top of page


Welcome To My Music Studio!


"Übung macht den Meister". 

Practice makes permanent!

"True freedom is impossible without a mind made free by discipline.”  


A very sincere and warm virtual and virtuous welcome to my music studio!  This orientation is for new and returning students alike to commemorate the importance of why music plays a fundamental role in our lives, and what parameters promote a significant positive result from the meticulous and deliberate details that enable the study of music to become a rewarding, inspirational, and enjoyable journey.   My goal as a professional performer and educator is to transmit knowledge, inspiration and encouragement to all students in an educational climate that elevates understanding, clarity of goals and promotes optimal development both musically and personally.  I believe in positive reinforcement along with constructive criticism that aligns with every student's individual personality.  In my professional estimation, it is possible to regenerate the body and mind to become an incalculable source of musical endowment.  I am most interested in exploring and developing the optimal potential of every student and be an instrument of mindful, focused, results-oriented leadership for all students!  As Beethoven once stated:  Music is the mediator between the spiritual and the sensual life.

It is a great pleasure to welcome you to the universe of music that enriches and changes our lives for the better and forever! Please take time to read the following details below.  This orientation is clearly set up to read in part or in one sitting. according to the suitability of your schedule.  It will enable you to generate a plan and reflect on how you would like to navigate your future as a student in my studio.  Discover information that will enable you to make wise and appropriate choices that will generate lasting results.  I sincerely encourage ongoing dialogue since it enables everyone to become as informed as possible about the structure and progress of lessons on a regular basis.  I am available for discussion and conversation about any concerns or ideas that you would like to communicate.  I prefer this conversation to be in person or on the telephone rather than through email or other technological platforms.  Below is the list of topics covered during this orientation.  If, after reading this page of introductory information you still require more details, please contact me in person via telephone.   Otherwise, I am pleased to offer you some ideas and concepts to consider regarding musical study.  I encourage you to scroll down to the bottom and read an article below entitled 'Why Study Music?' This article captures some of my personal observations and contemplation on why and how music study liberates the creative imagination and engenders positive, innovative thinking and  galvanizes courageous, confident action in individuals of all ages.  

1.  Royal Conservatory Of Music Examination (RCM) Study
​2.  RCM Registration
​3.  Non-Examination Study
4.  Lesson Preparation
​5.  Becoming Your Best
​6.  Make Up Lesson Policy
​7.  Studio Concerts, Master Classes, Festivals & Competitions
​8. Vocal Hygiene & Health
​9.  RCM Theory, Harmony & History Requirements - Online Course
​10. High School RCM Examination Accreditation
​11. Twenty Reasons To Value Music
​12. Why Study Music?


​Typically students should plan to study one full calendar year toward an exam.  All students study a minimum of one professional hour per week.  A professional hour of study is fifty minutes.  The systematic physiological, creative, intellectual development and progression of skill is completely dependent on regular lesson time and practice.  Practice time should be distributed evenly throughout the week over a minimum of at least five days between weekly lessons.  This is essential for proper physiological coordination, innervation, development, and muscle memory to inhabit and strengthen the anatomical reflexes in every instrument, including the voice.  One question that every student needs to ask themselves is this:  How much time to I spend on my computer/iPad/Telephone/Technical Device each day compared to my time practicing singing/piano?

RCM Preparatory - 20 minutes/5x per week
RCM I     - 30 minutes/5x per week
RCM II    - 35 minutes/5x per week
RCM III   - 40 minutes/5x per week
RCM IV   - 45 minutes/5x per week
RCM V    - 50 minutes/5x per week
RCM VI      - 60 minutes/5x per week
RCM VII  - 65 minutes/5x per week
(Theory Level 6 or 7 Required For High School Music Credit)
RCM VIII - 75 minutes/5x per week
(Theory Level 8 Required For High School Music Credit)
RCM IX   - 90 minutes/5x per week
RCM X    - 120 minutes/5x per week 
​(University Audition Entrance Level)
​ARCT      - 180 minutes/5x per week 

​Investing in regular practice will successfully assist in the management of weekly musical progress and is vital to acquiring optimal results.  This schedule applies to the study of any instrument, be it piano or voice.  Not everyone wishes to do musical examinations, but setting goals contribute to a superior outcome in the long term.  

