Here are some frequently asked questions about Pacific Conservatory, music instruction, and the benefits of learning a musical instrument at any age. Just click the question to see the answer! Why should my child study music at an early age? Your child will develop memory & brain cells that otherwise would not develop. Prolonged exposure to music helps children develop focused listening skills, build confidence & communication skillsÂ and foster creativity. Why should my child study at Pacific Conservatory instead of with a private teacher at home? Studying music in a school environment gives students access to a large, highly qualified faculty, exposure to students of all levels in a variety of instruments, opportunities to attend professional quality recitals & concerts for free, and a chance to play for their families and friends in both formal & informal settings. Pacific Conservatory can also schedule two or more family members at the same time to make lessons more convenient. By having lessons at the school there are no distractions such as ringing phones & sibling interruptions. For more, please take a look at these other advantages of studying at a professional music school. I am an adult and wish to take lessons for the first time. Is your school just for children? NO! Pacific Conservatory has an active adult program designed to help adults start any instrument. We have many adult students who never played any instrument before or that resume lessons on instruments learned when they were younger. Our Adult Program was set up to help each adult enjoy the joy of music education. Emphasis is placed on music for recreation not performance. Studies show that music slows aging and has many health benefits. To accommodate the busy schedules of working adults, we offer programs at convenient daytime hours (i.e., during lunch hour), as well as on evenings and weekends. How do I know what instrument my child should learn? Selecting an instrument to study is an exciting decision and an important one. You will have to buy or rent an instrument for daily practice, and purchase music books as well as take the weekly lessons. Discuss the various instruments with your child before enrolling him/her in lessons. Our Musical Madness program offered every week that DiscoveryARTS Camp is available gives children hands-on experience with the various instruments guided by one of our faculty members. We also offer 5-wk Intro classes at various times throughout the year. When can I begin? Each student is unique, and our flexible programs are designed to meet individual needs and schedules. For help in planning the best for you or your child, please call the office at 714-545-1217. Â We offer outstanding facilities and wide variety of learning opportunities from age 3 to adulthood. What are the benefits of Early Childhood Music? Pacific Conservatory’s Early Childhood Music classes offer a very small class size, with plenty of individual attention. Children receive ideal preparation for formal music instruction in later years. Children enjoy studying with friends and can benefit from each other’s progress. Some of the skills learned are sound discrimination and reproduction, concentration and memory, attentive listening, working in an ensemble, ability to create and improvise with movements and sounds, refining fine motor skills, sensory motor skills and gross motor skills, creativity and self expression. What is the teaching schedule? Pacific Conservatory operates on a year-round schedule, so a student can enroll any time he/she wishes. Lessons are offered Monday through Friday during afternoon and evening hours, and Saturday 9am to 4pm. A few instruments are available on Sundays. 43 weeks of classes and private lessons are offered during the year. There are 15 weeks of camps available. What teaching method do you use? Guided by a broad, flexible curriculum, and using a diverse set of approaches, each private lesson instructor adapts to the individual needs of the students. Our keyboard curriculum is a highly developed, comprehensive program with a 10-year progressing structure. Our international faculty has demonstrated outstanding achievements in both teaching and performance and are adept at teaching both classes and private lessons. What if my child is interested in lessons but is not gifted or aspiring to become a concert artist? Most of our students are of average ability. Instruction at Pacific Conservatory is based on the individual goals and capabilities of each student. While daily practice at home is essential, expectations will not be unreasonable. Keep in mind that music instruction has been shown to improve math and language skills, so regardless of an individual student’s aspirations, studying at Pacific Conservatory will positively impact your child’s development. What is expected of a student? The student is expected to regularly attend lessons. A good attitude is essential. The teacher will present new concepts, review previous assignments and work to reinforce ongoing concepts and skills. They will give each student appropriate practice goals for the week. The student will develop discipline, coordination, concentration, stage presence, expressive abilities, creativity and self-control. How much should one practice? Students should be well prepared for their lessons and should incorporate practice in their daily