Frequently Asked Questions
1. How often will my child attend classes?
All students attend the music school once a week.
2. How long are the lessons?
Most beginners lessons are 45 minutes long. As the children progress into the Intermediate and Advanced music and piano programs, lessons are generally 60 minutes long.
3. Do I need to attend?
Yes, if your child is aged between four and six years. This is so we can be confident you know what’s being learnt in the music classes, so you can assist at home. It’s also a great time with your child!
4. Can I bring other children to piano classes?
Due to the nature of the course, we unfortunately cannot allow siblings in the classroom for some classes (with the exception of babies in the morning sessions). Siblings are absolutely welcome in the pre-school classes : Jitterbugs and Beeboppers. Siblings over the age of 5 years are welcome to be left in our adult supervised waiting area.
5. How do I pay?
Every term an invoice is raised for your child’s fees (and books / CDs if required) Generally this invoice is payable for the term in advance. We will also be introducing direct debit for 2015 to allow for payment frequencies.
6. How do I enrol?
Head to the enrolment page and complete the enrolment enquiry form. You will then be contacted by one of our friendly staff members. If a place is available you will be asked to pay the enrolment bond to secure your child’s place.
7. How do I withdraw?
If you do decide to withdraw, please talk to your teacher first.
Notice of withdraw is required four weeks prior to the following academic term. If a written notice was given less than four weeks before a new term begins, an administration fee $88 will be charged to the account.
Any student withdrawing during the course of a term will not be eligible for a refund of fees.
8. Can I ring and talk about the course?
Absolutely, we would love to talk to you. The office hour is from 12pm to 3pm weekdays, please ring (02) 8069 8110 or Mobile 0422 264 473 or please leave a message. During class your teacher may be busy, however we can always call you and we are happy to talk when classes are over.
9. Can we try it out for a term?
Learning a musical instrument takes many years, so please have realistic expectations. Your child will take longer than a term to grasp the basic musical concepts.
Please look upon this course as a long term investment and experience; it can take the younger child some time to grasp the basic concepts of piano or a pre-schooler a year to learn music fundamentals.
We are confident that after one year of your child being enrolled in our courses you will see amazing results in the advancement of their music education!
10. Your course seems to teach piano by ear. Will my child learn to read music?
The younger child (4 – 6 yrs) especially will be learning mainly by ear as part of the course’s music lessons. This is a wonderful skill, and creates an all-round musician. This is gently backed up with note-reading exercises, but most children realistically develop the skills to begin to read the music stave at around six or seven years of age. By then, these children will be playing piano really well! At the end of the Junior Course, students will gradually be encouraged to start reading their music more in the Intermediate Course. Older beginners (7 yrs & over) are immediately introduced to note-reading during their piano lessons.
11. My primary school offers private tuition during school time; what’s different about your classes?
These classes are all about giving all-round musicianship skills to students to last a lifetime, rather than just the ability to read notes. Our group music and piano classes encourage the children in all styles of music, and in the more advanced courses the children even begin basic composition exercises. All children sing as part of the course work, something that usually doesn’t happen during individual lessons. Singing develops the students’ sense of pitch, musicality and melodic memory. All of these are fantastic skills to have as a musician and will last your child a lifetime. Most of all, these courses are about music learning through having fun: group games and learning will motivate and create a sense of fun and engagement for your child, which in turn will help your child stick with and achieve musical skills. A child can lose interest when they learn in a solitary environment.
Please also note, being part of the International School of Music will provide your child with opportunities private school time students are not offered. Opportunities such as participating in our annual end of year show case concerts, performing live in the local shopping centres or opportunities to perform at the local community nursing home are all available to International School of Music Students.
12. Do we need a piano or keyboard at home to practice on?
Yes, it would be like learning to read without having a book!
13. Is a piano or a keyboard best?
Beginners are encouraged to learn by ear to encourage their sense of pitch to develop, so a keyboard or an in-tune piano is all fine. Electronic keyboards and digital pianos are preferred as then we can be assured of the correct tuning and pitch for the student. A 61 key keyboard is all ok for the beginner student.
14. Can you recommend a particular keyboard?
A good place to start is at one of the music shops, such as Carlingford Music Centre, and Gospel Piano on Blaxland Road to have a look at what’s on offer. You shouldn’t have to spend too much to get a basic, beginners model; around $500-$800. There are lots of keyboards on eBay, but it can be quite daunting unless you know specifically what you are looking for. As a beginner, your child does not need ‘touch sensitive’ or ‘weighted’ keys.
A stand is a great investment, so the keyboard is at the right height for your child. Also, it means the keyboard can be left out, which means it is more likely to be played, than when stored in a cupboard.
15. Does my child need to practice at home?
It is important to play the piano with your child at least three times per week. This time only needs to be five minutes for a four year old child (Older children can do more). A four year old child needs your assistance and encouragement, so please help them to hop up to the piano to play & practice. Morning is always the best time to practice, as the brain gets tired by the afternoon. Practice should be fun and may entail just singing the words and notes of the songs, as well as some playing. Mini-concerts for grandparents, siblings, Mum and Dad are always good fun. The Star charts at the back of the Junior books work incredibly well! Perhaps you could both agree on a prize to work towards if the child achieves a whole page or two or gold or silver stars. Please ensure your instrument is in a warm room in the winter, as this can help you both feel motivated to play the piano!
16. What happens when my child finishes all the group piano classes?
The group-learning environment provides a dynamic approach to music learning, and fosters a confident performer. Graduates of this course are offered the opportunity to enter private tuition eventually and usually graduate from the group program with a level of Grade One/Grade Two AMEB examination level.
Graduates have developed a good musical “ear”, and have even obtained perfect scores in their aural exam tests! Current group piano students participate in a wide range of other musical activities, for example playing keyboard in the school band, singing in school choirs, performing in musical productions, learning a second musical instrument, or working towards piano examination work.