Private piano lessons can be a very good format to learn within, under a number of circumstances. If the student is older than 8, and/or has some rudimentary experience with music, then a private lesson combined with extracurriculars can be highly effective. For our numerous adult students, private lessons can give the comfort and privacy they want, and allow for a higher level of flexibility in pacing and curriculum than a group setting might.
Important Facts & FAQ’s
Offered, but less recommended for students 7 years or younger
Highly recommended for students of 8 years or older
Extremely effective with Adult learners
Private Piano Lessons are most effective when performance and/or ensemble opportunities are added
Most effective format for learning technique, classical repertoire, and technology
Merriam Music’s flagship “KEYFEST FOR KIDS” program continues to experience the highest retention rates in Canada. For students between 4 and 8 years old, group piano is highly encouraged, since our statistical success rate with the program (defined in this case as those who remain vs. quit) is almost 50% higher vs. traditional private lessons.
This is a group format which a highly structured, giving lots of opportunity for friendly performance, group learning, parental participation, and social development. Through this program, Merriam School of Music has been able to dramatically increase 2nd year retention for new students from an industry average of below 50%, to 91%!
Who Should Audition For Enriched Piano Lessons Program?
AGES: 4-8 Years Old
The successful candidate for this program will have shown outstanding musical ability and potential, and has the necessary commitment and resources to fulfill the requirements of the program which includes: practicing a minimum number of hours daily (number of hours based on program level); listening to recordings of repertoire; attending lessons, ensembles and master classes; performing in festivals, competitions, recitals and examinations; attending concerts and recitals in the GTA as suggested by the teacher(s).
Important Facts & FAQ’s
Unprecedented Performance Opportunities
Opportunities for Ensemble, Solo, and Accompanying experience
Full preparation for North America’s top university music programs, including Berklee, UWO, and U of T
Full Immersion Experience
Learn on fully-professional acoustic instruments, including IN-CLASS GRAND PIANOS
Private lessons to study improvisation techniques with Toronto masters in Jazz and blues. Learn about the masters like Bill Evans, Herbie Hancock, and Chick Corea, and equip yourself with the wide range of jazz idioms and cliches that will impress friends, and leave you satisfied and engaged.
This program offers students an exposure and general introduction to the specific styles and techniques commonly used in “blues piano” playing. From masters like Jellyroll Morton to Dr. John, you’ll be able to entertain yourself and friends with usable, memorable songs, styles, and riffs.
Courses in both private and group formats perfectly suited to beginning students of all ages. Contact us or read more about our approach and the many options available to students just beginning the journey of learning piano.
Are you an adult who used to play piano when they were younger, but had to stop because ‘life’ got in the way? Or perhaps the way in which you were taught caused you to reject it at the time, but you’d like to re-explore it?
When people think of piano lessons, many picture a disciplinarian teacher standing overhead, holding a ruler…ready to strike at the first possible mistake. While we’ve (thankfully) moved passed such torture for piano students, surprisingly the content of those very lessons still lingers within the piano education community. One of Merriam Music’s biggest and most obvious differences is that we focus on so much more than just right notes or exam scores.
We teach music in a ‘linguistic’ sense, meaning that we teach the grammar, vocabulary, and repertoire of the musical language. Then we combine an unmatched number of performance and ensemble music making opportunities so that those skills get used in a relevant, engaging way.
The point of learning an advanced skill – and music is certainly that – is to use it! Ask yourself this question:
“If you were learning a sport such as soccer, but the only time you played was with your coach for 30 minutes a week, and there was no team-mates, no crowd, and no stadium, how long would you do it?”
The answer for most people of course is not very long. And we have found the same thing with music. Music is naturally a social activity, but if it is never experienced like this, many people find it hard to find meaning and relevance. After all, you can only get so excited about an exam!
We can all recall how if feels to step inside an extraordinary facility – the first time in a recording studio, or maybe walking into a new stadium, a new car, or an amusement park. Its that feeling of awe and wonderment that we all get when we can step outside of our everyday lives and feel the excitement of something special.