schedule. All beginning students should practice a minimum of four days each week. Very young beginners (ages 3-4) should practice 5-10; Young beginners 10-20 minutes 5 days per week; elementary-30 minutes; intermediate-45 minutes 6 days per week; advanced-60 minutes 6-7 days per week. Parents are expected to be aware of what has been assigned each week and encourage practice time. Our teachers post each week’s home assignments on our website for your simplified access. How will my child and/or I be matched with an instructor? Following the initial conversation with the Pacific Conservatory staff, we will match you or your child to a class or private lesson instructor. Age, skill level, expectations and schedule availability are also taken into account in determining the proper match of student and teacher. Once you meet with your assigned instructor you can discuss practice expectations, level placement, the course of study and goals for the year ahead. Please note that although every effort is made to accommodate new students, spaces are sometimes limited and instructors may not have immediate openings. In that case we would be happy to put your name on our waiting list if you wish. Do parents need to stay while a class is in progress? Parents of young children need to attend classes with their child. Older advanced students may attend without an attending parent, however parents are always welcome to stay and watch the class or private lesson. We recommend for children who are younger. If a parent or child care provider leaves the premises during class it is imperative that they return before the class is dismissed. Do I need a piano at home to take piano lessons? It is ideal if you do have a piano at home, but you can start lessons by using an electric keyboard to practice on. We recommend a keyboard that has at least 60 regular sized keys and a touch sensitive response. A touch sensitive keyboard means if you press a key harder it will play louder and if you press a key softer it will play quieter. The keyboard should also have a damper pedal attachment. Keyboards must be on a stand or desktop that is the appropriate height for proper technique. The differences between keyboards and pianos make it undesirable to use a keyboard past the beginner level. Special care should also be taken when selecting a piano bench to be certain that is the appropriate height. Young piano students should also have a foot stool if their feet do not touch the floor. You can also rent an acoustic piano with the option to buy. Do I need a full drum set to start drum lessons? No, you do not need a full drum set to start drum lessons. Students can start lessons by using a practice pad. This is a small dinner plate sized pad that costs $20-$30 and which is used for practicing basic drum rhythms. How long does it take to learn an instrument? There is no set answer of how long it takes to learn an instrument. With regular practice a basic level of playing can be accomplished in a few months. Most of our students take lessons on a long term basis because they want to be constantly improving and they find the lessons enjoyable. I don't have any musical background or ability; can I still help my child practice? Yes. Even if you don’t have a musical background you can ask the teacher for advice on how to help your child practice. By simply monitoring that they are doing exercises a certain number of times per day the student will progress. Many parents occasionally sit in on their child’s music lesson to get an idea of the proper way a song should sound or how the student should be positioning their hands. Do I need to own an instrument? For students who do not own an instrument, Pacific Conservatory staff can provide information on rental or purchase of alternative instruments. Please call our office for details. How do I register for programs at Pacific Conservatory and how do I apply for lessons? Registering for classes, camps, workshops, programs at Pacific Conservatory is easy. You may download the appropriate registration form and submit it online. You may print the registration form and submit it in person or by mail or you can simply give us a call and we will complete the form for you by telephone. We accept VISA and MC payments. Private lesson assignments are based on teacher availability, student’s learning style and interests and are generally arranged by phone with the Director. It is possible to schedule a one-time trial lesson with a private teacher to assess compatibility. Students enrolling in classes are welcome to attend a complimentary class prior to enrolling. Do you have recitals? Yes. We have formal recitals in January and June. Your teacher will inform you in advance of the times and dates and they are posted on the website calendar. Students in class lessons will perform for each other at monthly I Love Music & the ARTS Days. Recitals and regular performances serve as great motivation and an opportunity to demonstrate progress. Parents, relatives and friends are all welcome. How do you choose your teachers? We have very high standards for our teachers. We have a lengthy and extensive interview process consisting of several face-to-face meetings and reference checks. All Pacific Conservatory teachers have a degree in their specialized artistic field and vast teaching and/or performance background. We only hire