Why Music?

What is so important about high-quality music education? We have drawn together some famous inspirational quotes about the importance of learning music – and of learning music in a deep and meaningful way. We share some stories from students that have been through our programme, stories from the dedicated parents that had the commitment to enrol their children, and some videos broadly related to music education.

Our 3 children all went through the Cottage School of Music from ages 5-15 with Micheál McCarthy and just loved the whole process. Micheál was able teach them extremely advanced musical techniques and concepts, seemingly without them even realizing they were learning, as the classes were run in a fun and supportive environment of games and activities.
There were able to gain a deeper understanding of musical concepts than is taught anywhere else to children of that age. Despite our children electing not to study music at a University level, they are able to hold their own against Music graduates through the knowledge and skills gained at any early age at the Cottage School. Now in their 20’s, our children are all accomplished musicians with the added benefit of an intuitive understanding of musical notation that doesn’t require conscious thought.
Through the Cottage School, they forged friendships with like-minded students that have lasted to this day and made relationships with musicians that have furthered their musical careers well into adulthood.
As parents, we enthusiastically recommend Micheál McCarthy’s music programs and our children cannot speak highly enough of him.
Anne & Anthony Dunne

Parent Feedback

"Cottage for me was a real game changer; I'm not sure if I would be working in the music industry if it hadn't been for those classes! I always enjoyed it and felt like I was good at it because everything made sense, and like I had known everything all along - such is the genius of Micheál's teaching. Yet, I left with a musical skill set that has enabled me to perform and teach with ease, and I am so grateful for the comprehensive training I received through the school. I learned from some other fantastic instrumental teachers and was lucky enough to go to a school with a highly esteemed music programme, but it was Cottage that really made everything come together for me. These days, I spend a great deal of my time teaching piano, and I really see the edge that the Cottage-trained kids have. Parents spend a lot of time deciding where to send their child to school, but to me, the choice to enrol in Cottage is more significant. Micheál's classes were where I learned my craft, made most of my long term friends, and learned how to be myself as a performer - I cannot recommend them highly enough! Micheál is an incredible educator, and I still have frequent revelations as to why he presented certain concepts to our class in a certain way, some 15 years on! We are so lucky to have a world class programme like this in Perth, and no doubt we will continue to see the resultant positive effects in our music community for many years to come." - Sarah Cranfield

Past Student

"We put up the fancy spires first... "

"...I see my life in terms of music"
- Albert Einstein

"I am a parent of three "lifers" - being children that have been continuously involved in 'Cottage School of Music Senior' since the earliest possible time through to high school graduation and beyond. In my humble opinion this is one of the best musical activities you can get your children involved in. It is not a cramming course, but a life journey that equips one with the ability to fully engage in a musical life. If you have small children pack a picnic to have on the lawn of Drabble House between classes or join the library next door. Make it a way of life and you will not be disappointed. Oh, and Micheál's teaching is sometimes unconventional, but full of fun and always world class." - MC, Claremont

Parent Feedback

"Cottage School of Music gave me the best musical foundation that I could ever hope for. I attended Micheál's classes throughout high school and that definitely gave me a headstart through my university days at WAAPA. As a strings and theory teacher, the skills and knowledge that Micheál passed on have been indispensable. His classes are highly recommended for any musician - young or old!" - Adrian Yeo

Past Student

"Real art is one of the most powerful forces in the rise of mankind, and he who renders it accessible to as many people as possible is a benefactor of humanity." - Zoltán Kodály, 1954

"At the age of three I was introduced to music through Cottage School and continued attending for over twelve years, allowing me to witness the full affect it has on someone’s life, both personally and musically. The Kodály system gave me a solid understanding of the subtleties that exist in music - due to the pure joy for learning that filled the classes under the guidance of Micheál McCarthy. Having now been exposed to various other musical systems, I can say with certainty that the skills I was able to explore in classes allows for a greater understanding and appreciation of all systems. Now living in Switzerland and attending the Lausanne Conservatoire, every day I recognise the tangible benefits of having attended these classes. I am able to view music in a comprehensive way, with this translating to the view I have on life in general. I would recommend Cottage School to any child who wishes to explore music, irrespective of their future ambitions or level. The program allows for children to learn valuable skills in a well adapted environment through dance and song, without even knowing they are learning. It is without doubt an essential program for all who wish to expose their child to music and the arts." Rita Fernandes, Switzerland

Past Student

"And I would advise my young colleagues, the composers of symphonies, to drop in sometimes at the kindergarten, too. It is there that it is decided whether there will be anybody to understand their works in twenty years' time." - Zoltán Kodály, 1957

