Pre-instrumental classroom

Early Years Training

For our youngest students, we have the following Early Years group training programmes:

  • Pre-instrumental group classes
  • Recorder group classes
  • Junior Choirs
  • Introduction to Piano group classes
  • Introduction to Violin group classes

Early years students are accepted into RIAM’s programmes without audition. These classes build and develop the young student's musical skills and awareness, and offer a pathway towards taking individual lessons. 

Pre-instrumental classes are aimed at children between the ages of 4 - 8. Children learn through group activities in an enjoyable an stimulating way.  The curriculum is based on the Kodaly concept which develops musicianship through singing. 

Recorder classes provide a pathway for the beginner who wants to take up a wind, brass or percussion instrument later. 

The introductory piano and violin classes are similarly the starting point for beginners who want to take up a keyboard or stringed instrument. 

Early years students can subsequently apply to one-to-one study once their technical facility and physical stamina have reached the levels required to take up an instrument.

RIAM’s pre-instrumental classes offer the musical building blocks for budding young musicians between the ages of 4 and 8 years.  Children learn through group activities in a structured, enjoyable and stimulating way, appropriate to the mental and physical stages of their development. 

Our pre-instrumental curriculum follows the Kodaly concept of music education, which develops musicianship through singing. Using their voice has a profound effect upon the child’s physical, social, emotional and intellectual development and is the most direct way of making a musical response.  

  • The aims of RIAM’s pre-instrumental classes are: 
  • To awaken the child’s interest in music 
  • Development of beat and rhythm skills 
  • Development of aural abilities 
  • Inner hearing 
  • Timbre/tone quality 
  • Musical memory 
  • Listening skills 
  • Notation reading/writing 
  • Performing 
  • Introduction to instruments 

Group levels are:  

4 – 5 years;  5 – 6 years;  6 – 7 years;  7 – 8 years  

No of Weeks per Year: 30 Weeks per Academic Year 

Duration of Class: 45 minutes 

Audition is not required for pre-instrumental classes, but all children must audition to move on to individual instrumental tuition. 

Recorder classes are designed for 6-12 year old students. These classes are an ideal starting point for anyone intending to progress to wind, brass or percussion instruments. 

Class sizes are small, not more than three/ four students. The classes are held each week during the academic year. Students learn the basic techniques of recorder playing, breathing and reading music in a relaxed environment.  

We encourage students to take part in the RIAM Recorder Ensemble where they get an invaluable grounding in ensemble playing and music making. The RIAM Recorder Ensemble plays at many concerts throughout the year, including the Performing Groups concert at the NCH. 

Most students take recorder classes for 3 - 4 years after which they have the option of auditioning for individual classes in recorder or any other wind, brass or percussion instrument.   

Join one of RIAM's young vocal ensembles to develop the skills of good breathing, posture, intonation and rhythm in the company of your peers:

Magic melodies: age 6-8, suitable for children who are in pre-instrumental music classes, have just started an instrument, or who are absolute beginners 

Junior: age 8 to 11 

Intermediate: age 12 to 14 

Advanced: age 15 to 18 

No of Weeks per Year: 30 Weeks per Academic Year 

Duration of classes: 60 minutes

This 2-year programme is aimed at beginners aged 6 - 8. The aim of the programme is to give enjoyment and love for music to children at an early stage.  It is also designed to give all piano beginners a chance to learn the basics above before moving to one-to-one tuition, if they wish. 

The classes will cover:

  • Basic piano technique – hand position, relaxation, posture
  • Reading pitches and rhythms in piano music
  • Playing easy piano repertoire
  • Playing easy piano duets with classmates and teacher
  • Scales and broken chords
  • All about the piano as an instrument

Students will have an opportunity to participate in class and Keyboard Faculty Concerts. 

At the end of second year, the teacher may advise students to audition for individual lessons for the forthcoming Academic year.  

No of Weeks per Year: 30 Weeks per Academic Year 

Duration of Class: 60 minutes 

Class Size: maximum of 3 / class

This 2-year programme is aimed at beginners aged 6 - 8. This introductory class is designed to give all violin beginners a chance to learn the basics in a group environment, where they will also build listening, social and communication skills. The classes are scheduled to allow time for set-up and post class questions within the hour.

The classes will cover:
• Basic violin technique – bowing technique, fingering, relaxation, posture
• Reading pitches and rhythms in violin music
• Playing easy violin repertoire
• Playing easy violin ensemble repertoire with classmates and teacher
• Scales
• All about the violin as an instrument

This introductory class is designed to give all violin beginners a chance to learn the basics above before moving to one-to-one tuition, if they wish.

No audition is required for this introductory class.

At the end of second year, the teacher may advise students to audition for individual lessons for the forthcoming Academic year.

No of Weeks per Year: 30 Weeks per Academic Year 

Duration of Class: 60 minutes 

Class Size: maximum of 5 / class