Registration for an RCM Examination requires each student to obtain an account.  Moreover, each student is required to include my teacher number during the time of registration:  Here is the following information.
Douglas Rice = RCM Teacher Number:  44778
​Please set up your account here:
​Please login to your existing account for exam registration and results at:

My students typically attain first class honours and honours with distinction during each exam period.  This is not luck, this has everything to do with preparation!   I believe that a student should strive to obtain at least a grade of 80% or higher to move forward to the next level, or consider pursuing a longer study period if necessary to prepare for an examination.  Mock exams are administered prior to factual exams, enabling both the student and guardian to become more self-informed as to the general status of estimated grade.  Furthermore, regular verbal/written assessments during the annual course of study are noted in practice record books and journals.  Conversations between parent and child/parent and teacher are encouraged.   A student should be prepared to learn a multitude of pieces/repertoire in one year, not just the minimum required pieces. (An insufficient level of literacy invariably prevents the student from graduating successfully to the next grade level.)   Please note, I do not offer the option of doing RCM examinations without a minimum of a one hour lesson per discipline, per week, beginning with the RCM Grade Level I and above.   The RCM route of study in my studio involves skills set applications that include both ear training and other assets that prepare a musician for the real world of music.  Sight-Singing/Playing, Interval Training, Rhythm Training, Solfeggio, Scales & Technical Exercises, Clap Backs, Sing Backs, Chord/Cadence Identification, Vocalises/Recitatives/Etudes and so forth.   These skills are tested weekly and homework is assigned for the student to further their excellence in these areas along with repertoire study.
I emphasize that students who follow through with a regular regiment of practice systematically achieve the most, and therefore should choose to do RCM examinations.  It can be highly discouraging for students to think they can complete an exam when they are not preparing properly for it in advance.  I would never want a student’s confidence lowered or impeded simply because they were led to believe that minimal or negligible practice time was permitted prior to an exam.  In the end, it is the student’s responsibility to self-regulate their practice schedule within a home environment centered around positive encouragement and values.   As an educator, I don't allow anything to 'chance' and prefer to ere on the side of caution when preparing students for RCM exams.  Please ensure that these exams are not about 'feelings', but about 'facts'.  I prepare my students for the realistic scenario of how an examination will be conducted and the expectations that are predicted to occur during the examination.   I am a believer in 'testing' with respect to making clear observations about what a student knows and understands at any given time.  Intelligence is learned and synapses in the brain are essentially responses that need to be exercised through use.  All examination material is thoroughly studied throughout the year with a devised lesson plan for each category of skill sets required for the various levels of exams.  For this reason, I monitor the examination preparation process with each student individually on a weekly basis.  The more practice a student does, the more time there is for repertoire diversity and expansion.   New repertoire can only be studied as the abilities of a student are magnified.  Repetition and good practice habits and how to practice influence the degree of literature achieved each term.  
​Each student is an individual who possess' a series of skills, talents and areas that require specific attention for improvement toward excellence.  In a 21st century climate where boredom replaces effort, people long for activity but unfortunately expect the world around them to solve their lack of focus and desire to generate self motivation. Attention to detail is negated because potential distractions replace a fluid thought process which leads to a deeper, more meaningful understanding of concepts and ideas.   Attention and awareness are crucial to preventing boredom.  Internal information, including thoughts and feelings, is the passport for students to soar in a state of both internal and external stimulation.  

If a student does not wish to do an RCM examination as part of their training in lessons, a program to continue developing the technical and artistic pursuits of the student will be encouraged.  However, students pursuing professional goals such as careers in music performance, competitions, university auditions, music education are encouraged to do RCM exams and should discuss their individual goals/timeline with Douglas to realize a solid strategic plan.   Everyone should be informed that in the 21st Century any auditions, activities related to performing regularly require sight singing/playing, knowledge of rhythm and other skills alongside the actual vocal/instrument proficiency level.  Students pursuing the enjoyment of music and to study music as a hobby toward amateur participation in choirs and/or musical productions of any nature should consult Douglas for more details on how they can enrich their lives and those of others with short and long-term goals.  Please plan time during your lesson to discuss your choices and goals with Douglas. 