Max wung ,今年12岁.现在Churchlands Senior High School 读8年级.他在学校Symphony Orchestra担任大提琴首席.4年前通过我一位教钢琴的朋友介绍去Mr.Micheál那学习musicianship.因为她的儿子从小就跟Micheál 学到初中,她觉得收益非浅.一直鼓励我去试一下.
我抱着试试看的心态带Max去上了第一堂免费课.我坐在课堂里看完他教45分钟的课后,我终于理解我朋友为什么推荐Max 去学这门课程了.下课后孩子对我说妈妈我喜欢这位老师的课,对我太有帮助了.看到孩子的脸上露出那种对音乐陶醉的表情,我心里知道来对了,我找到真正培养孩子热爱音乐的好老师了。
这一上就是3年,每堂课生动、有趣、都是以游戏为主。课堂里通过听、唱、写、身体动作让孩子们从感性认识上感受音乐,每一堂课都会介绍不同时代的作曲家写的作品,老师一边放录音一边讲解作曲家要表达的含义,然后让孩子通过肢体语言做出你所理解的曲意的动作.孩子们在这种游戏中不知不觉的学会了这首曲子的作者,出生日期、哪个年代的作品....把平时要死记硬背的东西转化为游戏、故事.慢慢的在唱中学会了节奏、音程、和弦等音乐色彩.老师每节课都会放一首交响曲,让孩子们仔细聆听在这首曲子里共有多少种乐器,然后写下来.刚开始写的时候Max只能写出几样,慢慢随着时间的推移,他已经可以把乐团里演奏所有的乐器找出来.这种训练只有在孩子们游戏里自然而然的学会,等到大学再学的话会很辛苦。
3年的时间不知不觉中过去了。Max学到了音乐是一种语言、音乐的历史、音乐风格、音乐体裁等基本乐理知识,而后又在不断的升班里学会了音乐机构、和声听觉和复调音乐的能力.
在他乐团里数拍子是他的强项,他的耳朵会很敏感听到各声部的变化,也觉得乐理很容易学.在考三级时考了一个A,四级时考了A+,考五级时又是A.
Max在乐理上取得的成绩和他在大提琴上取得的成绩都和我们所上的课程分不开的.我分享给大家我孩子音乐成长的经验,希望好的音乐课程让每个学音乐的家长所了解,让每个孩子都快乐学音乐,爱音乐!
让音乐陪伴孩子一生!

Parent Feedback

娘2人が5、6歳の頃からバイオリンの先生の勧めで通い始めました。テンポ良い盛り沢山の内容は、小さな子供達を飽きさせません。授業は同年代のグループで構成され、歌って踊って、そして時には作曲したり!友達も増えるし、楽しみながら自然に音楽の基礎を身につけていったようです。特に音感、リズム感は感性の柔らかい幼い頃から自然に教わったので、現在、高度な内容をハイスクールで学んでいるようですが、コッテージスクールで学んでいることがとても役立っているようです。
特に、Micheál 先生は、オーストラリアでトップクラスのカリスマ先生です。幼児から大人まで、それぞれのレベルにあった見事な教え方で、沢山の素晴らしいミュージシャンを生み出しているようです。- スミス直子

Parent Feedback

"I tell all my students to go there..." - Emily Clements, Professional flautist & Flute teacher, Perth

Teacher Feedback

"You just have to press the right keys..."

"To write a folksong is as much beyond the bounds of possibility as to write a proverb. Just as proverbs condense centuries of popular wisdom and observation, so, in traditional songs, the emotions of centuries are immortalized in a form polished to perfection." - Zoltán Kodály, 1941

"Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy. Music is the electrical soil in which the spirit lives, thinks and invents." ‐ Beethoven (1770-1827)

"The aim and final end of all music should be none other than the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul. If heed is not paid to this, it is not true music but a diabolical bawling and twanging." - J. S.. Bach (1685-1750)

"Tonality is a natural force..."