caring, nurturing and imaginative educators who are passionate about their teaching. My child has lost interest and/or is not practicing. Should we take a break? This is a common question. Occasionally a child, for various reasons, is not willing to practice and it becomes a battle of wills. Will they or won’t they? Please see our suggestions for five ways to get the most out of lessons. Also we encourage the students and parents to seek guidance from the school, since often we are able to work through any problems that the student might have. At what age can my child study music? The recommended age to begin lessons is different for each instrument. Young children can begin musical classes as toddlers. Instrumental classes are appropriate for ages beginning students ages 4 and up. Attention span, interest, developmental readiness, reading skills and time available for daily practice are other factors to consider before enrolling your child in music instruction. How long and how frequent are the lessons? Depending on age, experience, developmental readiness, and teacher’s recommendation, students are advised for class or private lessons of a particular time duration. For private lessons, the general guideline is: Beginners 30 minute lesson once a week, intermediate students 45 min. lesson once a week, and advanced students 60 min once or twice a week. It is also recommended that students practice and prepare regularly for their lesson in order to get the most of their lessons. Where do I begin? Each student is unique, and our flexible programs are designed to meet individual needs and schedules. For help in planning the best for you or your child, please call the office at 714-545-1217. We offer outstanding facilities and a wide variety of learning opportunities . What if my child does not like his/her teacher? Am I obligated to stay with the teacher I have chosen? No. We understand that, no one person suits everyone. If you need a different teacher or want to study a different instrument, it simply requires a call or email. Of course, if your schedule changes, or a teacher moves, we can place you with another qualified instructor. A benefit of Pacific Conservatory is that we are able to match students with the correct teacher. The Director monitors this very closely and from time to time may suggest a change or will work with the parents to obtain the best match. With a team of teachers at the ready, we can usually accommodate matches in personality, style and schedule. Many parents have discovered the quality and comprehensiveness of our programs is of great value. Will my child only learn classical music? What about jazz, rock or pop music? Whatever your child is interested in learning, we have teachers that can accommodate their interest. New students will be placed with an instructor based on his/her interest, level and availability. We encourage parents, students and instructors to discuss what pieces the student is learning and what styles of music can be introduced. Do you ever send teachers out to people's home? No. Students come to one of our locations for their lessons. It helps create a sense of formality to lessons. Children can associate learning music with a special place and time and are not distracted by phone, siblings, TV, and other activities going on at the time of the lesson. At Pacific Conservatory, we try our best to accommodate your schedule, and schedule two or more siblings or parent at the same time for their lesson. How much should children practice? Making a practice routine from the very beginning is important to the success of the student. We recommend little to no practice for our 2-4 year olds. A 5 year old can practice 5-10 minutes a day, and a 6 year old, 10-15 minutes a day. Older children should practice more. However, the length of practice time is not the only important factor – the quality of the practice is also important. What if my child starts lessons, but changes his/her mind? Children may become frustrated because they expected learning music would be easier. Parental support through this period is essential. If you’re having problems helping with your child’s progress at home, discuss it with the instructor. Our instructors will have advice or may be able to modify the lessons to help your child. Our school policy states that a 30-Day Notice to Discontinue must be filed before quitting. The purpose for this is to give all parties time to resolve any issues that may be blocking the student’s pathway to success. Is it a good idea for me to sit in on the lessons with my child? Some parents sit in on the lessons with young children while older children sometimes prefer to be by themselves. Some children may have trouble with both the teacher and parent as authority figures in the room. Discuss with the instructor and see what works best for your child. Our school welcomes parents at any time. Does my child have to be in a recital? No, although it is encouraged. The process of performance prep, itself, raises the bar. Recitals give a sense of accomplishment and teaches us about the dying art of delayed gratification. If your child is nervous public speaking or performance, we strongly recommend he/she attend the open mics first, as this should help them warm to the idea of recitals. We have 3 formal recitals per year and other jam sessions, open mics and in-class recitals.