West Shore music store welcomes Yamaha program

Former opera singer, University of Victoria graduate takes on the wee ones of the West Shore for worldwide popular instruction

Carmen Marlene with a student in Toronto.

Tots and toddlers will dance and vocalize their way into a worldwide musical education sensation at Tom Lee Music.

The West Shore Music Wonderland tale starts with a new instructor at the Millstream Village store – Carmen Marlene.

“We just trained her to run the Music Wonderland course which is aimed at three and four year old students,” said Brad Justason, learning centre co-ordinator at Tom Lee Music.

Marlene earned a music degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Victoria, a graduate Opera Diploma from Wilfrid Laurier University and two A.R.C.T. diplomas in Piano Performance and Piano Pedagogy from Toronto’s Royal Conservatory of Music.

She’ll teach Music Wonderland, geared for three and four year olds under the Yamaha Music Education System.

“It’s one of the most popular music programs in the world,” Justasen said. “They have over four million graduates around the world.”

Marlene is a semi-retired opera singer with a teaching career that included predominantly teens, but she’s excited to start out with the younger set.

Marlene taught a previous class and found the children learned quickly and well.

“I was just amazed, at first I thought this is so structured. It moves so fast, (but) the children do not have a chance to be bored,” she said. “They’re just enthralled.”

The experience-based course starts the kids with making noise and hand motions that evolve into rhythm. Before they know it “the Yamaha has built them an inherent music skills that they didn’t even know about,” Justason said.

“I do a lot of singing with the young children,” Marlene said. “The adults stay with the child throughout the class so that the child can interact with the parent as well.”

With Yamaha group programs that start at age two and run right up to seniors, Tom Lee hopes to add a Junior Music Course for five and six year olds next year, and keep the progression going through the ages.

“You don’t have to have one-on-one sessions with the teacher and student. This actually is better,” Marlene said. “It’s more cost effective (and) the child will have a lot of fun and learn a lot more.”

 

Learn more about the program at tomleemusic.ca.