"I was involved with the Cottage School of Music from 2001-2009. During this period, I gained experience singing in choirs, developed crucial aural skills, and received general musicianship training. Today, I am midway through a Bachelor of Arts degree Majoring in Music at the University of Western Australia, the assistant organist of St George’s Cathedral, and regularly sing in professional choirs and concerts around Perth. I have no doubt that I would not be where I am today musically without the help of Cottage and Micheál McCarthy. The program is presented in an engaging and innovative manner for children in such a way that a great amount of knowledge is absorbed whilst still having a lot of fun. In my opinion, nowhere else in WA are you able to get such a high quality of musicianship training at such a young age, and would thoroughly recommend it for any child with a passion for music." - Michael Lukin

Past Student

"The characteristics of a good musician can be summarized as follows: 1. A well-trained ear. 2. A well-trained intelligence. 3. A well-trained heart. 4. A well-trained hand. All four must develop together, in constant equilibrium. As soon as one lags behind or rushes ahead, there is something wrong. So far most of you have met only the requirement of the fourth point: the training of your fingers has left the rest far behind. You would have achieved the same results more quickly and easily, however, if your training in the other three had kept pace." (1954)

"The whole problem can be stated quite simply by asking, 'Is there a meaning to music?' My answer would be, 'Yes.' And "Can you state in so many words what the meaning is?' My answer to that would be 'No.'" - Aaron Copland (1900-1990)

"Music produces a kind of pleasure..."

"I’ve been teaching music for over 30 years and believe that Micheál’s program is hands down the best thing I’ve ever seen or had the privilege of being a part of. Solfa, theory, aural training and sight reading are often the things that are missed in private lessons, yet these are the things that are vitally important in making you a “musician” – the very elements that lead to students’ achieving the “A+” level. I’ve had a student swap from violin to viola without any clef stress calmly stating that she had “ already learned that with Micheál”. How wonderful that we didn’t need to spend addition lesson time or suffer any anxiety over learning the Alto Clef. There is a considerable difference between my students who have had the privilege of Micheál’s tuition, and the ones who have not. There is truly no comparison. So when it came to enrolling my own children, I couldn’t get there fast enough. I loved sitting in class and watching my children grow in their abilities, coordination, knowledge, rhythm, timing, history, dictation, anticipation, oral and aural skills and all while they were under the impression that they were only there to have fun. I believe these skills led to both of my children advancing to WAYO at an early age, and for the experience singing in St Georges Cathedral Choir and the WA Opera." - Rennae van der Laan, Violin Teacher, and Vice-President AUSTA WA

Parent & Teacher Feedback

"I haven't understood a bar of music in my life, but I've felt it." - Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971)

"Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything." ‐ Plato c.400 BCE

"I started classes at Cottage School of Music when I was three years old, and continued until I was seventeen. I’m now twenty and studying music honours at UWA, teaching violin students and participating in several orchestras and choirs. Attending Cottage classes throughout my childhood has given me a strong foundation of musical appreciation, knowledge and skills that now help me as a music student and teacher. I learned a vast range of useful things, from basic ideas of rhythm, melody and improvisation to more complicated concepts such as musical form and structure, and had a fun time learning amongst students at a similar level. I believe that this kind of music education is important because it’s comprehensive and delivered well, while being memorable and enjoyable for students of all ages. " - Julia Nicholls

Past Student

"Nothing on earth is so well suited to make the sad merry, the merry sad, to give courage to the despairing, to make the proud humble, to lessen envy and hate, as music." - Martin Luther (1483-1546)

"Music is enough for a lifetime..."

"Having taken the customary route of instrumental lessons and written theory studies, Aural lessons as a university student with Micheál were truly a revelation for me, opening my eyes to a whole new world of musical understanding and skills that I have come to see as being highly beneficial and important to all aspects of music and music-making. His method of training in Aural and Musicianship (whether it be at Primary, Secondary or Tertiary level) is unique, motivating, efficient, inspiringly clever and of the highest quality. You will not find another educator like him in WA, and I believe, few in Australia. I would not be where I am today, were it not for his classes. I firmly believe that any child that begins classes with him from a young age will build a firm foundation on which to develop their musical talents and abilities. Should they have the inclination and the desire to continue these studies with him through high school and into university, the sky really is the limit. I wish I'd had the opportunity to start earlier with him. I have a newborn and a two year old and plan to introduce them to his classes when they are five years of age. I hope to see you there." - Luke Salmon, Head of Music, Greenwood College.

Teacher Feedback

"There are two things John and I always do when we're going to sit down and write a song. First of all we sit down. Then we think about writing a song." - Paul McCartney (b.1942)

"I was born out of due time in the sense that by temperament and talent I should have been more suited for the life of a small Bach, living in anonymity and composing regularly for an established service and for God." - Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971)

"Every time Brahms went to hear one of his symphonies played, he would go in the audience and listen to the symphony, and the next day he would go to the Bibliotheque in Vienna, get the original score out and make changes—he never could leave it alone. Some sage said that a work of art is never finished, it's only abandoned." - John Williams

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