next-up student model has open tone holes and a B-foot. Flutes made of nickel and have closed tone holes (the least expensive) have a poorer sound quality than those with open tone holes. Remember that the flute material and construction also matter (silver, platinum, or gold).

Playing flute does not improve your lungs, per se, but playing flute will improve your breath control because the proper flute technique engages the diaphragm. The more you practice, the better your breath control will be.

The more difficult instrument is the one you don't practice.

Anyone can play the flute!

Music Theory Lessons

Music theory is a system for helping students to comprehend and organize sounds of a particular aesthetic.

Music theory is inevitable and valuable, even at the most basic, fundamental level.

Music theory is something you learn alongside performance or any aspect of music. Ideally, one never stops learning about music theory.

The RCM Level 1 Theory book is a good start. It is advisable to start with the most general topics and then work toward more specific theories.

There are many free resources available to learn music theory. To start, Wikipedia has collected several music theory articles into an elementary book (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book:Music_Theory).

Alternatively, the Youtube channel "Music Matters" has assembled a playlist of various music theory topics (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL5j5H06QkhxE0RK-Ormp3zgf5SGJ28zsj).

Beyond the internet, a local library is an excellent place to check out textbooks and other non-fiction books related to music theory.

The difficulty is proportional to one's prior knowledge and starting point. For example, starting with an advanced topic can be pretty difficult, but starting from the beginning is not.

Yes, all musicians know at least a bit of music theory.

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