Questions & Answers


We know as a beginner or a parent, taking on a musical instrument for yourself or your child can be a very big decision. Here are some of the common questions that we have received.





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For Parents

What would be a good age for my child to begin learning instruments?

A good age to begin learning instrument would be 3 to 5 years old, as this time, a child’s development has reached a point where they could follow directions and early music education provides a positive benefit to the child’s brain development. 

I don't know if my child would be good in music, can your school help me find out?

Of course! During our trial lesson, our teachers goes through a series of teaching materials and musical assessments to determine your child’s response to music.

How long will it take for my child to reach a certain level?

The learning method and skills for every child is different. However, the main determining factor to the speed of learning would be the age and the amount of practise. The average time for a child to start from beginner to advanced level will typically take 3-5 years.

Do I need my own instrument in order to take lesson?

Yes, having your own instrument is critical as most of the music learning process takes places during practises at home.

I'm a parent who doesn't have any music background, can your school assist me in purchasing a piano, violin, or guitar?

Of course, our school’s teacher are more than happy to assist you in purchasing an instrument thats affordable and at the same time suitable for your children’s needs.

I currently own a portable/electronic piano, is that fine?

Yes, electronic or portable piano is a great and recommended choice of piano for beginners. They are inexpensive, and often used for parents of beginners who are experiencing with the instrument. However, as your child achieve an equal level of RCM Level 3 and above, it is strongly suggested to switch to an upright piano. 

How often should my child practise?

Usually practising time for children is dependant on their age.

Ages 4-7 : 10-20 minutes

Ages 7-10: 25-45 minutes

Ages 11-14 : 30-60 minutes

I have a hard time getting my child to practise, are there any tips?

Many parents deal with the same issue. Here are some practical tips:

1. Try to set a goal for your child like a getting a reward if they do well with their practice sessions.

2. Make sure that the sessions are timed and regular, especially for younger students. (Ex. 5 days a week, 30 minutes each day)

3. Introduce your child to listen to more music, frequently ask them the songs they like to listen to.

4. Splitting the practise time into two parts to avoid fatigue and distraction.

Noticing extraordinary talent in music or a highly motivated student?

If you notice that your child or a family member has a great talent in music you have to take action as soon as you can. Try not to postpone the music training because talented students progress very fast so every term or a year counts. Ideally is to start them young. Parents are expected to be supportive, serious about the training and aware that talent, hard work and right attitude can lead to possible future successful career. 

Are your teachers qualified?

Yes, all of our teachers go through a strict interview process which their performing skills and teaching skills are assessed at a very high level. All of our teachers possess:

1. RCM grade level of at least level 10 OR university degree majoring in music.

2. 5 Years or more teaching experience to kids aged 5 up to adults.

3. Training in child psychology and child education.



For Adults 

I took music lessons when I was young, can I still pick up?

Definitely! Think of it as a lost memory and it’s somewhere in your brain. The knowledge of music note reading can recovered through 1-4 lessons (1 week-1month), but the skills and techniques will require you to do some practise before regaining them.

Do I need to follow a lesson plan?

At Hanway Music School in Toronto, teacher’s can tailor a lesson plan specifically for you based on the materials you choose to learn and your available practise times.

I don't have a piano at home, what can I do?

Although a piano (or your choice of instrument) is required to practise at home, Hanway Music School in Toronto offers practice room rentals. At a low charge, you can choose to practice at many of the available time slot that we offer.

My schedule isn't fixed, what happens if I can't attend class every week at the given time?

We understand that your schedule is busy, so we have a specific adult lesson plan. If you are age 18 and older you may qualify. Please refer to This Page and scroll down to the “Adult Lesson” to learn more!

How much practise will I need to learn a song?

The answer is really based on the kind of learner you are, if you have more time on your hand to practice, the sooner you will learn the song! Usually practice will require 20-30 minutes of your day for 4-5 days a week.

How long usually will I learn a song?

It would be based on the difficulty of the song. Usually a 4 minute pop song would take 3-4 weeks if you had NO BACKGROUND at all. A classical piece could take longer at around 4-8 weeks.



For Examinations

What is the procedure for the RCM examination?

Please refer to this sample examination video from the RCM

When are the usual exam dates?

The there are 4 instrumental exam dates per year: January, April, June, and August (Anytime in the month, the date is decided by you).

The written exams are in: December, May, and August (Usually in the first 2 weeks of the month)

Where are the RCM exam centres located?

You can choose the examination centre closest to your location.

How do I register?

Please visit our How to Register for RCM Exam Page

How long are the exams?

The instrumental exams usually last from 15 minutes to 40 minutes depending on your skill level.

Theory and History examinations lasts 2 hours, 3 hours, or 4 hours depending on the examination you are taking.

How many examiners are in the exams?

Only one.

How does the theory and history examination work?

Registering would be the same way. The theory and history examinations are taken together with many other applicants doing the same examination. Therefore it will be in a big room with many people writing the exam at the same time, similar to a high school or university exam setting.

Where can I find the songs that are required to play for the exam?

Please refer to the Syllabus page that we provided.  

Do the songs needs to be memorized?

For the Technical requirements (scales/triads etc) : Yes.

For the Repertoire: Optional, if you memorize them you would get bonus marks! (Only applies to level 9 and below).

For the Studies: No.

How can I practise ear training at home?

Apart from doing ear training in class at Hanway Music School in Toronto, you can also practise ear training at home! Just google or youtube “RCM [Instrument] Level [?] Ear test (ex. RCM Piano Level 10 Ear Test).



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