23. June 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Feature

Going through the registration process for my children’s yearly activities, I made the mistake of analyzing the costs and fees that were associated with their activity.  I was shocked at the cost associated with the registration, the supplies required and the monthly fees.  I almost dropped my pencil and thought, enough is enough.  In that moment, my children’s dance careers almost came to an end.  We had a family discussion and determined that they loved dance too much.  With all the shortcomings and difficulties of dance, it was in their blood and they shouldn’t be deprived.

This process made me reflect on my own business with 8va Classical Guitar Studio.  When the pinch is on every dollar, arts programs suffer first.  Can passion and desire alone justify the spending of hard earned cash for an activity that in all likely hood not produce a financial return?  Likewise, how could a fringe art like classical guitar compete with other mainstream activities, such as sports, drawing and painting classes, all of which are offered in the community or through a child’s school.

There is no doubt that a musical education is strongly beneficial to healthy development in kids resulting in higher grades and improved self esteem. If you have any doubts or questions about this, a little research in the matter from people better educated in the matter than myself will reveal reports and articles on the matter.  So music is good for you, however, it is very hard on the wallet.

Monthly fees, registration costs, books, and instrument purchase or rental all add up.  For a parent with a child interested in music, you have some heavy choices to make.  The ultimate goal is to try to find the best value for the cost.

At 8va Classical Guitar Studio, I can appreciate this financial crunch and have many options to facilitate music education.  First, I offer flexibility.  By having control over when and how often you take classes, this lets you take control back of your time.  Although kids have a Monday to Friday type of scheduling, often times parents don’t, especially shift workers.  So to maintain a regular weekly schedule may be either out of the questions or it may put undue stress on a parent trying to make each and every class.

Using a onetime registration fee is designed to provide all the services of 8va Classical Guitar Studio for every student without additional ongoing charges each year.  The registration fee covers all photocopying expenses, periodic study workshops free for all students and the maintenance of a professional environment conducive to the study of classical guitar.

I also offer extra-curricular course activity which is covered by the registration fee.  This is extra material and direction that is handled outside of class time to aid and direct each students individual progress.

Using a structured well designed curriculum following the Royal Conservatory of Music Syllabus ensures that each student is on track with a defined and proven learning program.  This gives each student secure knowledge that they are progressing in a methodical process comparable with their musical peers across Canada as well as alongside practitioners of other musical disciplines pursuing their education via the RCM.  This is what separates the study of classical guitar from all other guitar programs.

Studying with 8va Classical Guitar Studio, you are issued a studio receipt for both your registration fee and for your tuition fees for the Canadian Children’s Art Tax Credit.  Parents can claim up to $500 in eligible fees for enrolling a child under 16 at the beginning of the year in an eligible arts program.  Please note, only the regular weekly classes are eligible for the Canadian Children’s Art Tax Credit.

Enhance your child’s education by earning high school credit through Royal Conservatory of Music Exams.  Achievement in RCM Examinations is recognized for credit toward secondary school graduation.  Completing grade 6 in classical guitar with intermediate rudiments ( music theory ) with the RCM exams, a student will receive a grade 10 credit high school credit.  Achieving Grade 7 classical guitar with advanced rudiments results in a grade 11 high school credit.  Grade 8 classical guitar with advanced rudiments awards the student a grade 12 credit.  Studying classical guitar and testing only makes sense for your child’s education!

Extracurricular learning with 8va Classical Guitar Studio is designed to maximise learning without the sacrifice of precious in studio time.  This allows more time to be spent on technique and guitar performance without neglecting other aspects of theory and music background.  The amount of extracurricular study material is totally dependent on the ability and desire of each student.

Finally, and most importantly, the greatest strategy in saving parents and students money, to aid in musical study and pursuit of classical guitar, I offer free introductory lessons for every first time student with 8va Classical Guitar Studio!  Often times, parents wish their children to learn to play guitar, except they don’t have a classical guitar.  Often times, they have already invested in a steel string or electric guitar.  By offering free introductory classes, students are able to use money they would normally pay for lessons to be applied toward the purchase a quality musical instrument.

Regardless of whether you are studying with me at 8va Classical Guitar Studio, or pursuing your study at another facility or in another style of guitar, the ultimate factor is practice.  The amount of practice will determine the students progress.  More practice, more progress, more value for your lesson fees.  It is however, not fair to judge your involvement solely on the amount of practice time you have to commit to playing classical guitar.  If you are a music  enthusiast, or have always wanted to learn to play a guitar, then study with classical guitar is priceless!  There is no minimum amount of time you must practice to study at 8va Classical Guitar Studio.  There is also no push to learn pieces quickly or demand that students must perform recitals and festivals.  For the casual learner and enthusiast, 8va Classical Guitar has a course option just for you.  One that saves you money, and alleviates any perceived pressure to perform.  Through our flexible class option, you take your classes at your rate, when you are ready for each step.


Watching a great musical performance one can be left in awe at the effortless mastery that is demonstrated.  That effortlessness is not there because of the Master title, but it is there because through hard work, and patient practice with attention to detail a performer has mastered the effort required to play their music.

The same is said for any movement with sports or artistic endeavor such as painting or drawing.  The effortless motion comes from muscles working together, coordinating without dysfunctional tension and a clear focused mind.  You feel this in golf or baseball when you hit that sweet spot without excess strength, or feel the power in motion with swimming, rowing or running.  If you read any books or listen to any music teacher, they will always talk about slow methodic practice.  Sometimes they may or may not say something very important to you.  They will tell you to “LISTEN”.  Not only is it important to put in the leg work and method into your practice, you must move beyond the mechanics and listen to the sounds that you are creating!  This is where the feel in the music comes.  Listen to how the tone and clarity of sound changes with your touch. Each person is different, with different build in their subset of muscular structures and body shapes.  Each person has different areas where they build up and focus their tensions.  We all breath, but at our own pace.  Therefore it’s not possible to express an all encompassing manual for effortlessness.  Teachers give you the absolute best advice and methodology to lead you toward the mastery of movement, and they can point out issues and direct exercises to help refine the technique, but ultimately it is up to the individual player to listen to the subtleties of their body and their interaction with the instrument to develop the proper touch and tone with effortless mastery.

Lots of books on the subject of mastery use such grand images of effortless mastery which is the goal for any top performer . Seriously though, for the amateur and casual player, this may seem to be  a very lofty ideal to chase after.  Most people hardly have the time to spend with their families, much less with their instrument.  So why bother?  Why does the golfer spend time on the driving range, or on the putting green on the odd weekend?  The answer is the same for guitar.  First it’s the enjoyment of doing an activity that makes you feel good.  Secondly, there is the challenge. For some it is to challenge yourself to be better at doing something that you enjoy that brings satisfaction.  There are also those golden moments where you hit that sweet spot, where you get that feel and touch the sweet spot where the music just sings and you truly find your expression in a single moment in time.   Finally and sadly the most under realized aspect of classical guitar playing is in sharing.

People regularly get together in groups on the golf course, or find a tennis or racquetball buddy that they get together with.  For classical guitar, this happens very little.  Most people isolate themselves either to their living room, bedroom or basement for practice.  I would suggest for any classical guitar player to look for any opportunity they can to share their music, especially with other classical guitarists, but also with non-classical guitarists.

One aspect of golf people talk about is getting out in the fresh air, walking down the greens with good friends.  Classical guitar needs this as well.  There’s nothing better than some fresh air, wonderful flowers, refreshing breeze in the air, and classical guitar.  Golfers have their golf club to retire to for a snack or a meal.  The same is there for classical guitar with a picnic or BBQ, except you don’t need to worry about membership fees!