Early Childhood Music

“There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the VCM is your #1 choice for music education for children of all ages and abilities. Please come and celebrate the positive power of music in children’s lives and let us inspire and enrich the lives of your children.”

~Dr. Johanne Brodeur, Head, Department of Early Childhood Music

Welcome to the Department of Early Childhood Music! (programs for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers)

Providing a child with a foundation in music is one of the most valuable things a parent can do. Studies show that when children take part in music classes, their social and cognitive skills are impacted in extremely positive ways. Music facilitates learning, instills respect and pride, and increases self-esteem and positive social interaction. Discover our wonderfully creative and innovative collection of music classes that will be the start of your child’s lifelong journey with music.

Consider signing up for the full year! Our children’s programs are, in most cases, designed around a year-long curriculum that works towards building your child’s understanding of music.

Please contact Johanne Brodeur to book the following classes and after-school lessons.
250.386.5311 ext 1030
brodeur@vcm.bc.ca

Parents with Questions? Please scroll down for our FAQ section.

Community Music Classes

Do you have a daycare or pre-school? We’ll come to you! The VCM offers children’s music classes in the community. Whether you are interested in trying a one day workshop, or having a qualified early childhood music teacher come to your facility on a weekly basis, we can tailor a program to fit your needs.

Musical Birthday Parties
With Nicole Payie
Cost: $150.00

If your kids love to sing, dance, and play, make their next birthday a musical one! Let us come to you for one of our 45 minute fun-filled themed parties.

  • Music Discovery
  • Music & Creatures
  • Music, Colours and Numbers
  • Music from Around the World
  • Musical Storytimes

All parties are great fun for babies to 8 years old and we currently offer them in English only at this time.

Please contact Micki Stirling to book birthday parties.
250.386.5311 ext 3360
stirling@vcm.bc.ca

 

FAQ about Early Childhood Music

When should my child begin taking music lessons?
The earlier the better! The youngest student the VCM ever had was in a “Families Making Music” group music class and was only 17 days old!

At the VCM, music education for very young children – from babies to three year olds – starts in group settings.

By age three or four, children may continue in groups, but this is the time to start thinking about introducing specific instruments such as the piano or violin, if you feel your child is ready to do so. For an early start, the VCM offers beginner violin and piano lessons in small groups or in private settings.

Regarding private instrument lessons, it all depends on the child and what matches his/her needs best. Most often, a child would start private lessons at around 6 or 7 years old.

At what age do you start offering music classes at the VCM?
The VCM offers group music classes for babies and children under one year old. Come and learn rhymes and lullabies, try different instruments, play musical games with your little ones, and meet other young moms and dads!

Can I sit in on music classes with my child?
The VCM has an open door policy. When the child is very young, the VCM faculty members actually request parents to attend the group music classes. When the child is a little older, parents usually no longer attend the group classes or private lessons. However, when a young child begins instrument lessons, it is best for the parents to attend the class, as they can then better guide their children during their daily home practice, in preparation for the next lesson.

Do you offer trial classes?
The VCM does not usually offer any trial classes. However, it is possible for you, as parents, to request to come in for a trial class.

The way to do it is to contact the respective Department Head to discuss all the options there are in terms of music classes and to attempt to choose the most adequate one to try with your child. The Department Head will then forward the request to the class’ teacher.

Trial classes can only be offered if there is still space in the class, if the time of year is convenient for the teacher and students, and if this is feasible within the group already set up.

Who designed the activity program my child will be doing?
The VCM children’s music classes are designed by each teacher and not by a company with a set program.  We do not follow a plan already established by a third party.  Therefore, the teacher can adapt the classes depending on the students in the class or even the day.  For example, if the children are very active that day, it is easy for a seasoned teacher to adapt the class for the group rather then to follow an already established class outline.

My child is shy, should he/she go into group classes?
It is very important that the child be matched with the right instructor and setting. At the VCM, each Department Head takes great care to discuss with parents all the options available.

Parents may also be allowed to join in a class where children go in by themselves, especially at first. This may provide the transition for the child to feel more comfortable and reassured.

