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At what age can my child study music?

Most children can start private lessons as young as 4 or 5 years old, depending on their attention span, interest, and developmental readiness.

Some instruments, such as guitars, brass, or woodwinds, are more tailored to students 7 or 8 years old and older, mostly because of the size of the instrument and physical development of the student.

We teach students of all ages, including adults.

What instrument should my child or I study?

If you or your child do not have a predisposition toward a particular instrument, it is recommended that all students begin with piano/keyboard in order to develop a solid foundation of music theory and technique.

It has been proven that a student seriously studying piano for five or more years can more easily transpose knowledge toward playing other instruments.

If you or your child have an interest in a specific instrument, and you/he/she are/is physically able to play that instrument, then by all means learn whichever instrument you like.


How long and how frequent are the lessons?

Beginning children (4 to 5 years of age) should start with 30-minute weekly or bi-weekly lessons.

Beginning children (6 to 8 years of age) may start with either 30- or 45-minute weekly or bi-weekly lessons, depending on experience and developmental readiness.

All other beginning students including adults should start with 45- or 60-minute weekly or bi-weekly lessons.

Since the lessons are designed around each student, your teacher may recommend a longer lesson as the student improves, or multiple lessons within the same week.

It is also recommended that students practice the same amount of time daily as the length of their lesson.

How much do lessons cost?

Lesson tuition varies depending on the length, location, and type of lessons.

Please email us, or call for more information: (800) 227-6222.

I need to cancel a lesson and can’t find my teacher’s phone number.

Please email us, or call for more information: (800) 227-6222.

My child is not practicing much and might be losing interest. Should we take a break?

Occasionally, a child, for various reasons, is not willing to practice, and it becomes a battle of wills.

This is extremely common, and will happen in every budding musician’s life from time to time.

These plateaus are important to work through.

About teachers

How do you screen instructors?

CMS standards for teachers are very high.

The interview process is lengthy and extensive, consisting of several face-to-face meetings. The majority of teachers have a degree in music with a vast teaching and/or performance background. Many have had professional recording careers in addition to their teaching. Many have teaching credentials with the school districts within the State of California.

Every applicant is thoroughly screened. Well over 5000 potential instructors were interviewed to get the pool of 350+ teachers. CMS will find the right teacher for you.

Am I obligated to stay with the teacher I have chosen?


CMS has about a 98% success rate in matching students and teachers, and more times than not, the student and teacher develop a rapport that will continue for years.  However, sometimes, a change is necessary.

When you feel you need a different teacher, or want to study a different instrument, simply call us. You will be referred to a new instructor right away.

What if I move?

If you (or your teacher) move, you can be matched with another qualified instructor in your area.

The connection between a teacher and student is the most important ingredient in developing a meaningful and successful educational partnership.


All FAQ items for recitals are found on the Recital FAQ page.


Can I pay with a credit card?

Yes. Credit card payments are preferred. Accepted cards are Visa or MasterCard, or debit cards with those logos.

Simply call CMS: (800) 227-6222.

An automatic recurring monthly charge/debit can be set up. If necessary, call in payment monthly when you receive your invoice. Please call for more details.

May I pay for each lesson as we go?

Tuition is billed by the month.


FAQ for existing CMS Teachers

All FAQ items for teachers already working with CMS are found on the Teacher Portal page.

This page is password protected, and the password can be found in your documentation.

General Questions

What is your mailing address and phone number?

California Music Studios

(800) 227-6222

1900 N. Coast Hwy 101, Ste. A
Encinitas, CA 92024
Google Map

What are your hours?

Monday-Thursday: 9am-630pm
Friday: 9am-6pm
Saturday: 8am-4pm
Sunday: Closed. We will call you back during business hours.

Who founded California Music Schools?

California Music Schools was founded by Jennifer Paterson, A.R.C.T., Master’s of Music (voice, piano).

Paterson has degrees from Boston University, The Royal Conservatory of Music of Toronto and the University of British Columbia. She was a recipient of The Canada Council Award to study at the well-known Royal Opera House in London, and was the principal soprano for the New England Chamber Opera.

Paterson has thrilled performed throughout the United States, Canada and Europe, and has released two albums, “Childhood Cameos” and “Le Devin Du Village”.  She also crafted “Joy of Singing,” a two-CD set of vocal training techniques.

My question is not listed.

Please call (800) 227-6222, or email our support staff.

Any one of the experienced CMS staff members are more than happy to assist you.