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Year XXIV, No. 2 (February 2020)


Jing, L., guitar
Katelyn S, piano
Addison, S., piano
Hugh, W., guitar
Craig, M., guitar



Steven L., Hanyu Z., Lea Mae O., Louise D., Eshwar V., Aditri D., Lucia A., Felix Z., Bethany T., Harry S., Mithran S., Cairo H., Kyle G., Alexander A., Ahona D., Adam S., Adam E., Clayton T., Caitlin B., Beverly W., Jaden T., Andrei T., Phoebe C., Vincent L., Tiffany S., Mariella G., Nathanael J.




February 2. International Music Festival and competition registration deadline.
February 5. Chinese New Year
February 8. Flato Markham Theatre. Kindred Spirits Orchestra. Rachmaninoff’s Third.
February 14. Valentine’s Day
February 15. RCM Spring session applications deadline.
February 18-28. Kiwanis Music Festival.
February 17. Family Day






If you are ready to purchase a high quality pre-own piano through one of the IMA commercial partners, 3 of your lessons at the IMA will be free. Call our Office or e-mail Office@InternationalMusicAcademy.ca for more information. Pre-own piano is a great investment that comes at an attractive price, with a free tuning and delivery.



We have been very pleased with the continuous success of our students. They have improved a great deal and we share their excitement with their families, friends, neighbors, and schoolmates. We appreciate your interest towards our programs and services. We are always very happy to welcome new students of all ages, levels, and instruments to the iMA. Please tell your friends about your experience with the International Music Academy.

Do you know someone who is thinking of taking music lessons or who has children who may be interested in getting their hands on a musical instrument or singing? Do you know a teenager who needs a high school OAC credit? Do you know an adult who has wanted for a long time to learn how to play a musical instrument but has never had the time or inclination? Please tell them about the IMA.

As an appreciation for your referral, we will give you a $30 credit for each new student who registers at the International Music Academy as a result of your referral. As we value your friends as much as we value you, we will offer to each referred student a $30 credit as well.



Stay in touch and follow the IMA latest news on Facebook. Visit Facebook and become a friend of the International Music Academy.



The IMA offers personalized Gift Cards that could be used as thoughtful birthday, holiday, bar/bat Mitzvah, graduation gift or for any other occasions as well as to encourage someone to start learning a musical instrument or singing. The card can be used for any products or services.

The gift card is available for any amount. As cards are personalized with the name of the person who will receive it as well as with the name of the person who purchase it, requests have to be made 1 day in advance. Cards can be ordered in person, by phone at 905.489.4620 or by e-mail at info@InternationalMusicAcademy.ca. At the time the card is ordered, a non-refundable $5 deposit is required. The full value of the card is paid upon pick-up (and the deposit is credited towards the purchase price). Payments can be made by any major credit card, cheque or cash as well as through the accounts of the IMA Clients.





3/02/1809 Mendelssohn was born

13/02/1883 Wagner died

15/02/1857 Glinka died

23/2/1934 Elgar died

23/2/1685 Handel was born

27/2/1887 Borodin died

29/2/1792 Rossini was born

Where you born or do you know someone who was born on the same day as these famous composers? Drop us e-mail at info@InternationalMusicAcademy.ca to let us know.



Winnie Hsieh, M.A.

Piano and Vocal studies and interpretation

Ms. Hsieh has earned an M.A. degree from York University, Toronto. She has been teaching students of all ages and levels in both group and private piano and vocal lessons for over 10 years. She is proficient in preparing students for examinations at all levels of the Royal Conservatory of Music as well as for festivals and competitions. Ms. Hsieh also teaches at the New Conservatory of Music and is a certified piano and vocal teacher at Canada Music Academy. Though Ms Hsieh has received a classical academic training in both piano and voice, she is at home with various genres and styles, including Broadway, pop, rock, R&B, Disney and jazz.

Mrs. Hsieh was happy to answer a few questions for our students and parents:

1. What do you like most about teaching?
Generally speaking, I enjoy every part of teaching as I feel blessed to be a teacher. Making students enjoy playing or singing a piece of music is probably something I enjoy the most. Because everyone can play/sing a piece of music by practicing several times, but to help students "enjoy" a piece of music is the most difficult thing in my view. We cannot force everyone to like any types of music as each person has his or her own preferences. But if I see a student doing a research about the background of a song after they practiced it, I know they not only enjoy my lessons with them, but they also fall in love with the music.

