The Royal Conservatory School offers a range of online music classes for students ages 4-17. Take private lessons in any instrument, or join a group class and learn to play piano, guitar, violin, cello, and more! Find your class today at rcmusic.com/RCS.
The 2020/21 Experience at Royal Conservatory School
The Royal Conservatory School has moved to online instruction including new options for spring break camps. The health and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff remain our top priority until we are able to safely re-open and resume in-person lessons, classes, and camp programs.
To explore our virtual learning options, including camps, please visit our website.View recent COVID-19 updates from Royal Conservatory School
For many there's a sense of awe when they enter the Royal Conservatory, and, well, rightly so. It's the premier music school in Canada, and can feel like ground zero in music education which, in many senses, it actually is. So many great artists have learned and taught here, something that can make it all seem more than a bit intimidating. The camps, though, turn that all on its head. There are sessions for experienced musicians to work together with others of equal talent, but the program is about more than that. It's about having a significant, fun experience with music. Sessions are available for all levels of musician, including those who are just starting out. There are opportunities to hear instruments, and touch them, and learn about what they can do. The fact that there are professionals coming in and out of the building, and working in the practice halls, augments the experience of the environment. For many, it's magical. For all, it's a unique experience, one that will generate lots of great memories and, more often than not, some new friends, too.
Jeremy Trupp, Mr.
Dean, Royal Conservatory School
It’s never too late to discover, or rediscover, the joy of studying music!
From one-on-one music lessons to group classes to theory and history, there's something for all ages and abilities — no auditions required!
To discuss the best program for you or your child, please don't hesitate to call us at 416-408-2825 or send us an email at [email protected].
Is Royal Conservatory School technology free? Yes
Students are prohibited from bringing personal devices, including cellphones, tablets, and laptops, with them to day camp at the Royal Conservatory School.
You’ve probably noticed that life seems to go sideways for a lot of folks in those years between 40 and 60. The so-called mid-life crisis, fodder for entertainment and literature, is portrayed as an inevitability, as real as adolescence or the terrible twos. But social science has pretty well proven this to be false, and replaced the myth of the mid-life crisis with the fact of a mid-life slump.
As dispiriting as this prolonged mid-life malaise may be, it wreaks far less destruction than a crisis, and after it gradually dissipates, life starts to turn around. Social science has virtually verified the existence of a U curve of human development that produces an upturn in life around the end of middle age. This appears to occur in most cultures and countries, and even seems to be the case for our fellow primates, Orangutans and Chimpanzees. This may present a paradox: when our bodies sag our spirits lift.
With increased longevity, this late phase of the life cycle can be a long one. So we should make the most of it by doing everything we can to maximize our health and well being as much as possible for as long as possible. One critical component of that is continuing to learn new things.
Learning something new is emphatically not the same thing as becoming more advanced in a field you already know. If bridge is your game, moving up the ranks is definitely worthwhile, but it’s not the same as starting a new project in a different learning domain. Graduating from conventional crossword puzzles to cryptic crosswords would no doubt pose a challenge, but still won’t deliver the benefit of starting from zero on a different brain task. Learning something completely new forces you to pay very close attention in a different way, because there is no embedded knowledge on which to draw. It delivers brain benefits you can only get through such intense focus.
As few adults play more than one musical instrument, if that, learning to play a new instrument is a great option. I know that many adults think that learning to play an instrument has to begin in childhood but this is only true if the goal is professional performance. As my snail-paced progress at piano proves, with practice it’s possible to learn. My attitude is that it’s the ongoing sense of continuously learning a little bit more that is gratifying, rather than achieving a particular level of virtuosity.
At this year’s Royal Conservatory Wide Open House I put this attitude to the test by signing up for demo classes in instruments I don’t play: cello, Carnatic violin, flute and percussion. In each case, I found it really difficult to impossible to produce a decent sound but found it gratifying nonetheless, because I was so intrigued by all the minute nuances I was being taught by the Conservatory faculty. For example, the truly encouraging cello instructor, Tova Rosenberg, couldn’t get me to make the fingers of my bow hand “clingy” enough to properly maneuver the bow. Even so, she managed to lead me through a short rhythmic phrase on each of the strings, while tactfully guiding my bow hand with her hand so that it didn’t hit two strings at the same time. Rosenberg also encouraged me to beat the cello with my knuckles, using a wide-circled, King-Kong like gesture that felt delightfully playful.