What type of music class should I choose for my child?
There are many choices of music classes at the VCM. You get to choose the one that fits your child and your family best. There are structured and sequential classes, and some more improvisational, creative classes.

You cannot go wrong with any of the VCM classes as all the faculty members are highly qualified – not to forget to mention that we have the best possible variety of professional instruments for each class.

My child never sits still and loves running around; can he/she attend your classes?
Absolutely! Once again there are many options of classes at the VCM; a more improvisational creative class may be the best way to make the musical experience fully successful and fun for your child.

How do you keep young children focused for 30 or 45 minutes?
The VCM teachers design their classes for young children with many activities during the class period. After a hello song and perhaps a rhyme, children are invited to play musical games and play instruments. Teachers alternate active and quieter activities almost every 5 minutes in order to keep the young children focused and interested.

The Families Making Music classes are more exploratory and tend to offer an initial discovery of music for all children.  In this class, the children are all together ranging from 0 to 5.  The teacher adapt the activities to ensure that all children participate at their own level.

For the Orff classes these are designed for specific age groups and the overall content of the class is more sequential in nature – learning skills and building on these skills to add new skills (rhythm / movement / melodic / singing /  etc.).

This is why the Families making Music classes are only 8 weeks long but the other 2 classes are 12 and 18 weeks in length to allow time for sequential learning.

How do I pick which instrument my child should learn?
The first thing to do is to expose your child to as many musical opportunities as possible. Sign up for a class at the VCM, enroll in a VCM summer music camp, or attend one of our amazing music concerts!

The instruments we use are of high professional quality letting the children play with a large variety of small and bigger professional melodic and non-melodic percussion instruments. All the classes are held in the same studio so the children can access the same instruments.

Your child will let you know about his/her interest. And this is where you should come in. Voice, violin, piano, pocket trumpet, percussion, flute… the list is endless. You can guide your child, but your child will know what they like for sure.

Are there recitals for us to attend?
The VCM always has wonderful performances throughout the year. Visit our Event Page here.

What are the main advantages to having my child attend music classes at the VCM?
Music has a crucial impact on every child’s development. The classes are designed to bring an enormous amount of joy to the child’s life but also to increase skills such as:

  • Language development (through songs and world music)
  • Social skills (eg: taking turns / respect / cooperation / team building)
  • Math awareness skills (counting beats and rhythmic awareness)
  • Motor skills (Gross motor through dancing and movement and Fine motor through instrument playing)
  • Auditory and visual perception skills (discrimination, tracking, memory and sequencing)

When choosing a teacher, what should be taken into consideration?
One of the most important factor is the connection your child will have with his/her teacher. It is crucial that you feel that this could become an extraordinary musical and learning relationship.

Make yourself a checklist including but not limited to the following. It will help you to assess if this is the right teacher for your child. But do remember to match your child with a teacher that will inspire your child no matter the outcome.

  • Professional background and education
  • Experience in teaching your child’s specific age group
  • Teaching model and/or curriculum
  • Open to other genres of music if child is interested (Jazz / composition / Classical / movie hits-pop / etc.)
  • How does the teacher evaluate progress
  • Does the teacher recommend exams
  • Group or private lessons? What is the best for your child?
  • Performance opportunities?
  • Recommended practice time on a daily basis? Is expectation realistic for your child?
  • Can/should parents attend lessons?
  • What is the parents’ role to help child at home.

All our VCM children’s music teachers are very creative, dedicated and passionate about their work and highly qualified to teach music classes.

What languages do you offer music classes in? Do you recommend introducing a child to a new class in a new language?
The VCM offer some classes in English or in French. Exposing a child to a second or third language before the age of six will increase the chance of that child learning the language easily. It is also so much easier to learn a language while playing and singing. Look at a child who is truly bilingual; at an early age, they go back and forth between languages without even realizing that they do speak two languages. Children are amazing!

More questions? Please contact:
Dr. Johanne Brodeur
250.386.5311 ext 1030
brodeur@vcm.bc.ca