Musical Musings: Insights from Sonya Harper-Nyby

Musical Musings: Insights from Sonya Harper-Nyby

sonya headshot

By Sonya Harper Nyby


“Let music belong to everyone.” (Zoltán Kodály)


I’m Sonya, and I am a lifelong musician. I started learning violin in Grade 3, joined a choir in Grade 5, and never stopped making music. At Classical Music Conservatory, I teach Musical Preludes, voice lessons, and just started teaching violin lessons.


Long-time Musical Preludes Teacher, First-time Musical Preludes Parent

I’ve been teaching the Musical Preludes classes since 2016. Over the years, I’ve gotten to know so many wonderful children while making music together, exploring the different ways we can use our voices, learning about the many instruments these little musicians can go on to play in lessons at Classical Music Conservatory, and encountering the building blocks of music such as rhythm, pitch, tempo, dynamics, notation, and more. Every year, our Musical Preludes musicians remind me of the diversity of human experience and expression as well as the almost universal appeal of music as a means of sharing ourselves with others. Please know that all children are welcome in Musical Preludes.

Since September 2023, I’ve had the opportunity to share my teacher self with my own child in our Musical Preludes Intro class. She was born in 2020 and heard a lot of online voice lessons and rehearsals as an infant. We’ve also played her a wide range of musical styles, from opera to reggae, from latin jazz to hip hop, from afrobeat to punk rock. Unsurprisingly, she seems to love singing and playing instruments. She also loves running around the classroom when we’re meant to be sitting in a circle together! I love watching and hearing her learn, but most of all, I love seeing the friendships she is building with the other children in her class. In years past, I have noticed the social connections formed in Musical Preludes classes, and now I see it as one of the most wonderful things our children can experience in this setting.


It’s also wonderful to see our Musical Preludes alumni go on to play their favourite instruments in private lessons at Classical Music Conservatory. Every week, I see children and their grown-ups in the waiting room getting ready for their lessons and I think about the first time they encountered a cello, piano, clarinet, violin, trumpet, flute, guitar, recorder, ukulele, or small percussion instruments. Sometimes I am lucky enough to hear them play in the recitals and I feel so happy for them that they have found an instrument that they love to play.


Growing up at Classical Music Conservatory

A neighbourhood music school is such a valuable thing. It’s common for families to be part of our community for years or even decades. I’ve taught many voice students as they grow from childhood to young adulthood. It’s amazing to watch them becoming themselves, and gratifying to track their progress as musicians.


From the Shower to the Stage

I have taught many adult voice students who have taken a break from music or who are trying music lessons for the first time. Recently, one singer told me that she gives full concerts in the shower all the time and is eager to share her singing with others. How wonderful that we can try new things or return to old activities at any point in our lives! Whether you’re a complete beginner or just feeling a bit rusty, taking music lessons as an adult can be a lot of fun and great for your brain health. If you are interested in performing, Classical Music Conservatory holds two recitals a year for our adult musicians so that you can have the opportunity to perform in a supportive atmosphere along with your peers.


Music For Everyone

Classical Music Conservatory has a lot to offer musicians of all ages. If you or a child in your life is interested in learning music, take a look through the website or contact the office for more information. We would love to welcome you to our community!

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