Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some of the most common questions we receive time and time again. Please take a look and don’t hesitate to contact us if your question is not listed.
What are your lesson hours?
Monday – Friday, 2:00 pm – 9:30 pm
Saturday, 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
Sunday, 9:00 am – 6:00 pm
Contact us if you’d like to visit us for any reason other than for lessons.
Where are you located?
Do you sell Gift Certificates?
Yes. Please call us at 603.505.4282 or Order Here Online.
Do you offer private or group lessons?
We offer private lessons. It’s been demonstrated that private lessons are better than group ones because they teach students at their individual pace and give them the one-on-one attention they need to develop their musical skills.
How long does it take to learn an instrument?
There’s no universal answer, but, with regular practice, a basic level of making music can be accomplished within a few weeks. Most of our students take lessons on a long-term basis because they desire to continuously improve and they find the lessons enjoyable.
Do you teach children?
Yes, depending on the instrument, we take children starting at the ages 5 to 8.
Do you teach all styles?
Do you teach beginners?
Beginners are absolutely welcome at North Main Music! In fact, most of our students were complete beginners when they started with us.
Can I meet the instructor prior to signing up for lessons?
Yes, you can, although we encourage people to take one half-hour introductory lesson for $34.00 to see if they enjoy the format, as well as providing the student with an idea of what they can expect.
Do you teach during the summer?
Yes. We are open all year round.
Do you charge a registration fee?
Are there hidden fees other than your normal lesson fee?
Do you teach acoustic or electric?
We teach both.
Do you teach students to read music?
Yes, but we do not require it and we don’t teach it to beginner students. When a student first starts taking lessons we feel it is more important to get familiar with the mechanics of the instrument, which can be a challenge in and of itself. We prefer our students start making music rather than worrying about whether the note is C or C#. In this case, we will use TAB which is very easy to understand.
What do I need for my first lesson?
Bring your guitar and any other materials you have been studying. You don’t need to bring an amp or cable – we have them here.
Do I need a guitar to start?
The short answer is yes; you will need to work on the assignments given by your instructor with your guitar. A student can do an introductory lesson without a guitar.
Do you recommend acoustic or electric guitar to start off with?
There is a myth that acoustic guitar is easier to play; this is absolutely not true. An electric guitar has smaller/thinner strings that are easier to get sound out of and the string height is almost always lower, enabling easier fretting. Outside of that we suggest you simply learn and acquire a guitar for the music that you want to play. For example, if you are playing heavy metal, an electric guitar would be appropriate and if you are playing folk music, an acoustic guitar would be appropriate.
Do you teach children?
Yes, ages six and over.
Do you rent guitars?
We don’t, but the good news is guitar starter packs are relatively inexpensive and tend to retain their value. If you find that you don’t stick with guitar, you should be able to get most of your money back by selling it.
Do I need a piano at home to take piano lessons?
It is ideal if you do have a piano at home, but you can maintain lessons with by using an electric keyboard to practice on. Most of our students rent or buy small electric keyboards practice on at home. We recommend a keyboard that has regular sized keys and a touch sensitive response, which means if you press a key harder it will play louder and if you press a key softer it will play quieter.
Do you teach children?
Yes, 5 years of age and older.
What books will I need to start?
We usually have people start with the Alfred series which is available here.
Do I need a full drum set to take drum lessons?
You do not need a full drum set. Students can start lessons by using a practice pad. This is a small dinner plate sized pad that costs $20-$30 that is used for practicing basic drum rhythms.
Do you teach children?
Yes, 6 years of age and older.
What if I'm a total beginner?
Not a problem. Our voice instructors have taught many beginners, and welcome the challenge of helping new students of all ages.
I'm just interested in singing as a hobby. Is it worth it for me to train my voice?
You brush your teeth every day, right? Really though, it only matters how good you wish to appear, not how much money you can get paid for it. If lessons make you sound good, and singing makes you feel great about yourself, then make it part of your life. Singing as a hobby can be plenty satisfying, and for many, it’s often more satisfying than the challenges and struggles of a career.
What type or style of music will I learn to sing?
At North Main Music, you will learn to sing virtually any style of music that you want. This includes rock, R&B, gospel, pop, musical theatre, country, heavy metal, classical, and many more.
What age do you recommend to start playing bass?
