Q: What is the commitment if we join The Safari Program?
A: Students who choose to join The Safari will embark on a year-long journey that mirrors the school year. Each level of the program consists of 36 classes – this is comprised of 34 weeks of classes and 2 recitals.
Q: How long are The Safari Classes?
A: The Safari classes are held weekly and are one-hour in length – with some practice time expected to be done at home every day. This small investment of time each day pays huge dividends to the budding musician. For parents who have no musical experience, this is also an enjoyable way to learn along with your child.
Q: When can my child begin their Safari journey?
A: Students may start, or join, The Safari at a variety of ages. Starting points and level progressions are as follows:
For a student joining The Safari at age 4-1/2 or 5
• Junior Level 1 >> Junior Level 2 >> Intermediate Level 2 >> Senior Level 2 >> Advanced Safari
For a student joining The Safari at age 6-7
• Intermediate Level 1 >> Intermediate Level 2 >> Senior Level 2 >> Advanced Safari
For a student joining The Safari at age 8-9
• Senior Level 1 >> Senior Level 2 >> Advanced Safari
The levels noted above are the most common entry points to The Safari. That said, it is entirely possible for a student with the appropriate piano training to join a level two Safari class – at the discretion of the Studio’s Safari Guide.
Please click here for Music and Play’s full music lesson progression map.
Q: Is there parental involvement required for The Safari like in other group programs?
A: Yes, and no. We recognize the value that parents bring to their children when they are learning anything for the first time. We also recognize that with parent’s busy schedules, and/or musical interests, it can also be a challenge to always attend class with their child. In The Safari, these needs and benefits have been carefully weighed and parental attendance is structured to, first and foremost ensure the successful music education of the students. Parents join their children on their Safari journey on a full-time basis in the early years of the program and gradually decrease their attendance in class as their children get older and gain confidence. Parent involvement in The Safari is as follows:
Parents Attend All Classes
• Junior Level 1, Junior Level 2, Intermediate Level 1
Parents required to attend the first few weeks full-time (the number of weeks is at the discretion of the teacher based on the makeup of each class). Following that, parents will attend the last 5 minutes of classes (to receive weekly updates and homework)
• Senior Level 1, Intermediate Level 2
Parents required to attend the last 5 minutes of classes (to receive weekly updates and homework)
• Senior Level 2, Advanced Safari, Safari Grade One Group
No Parental Attendance Required
• Private Lessons
We ensure that our Safari classes are staffed appropriately – given the individual makeup of classes – which may include Teacher Assistants. The need for these individuals will be determined at the beginning of each year and assistants may be drawn from older piano students, parents or other faculty.
Q: I am concerned that I will not be able to attend the full class with my child. How will I know what is going on and how will I be able to help them at home as I don’t have a music background?
A: The beginning levels (Safari Junior 1 & 2 and Intermediate 1) are fully parented. In Safari Intermediate 2 and Senior 1, the first 4 weeks are parented as part of the transition to un-parented classes. After those 4 weeks, and for every subsequent level, parents are required to join their child in class for the last 5 minutes, but may attend more of the class if they wish to. During the final minutes their child’s job is to show/teach their parents/caregivers the concept(s) that they worked on that day by showing them the assigned piece/s and activities. If the child is unable to do this at that time, the teacher then has the opportunity to review the information again with the parent there. In this way, teachers can ensure that the students have truly understood the concepts/expectations – which isn’t always the case currently. Finally, as is the norm at M&P, homework sheets/info will be made available each week.
Q: If I choose to move to The Safari from another group music class, how do I know what class to choose?
A: Please contact our offices directly and we would be pleased to assist you with proper placement.
Q: I see that The Safari program only goes to Senior Level 2 and then moves to Grade 1 group classes or private lessons. What has my child achieved when they are finished Senior Level 2 and what is the best way to move forward with their music education?
