The piano is arguably the most popular instrument to learn. It is very versatile and extremely good for brain development (as two hands, two feet and two lines of music at a time are involved!). You can start lessons as young as 4 years old with us, but we recommend also attending a music & movement class for best results. Many children begin learning on a keyboard (as they are cheaper), but we recommend getting an acoustic piano as soon as your child has shown a commitment to the instrument as the touch of a keyboard is very different to a piano and can inhibit proper technique.
Guitar Lessons (Acoustic & Electric)
The guitar covers a multitude of genres from classical to rock and is very popular these days, possibly due to the multitude of ukulele groups now in NZ primary schools. Students can start learning from a very early age by using the ukulele as a stepping-stone, or on a smaller-sized guitar when they are slightly older. One of the perks of learning this instrument is that is is highly portable and can be used in many group situations. We do emphasise the importance of being a versatile guitarist- which means being able to read notation as well as TAB. If you have never learnt how to read notation, but already play guitar, don't worry! Our teachers are very nice and will work with what you can already do, as well as introducing notation over time.
Drummers may be a dime a dozen, but a good drummer is worth their weight in gold! In order to become the latter, we encorouge students to study music theory and for younger students to also take music & movement classes so that gross-motor skills and musical timing are developed early. Students that have the ability to read notation can have opportunities later in a percussion section of an orchestra, or band, where the ability to play drum kit is an advantage. If you have a large home (or very nice neighbours), the drums might be a perfect fit for you. It is possible to practice on an electronic drum kit or on practice pads which are largely silent, but at some point you will need to invest in a full kit.
Teachers: Seth Clement
The violin is the most popular stringed instrument of the orchestra, and makes up the largest section. This instrument is great for young learners as violins are available in different sizes, ranging from 1/16 through to the full-sized instument. Orchestral opportunities are a huge pro of learning the violin, as there are many positions available and orchestras play a wide selection of genres - from classical masterworks to film scores! Colleges generally have a school orchestra, and some of them go on overseas trips which is a bonus. If you're the type of person who loves to play in a group (but you can play solos too, if you like) then the violin is a good fit for you!
The flute is the most publicly-known woodwind instrument and is very versatile. Students may choose to play in orchestras and bands, or even try some jazz flute in due course! There are different kinds of flutes for younger children, and for very small hands it is advisable to start on the recorder first, transitioning when the student is physically ready. As it is a woodwind instrument, air-control is vital in playing it well. So one really has to devote a lot of time to breathing properly and efficiently. It is a good instrument for students who like to play as part of a team, but can also handle the spotlight.
The clarinet belongs to the woodwind family and is a staple instrument in many ensembles. There are different types of clarinet (Eb, Bb, A, Alto and Bass) but the one students begin on is usually the Bb clarinet. The clarinet was hugely popular during the swing and big-band era (1910-1945) and it continues to be today in both classical and jazz genres (and it can even be found in rock!) Rental instruments are common for beginners (these are usually plastic) and are available for a few hundred-dollars per year for hireage.
Saxophones are generally found in jazz and concert bands, as well as smaller ensembles such as the jazz trio or quartet. There are four standard types of saxophone: soprano, alto, tenor and baritone. The one students generally learn on is the alto saxophone. For younger students, the clarinet is a good stepping-stone as it is lighter and has many similarities.
Teachers: Jarrod Baynes
One of the more publicly unknown instruments, the bassoon is the lowest instrument of the woodwind section of the orchestra. The full-sized instrument is rather large, but you can buy smaller versions from overseas. For younger students wanting to learn the bassoon, we recommend starting on the recorder and transitioning when their hands are big enough. This instrument uses a double reed, which professional bassoonists spend a lot of time making and adjusting. Initially though, you can just buy the reeds and learn to make them later on. We can help source an instrument if you are interested in learning the bassoon, and you can soon be on your way to mastering this gorgeous instrument!
Teachers: Natasha Port
Recorders come in a multitude of sizes - the most common of which is the descant recorder. These are available in plastic from many places, but BUYER BEWARE - the ones available in non-music shops aren't suitable for formal lessons. We recommend getting a wooden student recorder, which retail for about $100 and retain their value well. The recorder is a beautiful instrument and can be studied all the way up to university level and beyond! It is a great instrument for small hands and is quite forgiving if dropped, making it ideal for younger students.
Ukuleles come in a multitude of sizes - the most common to see in music shops though is the soprano. The ukulele is great for young learners as it is smaller than a guitar and has only four strings. Students can easily learn basic chords and picking which sets them up well when transitioning on to the guitar if they choose to do so. It is a fantastically small, portable instrument making it ideal for practicing anywhere!
The oboe is a double-reeded woodwind instrument, usually associated with orchestras. Oboists have a very special job which is to play a tuning note for all the other instruments to tune to before the concert starts! You can also find oboes in concert bands and chamber music (such as a woodwind quintet). For younger players who have smaller hands, we recommend starting on the recorder and transitioning to the oboe when appropriate. The cor anglais is a close cousin to the oboe and is also found in orchestras and concert bands.
The cello belongs to the string family of the orchestra, and is also known as the violoncello. It has a lot of similarities to the violin (it has four strings and is played with a bow) but is much bigger and the player plays sitting down, with the spike of the cello on the floor. There are lots of cellos in an orchestra, and they usually sit on the right-hand side of the stage. Cellos come in many sizes, so it is possible to start learning this instrument when you are very young.
Teachers: Jennie Khan
The voice is the most convenient instrument as it travels with you, wherever you go, and is free! All students can benefit from singing lessons as it helps with all-round musicianship. The serious vocal performer can look forward to ensemble opportunities in choirs, musicals and (if you undertake classical training) operas. Currently we are offering classical and contemporary vocal lessons.
Teachers: Elizabeth Mandeno
Arguably the most fun brass instrument (as it is the only one with a slide!), the trombone offers the student many possibilities: orchestra, brass band, big band, concert band, and jazz combos; so it is really diverse! Younger students can begin on a plastic trombone which is really light and affordable and progress on to the full size trombone in due course.
Teachers: David Paligora
The trumpet is the smallest (and thus the highest) instrument in the brass family, with a rich musical history. It is suitable for beginning students from around 7 years old and offers the student many of the same opportunities as the trombone: orchestra, brass band, big band, concert band, and jazz combos. Like the trombone, younger students can begin on a plastic instrument. The trumpet has a reputation for being rather loud (as it needs to be, to pull-off a good fanfare). So if volume is a concern, you can buy a practice mute - then late night practicing is never a problem!
Teachers: Benjamin Webster
The viola looks a lot like a violin and it is hard to tell the difference unless you see both side-by-side! It is the second highest instrument in the string family, coming in-between the violin and cello. The viola has a beautiful rich tone and is an integral part of any orchestra or string orchestra. Younger students wishing to learn viola may need to start on the violin and progress to viola when their hands and arms are large enough to manage the instrument. Luckily though, our fabulous teacher, Rachel, teaches both instruments!
Teachers: Yuhka Nagai