The Vancouver Island Music Academy takes a holistic approach to learning and playing music. We believe that being a musician is more than just playing an instrument at a high level. Regardless of age or experience, every student at VIMA learns how to be the most complete and versatile musician possible. This is reflected by the enormous breadth of our class offerings.

Strings Private Lessons

Students who register for the Strings Program at VIMA will receive a minimum of six private lessons with our distinguished strings faculty members. Students will have the opportunity to indicate the teacher(s) of their choice during the application process, and every effort will be made to match them with their choices. For students who wish to have more than six private lessons during the two-week Academy, this will be accommodated with a surcharge of $150 CAD per additional private lesson.


Piano Private lessons

Students who register for the Piano Program at VIMA will receive a minimum of six private lessons with our distinguished piano faculty members. Students will have the opportunity to indicate the teacher(s) of their choice during the application process, and every effort will be made to match them with their choices. For students who wish to have more than six private lessons during the two-week Academy, this will be accommodated with a surcharge of $150 CAD per additional private lesson.


Collaborative Piano

All piano students will automatically be enrolled in the Collaborative Piano Program at VIMA. Strings students will have the option of registering from the Collaborative Piano Program during the application process.

This Program provides training for pianists who are committed to collaborative arts and are considering a career in this area. The term “collaborative arts” includes any area of piano performance that involves more than solo piano (vocal and instrumental accompanying, duo work, orchestral piano, piano chamber music, etc.).

Students may participate in orchestral performance, instrumental collaborations (studio accompanying and performances in various venues), and contemporary works with various ensembles. Subjects covered range from sight reading and score reading, to instrumental repertoire, interpretative skills, and varying other aspects of a professional accompanist’s work.


Composition is offered under the "Musicianship" seminar, led by David Stone. It offers an exciting experience for young musicians of all levels with a passion for composing, writing and discovering new music, and an interest in developing their compositional technique. The format and content of the class will be at the discretion of Mr. Stone. 


Directed by Maestro Andrew Crust, VIMA offers a unique opportunity for young musicians to gain hands-on experience and expert tuition in conducting. Our conducting program encompass all the essential rehearsal and performance aspects for the aspiring conductor. Topics to be covered include: score reading and preparation; score analysis and its historical context; baton technique; rehearsal and time management technique; controlling, shaping and phrasing techniques through hand gestures. Selected students will have the opportunity to conduct the VIMA Senior Orchestra and recieve feedback from our resident conductor in a Masterclass setting. 

Music Theatre

Curated and directed by David Stone, Music Theatre is a signature program offered each year at VIMA. This Program serves as an introduction to the magnificent world of Broadway singing and acting. With rehearsals every day, students of all ages work to improve their performance skills of singing, acting, and stage confidence. They will also have the opportunity to showcase their achievements in a fully staged show with a pit orchestra at one of the final concerts of the Academy. A Program to not miss out on! 


Improvisation is offered under the "Musicianship" seminar, led by David Stone. 

During the 17th-19th centuries, it would be commonplace for performers to improvise Cadenzas and short pieces in a concert! The art of improvisation has largely been forgotten and neglected in the recent past, and thus it is one of the most important workshops offered at the Academy. This class will greatly enhance the overall musicianship of each student. Skills and techniques needed for improvisation in any musical genre will be discussed at length. 

Chamber Music and Ensembles

Participation at VIMA's Chamber Music and Ensembles Program is mandatory for every student. Students will receive a minimum of six coachings with faculty members. Placement and pairings are established according to the student’s chamber music experience that was described in the application form as well as the audition tape. At the discretion of the Director and Faculty, students may be moved from groups as necessary due to individual music ability, group dynamics, and/or coaching preference. Most students will be assigned to one chamber music group for the duration of the Academy. Some strings and piano students will have two groups.

Chamber music groups consist of duets, trios, quartets, quintets, sextets, and octets if necessary. Chamber music is a core component of the festival and rehearsals/coachings are held every other day. There will be a minimum of three Chamber Music Concerts during the Academy. 


Participation at VIMA's Orchestra Program is mandatory for every student. Students will take part in either the VIMA Senior Orchestra or the VIMA Junior Strings. Placement will be determined by the audition video recording that accompanies each student’s application. 

The orchestras perform regularly in various on-campus venues. The rehearsal and performance schedule for the VIMA Senior Orchestra is rigorous, and performances are at a high professional standard.

The VIMA Senior Orchestra is directed by our resident conductor, Maestro Andrew Crust. The Orchestra will present two complete programs in the Academy.

The VIMA Junior Strings is led by our faculty that specializes in working with and accomodating young students. 

Orchestral Audition Preparation Class

Open to strings students, this seminar is specifically designed for those aiming to excel in orchestral auditions. Those wishing to audition for professional orchestras and youth orchestras will find tremendous value in attending this class. Led by Concertmasters and Principal players of major orchestras, the setting for the class will mimic a “masterclass”; each student will play orchestral excerpts for the faculty member whilst the other students listen and watch. Apart from the orchestral excerpts, there will be much time devoted to discussing the “art” of auditioning, as well as preparing for an audition.


Led by our distinguished faculty, numerous Masterclasses are held throughout the Academy. Every student will have the invaluable opportunity to perform in a Masterclass. Through consultation with students and their private teachers, the faculty member who leads the class will make the final determination of who performs and the repertoire they will play. Each Masterclass is open for everyone, and students are encouraged to attend each class to hear the thoughts and ideas of faculty members, as well as support other students who are playing.

Scales, Etudes, Technique Class

Led my various faculty members, the Scales, Etudes, and Technique Class is one of the most important ones offered at VIMA. This class offers tremendous insight into the fundamentals of instrumental playing.

Every student at VIMA is automically registered for the Technique Class. There is a class for strings students, and a separate class for piano students. The class is arranged in a workshop setting, where every student will have an opportunity to play and ask questions pertaining to instrumental technique. The faculty member leading the class might also have a focus topic for a class, and the entire workshop would be centred around that topic.

Ear Training, Rhythm, Theory/Harmony

Ear Training, Rhythm, Theory/Harmony is offered under the "Musicianship" seminar, led by David Stone. This class introduces and covers all the basic skills and techniques required for any musician. Topics to be covered include: development of ear training skills through performance and dictation; study of melodies, intervals, harmony, and solfege in major and minor keys; development of sight-singing skills; study of rhythms, meters, conducting patterns, and notation; keyboard harmony; part singing; contrapuntal and harmonic dictation.

Scales Competition

Every past participant of VIMA knows all too well about its signature Scales Competition. The Scales Competition offers students the opportunity to showcase their technique in front of a panel of judges where they can recieve comments and feedback. If their preparation leads them to the final round, they will have the honour of performing all their scales and double stops in front of the entire Academy, on stage. The winners will be offered monetary awards, apart from eternal glory of being the Scales Competition Champion. More information regarding the Scales Competition will be available to students for advanced preparation prior to the Academy.