All Books & Copies In Binders Arranged & Organized
Sight Singing/Sight Reading Exercises Completed
Four Star Book Set Exercises Completed
​Ear Training/Intervals Rehearsed Utilizing Hand Signs/Solfeggio Syllables
​Technical Exercises/Scales Prepared In Tempo
​Repertoire Pieces Learned & Memorized
​Concert Performance Pieces Memorized & Prepared In Advance
​Foreign Language Song Translations Completed
Character Analysis For Opera & Music Theater Rep. Completed
​Practice:  Continual Repetition, Analysis & Reflection To Produce An Improved Result
​Repertoire - Students Should Focus On Polishing Existing Repertoire & Bringing In Regular New Repertoire
​Achieving A High Standard In One Piece Delineates The Integration Of All Skills In Pieces To Follow - Skimming Is Not Imbibing, boredom is not a reason to abandon mastery!

The ideal student avoids the same musical issues to surface every week.  Excuses for not being prepared for lessons demonstrate a lack of accountability, responsibility, and time management.  Solutions are encouraged!  Simply stated:  "Don't worry, work!"

RCM Examination decisions, competition & university enrollment, audition applications all require discretion and careful assessment.  Please consult Douglas on repertoire choices and undertake systemic steps in advance.   I want every student to have a positive experience and outcome in anything they choose to pursue.  Remember, how you do anything is how you do everything!  Moreover, do not grant the professionalization of mediocrity, or highly publicized national T.V. talent shows to cast an unrealistic, bleak shadow over the prudent journey and nature of how true, authentic talent may be defined and developed.  There are no shortcuts to the accruement of great skill and artistry.   Strive to be your best at any level and work hard.  
Preparation + Timing = Luck! 


I encourage all students to maintain a regular pattern and schedule of lessons.  Each student is registered in a time that is both valuable to the teacher and student alike.  All students are obliged to the same policy without any exceptions.  This is something that maintains a fairness to colleagues and teacher alike.  48 hours’ notice is always necessary to make up a lesson, regardless of the reason.  This is a studio policy that all students adhere to in fairness to everyone's schedules.  I am very pleased to make up lessons which should be booked as close to the missed lesson date as possible.  Each student/guardian of student  is responsible for ensuring that they make up the lesson time within the term.  Make up lessons are non-transferable from term to term, or year to year.  One term is typically four months in duration.  This is a fair amount of time to view the possible make up times in advance at the time of rescheduling.  Make up lessons are also non-refundable and cannot be used to credit other cheques/terms/lessons registered for subsequent times/periods.  The schedule is viewed as a commitment for the year, not as reference point where a potentially sought after time is not utilized fairly.  
Very important to note:  The student should always request actual make up lesson dates/times at the same time of rescheduling and emailing 48 hours notice.  For example:  When a student sends an email to reschedule a lesson 48 hours in advance, they should also include some in the same email suggested dates/times for when they would like to make up the missed lesson.  This ensures that the new lesson time is scheduled immediately.  Since schedules are always changing, I prefer that the commitment to dates is made in advance, and that priorities are equally disbursed for each student on a fair, responsible and accountable basis.  I think everyone will find this to be the best solution to what can be an overwhelming situation at times.  As well, waiting to reschedule a lesson will further decrease the likelihood of not finding the most opportune time for all involved.  
To recapitulate:  The responsibility of lesson make up times is put on the student to immediately email alternative suggested dates/times at the time of 48 hours notice.  Please feel free to call me if emailing becomes too belabored. Lessons are non-transferable from term to term, and are not ever refundable or transferable in any way.  A shared effort makes a potentially difficult schedule an easy and fluid one! :)  

When considering your make up lesson date/time suggestions, do consider using/offering P.A. days, holiday periods, days off, spring break, reading week, earlier/later times as possibilities.   Just for the record, the New Year holiday and summer holiday months are not considered lesson make up time periods as I am away for those periods.

I want to THANK YOU for making this collective effort for keeping the schedule intact and proactive!  The even distribution of effort is key to effective schedule solutions!  Your efforts combined with mine make for a positive solution to scheduling! Thanks for your adherence to the make up lesson policies in advance.   If, for some reason you still require further explanation, please contact me via telephone and I would be pleased to explain the make up lesson policy individually. Also, on each invoice the make up policy is cited as a friendly reminder.  

