Frequently Asked Questions

How can I decide what instrument my child should study?

If your child has had no or little previous music tuition, we recommend you begin with our Music Makers programme . This programme cultivates an enjoyment of music and spontaneous creativity, while introducing elements of music theory and skills that are beneficial when learning any instrument or singing in a choir. Children who have attended Music Makers frequently go on to study an instrument of their own choice, often with great success.

What are the class times?

Because the Ministry of Education partially funds the music centre and has specified minimum class numbers, the class schedule for a term can only be finalised once we have a good idea of what the total enrolments will be for that term. Class times/room locations are emailed to enrolled students about ten days before the first class session of each term.

How long are the classes/ensembles?

Most classes are 30 minutes long.  Music Makers Level Three sessions are 45 minutes long, and Young Voices (Music Makers Level Four) classes are one hour long. Ensemble sessions vary in length from 30 to 90 minutes depending on which ensemble you choose.

Why doesn’t WCSM offer piano tuition? 

WCSM is partially funded by the Ministry of Education as an out-of-school-hours music tuition provider. As such, we can only offer one-to-one tuition as an Exam Stream or NCEA-credit option. Electronic keyboard is the closest- to-piano form of tuition that can be offered in a group format. Read about the differences in format here (Link to next question).

What are the differences between piano and electronic keyboard in terms of learning?

The way the two instruments feel and sound is very different. However, in terms of music theory, e.g. learning to read musical notation and timing, there is little difference. Electronic keyboard tuition can be a good preparation for learning piano.

Does WCSM cater for adult learners?

WCSM students are any age from 3 upwards. Roughly 15% of our students are aged 21 or older. We can’t guarantee that an adult student will be in a class of only adults, but that may be the case for the most popular instruments. Tutors shift students to the most appropriate class during a term should a student learn at a rate that is significantly different from others in the class.

Does WCSM cater for musical absolute beginners?

Yes. Tutors make no assumptions about how much music any student already knows, and are prepared to teach the basics of note-reading and theory. We offer classes for absolute beginners nearly every term, beginning in that term, for theh most popular instruments.

What is the difference between Classical and Rhythm Guitar?

In Classical Guitar lessons, the student learns to read music and to play individual notes – this skill is transferable to other musical instruments. In Rhythm Guitar, the student instead learns to read guitar tablature and the emphasis is on chord playing.

What are the advantages/disadvantages of learning Rhythm Guitar vs. Classical Guitar?

A student who begins music/guitar study with Rhythm Guitar lessons will be able to play songs (by strumming) much more quickly than one who begins with Classical Guitar. However, a student who studies Classical Guitar will learn to play individual notes and read musical notation, skills which are transferable to other musical instruments in addition to enabling the student to play the large repertoire of music written specifically for Classical Guitar.

Are Classical and Rhythm Guitar taught on different instruments?

Classical and Rhythm Guitar are both taught on an acoustic guitar. Nylon (as opposed to steel) strings are recommended for beginners.

What if I don’t have an instrument for home practice?

Progress in a musical instrument is dependent on practice. While you/your child can learn a certain amount by only attending one lesson a week, progress will be very slow. WCSM have some instruments available for hire. See other hireage and hire-purchase options here.

Where can I hire an instrument?

WCSM have some instruments available for hire. Other hireage and hire-purchase providers are Shearers Musicworks on Anglesea Street and KBB/The Rock Shop on Barton Street.

How much should I spend on an instrument?

This should be discussed with a tutor. New instruments can be expensive. While used instruments are often available on the internet, they may not be appropriate for the student, and there is no opportunity for return/exchange. Some instruments (guitar, violin) can vary in size and the age/size of the student will determine the correct size to purchase.

Do I get a refund if I miss a class?

In general, WCSM does not offer refunds for student absences. If for any reason WCSM is unable to run a particular class, or if numbers fall below specified minimums, WCSM reserves the right to cancel the class. In these circumstances, we will endeavour to place students in another suitable class, or offer a refund for the remaining lessons. In exceptional circumstances, WCSM may consider refunds for student withdrawals. To request a refund, you must apply in writing to the WCSM Administrator. All refunds are at the discretion of the WCSM Trust Board and will incur an administrative surcharge of $25.

I studied an instrument a number of years ago and want to take it up again. Do I have to start from scratch?

The tutor will assess your current ability level and assign you to the best class. Depending on the instrument/tutor, and on whether you join the school at the beginning of the year or later in the year, this assessment may be done on the first day of the term, or prior to the start of the term.

My child has had received tuition in the past. What level class would he/she be now?

The tutor will assess your child’s current ability level and assign him/her to the best class. Depending on the instrument/tutor, and on whether the student joins the school at the beginning of the year or later in the year, this assessment may be done on the first day of the term, or arranged prior to the start of the term.