Here at Merriam School of Music, we have dedicated an enormous amount of creativity, finances, and time into creating what many have called the most unique musical learning facilities in Canada. Studio A/B (Oakville) our jam/coaching rooms (Vaughan/Oakville), enriched studios (Oakville), enhanced group rooms (Vaughan/Oakville), and our enhanced private rooms (Vaughan) or standard private rooms (Oakville) constitute an absolute commitment to provide our students the very best surroundings.
An update from my 2017 review: My positive experience with Merriam School of Music continues. My youngest is in her 3rd year and loves her class and her teacher, Miss Hadley. Miss Hadley has endless enthusiasm (even with our late afternoon session) and always keeps the students engaged and interested. She is a wonderful instructor, no question. I hope the schedules do not change too much; we prefer to remain with Miss Hadley over the coming years.My eldest has been with Miss Vanessa for eight years (and counting) and hearing her play is, literally, music to my ears. Miss Vanessa has also been an amazing teacher .... from group lessons to private. Her enthusiasm is also endless and we are so happy to have had her as a teacher for so many years.Bottom Line: The teachers make the difference, between a good and not-so-good school. And it is these teachers—Miss Hadley and Miss Vanessa (and, earlier, Miss Andrea)—that keep us at Merriam.Side note: I hope management plans to expand the physical facilities to accommodate the growing number of students over the past year.*****(Review from 2017) In my view, the group lessons offered by Merriam is the best way to learn piano at a young age. Both of my children are with Merriam: the oldest has been with the same amazing teacher, Miss Vanessa, for nearly a decade, and the youngest is in her 2nd year with Miss Andrea and Miss Hadley, both of whom are awesome teachers. I believe that the curriculum is critical, but the teachers and their teaching methods (for theory and practical) are equally critical as they are on the front line and need to keep young children interested. All in, Merriam is a fabulous school! For anyone thinking about enrolling for music lessons---whether it be piano, drums, guitar, vocal---Merriam is the place to be.read more
We had tried a few music schools before. None were even close to Merriam's high quality of teaching material, method and the teachers themselves. If you love music and want to pursue it seriously, if you want to have a profound foundation in music, this is the school you should go to!My son's piano teacher is Andrea Leung. She's been teaching him since he was 4. Miss Andrea is amazing! Great experience for us!read more
My son has been taking piano lessons with Michelle Cruz at Merriam in Oakville for about 3 years now and he's had a wonderful experience. He really enjoys the group learning format and Michelle's teaching style which make learning piano fun! Prior to starting at Merriam he had about 3 months of private one on one lessons but hated going to the lessons. I'm glad we decided to give Merriam a try because he is now reading music with ease, writing short compositions and performing onstage . . . I would recommend both the school and the teacher to anyone wanting to make piano lessons fun for their child.read more
My son has been taking piano classes with Ms Hadley for almost 4 years. He truly enjoys class and finds the environment engaging and fun. Ms Hadley is fantastic! She is very approachable and encouraging. I love that the students have several performance opportunities during the year. Overall great experience!read more
Ms. Hadley has been teaching our son for almost 3 years. We have witnessed our son grow and learn a lot from Ms. Hadley's instruction - he truly enjoys piano, looks forward to classes and likes to practice! Ms. Hadley is a fun, patient instructor who really can speak to children in a language that relates to them, but helps share the insights of music in an fun, dynamic way. As a parent, I see how Ms. Hadley can break down the elements of music/theory and present them in a fun way, like games such as bingo or snakes & ladders. This is a brilliant teaching method for children as they are learning music, while enjoying the process.I have referred many of our friends to Merriam Music (Oakville) and often say "you must request Ms. Hadley". Merriam's curriculum is focused on age-appropriate development yet helps them each individually achieve confidence both in music, but also in public speaking as we witness many of their recitals.As a family we are delighted with the instruction and curriculum and look forward to continuing this experience, both with our son and soon, with our daughter.Thank you Merriam Music (Oakville) and Ms. Hadley for making music/piano FUN!read more
I love the professional environment Merriam has to offer. The staff are very friendly and accommodating - allowing me to practise during non peak hours. From the day I first toured the place I was sold! Blair recommended the perfect teacher to me and true to his word she is the best and also great with adult learners!!Thank you Dragica for helping me get back on track with music. Your expertise is evident and you have given me so many wonderful tips to help me progress toward my goals. Best wishes to allMaxineread more
