Frequently asked questions

Jasmine, 13

Jasmine, 13

Want to learn more about music lessons at Kanata/Stittsville’s U-Rock Music School? Here are the answers to (we hope) all your questions.

Be sure to contact us if you don’t see the answer to any other questions you may have.

Fees and Registration

How do I register my child for lessons?

You can register online at our home page at

Or you can call us to register for lessons any weekday from 9am to 2pm at 613-457-5064.

How much are private lessons?

PRIVATE LESSON fees start at $25.00 per 30-minute lesson, once a week if you sign up for the full school year. Our regular lesson price is $26.50 for all other shorter sessions. Fees are the same for ALL private lessons, regardless of what instrument you choose, including vocals.

Unlike most schools we do not have ANY registration fees. So, if you are comparing our rates, please keep this in mind. Our many performance events all year long are also FREE, and our two major rock concerts (January & June) cost only a small token fee of approximately $2 per adult.

GROUP LESSON fees vary from $20 -$28 per session depending on the program and the length of the class. ALL groups run for 30 minutes, except our teen band which runs for 60 minutes every week.

I’d like to enroll my child/teen in your school. Are there auditions?

We have a first-come first-served policy for enrolment. There are no auditions required. However, our weekly lessons are limited in number and our groups are purposely small, so if you want to sign your children up, please register online as soon as possible to avoid disappointment. FULL payment or one month’s fees (depending on the session you sign up for) are due within 24 hours of receiving our registration email. We will not hold unpaid registrations for more than 24 hours, so please reply as soon as you get your lesson time confirmation from us.

Please do not register children under 7 years old for private lessons. We have special age-appropriate group sessions for younger children.

How much are group lessons?

Group lessons start from as little as $20 per 30-minute weekly lesson, some sessions like our teen band run for 60 minutes every week for as little as $27/wk. Fees will always be posted with all program info on our website.

Do you offer trial lessons?

No, we don’t, because enrolment is very limited in all of our programs and on a first come basis. However, our summer programs provide 6 (or more) lesson trials. We feel this 6 week session is the perfect amount of time to get comfortable with a new instrument or try out vocals . We’ve found this is the ideal time for most children and teens to get a feel for what to expect from lessons, and most choose to then continue on during the school year. Plus, our summer session allows students to test out more than one musical option at a time.

Is there a registration fee to enroll my children at U-Rock?

No, unlike other music schools we have never charged for registration. We do require the first month’s lesson fees when you sign up. This secures your child’s lesson time and also gives us the commitment we need from all our families to fulfill the obligation to the session you are registering for.

How do I pay for lessons?

Lesson fees are collected at the time of registration in the following two manners: EMT (electronic money transfer), or personal cheque. To secure your child’s lesson time, the first month’s payment is due immediately at registration, often paid by EMT. The remainder of the fee can be paid in one lump sum by EMT at least one month prior to the session start date, or paid by providing us with monthly post-dated-cheques, all dated on the first day of each month. ALL cheques MUST be dropped off one month before the lesson start date. Monthly lesson fees are collected for the number of weeks that correspond to the specific session you are registering for. Cheques are payable to Cathy Hallessey/U-Rock Music School. You may prefer to pay for the full session in one payment. In this case, either an EMT or personal cheque is acceptable, and must be received within 24 hours after your child is registered. If you do not pay your full fee or deposit fee within that time, the lesson time you requested will be available to others and you may lose your lesson time.

All summer programs, including The Roxies, The Sparkles, all U-Rock Kidz Bands and any other summer group classes are paid in ONE full payment only, collected by EMT or cheque at the time of registration.

There are no refunds or credits for prepaid GROUP sessions as we restrict the number of students per class. If your child drops out you are fully responsible for the entire session fee.

Missed lessons are never refunded for our group & private summer sessions and cannot be rescheduled.

Prepaid 6-week PRIVATE lessons are not refundable and any unused lessons cannot be carried over to the next session.

Deposits paid in advance for all U-Rock upcoming sessions are also non-refundable.

