Music carries many cognitive and developmental benefits but the amount of effort it takes to learn music and the high costs can pose as barriers for many people.
Richmond Music School, one of the oldest music schools in the city launched in 1980, wants everyone to enjoy music by offering affordable classes.
“For years, this non-profit school on No.3 Road has been quietly offering introductory piano, guitar and violin lesson packages (at a low cost). The problem is that not enough Richmond families know about it,” Lauren Kramer, an adult student of the school, told the Richmond News.
“They should know because it's a great way for kids to try music lessons without having to make a long-term commitment or a large financial investment.”
Launched by the school’s former principal Patricia Rollston 15 years ago, the school’s beginners’ package allows students to have 10 30-minute piano lessons for $100, five guitar lessons for $50, 12-week group violin class for $300 and a set of choir courses for $120 per annum.
“It was Patricia’s idea to start this,” said Sharon Kirk, a long-time teacher at the school.
“She was a great lover of music who felt every child should have an opportunity to learn music, to express themselves, and get some enjoyment."
For those that want to continue studying, there's a choice between senior or junior teachers at the school so people can easily find an instructor within their budget, according to Kramer.
Richmond resident Moise Potie chose the piano 10-class package for his son Rufus in 2015. Rufus stayed in the program afterwards and just recently achieved first class honours for his level 3 exam.
“I think it’s a good way to start if parents are unsure whether the kids like an instrument or not, because it’s cheaper. If it’s more expensive right at the beginning, there might be more parents that are unsure,” said Potie.
The school now has about 14 teachers and 10 teachers who still go to school but hold degrees in music.
“The student teachers don't have the experience other teachers have, so they teach for a lower fee. They want to do that because it gives them an experience,” said Kirk.
The school also hosts six recitals every year for students to perform on the stage, including a big annual concert that allows students to play with a professional orchestra.
Richmond Music School, at 11371 No. 3 Rd., will host an open house on June 1 when all studios are open with recitals going on from 12 to 4 p.m.