Concerts and Masterclasses featuring guest artists are organized by Douglas on selected dates throughout the year.  These opportunities are created for students to present 'works in progress' in a supportive and encouraging atmosphere that enables students to gain invaluable experience in exercising their technical skills whilst broadening their foundation of musical artistry.  The hall is rented and booked well in advance due to limited availability.  Douglas donates his time and talents to these concerts/events as part of an ongoing effort to encourage students to generate new musical/artistic growth whilst gaining confidence!  Please ensure that your participation is committed.  Programs are printed in advance.  A studio concert fee is collected for the cost of the hall and piano rental, as well as for invited masterclass guest artists. 
​Students wishing to participate in music festivals should speak with Douglas about repertoire choices.  Please remember that there are registration and accompanying fees associated with these events.  

​Voice students should undertake a healthy lifestyle that reinforces good vocal care and longevity.  Whispering, screaming or vocal belt are not permitted by my students.  Speak how you sing, do not sing how you speak.   Make intelligent repertoire choices and consult Douglas on any questions or concerns you may have at any time!

Please read the some of the information provided at these links:

​For every RCM Practical Examination there is a corresponding theory/harmony/history requirement associated with the grade level.  Please see the syllabus for the most recent changes and details:​

Please contact Joe Ringhofer for registration & details - Courses available online from the convenience of your home.

Telephone:  Studio:  1.705.422.2171   or   Mobile:  1.705.828.6925


Instrument(s)   RCM Examinations Grade Level.  Receive Credit for the following high school grades:
Grade 11:
Any musical instrument on which performance is examined including Voice, but not including Speech Arts & Drama
Grade 7 Practical + Level 6 or Level 7 Theory (formerly Intermediate Rudiments)

Grade 12:
Any musical instrument on which performance is examined including Voice, but not including Speech Arts & Drama
Grade 8 Practical + Level 8 Theory (formerly Advanced Rudiments)

1.   A maximum of one Grade 11 university/college preparation music credit may be awarded towards the OSSD for the successful completion of one of the following: ✦✦ Grade VII Practical and Intermediate Rudiments (formerly Grade 1 Rudiments) of the Royal Conservatory of Music, Toronto ✦✦ Grade VII Practical and Grade III Theory of Conservatory Canada,  London, Ontario ✦✦ Collegial I Practical and Collegial I Theory of any conservatory of music  in the province of Quebec ✦✦ Grade V Practical and Grade III Theory of Trinity College London, England ✦✦ Grade VII Practical and Grade VI Theory of the Royal Schools of Music, London, England

2.   A maximum of one Grade 12 university/college preparation music credit may be awarded towards the OSSD for the successful completion of one of the following: ✦✦ Grade VIII Practical and Advanced Rudiments (formerly Grade II Rudiments) of the Royal Conservatory of Music, Toronto ✦✦ Grade VIII Practical and Grade IV Theory of Conservatory Canada, London, Ontario ✦✦ Collegial II Practical and Collegial II Theory of any conservatory of music in the province of Quebec ✦✦ Grade VI Practical and Grade IV Theory of Trinity College London, England ✦✦ Grade VIII Practical and Grade VIII Theory of the Royal Schools of Music, London, England

Notes: ✦✦ The term practical refers to any musical instrument on which performance is examined. It includes voice (i.e., singing), but not speech arts. ✦✦ The mark credited to the student is calculated by averaging the marks that the student has earned in the practical component and in rudiments or theory, as the case may be.

Please consult the RCM for more details:  
273 Bloor Street West 
Toronto, Ontario
Canada M5S 1W2 
Phone: 416.408.5019 or 1.800.461.6058 
Fax: 416.408.3151



​How does one incorporate regular practice into one’s life?  Simply by doing it.  It's that easy!!

Here is what I have garnered from my voice and piano teachers in life: 

1. They taught you practice does not make perfect, practice makes permanent.
2. They taught you hard work pays off when you practice.
3. They taught you that it’s okay to make mistakes. Mistakes are a part of life and there’s no need to say “sorry” after every wrong step/note.
4. They taught you that after you make a mistake, you keep going and no one will notice.
5. They push you past your limits to show how far you can go.
6. They are the perfect example of how to stay positive in stressful situations.
7. They taught you rhythm.
8. They taught you to be a member of a group/ensemble. Blend and balance can make or break an ensemble.
9. They taught you how to be a leader/soloist.
10. They gave you confidence. Music is not for the faint of heart.
11. They encouraged the best out of you.
12. They do a lot for very little means.
13. They taught you that silence is a beautiful thing. Rests are just as important as the notes.
14. They helped you understand fractions before you even learned what fractions are.
15. They taught you what self discipline is.
16. They taught you how to take responsibility for yourself.
17. They taught you how to conquer your fears.
18. They taught you a skill in which can stimulate the entire brain. “Scientists have found that music stimulates more parts of the brain than any other human function.”
19. They taught you there’s always room for improvement. Constructive self-criticism is an important part of growing up.
20. And most importantly, they taught you how to not just listen to music, but experience it.