Can I pay monthly by EMT, credit card or PayPal?

Registration deposits AND full session payments CAN be paid online by EMT. Personal cheques (and monthly post-dated cheques) are also an option for payment. Sorry, we DO NOT accept monthly EMT payments.

You CAN book online AND pay by credit card for our 6 week summer programs.

Should I register my child/children online even if the lesson times I want are full right now?

Yes! Families who register with us are the first ones we contact as soon as any lesson times become available. This can happen at any time and if your children are pre-registered they are at the top of the list and have a very good chance of joining our school mid-session if someone else has to drop out.

Do you give tax receipts so I can claim my child’s music lessons?

We sure do – just ask us and we will send yours by email.

We have lots of kids and they all want lessons. Do you offer special family pricing?

We do! The third child in your family can benefit from a 10% discount as long as all three children are enrolled in our school for full sessions, at the same time. This discount does not apply to our 6-week summer programs.

Can our children share a lesson time?

We do offer lesson sharing for siblings during the summer months. However, during our very busy school year, lesson sharing is not an option. We would be very happy to sign up each of your rock stars individually, or they may wish to enrol in our group sessions together, if that’s appropriate, depending on their ages and interests.

Are there ever any other fees we have to pay throughout the year?

The only extra cost is a very modest ticket fee for our two big semi-annual concerts. We only charge only $10 for our big rock shows, simply to cover the venue & technician costs. You pay for lessons all year, we don’t expect you to pay for anything else. There are no fees at all for our open mic events or for our community and/or fundraising shows. Unlike other music schools, we don’t charge for handouts, such as sheet music and other learning materials that we provide at lessons or send you by email. Piano students will need to buy a theory book for each skill level, but no other costs are ever added.

About lessons

At what age can my child start private lessons?

Private lessons are available for children and teens ages 7-18 years old. If your child is younger than 7 and you wish to start private lessons, we would need to meet and assess his/her skills before you can register them for lessons.

Are there lessons for kids under 7?

Yes, we offer group lessons to children as young as 5 years old (summer only) and group lessons for children age 7+ who aren’t quite ready yet for private lessons or who may be shy and prefer a group environment.

Do you provide instruments with lessons?

Our summer GROUP lessons for 5-6 yr olds,  7-9 yr olds and 9-11 year olds DO NOT require children to bring their own instruments.  We provide everything they will need at lesson time for these specific group sessions.

However, instruments are needed by all students for all of our school year lessons, both private and groups. All students must bring their own instrument to their lessons, except our drummers & piano/keyboard players, who must own a drum kit at OR a piano/keyboard home but only need to bring their drumsticks and music theory books to lessons.

Does my electric guitarist or bass player need to bring an amplifier to lessons?

No, just bring the guitar; we have amps that are used for all lessons.

How can I help my child/teen succeed at lessons?

There are lots of things parents can do to help their children succeed. We have written a blog on this topic because we want your children to succeed at learning their chosen instrument and do their very best. Click here for lots of details on how to help your budding rock star.

Students in private lessons also get U-Rock “Star Ratings”, a valuable progress report, on the 10th week (the halfway mark) of every school year session to provide parents with important feedback on how their rock stars are doing at their lessons.

Do children need to practice every day?

Yes, ideally your rock star should practice everyday for 15-20 minutes. But we know everyone has busy lives so practicing 3-4 times a week is fine too. Children and teens who practice regularly advance far more quickly and also enjoy a great sense of accomplishment when they are able to master their skills and then participate in our many performance events.

We have no idea where to get a guitar/drum kit/ukulele/keyboard, etc. What do you suggest?

We highly recommend Fleet Music in Bell’s Corners as the place for pretty much all your musical instrument needs. Their sales staff are all experienced musicians and will help you select what you need, within your budget.

Please don’t buy guitars or ukuleles from Toys R Us. These are toys, and will not stay in tune for lessons.  Long & McQuade in Kanata is also a good store, they have a 30 day return policy too which is handy if you end up getting the wrong size guitar for your child or wrong kind of drum sticks etc. It happens.