2. How do you inspire students to practice more? I would recommend that they record themselves with a camera while practicing. Then they can play back and "criticize" themselves by trying to find the good and the no so good parts of their playing/singing. If they like one of their recordings, upload their videos to their own Youtube channel or Facebook, and let other people judge how good they are. I have some private students at my home studio and I find when students (be they adults or kids) are in front of the camera, they become more careful and more focused on their playing/singing. I enjoy uploading my own videos on my Youtube channel as well, as I feel my channel is like an online concert hall, which is open to the entire world. 

3. What roles does performance play in student’s development? Performance is one of the most important parts in student's development. As I mentioned above, students get nervous and become more serious when they are in front of a camera because they know there may be other people watching their performance. If they feel nervous they will be practising even harder. Nowadays, there are many types of performing - performing on social media or liven in a concert hall. No matter what types of performance it is, students learn lots of things from their own performance. I always remember what my high school piano teacher said "if you play 100% in my class, you will only score a maximum of 80% at your recital, so you must work harder to play 120% - as perfect as you can- in my class, then you will do a decent job at your own recital." 

4. Who are your favourite composers?  It's hard to choose my favourite composer. I love many composers and each composer is a genius: Bach, Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Chopin’s and Liszt 's piano music; Rimsky-Korsakov's opera and Dvorak's instrumental music; I love Glinka's vocal music and I also Purcell's operas…

5. What was the last piece of music (sheet music or a recording) you purchased for yourself?   The last piece of music I bought is the opera score "Sadko" by Rimsky-Korsakov and the last recording I purchased was Chopin's "Etudes" performed by Maurizio Pollini. 





Thivya Jeyapalan

What instrument do you play? –  I play the piano.

How long have you taken lessons? – It has been about 8 years in total from which - 3 years the IMA!               

Who are your favourite musical artists? –  I love the music of the Frédéric Chopin.

What are your other hobbies, besides music? – I enjoy playing basketball and also swimming.

Favourite food? – I love spaghetti.

What is the coolest thing you’ve learnt in your lessons in the past three months? –  I started learning how to play preludes and fugues by J.S. Bach – it’s really interesting.

Do you have any performance coming up? – No, but every week I volunteer as a piano accompanist in my church and in the school band.

E-mail to info@InternationalMusicAcademy.ca a photo of yourself (or your child) together with the answers of the questions above. The deadline for submissions is the 15th of every month. We will feature you in one of the next issues of the newsletter.



Does the Suzuki method work for kids learning an instrument? Parental involvement is good, but other aspects less so

The Suzuki method requires a lot of parental involvement, so it may not be right for every family. 

Giving children an instrumental music education can be expensive. In addition to purchasing an instrument and paying the cost of music lessons, parents invest their time by encouraging practice, attending recitals and driving their child to and from lessons. Parents rightly want value-for-money and confidence that their child’s teacher employs an evidenced-based, proven teaching method.

There are numerous approaches to teaching music, each with its own philosophy and history. To a parent looking to make an informed choice about music lessons, the options can be befuddling. But given the research highlights parental involvement as an important component for a successful music-learning experience, developing an understanding of the teaching method is vital.

Read more: How to stop nagging your child to practise their musical instrument

One method that polarises the music education community is Shinichi Suzuki’s (1898-1998) “talent education” (saino kyoiku), commonly known as the Suzuki method. It was first conceived as a system for teaching the violin. The Suzuki method arrived in Australia in the early 1970s and was quickly applied to a variety of instruments.

Research highlights a range of positive outcomes for children learning how to play an instrument via the Suzuki method. It also shows Suzuki is not the only method that works. While the degree of parental involvement may mean Suzuki is not right for every family, the caring learning environment it encourages is one worth emulating.

What is the Suzuki method?

1. Talent is no accident of birth

The Japanese word saino has no direct English translation and can, in context, mean “talent” or “ability”. Shinichi Suzuki believed talent is not inherited, and any child could excel musically, given the right learning environment.
Today, advocates of the method continue to echo Suzuki’s idea that “the potential of every child is unlimited”, and caring learning environments help children unlock that potential.