We have tried several music schools, all of which have has something positive to offer our children, but Merriam is the first to be able to offer everything we need for the varied levels in our house. The groupfest classes are wonderful - even for the adult who sits in 🙂 The concerts are genuinely fun. I cannot wait for the end of year DVD of their performances 🙂 It will make a great keepsake, especially for family who live in other countries.read more
We started with the program 3 years ago. We were not sure how the group class would work at the beginning. But shortly after we started we saw that it was working great! The Keyfest program is a very well designed program that teaches how to be a musician not only how to play the songs. If kids go on with this program, they will be enjoying music all their lives because they will know the music theory which will help them to play together with other people and share.Teachers are not only high skilled musicians but also they know how to manage a group class and work with kids. For the last 2 years my son is at Ms. Hadley Bernard's class. She is very good with the kids. She keeps them focused for the entire class while they are having fun. She is very good with dealing with the kids at different levels although they are in the same class. It is not possible to write everything here but shortly, I highly recommend Merriam School of Music.read more
Our daughters (9 and 7 yrs old) have been part of Ms. Andrea's class for the past 3 years. It's been an amazing experience for them... her passion for music is evident in every class. We recently moved further away from Merriam (previously 5 minutes... now a 30 minute drive) but it's worth the commute. Can't imagine piano lessons anywhere else!read more
My kids started Merriam at 4 and we loved it right from the start!We've had a few different teachers in group lessons and they all have been exceptionally good. But i still would like to mention Ms. Michelle's name as in the primary years of the lessons she laid out a solid foundation for kids by keeping them focused and engaged while having fun. Theory never looked so much fun before ;)My daughter is in her 4th year of group lessons and my son is in his first year of enriched jazz (an amazing program) after being with the school for 7 years. Merriam cultivate a love for music and builds confidence in kids by making them believe in themselves and their ability to play beautifully. It also gives them a platform to play with bands, do recitals performances in front of a large audience and take part in music competitions.I would strongly recommend this school!read more
My daughter started to learn piano before 4 years old and I was wondering if should could continue the classes but Ms. Michelle Cruz encouraged her and her teaching skills and experiences are awesome. She knows how to handle the class and she is very organized.I am very happy and my daughter improved her piano skills with her help. Thanks Ms. Michelle.read more
Our two sons have been taking piano lessons at Merriam for 3 years now and the experience has been nothing short of fantastic. The group program is excellent and has been great at providing a fun and encouraging atmosphere to help nurture in our kids a lifelong love of music. The various/ concerts and competitions throughout the year provide excellent opportunities for the boys to showcase their hard work and the annual video logs serve to preserve the memory of their journey. In particular, I wanted to thank both Ms. Andrea and Ms. Hadley for their work and guidance with the boys. Both of them clearly have an immense passion for music, a natural gift for teaching and a generosity in sharing their enthusiasm with their students. In the end, they are what truly makes the program special. A big thank you to you both!read more
I have had children attending Merriam since 2006. In that time, we have had the pleasure of experiencing several different Merriam programs including private piano, private guitar, preschool music, group piano and camps. Every program exceeded our expectations. We have had many teachers between our 3 kids over the course of our time here, and every one of them has been awesome. It is incredible to watch how they can take anyone of any age or skill level and make a musician of them, all while having an amazing time. My youngest child started in the preschool program just before she turned 3. She moved on to group piano when she turned 4. She is now 9 and I can honestly say she has enjoyed every single class in that 7 years. This is all credit to the incredible program Merriam has and the energy and professionalism the teachers bring to the class every day. My daughter will be completing the group piano program in June. She will move on to another Merriam program in the fall and I know it will be just as amazing. Thank you to Krista Richards, Hadley Bernard and the entire Merriam School staff.read more
Merriam School provides best in class learning experience for students and is committed to their success like few other schools in town. Group classes are carefully structured in a very balanced way where intensive practice and theory is followed by fun games. If your child is serious about learning to play an instrument, I highly recommend it!!read more
