Finding the latest restaurant is hard enough on Google so now what do you do as a parent when looking for something that REALLY matters? Finding a music school / academy for your kids.
So you turn on your computer or grab that phone and type Piano Lessons Etobicoke or Guitar Lessons Etobicoke or Voice Lessons etc and suddenly you have 50 places to choose from. This is daunting to say the least. Especially with every school claiming to offer the best music lessons you’ve ever tried how do you separate the passionate places from the corner store pretenders? Here are a few ideas from an admittedly biased source but some food for thought that might help.
TIP 1: Location matters but it ISN’T everything.
Picking the closest school just because it is close makes sense from a time saving point of view but might prevent you from noticing some of Etobicoke’s finest academies. If the ultimate goal is music for a lifetime then a place which truly inspires is worth a short drive. I can’t stress this point enough and we have personally heard parents tell us once they see their child’s face light up they forget the 10 minute drive.
TIP 2: Take your time to select the right instrument.
Many parents default to piano lessons and while this is indeed a great instrument to start on it is far from the only choice. Sometimes allowing your child to explore a few options can make a large difference. Violin lessons for example can be just as exciting as drum lessons to the right child, with the right teacher.
TIP 3: Choose a Music School that allows your child to TRY a lesson or two before committing.
This sounds obvious but is often overlooked. A reputable music school will allow trial lessons without commitment to ensure parents and students have the chance to choose the right fit. Some schools do not allow this during a busy month like September and this is fine but if they do not offer it year round this should be a red flag. Private music lessons are a major time and financial investment and should be done carefully.
TIP 4: Size isn’t everything but it does matter.
The absolute largest schools around can make you feel like a number sure but the tiny ones simply don’t have the facility or staff to provide enriching experiences for your family. If I may brag for a moment, one of the priorities we had when building this gorgeous 3000 sq/ft school was to leave enough space for our own stage and mini-auditorium which allows students to perform, learn, and be inspired all at this academy. Truly, this type of exposure right from the beginning is priceless and should not be undervalued.
TIP 5: Communicate with the teacher.
Ask a lot of questions don’t be shy a good teacher will have many answers at the trial lesson and if he or she can’t answer them you should be referred to administration. This also allows you to test the waters for what type of a communicator the instructor will be moving forward providing Ukulele Lessons to your youngster or Drum Lessons for your rocking teenager.
TIP 6: Read reviews!
First ensure they are honest reviews from real students and parents and then read what they have to say. Why did they choose to take music lessons at one school over another? What keeps them coming back year after year? Why are their children’s lives better off for being enrolled? That last one may seem like a tall order but you should expect nothing less. Music can and should enrich your life. Learning takes patience and discipline yes but it should inspire positive growth in all students; changes they take with them for a lifetime. Do the reviews you read express all that or do they just quickly mention their child is a better piano player? Look for stories of improved lives through music!
TIP 7: When You Visit the Music Academy Do You Feel Welcomed?
At Orrett Music Academy we provide an enriching experience that teaches beyond music and welcomes you to a part of our musical community and family. Expect nothing less. Period.
TIP 8: Do they have a strong track record?
We have been offering lessons since 1998 and there are a select list of Etobicoke Music Schools that share a similar track record. (but not many) I recommend this point less from the point of view of the music school providing music lessons for that long but more from a point of view of passion. Doing something for 20 years requires passion. If the school claims it will inspire passion in your children ensure first it feels the same passion for music. The best teachers live and love the life they teach. The best music academy will have at least as much love and passion for providing the perfect environment for your family.
I hope some of what I have mentioned helps you make an informed decision. Sure if you are in the Kingsway area of Etobicoke or even beyond we sincerely hope you will consider us but even if you are in Scarborough and looking at alternatives the tips above still apply. Together we can raise the standard for music education in Toronto.