GUITARS: Acoustic, steel string, narrow body guitars are ideal. DO NOT buy a classical, nylon string guitar for your child. We teach rock & pop, not classical music. Brands we like: Fender, Ovation, Yamaha, Art & Lutherie, Epiphone and any acoustic guitar with a truss rod.  Prices range from $150 -$400. Electric guitarists should consider getting a starter package, like the Fender Squire electric guitar kit, which comes with a small practice amp, a tuner, a guitar strap and a soft case.  Prices for electric guitars range from $250-$400. All guitarists will also need: a tuner, picks (medium gauge), a strap. Electric guitarists also need a patch cord to connect to a small amplifier for home practice (the Fender Squire kit comes with both).

DRUMS: All drummers must provide their own sticks. We recommend Los Cabos 5A drumsticks.  For home practice an acoustic or electronic drum kit is ideal.  Our studio drum kits include a Roland TDK 1 electronic kit and our master kit is a D Drum DD3X. There is a great starter electronic drum kit at Costco (online) that comes with a stool and headphones. You’ll thank us later!

UKULELES: Any wooden ukulele with nylon strings from $50 -$150 will do. Just avoid anything made of plastic.

KEYBOARDS: Any real-touch keyboard with a foot pedal will do.

Do you offer March Break or Summer Camps?

Sorry, we are closed during March Break.

Our summer lessons and group programs are just AMAZING, they are very varied for ages 5-18 but are all 30 minute private or group weekly lessons.

We DO NOT offer half-day or full day camps at any time.

Can my child/teen take one-hour lessons?

Yes! If your child is over 12 he/she can take one-hour lessons. Children under 12 will not benefit from one-hour lessons unless they are splitting their time between two kinds of lessons. Example: 30 minutes of singing, followed by 30 minutes of guitar/drums/ukulele/piano, would be fine for children 10+.

Do you have concerts/shows/performance opportunities?

Yes! Our school is the only school in the west end that offers all students MANY live performance opportunities all year long. We host two large scale rock concerts at the end of every 5 month session, complete with a HUGE stage and light show. This is added to our bi-monthly open mic events at Hurley’s, plus several summer outdoor fairs and community concert events. Examples: Canada Day concerts, community fundraisers, Arts in the Park concert, various local community fair concerts, and many more. We also encourage and prep our interested students for their upcoming auditions and competitions at local and regional events. Many of our talented students have won major contests and some have even gone on to get recording contracts in the industry. One recent U-Rock graduate, Andrew Waines, can now be heard on Majic 100 Radio!

What are these bands I see in your music programs? Can my child join a U-Rock band?

Our band programs are an add-on to weekly lessons. They offer our students an opportunity to improve faster as young musicians, in a positive group setting along with their peers. We’ve noticed a direct correlation between our students who also take band and their ability to excel much faster at their chosen instruments. Skills are honed and extra coaching makes a big difference too.

At what age can my child join the band program?

We offer different band and vocal group programs for all ages from 7-18.  There is no set age, but a moderate level of skill is required in some of the bands with instruments. We do vary the availability of our many band programs throughout the school year and during our summer session. The Roxies (age 7-12) run all year long. The Crushers teen/tween band (age 13-17) runs only during the school year and our two KIDZ bands (age 6-8 & 9-11) and The Sparkles (age 5-6) run in the summer.

I have a very musical 5 year-old, do you have any programs or lessons for very young ones?

Our summer offerings include a vocal band for 5-6 year olds. Perfect for the little rock stars and divas that love to sing!

My 6 year old is super keen to start learning an instrument. What do you have for that age group?

We have several great programs for younger kids, including an intro to band and vocal/performance groups. Some of these lessons are offered only during the summer months and are ideal for children who aren’t yet sure what they’d like to learn: guitar, drums, ukulele, piano or vocals…they can try everything so that when they are ready for private lessons at age 7+ they will know what they like best.

Can our child bring a friend to their lessons from time to time?