Miss Nicole is an experienced piano teacher. My son is a student of her group class junior 3. Miss Nicole teaches my son piano theory to guide him how to play and she also do demonstration when leaning new pieces. She always makes sure her students understand the material and makes lessons fun. She doesn’t hesitate to keep in contact with parents, always email us updating the information. Nicole is a good piano teacher and we will be staying in Merriam School for next year.read more
We have had an excellent experience at Merriam. My two children have had group lessons for the last 7 years and we are grateful to have Ms. Michelle as our piano teacher. Her teaching techniques are engaging and interactive, always keeping the kids interested and looking forward to coming to class each week. Ms. Michelle has been compassionate and caring as the kids went through their struggles, and encouraged them to continue when the lessons got harder. It is these amazing qualities that helped shape my kids outlook on the importance of the art of music. Thank you!read more
We’ve been at Merriam since 2011. Both our kids are students there. We are so pleased with how much they’ve learned, and how much they have developed a love for music. They both play the piano and are in the group classes which they enjoy very much. The teachers are fantastic, they are talented and very patient with the kids. Miss Hadley and Miss Jocelyne have a special place in our hearts. They are both such dedicated teachers and have made a lasting impression on both our kids.read more
Our experience with Merriam Music has been a positive one right from the beginning. The school offers extremely well designed lessons and other programs such as school-age camps. The student’s involvement with professional level recitals always astounds us and has expanded our children’s confidence with performing. Being in Miss Andrea’s class for the past 3 years has been fantastic! She is very helpful in supporting, not only each student, but also the parents in our accountability to the learning process, ongoing retention and expansion of skills. Miss Andrea has a caring, firm and consistent classroom management style that makes every class flow smoothly. She has positive, high expectations of each student and with a great pulse on the class, her continuous assessment allows her to move the class into new skill areas at just the right time, which limits frustration and increases the joy of music. We hope that our son can start in a Junior 1 class with Miss Andrea soon! Thanks Miss Andrea. Thanks Merriam Music.read more
I was a student at Merriam from 2004 until my graduation in 2016. In that time, I participated in many of the programs offered- group piano, private piano, voice, and guitar lessons, musical theatre, and band chops. I was also a member of the Enriched Voice Program. Each and every experience I have had with Merriam has been a positive one. The teachers are highly knowledgable and encouraging, and the programs are well thought out and engaging. I absolutely loved going to my classes, and I've missed them since going to university! Merriam played a huge part in my program acceptances as well- I have had too many incredible teachers to name that have supported me and encouraged my growth as a musician and performer, and I will be forever grateful for the experiences and opportunities that Merriam has provided me.read more
We have been with Merriam for the last 12 years with three children. Over the years, we’ve experienced group piano lessons, private piano and vocal lessons, Enriched piano and vocal classes. What we like best are : (1) the teachers are all wonderful – talented in their fields but most importantly, had great connections with the students; (2) the group piano classes are very effective, especially in terms of learning music theory; (3) having adults sit in through the group classes allow parents to be involved in the learning journey, (4) the recitals and performance opportunities allow students to improve on their stage presence more confidently and (5) the curriculum is not restricted to classical training, but rather encourages kids to improvise and allow them to freely express themselves.read more
Our daughter has attended piano group lessons at Merriam for several years and it has been a wonderful experience for her and us as parents. The dynamics of the group lessons was a very good fit for our daughter: fun, make friends, and at the same time a good incentive to practice well during the week. I am sure that all the teachers at Merriam are excellent, but, in particular I would like to thank and praise Miss Michelle; she has been our daughter’s teacher for all those years and she has a very nice way of making the students comfortable, yet gently encouraging/pushing them to progress well. Our daughter really likes Miss Michelle a lot. I certainly would highly recommend Merriam School of Music, the group piano lesson and, if Miss Michelle is the teacher, I am very confident that students and parents will be very satisfied.read more