Benefits of Music Study
How is Music Beneficial for All Learners?
Today there are unprecedented reasons for making music a part of everyone’s life. Students taking music lessons now will determine the place of music in America and the value society places on music tomorrow. Regardless of what these students ultimately choose as a profession, music making will remain a part of their lives, whether it’s listening to music, attending concerts or serving as leaders in arts associations, and community and church music programs.
Benefits of Music Study:
Hearing music stimulates the mind.
Music instruction enhances abstract reasoning skills.
Grade school students who took music lessons generally scored higher on cognitive development tests.
In older people, music helps lower depression and decreases loneliness.
Playing an instrument strengthens eye-hand coordination and fine motor skills.
Music lessons teach discipline, dedication and enable students to achieve goals.
My teaching philosophy is summed up best by a fellow piano teacher, who said – “The music that I teach has never been my primary goal when I instruct my students. Some teachers may be primarily concerned with teaching notes and note values. I use music as a tool to influence my students in ways that can help them to become better people. Most of us can get a pretty good idea of a student’s behavior away from the piano by the way they conduct themselves during a lesson. If they are organized and attentive at the lesson, they probably are the same way elsewhere. If they are rude or unattentive, they are probably the same way when they are not at the piano. I work hard to get my students to play well. However, I am more concerned about teaching them time management, goal setting, seeking excellence, speaking in front of an audience, accepting criticism and following directions. They do theory assignments to learn concepts, but I also see if the work is done correctly and on time. Employers look for that. I teach them how to communicate thoughts and ideas in ways that other people can understand. I teach them to pay attention to details. The list of life skills is endless that can be addressed in piano lessons. Every student needs help in different areas. I try to use the piano lesson to help them improve in these areas. Playing music is important, but I use it as a tool to develop other skills. I continually make my students aware of the things we are addressing. Some students just want to take lessons to play the piano. That is fine, but that is just a byproduct of the greater things that I want to influence. I’m sure that other teachers do the same thing. For me, learning the music is never enough.”
How Notes 88 Music Studio Teaches
Teaching materials and books are selected by the teacher in collaboration with the student and/or parent to best fit the student’s goals and needs. There are high quality methods available for all instruments. Students are encouraged to choose supplemental music in their favorite styles!
Students are encouraged to participate in the annual A.I.M. evaluations given locally (see MTNA.org/AIM) through the Northwest Suburban Music Teachers Association (see ISMTA.org) for voice, piano, and strings.
Achievement in Music evaluations are national standardized evaluations of student knowledge, abilities, and performance at graded levels of advancement. Your teacher will provide study sheets and prepare the student for the evaluation. A.I.M. is NON-COMPETITIVE.
Students may also participate in the Sonata/Sonatina Festival offered by the Northwest Suburban Music Teachers Association in the fall. See details on the NWSMTA web site link on the homepage. Students will have opportunities throughout the year to perform in various locations. These are important and a necessary part of learning to play an instrument well.
In case of a medical emergency, we will notify you immediately. If you are not available, we will use our best judgement in obtaining medical care for your child and you accept the responsibility for any related expenses.
Scheduling can be more flexible during the summer. Students who wish to ensure that they keep their time slot in the fall must schedule at least 5 lessons. Many of you will want to continue lessons throughout the summer (except for vacation time).
During the summer, consider thinking “outside the box” of our usual lessons. We might focus on the more creative aspects of learning music. Instead of the usual lesson format, we would learn about musicianship by composing, improvising, playing “by ear”, and creating our own accompaniments (at the student’s level). This will involve use of my keyboard with rhythm tracks, my synthesizer (for recording left or right hand part and creating another part with it) as well as other fun aspects of making music at the student’s level. Some piano students have asked about studying voice or guitar for the summer, and this is an option as well.
Students will also be encouraged to bring in pop music or other favorites they would like to learn. I can suggest web sites for ordering “easy piano” versions: www.musicnotes.com and www.onlinesheetmusic.com are good. Please check with your instructor to be sure of getting the right level of music!
What is the Parent’s Role?
Parental support in the learning process is vital. Whether or not you know anything about music, take time to listen to your child play, provide exclusive practice time on a quality instrument, and celebrate his or her continued accomplishments. Also it is important to notify the teacher of any unusual or stressful situations affecting the student, and any newly discovered learning challenges. Piano lessons are a 3-way effort involving the student, the parents, and the teacher.