Why Study Music?

Academic excellence doesn’t necessarily highlight true talent, skill sets or genius.  Therefore, one must look beyond academics to see how studying music reinforces life skills in general.  For someone to achieve success in life, they must be able to connect with others.  If an individual develops the skill to participate in the study of music, they generally can connect with others.  Connecting with an instrument/voice, connecting with music, and performing music allow participants to work at their proficiency for connecting with others.  Whilst performing, students capture their own unique voice and skills that allow them to express who they are.  They draw confidence and self-empowerment which concurrently enable them to solve real-world problems in life through skill sets garnered from interactive thought provoking music lessons, discipline of regular practice, unlocking creativity and the application of logic.  Studying music invites unlimited self-development and for a student to embrace who they are as an individual.   Therefore, music is about taking risks and challenging oneself.  It leads an individual through a process of understanding and rationalization.  By exposing oneself to unpredictable unexplored or unperceived situations where subjective and objective impressions are examined through musical study, an individual strengthens their ability to catechize and enlighten themselves to keep on developing!
The study of music is also an essential stepping stone to realizing a dream.  Music inspires research skills into the tangled lives of composers, elaborate analysis of music both structurally and creatively, understanding of complex story plots often found in opera and musicals, and the relationships of characters involved in conflict and their resulting resolutions.  They test ideas, ask oneself to respond with honest feedback from a personal perspective both intellectually and emotionally.  They reinforce the value of assessment to one’s development and how to alter the course of one’s outlook or vison.  After all, how you do anything in life is how you do everything!
It’s important to recognize that all choices in life are based on either joy or fear.  Performance anxiety is very much a game that must be practiced being mastered.  And dealing with fear is something that every musician encounters and eventually succeeds in confronting with courage.  Music study and its performance allow this courage to be found and stabilized, validating oneself regardless of the outcome of grade or placement.  Performance of music tests our ability to be our best, a kind of competition between wo/man and him/herself.  Competition also allows us to learn from the enemy.  In a capitalistic society, this is something that every person should be aware of.  We live in a competitive marketplace which is what drives capitalism.  It teaches us not to hate the player, but rather learn to love the game.  In effect, music lessons and performances drive us to become the best we can.  They take us out of our comfort zone and coerce us into becoming more creative, dexterous, and productive as a person.  It teaches us that innovation is necessary and that without it, we make ourselves obsolete. 
Over the last decades, we have seen the distortion of music education in the lives of young people in schools.  No doubt this distortion has negatively impacted the participation of individuals in music.  Lack of music making is real and there is scientific evidence that children are deprived of a tremendous cognitive benefit through music education.  Music training improves the cognitive and non-cognitive skills more than twice as much as sports, theater, or dance.  Students who study music generally have higher grades, higher test scores, better attendance records and higher rates of community engagement than other students.  Music education targets a specific brain activity that develops spatial-temporal reasoning that illustrate people’s ability to work through solutions to complex problems.  Furthermore, music also plays a major role in closing the achievement gap between disadvantaged students and others.   These subconscious, mental, emotional, and cerebral developments create a civic minded society that is confident, imaginative, and innovative. 
Music incites a deeper understanding of life both internally and all around us.  It instructs leadership, responsibility, learning how to schedule and plan, execute time management, set goals, teach life skills such as courage, a “process not result” philosophy, strive for higher learning, become a well rounded individual in society, take risks, develop confidence, increase self-discipline and motivation, establish a sense of self-worth and pride in oneself, gain a sense of achievement, experience what winning and losing means and how it provides a solid platform for the real world.  Music study marks an individual’s growth over a long period.  It connects us with other people and teaches us how to connect with ourselves.  

bottom of page