This is a great question. Every spring we host a bring-a-friend to lessons week, you will be sent an invitation for your child to do that (if they wish) during that specific week if you’d like.  Friends and/or siblings are not allowed to attend lessons at any other time, sorry.

My child isn't interested in performing at school concerts, is that ok?

Absolutely! Not all musicians need an audience. If your rock star is shy that’s not a problem. We just hope they come to the shows to watch and cheer on the other kids.

About U-Rock Music School

There are lots of music schools, why should we choose U-Rock?

Because we are AWESOME 🙂 Check out our website testimonials, our Facebook page, our Instagram and Twitter pages and then if you still need convincing, just ask one of our many award winning students who make every day special for us. We are also the only music school in Ottawa West to have been selected as a finalist in both the 2017 & 2016 Business Excellence Awards, hosted by the West Ottawa Board of Trade. In November 2016, U-Rock Music School was also nominated for the 2017 Top Choice Awards for best Ottawa music school, for the second year in a row. U-Rock also was chosen from a large group of local business in Ottawa, as a nominee in 2017 & 2016 for Stittsville’s Business Appreciation Awards, among numerous other awards.

Mostly we think people love our school because we LOVE what we do and share that passion for musical adventure with every student we teach.

What musical instruments do you teach at U-Rock?

We teach vocals, guitar (acoustic, electric and bass), drums, ukulele and keyboard/piano. We also have kids and teen bands and vocal performance groups for all ages from 7-18. Group lessons for children age 5-6 are only available in our summer programs.

How long has your school been in business?

U-Rock Music School is celebrating its 21st anniversary this year! We started grooming young rock stars in 1997. We’ve been at this for quite some time and we ABSOLUTELY love what we do. We have been nominated as Business of the Year, four times since 2016. These accolades include:

The West Ottawa Board of Trade, Finalist, Small Business of the Year, 2017 & 2016 (we are also members of the WOBT)

Top Choice Business Awards, 2016 & 2017 & 2018 – Nominee Business of the Year  (Music Schools)

City of Ottawa / Stittsville Business of the Year Appreciation Awards, 2016 & 2017, Small Business

Top 25 Most Popular Kids Activities Awards, for 2016 & 2017, from CanadianKidsActivities.

Are you open every day for lessons?

During the school year: We are open from 3pm to 8pm Mondays through Thursdays, and from 3pm to 7pm on Fridays.

In the summer: We are open from 3pm to 8pm Tuesdays through Thursdays.

We are ALWAYS closed on Saturdays & Sundays all year long.

Are there many teachers and are they all musicians and qualified?

The school’s founder and co-owner are the primary teachers at U-Rock. Cathy and Brian run the school and together they teach about 120 weekly students. They are very skilled and experienced musicians with impressive music credentials and have both been teaching for many years. See ABOUT US on our main page header and click on “Meet the Teachers” for more details. Both are professional musicians who are also in bands of their own. As such, they are able to teach all aspects of music education, performing and songwriting. Some sessions require an additional teacher, in such cases you can be sure the teachers have been fully trained by both Cathy and Brian so that they excel at U-Rock’s unique teaching methods.

Lessons at U-Rock are consistent with the same teachers and you can be confident that your child/teen will always be learning from the best music teachers in the business. Our U-Rock University graduates are welcome to return to U-Rock to teach after they’ve received their 5 year award of accomplishment and have fully completed our music education program.

This year we welcomed Noah Raftis as a new teacher at U-Rock. Noah has trained under both Cathy & Brian and has his 5 year achievement certificate. He currently teaches guitar, ukulele, piano and vocals and is a very gifted musician and very patient. His students love him! New this Fall, another U-Rock 5th year achievement student and gifted vocalist, Samantha Clarke, has earned her pop/rock teacher’s credentials, having trained under both Cathy and Brian. She recently won both the Vocalist of the year award and Band MVP at U-Rock’s MARS Awards in June 2017. Sam is now teaching vocals and piano part-time for us and coaching The Roxies on Fridays.

