arts & entertainment
A symphony of options to learn
that new musical instrument
By Karen Haywood Queen
YOU’VE BOUGHT A piano, guitar, drum set or
other musical instrument. In your mind, you’re
playing Beethoven’s; Für Elise. In reality, you’re not
sure where to begin. We’re here to help with a plan.
CHRIS A RUSNAK
The good news is that you’ll likely leave your
first lesson knowing a song, says Dan Corrigall of
Hamilton Music Studio (
in Ancaster, Ontario. To play;proficiently;from a
church hymnal, give it three years, and for perennial favorite; Für Elise, allow four years, says Peggy
Bennett, a teacher and co-owner of Beethoven at
Home music studio (
serving Calgary, Edmonton, Montreal, Toronto
You can find inexpensive or free video lessons and
save money with group lessons, but nothing substitutes
for the one-on-one relationship
and individual attention from a professional music teacher, Bennett advises.;A
“You need the teacher to be alongside
you, adjusting your arms to help you
go to the notes more easily and
prevent injuries,” says Bennett,
who teaches double bass and
piano. “That’s a very physical
thing—something you can’t
get from YouTube.” (Stay
tuned, though—videos are
Group classes cost
about 30 percent less than
individual instruction and
may be a good way to get
started, especially for young
children. But a group setting
means more general teaching.
Within a few months, you should
consider making the switch to one-on-one instruction, Bennett says.
64 ;e Costco Connection NOVEMBER 2012
Finding the right teacher
To find the right teacher, ask
friends for referrals, call local music
stores and check online. A number
of websites offer help, including www.
Ask questions, Bennett and Corrigall advise.
Does the teacher have a degree in music or is he or
she certified through an established organization?
How will the teacher help you learn?;Are the instruments in the studio tuned and clean? Is there a comfortable waiting area? Do you like the teacher?
You also want a teacher who plays the instrument well. “Pick a teacher who can play so that it
brings tears to your eyes or chills going down your
spine,” Corrigall says.
The days of boring instruction books are long
past. There is plenty of fun music out there to help
you learn—your favorite classical pieces, themes
from popular movies, gospel, pop, country, rock, jazz
New school options
If your budget is tight or you
work a shift that makes it impossible
to connect with a private teacher,
You can order DVDs with complete lessons,
such as at
www.learnandmaster.com/guitar, or use
software such as GarageBand. And now there are
even apps to help you begin learning an instrument
on the go, such as Guitar 101 at the i Tunes App Store.
Top-ranked music universities also have, ahem,
The Costco Connection
Costco features a variety of musical instruments
in the warehouses and at Costco.com for budding