When Subhadra Vijaykumar told me to take off my shoes in order to try playing the Carnatic violin, I was taken by surprise, briefly wondering if I was going to be using my toes. It turned out that this South Indian approach to the western violin entails sitting cross-legged on the ground, resting the scroll of the violin in the crook of the ankle and leaning the body of the instrument against your torso. In this position, the arm moves the bow across the strings with the elbow held away from the body. Trying to balance the violin, keep my elbow away from my body, look down at the strings without crossing my eyes, and pull the bow across a single string without letting it drop on an adjacent string, while feeling painfully stiff hips, proved to be more than I could manage. Subhadra also had to hold my hand and arm and move it for me to give me any sense of a decent sound.
Every instrument I tried made me aware of the centrality of a different body part or system that would no doubt be improved by practicing properly. The cello requires a strong core to support the instrument, the Carnatic violin demands limber hips, which Westerners lose from chair sitting. After I managed to blow enough air across the flute embouchure hole to produce a sustained audible note, Dianne Aitken told me that it takes more air to play flute than tuba. Making the sound required organizing my jaw and tongue muscles, taking a full breath, and releasing the air evenly. It took Aitken several patient tries to coach each student in the group. After one student produced a long, resonant note with her first try Aitken correctly guessed that she’d been a swimmer.
My day ended with a bang — pun intended — when percussionist Ed Reifel spent 15 minutes teaching me to play the Djembe, a West African drum. After demonstrating how to strike the skin with the heel and the palm of the hand, Reifel taught me a couple of rhythms and then had me play them back to him in a variety of patterns, culminating in a call-and-response sequence that demanded careful listening on my part to detect the signal that triggered the reply I was supposed send back. I went from feeling mildly self-conscious to deeply absorbed and slightly elated and reminded me of how powerfully social playing music can be.
Group musical performance, instrumental or vocal, is another great pursuit for adults on the upswing of the U curve.
In part two of this series, I’ll describe another program for adult music learners, The Toronto Summer Music Festival.
For further information on group classes and private lessons at the RCM consult their website: rcmusic.ca
For part two of this article, see here.
The one-week RCM High School Voice Intensive has been a highlight of my summer for two years in a row. The expert faculty create an excellent learning environment and it was a lot of fun to interact with like-minded students from across Canada. I would highly recommend this program to any student interested in improving all aspects of their singing. Next year I plan on taking the 2 week course.
Band camp was the perfect step into seeing the personable RCS staff and their organized practices, just getting a feel for how things are done there. My daughter had a great time at camp so will start regular lessons the upcoming season.
My son really enjoyed working towards the concert on the last day and I, the parent, completely enjoyed seeing the results of all the hard work put into showcasing what the kids learned in just a few days!
My child has been wanting to learn a musical instrument, but wasn't sure which one. Instrument Exploration camp captured her imagination and inspired her to pursue further studies in piano. The instructors left her feeling like anything is possible.
This camp is amazing. I would definitely recommend this camp to my friends and family. The hands-on experience is like no camp I have ever been to. My favorite part of the camp was when I used Garage Band to produce my very own sound track.
My daughter was very engaged for the entire week. There was wide range of ages among campers but the participants really came together as a team. Absolutely loved the performance and video presentations. The maturity level among participants was impressive. The chance to perform in a beautiful concert hall made the camp finale that much more special.
I appreciated that my child learned a perfectly integrated combination of skills: social skills (team-building and trust), artistic/creative skills and technical skills. There was an extremely supportive atmosphere, where the social environment was considered and tended to as well as the artistic and instructional content, creating a truly comfortable and fun creative space for each child across differences.
March 3, 2021
14 Students and Alumni on CBC List of Top Young Classical Musicians
CBC has published the 2020 edition of its top 30 classical musicians under 30 years old and once again, RCM students and alumni are....... Read More
March 3, 2021
Royal Conservatory of Music offers online exams for first time
Practical music exams have been a nerve-wracking rite of passage for generations of students,...... Read More
August 12, 2019
Research Linking Music Education & Early Childhood Language Development
The latest research paper by RCM Science, led by Dr. Sean Hutchins, has been published in the June issue of the journal Music Perception.... Read More