Our grade 10-12 students are also offered an opportunity to help us out at larger group sessions and/or at U-Rock school concert events, to earn their volunteer hours.

Do you follow the school calendar for statutory holidays?

Yes, we do, with one exception: Our June session runs until the very end of the month.

We observe the following statutory/provincial holiday closures:

Labour Day Monday, Thanksgiving Monday, Christmas Break (two weeks), Family Day (February), March Break (one week), Good Friday & Easter Monday, and Victoria Day, Canada Day and the Civic Holiday Monday (August).

How do we communicate with our child’s teachers in between lessons?

We encourage all of our families to keep in touch by email or text. This allows us to respond when we aren’t teaching. It’s always great for us to get feedback and we like to encourage parental involvement in the learning process, especially for our 12 and under students.

Please do not call us between 3-8pm as we are busy teaching and will not be able to take your call. You can leave a message though and if it’s urgent (ex: your child will be missing a lesson that day) please send your child’s teacher a text. We may not be able to reply until later, but we will see it.

Can I also talk to my child/teen’s teacher before or after their lessons, at the music studio?

We ask that all families contact us by email, text or phone if they want to talk to us.  Our daily teaching schedule doesn’t allow us sufficient time to update or chat with parents during lessons. We want everyone to get full lessons. However, please DO contact us any time from 10am to 2pm Monday through Friday, we are always happy to hear from you.

Do you teach adults too? Or can parents sit in on lessons?

No and No. 🙂 We love adults because they create talented children, but our program is strictly for kids and teens. However, we do accept adult students during our 6 week summer session.

We offer meet & greet sessions with our new families on Fridays after 6:30pm. This way your child/teen gets to meet us before their lessons start and will have a better feel for what their lessons will be like. Plus, you’ll feel more at ease dropping off your rock stars if you’ve met us in advance. Just ask us for an appointment time.

NOTE: Family members are not allowed to stick around when the kids are rocking out at their lessons. However, we hear that many great concerts take place at home afterward.

Parents should also encourage their children to practice while they watch now and then – you may be surprised by what your rock star can teach you.

Do you welcome referrals?

We sure do! 80% of our students are referrals from other happy families. We also thank you for your referrals by offering a credit on school merchandise.

How will we know if there are special events coming up at the school?

Any time we have something fun going on, we will let you know. We send group emails to update our families on just about everything from our open mic events to parking etiquette at the school. Please check your emails regularly.  We are VERY good at keeping in touch. We also post everything newsworthy to our Facebook page, Instagram and our website.

Do you have school T-Shirts and merchandise for sale?

Yes! We do. Our school t-shirts are awesome and available for sale all the time for $25 (tax included). We do not mark up our merchandise, you pay what we pay. Our new U-Rock ball caps are only $17 and available in black, red, white and pink. Some of our groups, like The Roxies, have their own band t-shirts provided as part of their registration packages, for FREE. We are hoping to get even more merch like hoodies, winter tuque/hats and water bottles very soon.

What is the Music Rox Fund?

We started the fund in 2015 to provide children and teens of lesser means an opportunity to get music lessons for free during the summer.  Applications are done online and the selected students will receive 6 weeks of FREE lessons of their choice during our summer program. It’s our way to give back to our community and allows us to provide as many kids as we can with an opportunity to learn music.


What if I need to reschedule a lesson?

We allow a maximum of two rescheduled lessons per 5 month session, but ONLY with 24 hours’ notice and ONLY for serious medical reasons.

Last minute lesson cancellations are forfeited if they don’t meet the above criteria and cannot be rescheduled.  Our summer sessions also require the same 24 hours’ notice for serious medical reasons only.

Life is hectic, we get that. So, we started our U-ROCK LESSON SWAP GROUP so that families with lesson time conflicts can post online to other U-Rock families in our members-only Facebook GROUP to successfully switch lesson times with others when they need to. We are the only music school that offers this unique option which saves you money and could mean never missing another lesson again.