Bass is a bigger scale instrument than guitar and requires bigger hands. We recommend starting at 10 years old. There are some smaller scale basses available but they are much less common.
What type of bass do you recommend for beginners?
Fender’s “Squire” line and Ibanez are two companies that sell packs that are ideal for beginners. These will include everything you will need to get started: Straps, Pics and an amplifier. These packs are available from our lessons partner Guitar Center in the $200-300 range.
Do you teach students to read music?
Yes, but we do not require it.
What do I need for my first private lesson?
Bring your violin and any other materials you have been studying at home.
Do I need a violin to start?
The short answer is yes; you will need to work on the assignments given by your instructor with your violin. A student can do an introductory lesson without a violin.
Do you teach children and, if yes, at what age can kids start learning violin?
Yes, we teach violin to kids 5 and over. We also teach adults.
Does your school rent violins?
We don’t, but the good news is violin starter packs are relatively inexpensive and tend to retain their value. If you find that you don’t stick with violin, you should be able to get most of your money back by selling it.
Where do you recommend purchasing violins and accessories locally?
We sell violin packs at North Main Music!
What size violin should I purchase?
A unique feature of student violins is the huge variation in sizes. Buyers have the option of a full size, 3/4 size, 1/2 size all the way down to a 1/16 size violin. The correct size for each student depends on the arm length and overall size of the student. Generally speaking, by the time kids reach 6th or 7th grade, most will require a full size instrument. Before that age, students should really be measured by a music teacher to determine the correct instrument. It’s also important to know that the sizes of 1/2 or 3/4 are not meant to be literal measurements. A 1/2 size violin isn’t half the length of a full size instrument. These fractions are used as arbitrary labels for smaller instruments.
How old do I have to be to start playing saxophone?
Generally if you are 10 years of age or older you will be big enough to start playing the Alto saxophone. For younger students the Alto is definitely the best choice. Even though the Soprano sax is smaller it is much harder to play and requires more control with your mouth. If you are big for your age then perhaps you could start a little younger but you need to be able to hold the weight of the saxophone and have enough puff to make a sound! Some teachers recommend starting on recorder first to get the general idea of the fingering as the notes on the descant or soprano recorder are the same as low register of the saxophone.
Which size saxophone should I start with?
The Alto is generally the best size saxophone to start on for the beginner player. Even though the Soprano is a smaller instrument it requires a lot more control and is tricky to make quick progress on for the beginner saxophone player. The tenor is much heavier than the Alto, so is more suitable for an adult or tall teenager to start on. The great thing about saxophones is that the fingering (or way you play the notes) is the same on all of them so once you get the hang of an Alto, for example, it’s relatively easy to then switch to a tenor, soprano or baritone.
I have small hands – can I still play the saxophone?
There are many fantastic saxophone players who have small hands – it really just comes down to getting used to the instrument. However, you may be better starting on the Alto first as the keys are closer together than on a Tenor.
Will my sax need regular maintenance?
Every saxophone will need a “tune up” from time to time. Saxophones have serviceable parts like pads and corks that, with regular use, will require adjustment and possible replacement. If your saxophone begins to be hard to play, or some notes won’t sound properly, then you will probably need to get it serviced. The good news is that getting your saxophone repaired is inexpensive and, if you take good care of your instrument, you may only need to do this once every year.
What accessories do I need to get started learning?
Most saxophones will come with all that you need to start playing, though, when starting out, you will need to buy more reeds as they are easy to break. Each reed may only last a week or so with regular playing. Size 1½ is good to start with. A music stand is always useful and makes it easier to have a good posture while practicing. There are also some excellent “Learn to play” books available from music stores that would complement the instructional videos on this site.
Which size do you recommend?
There are four main sizes of ukulele. They are: soprano, concert, tenor and baritone.
For beginners, we don’t recommend the baritone. They’re tuned differently from the others and it’s much harder to get stated.
Of the other sizes, soprano is the traditional ukulele size and the one most often used by beginners.
Concert and tenor sizes will give you more room to maneuver on the fretboard. Tenor is the size used by most professional players these days. Both concert and tenor will work well for new uke players.
What models do you recommend?
Two good options for beginners are the Lanikai LU-21 and the Kala KA-S.There are several models at Guitar Center that are great for beginners.