Frequently Asked Questions

What are the teachers’ qualifications at KEYNOTES?

KEYNOTES has been a highly successful music school since 1985 and is an affiliate of the Royal Conservatory of Music (R.C.M.). All teachers have R.C.M. training and certification, and are cleared through proper authorities with current police checks on file as required by KEYNOTES. The director, Kathy Vykysaly, has been teaching for 40 years, has certification from the RCM, and a degree in Child Psychology and English Literature from the University of Toronto.

What is the RCM?

The Royal Conservatory is the oldest and largest independent music organization in Canada. The RCM is affiliated with the University of Toronto and has provided the finest music and arts education to millions of Canadians in virtually every community in the country for almost 123 years. Every year, 500,000 people in 300 communities participate in its programs. The RCM is considered the “gold standard” in many countries including China and the United States. The R.C.M. program is recognized by both the Public and Catholic school boards. When a student achieves their Grade 7 and Grade 8 levels they automatically attain a high school credit.  Students can then add a total of two high school credits to their diploma. They can also use these music marks towards their final marks to improve their average upon graduating. Much like KEYNOTES, the RCM’S goal is to develop human potential through music and the arts.

What are the benefits of my child learning music?

Psychological tests have proven that students that practice ½ hour of music once a week increase their IQ by several points. The majority of our students practice  2 to 3 hours a week, and this consequently increases their learning potential at school and their IQ even more. Students who study music also have a greater advantage in studying math since both disciplines use the right side of the brain and therefore help each other. Many of KEYNOTES’ past students have gone on to study music, math, and engineering in University. Children do better in school and are generally happier when they are involved in musical activities.

Do students excel more in group or private lessons?

KEYNOTES offers only private (one on one) lessons for instrumental instruction. We offer weekly lessons that are ½ hour, 45 minutes, or 1 hour. The most effective way to master an instrument properly is to have private individual lessons.  Once students have mastered their instrument then they can explore the possibility of joining a band or an ensemble. However, solo instruments such as piano and violin should never be taught in a group atmosphere because of their technical difficulty. A music studio will offer group lessons on these instruments to maximize their profit, not your child’s learning. There is also the reality that each student learns at a different pace and level of ability.  Private lessons allow us to customize the lessons to each student’s potential and skill level.

Can I stay and watch my child during his/her private music lesson?

We prefer parents/guardians to wait in the spacious waiting area of the KEYNOTES studio during their child’s lesson. We find that most students are distracted and a bit nervous if their parents are watching. Occasionally, with very young students, parents/guardians may be asked to observe their child’s lesson in order to supervise appropriately at home.

Is there a last day for registering my child?

Registration is ongoing throughout the year as long as there is availability. The private music lessons are scheduled and paid for on a monthly basis.

Is there a registration fee?

KEYNOTES does not charge a registration fee, and at the time of registration, offers family discounts for more than one student.

How can I pay for my child’s lessons?

The methods of payment accepted are monthly cheques. Music books received are to be paid for upon receipt.

Are there any discounts to first-time students or if I sign up more than one child?

Yes, KEYNOTES offers one free lesson for all new students, as well as a 5% discount if two or more children within one family register.

What if my child misses a lesson?

KEYNOTES policy is to offer make-ups for lessons that are missed due to illness, family emergencies, and/or inclement weather (i.e. if school buses and/or schools are cancelled). Alternate arrangements can be made with your child’s teacher at the next lesson. We ask that you call us first thing in the morning and let us know about an illness so that we may make alternate arrangements.

What can I do to help my child learn music?

Enjoy sharing in your child’s learning by providing your child with a quiet place in the home for practicing. Regular attendance for their weekly lessons is also important for continuity of their progress. KEYNOTES teachers are always more than pleased to help aid parents in helping their children learn and grow as young musicians.

I’m having difficulty getting my child to practice at home. What can I do?

KEYNOTES teachers write down specific practice instructions after every lesson in your child’s binder, and make sure that your child understands what is asked of them. Practice times vary according to the degree of difficulty/grade level of your your child. A general rule is to play 10-15 minutes per day for young children at beginner levels. Shorter, daily practice times are better than a couple of long practice sessions per week. Try to make a habit of practicing at the same time everyday with no interference from household distractions (i.e. T.V., computers, other family members).

What else should I know about KEYNOTES?

KEYNOTES School of Music follows the internationally recognized Royal Conservatory of Music Program and prepares students for examinations and certification at the R.C.M. All KEYNOTES teachers not only prepare the students for examinations, but also for the annual Peel Music Festival and KEYNOTES’ very own annual Spring Recitals. Since 1985 KEYNOTES has had hundreds of students win competitions at the local, provincial, and national levels. Whether it’s listening to your favourite songs or playing intricate instruments, from simple entertainment to musical composition, KEYNOTES private music lessons are stepping-stones to a future filled with a love of music.


Kathy Vykysaly

Kathy Vykysaly

Director, Piano, Flute, Theory
Emily Zathey

Emily Zathey

Jennifer Buckland

Jennifer Buckland

Piano & Theory