Frequently asked questions

Can I try a class for free?

Every student may attend a trial class free of charge. We are hosting an Open House Week from October 19th - 23rd, 2020 in which all our sample classes are available free of charge. To register for one of these classes simply contact us by email: heather.thomson.piano@gmail.com

How is payment transacted?

Canadian customers may pay via e-transfer using the online banking system. Customers living outside Canada may pay in USD using Paypal according to the conversion fee on the day of purchase. This information is readily available online. Please contact us via email if you have questions or problems with this process.

How international is the curriculum?

As an educator who is currently working in an international school abroad, I am reminded daily of the need to create curriculum which is honoring to people of all cultures and ethnicities. I do my best to include songs, rhymes, stories and instrumental styles which are represent a diversity of backgrounds and perspectives.

Where can I buy the music you use?

The Jungle Beat family class is based upon curriculum of the same name by American music educator Lynne Kleiner. It was chosen both because of the quality content and because a digital download of the music may be purchased online through her website, musicrhapsody.com. While this is an optional $14.00 purchase, experience has shown me that families who have access to the music explored in class are more likely to engage in musical activities throughout the week. Children who sing, dance and create on their own arrive to class with a rich background of personal musical experiences on which to build new learning. I would highly recommend that you consider this form of learning support. The content covered in our other programming is a unique blend of the many fabulous resources I have discovered or created over the years. There is no single recording which combines all these resources, however, I am in the process of arranging a private Seesaw account which would give participants access to teaching videos which studet could view and respond to throughout the week. If this kind of learning support is of interest to you, please let me know so I can add you to our list of participants.

What, if any, supplies are required for these programs?

We have designed our courses to be completed at home using an online platform. We make use of found objects from around the home to create a simple but effective rhythm band: pots and pans for ringing sounds; an upturned wastepaper bin or laundry basket for a low drum sound; doweling or chopsticks for a Rhythm Dojo drumstick. Be creative, raiding your kitchen for empty plastic tubs, beans and rice that can be repurposed as a set of maracas. Of course, you are welcome to purchase a rhythm band from Amazon or your local music store, but know that, In many cases, the sound of a home made instrument is as good as or better than inexpensive models purchased in a store. Students taking the Rhythm Dojo program will be required to download any free metronome app onto a cell phone to use as a beat keeping tool. If you have an actual metronome or a metronome feature on an electric keyboard, these are also acceptable. Our art classes are selected with parent ease in mind. As these are online courses, families will be responsible for amassing their own supplies, however, we have selected projects which use inexpensive and readily available art materials. In most cases, tempera paint, crafting glue, scissors, sturdy paper and a set of markers and/or pastel crayons are all you need. A detailed list of the recommended tools and materials for each course will be available to participants upon enrollment.

What kind of child protection is in place?

As a practicing educator, I have a yearly security police check completed in both Canada and the foreign country in which I am working. 2020 is the only exception to this policy as it is currently unsafe to have police checks facilitated in the country where I am currently stationed. Digital evidence of past police checks are available to any parents who ask. All classes are carried out on the Zoom platform with proper security protocols in place. Students will be asked to enter the call using a password to protect uninvited visitors from entering the call. Each family enrolled in the Jungle Beat program must have a minimum of one adult participating with the child(ren). This is an interactiive program in which adult caregivers help facilitate and scaffold the home learning. Naturally we encourage you to create a safe and open space to facilitate dancing and movement activities, perhaps moving furniture and sharp-edged or breakable items to the sides. An 8 by 8 foot area is large enough for two participants, but families with three or more participants will need to experiment with space and logistics to suit your specific needs. Even with older children who are participating independently, it is recommended that an adult be close by to assist with potential technological issues. In our first class we will review and practice how to center our faces/bodies in the camera frame, how to operate the mute/unmute button and how to use the chat feature to communicate should the audio fail. Many children are currently using this platform for their online schooling and take to Zoom technology like a duck to water! Parents or care givers are always welcome to any and all of our classes. We encourage families to discuss and practice the concepts and skills learned in class for optimal enjoyment and learning.

You have advertised this as an arts school. Where are the visual arts classes?

Noisy Cricket Online is a growing idea. As late as last August we could not have predicted the spike in Covid numbers nor the extended need for online arts training, and this is a learning curve for everyone. Not all arts training works well within a distance learning format. Music taught as we are presenting it in our online classes has proven successful in my current teaching practice. As a pilot project we have decided to begin with three music sessions and one visual arts class. Additional classes will be added to meet the demand. Private arts classes may be arranged for groups of 4 or more students at a time and frequency that meet your needs. Further details and suggested class themes are outlined on our Courses page. I