2. All Japanese children speak Japanese

Suzuki credited the development of saino kyoiku to the realisation the vast majority of young children naturally and easily develop language skills. By examining the experiences that facilitate language development (including listening, imitation, memory and play), Suzuki devised the “mother-tongue” method for early childhood music education. Children can begin their music education from birth through listening, and can start learning an instrument from as young as three years old.
In contrast to some Western approaches to music teaching, reading music notation is not prioritised and is delayed until a child’s practical music ability is well established. In the same way a child generally learns to talk before learning to read, students of the Suzuki method start by listening to and imitating music rather than sight reading sheet music.

Read more: Learning music early can make your child a better reader

3. Character first, ability second

Taken from the motto of the high school Suzuki attended until 1916, “character first, ability second” is the overriding aim of the Suzuki method. In saino kyoiku, music learning is a means to an end: students are taught an instrument to facilitate them becoming noble human beings. Some students of the Suzuki method have undoubtedly progressed on to a career in music. But creating professional musicians and celebrating child prodigies or virtuosos is not a priority of the method.

4. The destiny of children lies in the hands of their parents

The Suzuki method requires a major contribution from a parent and a home environment that wholeheartedly embraces the child’s music-making. A parent needs to participate in formal lessons, record instructions from the teacher and regularly guide and monitor practice at home.

The learning process is a three-way relationship between the child, the parent and the teacher. The parent becomes a “home teacher” who helps their child develop new skills, provides positive feedback and guides the content and pacing of practice sessions. The benefit of having a parent-mentor at home is the feature that sets Suzuki apart from other teaching methods. The parent can greatly regulate time spent practising and what they do during practice.

Some music teachers have criticised the Suzuki method for teaching children to a high level at an earlier age than usual, for an over-reliance on rote learning, for robotic playing, for a focus on classical music, and for a lack of engagement with music notation and improvisation.

What does the research say?

The research into music education supports many aspects of the Suzuki method. For example, one study that sought to compare different modes of parental involvement in music lessons found a clear benefit from parental involvement. This benefit was not limited only to the Suzuki method. The message from this study is: the more interested the parent, the better the learning for the child.

Another study compared Suzuki’s approach to teaching rhythm with the BAPNE method (Body Percussion: Biomechanics, Anatomy, Psychology, Neuroscience and Ethnomusicology). The study concluded both methods had merit and should be integrated.

A recent thesis from the University of Southern Mississippi compared the Suzuki method with the method of its fiercest critic, the O’Connor method.
The O’Connor method is an American system where a set of music books are sold to teachers and students, and training to accredit teachers. These books are tailored to different levels of ability.

This method is less focused on parental involvement in teaching and the selection of music is more geared towards American music. The study found the two approaches could both be effective and shared common aspects related to technique, expression and the mechanics of learning the violin.
The thesis does claim the O’Connor method embraces a more diverse musical repertoire. But the modern Suzuki organisation says its teachers have more flexibility in incorporating different styles of music.

Read more: Force-feeding kids classical music isn't the answer

Finally, a study out of South Africa highlights ways the Suzuki method can be adapted for use in different cultural contexts. The authors examined the challenges associated with Suzuki’s requirement for high levels of parental involvement for orphans and children from low-income and single-parent families.
These challenges could be overcome by a community approach to music education. In a group learning setting, older and more advanced students mentored younger, less advanced students and provided the encouragement and guidance otherwise provided by a parent.

Some aspects of the Suzuki method remain steeped in controversy. There is no reliable evidence to support the idea that musical training improves character and a sizeable body of research contradicts the notion that genetics has no role in musical aptitude.



Text Box: REFER A NEW STUDENT and GET ONE FREE LESSON!  When you refer a new student to the IMA, who registers for lesson, you will get one free lesson for every new student. So, if you refer the IMA to 2 new students, we will give you 2 free lessons; for 3 new students – 3 free lessons etc. Fill in the coupon below and leave it with the IMA Office administrator.   Your name: ______________________________  Name of the new student: __________________  You can print or photocopy this coupon as many times as you need. Cannot be combined with any other offer. Text Box: International Music Academy GIFT CERTIFICATE for new students only  ONE FREE LESSON Call the IMA Office at 905.489.4620 (Markham) or 905.640.6363 (Stouffville) to schedule your first lesson. Once scheduled, the lesson cannot be rescheduled. Cannot be combined with any other offer. No refunds, no exchanges.