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Music Lessons

Private and group instruction in a wide variety of instruments, including acoustic & electric guitar, piano, drums, vocals, orchestral strings, brass, woodwinds and so much more!


How old do you have to be to start Music Lessons?

Typically students starting private music lessons are in the 5-9 year old age range depending on the instrument. Some of our locations do offer special keyboard based group programs that cater to preschool children, ages 3-5. The most common choices for private lessons are piano/keyboard, guitar, voice and violin. Both the guitar and the violin offer the convenience of smaller scale instruments for younger beginners. Students wishing to learn to play wind instruments such as trumpet, trombone and saxophone generally start after age 10 due to the physical requirements some of these instruments pose. You will find the teachers and lesson staff at Long & McQuade quite willing to discuss your child's situation.

Do I need to own an instrument to take lessons?

It is necessary to have an instrument for regular practice to enable the student to learn and progress with his or her newly acquired skills. For those who do not have an instrument, Long & McQuade offers convenient and affordable student instrument rental plans for new players.

How long does it take to learn to play an instrument?

New students with regular practice will see results very quickly on their chosen instrument. It is important for the students and parents to approach the study of a musical instrument as a long term process much like we would look at learning a new language. The results should be both fun and rewarding as the student's skill level improves incrementally. Hopefully, the study and learning to play a musical instrument will become a fulfilling life long pursuit.

Can my child prepare for Royal Conservatory Examinations?

Long and McQuade teachers are able to prepare students for nationally accredited examinations with the Royal Conservatory of Music if they so desire. The successful completion of specific RCM examination levels (usually Grade 8 and higher) with the corresponding theory level exam is recognized as an equivalent secondary school music credit in many provinces. Consult your provincial Ministry of Education for music equivalency requirements.

My child will be taking piano lessons. Do we need a piano or can we use a keyboard?

A common question as there are many instrument choices for parents of new piano students today. The traditional acoustic piano is certainly well-suited for piano study as are many of the newer and affordable "weighted action" digital pianos. The smaller portable keyboards will provide touch sensitivity for some dynamic expression but because their keyboard actions are "unweighted", they will make it more difficult for the student to develop the hand and finger strength and control that are required for piano technique. Long & McQuade offers convenient rental and purchase plans to suit any budget for keyboards, digital pianos as well as for acoustic pianos.

When can I start lessons?

Lessons at Long & McQuade can be started at any time of year including the summer months. In fact, many students enjoy the opportunity of learning a new skill during the less hectic summer months.

What is the best instrument to learn on?

Certain instruments may be "age sensitive" due to their physical size, but for the most part, the best instrument is the one that the student is most interested in. Their prospect of achieving positive results will generally be higher with an instrument that the student wants to play and practice on a daily basis.

Can we take a "trial" lesson to start?

We would encourage prospective students to try their new instrument for a least a month.

Music lessons at Long & McQuade are prepaid on monthly basis. Although we do not offer single "trial lessons", students are able to discontinue lessons at any point with notice and would receive a refund for any prepaid lessons that were not taught.

Will my child learn music theory and to read music?

Regardless of the musical style (pop, jazz, classical) it is important to establish a strong musical foundation with all beginners that includes an understanding of notation, music theory and technique specific to the instrument. Students will be working with a method book as well as supplementary books to achieve this. The vast selection of innovative materials and resources for beginning players on all instruments has never been greater.

Do you offer lessons for adults?

Adult students are always welcome and in fact make up a sizeable segment of new lesson students. It's never too late! Whether adult students pursue a recreational approach to music making or select a more traditional cirriculum, Long & McQuade has many excellent instructors and materials to help them along their new pursuit.

What's better to learn on, the electric or acoustic guitar?

In most cases, the exact same method books and teaching approach are used with beginning guitarists on either steel string acoustic or electric guitar. If they are asking for an electric guitar they probably are interested in learning rock and pop styles as their skills progress. Electric guitars are the best choice for this style.

Our advice to most parents is to go with the instrument that the student has expressed interest in. Electric guitars of course require an amplifier as well to get started and Long & McQuade offers a number of affordable starter guitar/amp packages. Guitar and bass amplifiers are provided at the music lesson.

What are the rates for lessons?

Lesson rates vary with the location, instrument and the teachers education and experience. Though some are lower or higher, on average they are between $20 and $25 per half hour private lesson.