A: At the end of the day, the decision has to be about what is right for each individual student. Both options allow students to continue their music education and prepare for exams – following either a contemporary or classical route – using the books from RCM or Conservatory Canada AND they receive a medal when they complete their Grade One level.
Q: Are there awards for the students when they complete the program?
A: In a society where awards are commonplace, this is hard to avoid. Some music programs offer certificates and medals and, for many students, this tangible acknowledgement of their hard work and success is a significant motivator to help a student finish a program. Students who complete The Safari will indeed receive a special medal they may proudly display for years to come – as is also the practice with ALL of our music students who complete Grade 1.
Q: Will my children be able to transition from another group program and not lose any work they’ve already put in?
A: Absolutely. The Studio’s Safari Guide will ensure that students are placed in the appropriate class and while there may be some new characters to meet and some new terminology, any formal music education they have will never be lost. An ‘A’ is still and an ‘A’ and there will still be 88-keys on the piano 😊. The Safari enables music students to easily join the program at a variety of ages and levels INCLUDING those who will be coming from a variety of other group music programs (Yamaha, MYC, Suzuki, etc.) and instead there is lots to gain! The Safari creator is very familiar with other group music programs and has ensured that a smooth transition is possible, and that multiple entry points are available for all students.
Q: My child is new to The Safari and didn’t start in Junior Level 1. Will they be behind?
A: No. The beginning of every level of The Safari features a recap of the previous learning. Students joining the program at later levels are provided with the stories and relevant materials from past lessons to help them understand the storyline that runs through the program and to ensure they fully understand the Program’s theoretical concepts. If, during the assessment by the Studio’s Safari Guide, it is noted that additional lessons may be beneficial for the student’s progress, this option will be discussed with the parents at that time.
Q: Will my child learn as much in The Safari as in other programs?
Q: What makes The Safari different than the other established programs?
A: Absolutely – and the Safari addresses the many concerns that have been articulated by parents and educators alike over the past number of years. In The Safari, students not only learn as much as other programs, but they do so in more age-appropriate and musical ways. As with all quality music education, the basics are still the basics but The Safari focuses more on internalizing music and the focus from day one is on rhythm, technique, listening and styles. Less time is spent on book work, and fewer pieces are used but more is done with them. Theory / history work comes directly from the pieces that are being worked on. Solfège is used, but The Safari focuses more on contemporary pieces and less on traditional folk songs (there are some used but in almost every case they have been modified to make them relate to the program) and there is more focus placed on internalizing pitches. As in all good programs scales, harmonization, triads, etc. are all there as well with a focus on age-appropriate fingerings and theory. One of the biggest differences is the focus on developing actual musicality at the earliest levels of study.
A: First, The Safari is unique in its approach and curriculum and the majority of the material in The Safari is contemporary. There are themes used from some of the ‘great’ composers, but the songs in The Safari Program are meant to appeal to the modern parent and student. All of the Level One classes are themed with a story that connects the concepts to be taught with the technical, theoretical and musical skills that the student will learn.
Like most group music programs, the important elements of music education that were developed by Kodaly, Orff and Suzuki are incorporated into this Program, as well as rhythm ensembles, pitch awareness, the development of co-ordinative independence of the hands, composition, improvisation and of course, performance.
Musical theory is an abstract concept that is not well comprehended by the brain before the age of seven or eight. The Safari approaches the teaching of this subject through association and students learn theory through the technique of pre-teaching. The concept is then made conscious and reinforced with images and themes that allow the student to grasp the basic ideas without difficult explanations.
Q: Will my child be exposed to the great traditional composers?
A: Yes. While their learning will not be dominated by ‘classical” music, they certainly will play some recognizable selections or simplified arrangements.
Q: Is this your Program – did you create it?
A: Given our studio’s leadership in arts education, and our reputation for offering leading programs, we have gotten this question a lot. While we would love to take credit for this program, the answer is ‘no’. The Safari program has been created by David Steckenreiter and it is simply one of many curricula that we choose to offer.