Please note: We do not offer lesson time changes for ANY conflicts such as family vacations that fall outside the school calendar, conflicts related to sports, personal/family or school events. If you have any conflicts like these please feel free to use the SWAP GROUP to avoid missing any lessons. We’ve had a 90% success rate with our swap group, thanks to all our families who have joined to help each other out.

What if I need to cancel my child’s lessons entirely?

We require one month’s written notice to permanently cancel lessons in order to give us time to fill the vacated lesson with another student. During the 30-day notice period your child may continue to attend lessons, so you don’t lose any money. Please note that you have 60 days from the start date of your child’s lessons to give written notice of cancellation, we cannot accept any cancellations after the first 60 days of any 20 week session. A $50 cancellation charge will be applied to all cancelled lessons to cover scheduling and administration.

Oops! I bounced a cheque. What happens now?

Sometimes these things can happen. Please notify us if you know this has happened unexpectedly. We charge a $50 service fee for any bounced cheque to cover our bank costs.  EMT payment or cash will be required immediately (within 24 hours) to cover the missed payment.

What if we need to contact you during a lesson?

We provide both of our cell phone numbers and the school landline at registration so that in an emergency you can reach us during teaching hours. However, we may not be able to reply until after the lesson is over. Feel free to leave a message, as we do check them when we can.

We have more than one child in lessons at U-Rock, can we switch their lesson times when the need arises, or if one is sick?

Yes, providing you let us know and of course the children must be in lessons with the same teacher in order to do this.

Can one of my children take the whole hour, if one can’t make it that week and my children are taking lessons back-to-back?

Provided they share the same teacher, yes. But please let us know in advance so we can prepare their lessons accordingly. Also, it is not recommended for children under age 12 to have one-hour lessons in the same subject. But once in a while would not be an issue.

What happens when the weather is bad? Are lessons cancelled?

Mother Nature is always full of surprises, but we never close due to bad weather. It is entirely up to you if you want to brave the rain/snow/heat to get your children safely to their lessons. We cannot close our school for situations that are out of our control. There are no refunds or rescheduling allowed if lessons are missed due to bad weather, sorry.

If U-Rock cancels lessons for any reason, how will we find out?

If WE ever have to reschedule our lessons (sometimes teachers get sick too) we will contact you in advance by email to reschedule the lesson time at a later date. If after we’ve offered you 2 different lesson time options but you do not reschedule anything with your teacher, the missed lesson will be forfeited and will not be carried over to the next session.

Can parents and siblings wait inside while lessons are going on?

No, we respectfully ask that families come and meet us prior to starting lessons so that you and your children will feel at ease coming to our home each week. Our school is run from our home and the foyer is very tiny. There is a bench for our students to wait on, but no room for families. We ask that parents or caregivers drop off their rock stars no sooner than 2-3 minutes before their lesson time each week and then return to pick them up promptly on the half hour. ALL students must wait on the bench until the previous student in lessons ahead of them comes up (or down) from their respective lessons. Shoes & boots must be left OUTSIDE on the mat by the front door at all times to avoid blocking the door. Coats/hats/etc must be brought in and hung on the lower hooks by the stairs or brought with you to your lesson studio. Thank you for helping us manage rock star traffic flow on our busiest days! 🙂

New this year our RING security system. There is a digital clock on the front porch, when it is your lesson time, RING the doorbell, we will reply via intercom, but if we are busy teaching we may not reply but we will (remotely) unlock the door to let you in. Listen for the mechanical unlocking sound and then just open the door and let yourself in. Do not ring before your lesson time. Please always leave your shoes, sandals or boots on the mat OUTSIDE our front door before you come in.

You have a nice front porch, can we wait there in warmer weather?

You sure can. When the weather is nice we welcome any of our families to wait on the front porch if they wish, please just never inside the house, as it’s much too crowded. Our students need the space and privacy to concentrate on their lessons. There is also a small park on our street and also a fantastic splash pad (summer only) and a very large park only 2 blocks away, you can get there by the footpath three doors down from us on the left.