Being a Piano Parent
I was, and am, very fortunate to be blessed with not only great parents, but also great piano parents. Their actions as piano parents were integral to my success as a piano student. Below are 4 important elements that my made parents my secret weapon for success:
My Parents Called the Shots
My parents did not force me into taking piano lessons. However, once I had expressed interest and signed up, quitting piano lessons part-way through the year was not an option. And thank goodness it wasn’t! Because let’s be honest, kids are “right here, right now” kind of creatures and need the guidance of parents to keep them motivated… even if it means missing a play date, a trip to the beach, or a birthday party because of piano lessons.
At every year’s end, my parents always made the decision to re-register me in piano lessons based on their observations of my personal enjoyment. They did not ask me straight out “Do you want to take piano lessons again next year?” because depending on my mood, the weather, or whether or not I liked what we were having dinner, my answer could vary. So they made the decision, knowing that I was progressing as a pianist, I enjoyed playing piano most of the time, and I was reaping the academic and social benefits of piano lessons.
My Parents Made Piano Lessons a Priority
Knowing that we had made a commitment, piano lessons became as important as eating, sleeping, and brushing your teeth. Piano lessons and recitals were not to be missed. My parents knew that asking me to commit to piano lessons, meant that they had to make a commitment to making every lesson no matter how busy life would get… and trust me, it got busy!
My Parents Were Practice Partners
My piano was in the living room. And if my mom was not on the bench beside me she was certainly not far off. She knew exactly what piece I was supposed to be working on, she knew what measures were tripping me up, and most importantly, she knew that I loved playing for her. Rather than saying, “Did you practice for 15 minutes?”, my mom would say, “Your crescendo in the fourth measure was beautiful!” And it wasn’t just my mom who was involved. Even though my dad was not a piano player, he was always eager to witness a mini-concert from the couch and attended every single recital without fail. I knew without a doubt that my involvement in the piano was something both of my parents valued.
My Parents Loved My Piano Teacher
My parents chose my piano teacher very carefully. And in doing so, they found a kind, caring, and respected educator. By making that wise initial choice, they knew from that point on, they could trust her guidance as I developed as a musician. They always spoke highly of her, listened to her musical advice, and made sure I knew how lucky I was to have such a fantastic teacher. In doing so, they modeled the respect that I knew I must show for my wonderful piano teacher who would go on to play a huge role in my life and my career.
Piano students as young as 4 may join Music for Little Mozarts group classes where they sing, play the piano, and interact with peers and the instructor in guided musical activities designed to foster a love and appreciation of music. The curriculum includes two books. In addition, the instructor supplies percussion instruments and stuffed animal characters to complement the musical adventures we will share! See www.musicforlittlemozarts.com for more information.
Guitar lessons are available to students ages 7 and older. Students at the beginning level will learn about the guitar and the correct posture and various techniques for playing. The focus will be on basic music theory, rhythm patterns, strumming, picking, and reading music (tablature and standard clef notation). The overall goal is for the student to enjoy making music. As the student progresses, (and for the older guitarist), students will be able to accompany their singing and that of others with their guitar. In addition, students will learn basic life skills such as focused attention, good practice habits, planning, and self-confidence.
Drums & Percussion
Since rhythm is such an important part of music, drum lessons make a great choice. Playing the drums lays a great foundation for learning the basic music principles. Students will learn how to read rhythmic notation, keep beats as well as the proper technique for playing the drums. We like to incorporate the student's own interests by teaching them to play and keep the beat to songs or samples of songs from bands and artists they like.
Voice lessons for young beginners focuses on the following concepts:
1) proper breathing to support the voice
2) correct posture to utilize the body when singing- the body IS your instrument!
3) learning to match pitches and recognizing Solfege hand signs
4) introducing songs that are FUN for the student!
A child's voice does not sound like and adult's voice - and it SHOULDN'T! Children have limited vocal range and "breathiness" in their tone is normal. Forcing a child to sound like an adult is harmful for the child's body and voice.
3 advantages to Voice Lessons for children:
1 - learn to match pitches so as not to be tone-deaf
2 - learn proper technique for using the body, breath, and mouth to form the right sounds
3 - develop a love for music and experience the joy of singing!