Getting The Most Out Of Music Lessons

At 18 years we are Tallahassee's Oldest School, Owned by the Same Owners!

Now Enrolling for Fall/Spring 2017-2018 Lessons and Classes!

Call 850-412-0102, option 1, now to reserve your time!

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or call 850-412-0102, option 1 to speak directly to the owners, Ruth and David Mason

These guidelines will help you to have a successful, rewarding experience learning an instrument. These are practical tips that we have discovered from years of teaching and our experiences with teaching hundreds of students each year.


1. HOW YOUNG IS TOO YOUNG - STARTING AT THE RIGHT AGE

Adults can start any instrument at any time. Their success is based on how willing an adult is to commit to practicing. We teach many beginner students in their 60’s and 70’s.For children, starting at the right age is a key element to the success of their lessons. Some people will tell you “the sooner the better” but this attitude can actually backfire and be a negative. If a child is put into lessons too soon they may feel overwhelmed and frustrated and want to stop lessons. The last thing you want to do is turn a child off music just because they had one unpleasant experience which could have been prevented. Sometimes if the child waits a year to start lessons their progress can be much faster. Children who are older than the suggested earliest starting age usually do very well. The following are guidelines we have found to be successful in determining how young a child can start taking music lessons.

Birth - 5 Years Old

For this age we recommend one of our Kindermusik classes.  We offer classes for different age groups from birth – age 5.  Children meet in a group setting once a week where they sing, dance, play rhythm instruments and musical games.  Studies show that early exposure to music helps children later in life in the areas of concentration, memory, motor skills, and provides a foundation for music that can not be duplicated later in life.

Piano/Keyboard

At our school 5 years old is the youngest age that we start children in individual piano lessons. At this age they have begun to develop longer attention spans and can retain material with ease.

Guitar - Acoustic, Electric and Bass

5 years old is the earliest we recommend for guitar lessons. Guitar playing requires a fair amount of pressure on the fingertips from pressing on the strings. Children under 5 generally have small hands and may find playing uncomfortable. Bass guitar students generally are 10 years old and older.

Voice Lessons

10 years old is recommended as the youngest age for individual vocal lessons. Due to the physical nature of voice lessons (proper breathing techniques, development of the vocal chords and lung capacity), the younger body is generally not yet ready for the rigors of vocal technique.

Drums

The average age of our youngest drum student is 8. This varies greatly depending on the size of the child. They have to be able to reach both the pedals and the cymbals.

Violin

We accept violin students from the age of 5. Some teachers will start children as young as 3, but experience has shown us the most productive learning occurs when the beginner is 5 or older.

Woodwinds

Flute, Clarinet & Saxophone due to lung capacity, and in the case of the saxophone, the size of the instrument, we recommend that most woodwind beginners are 9 and older.

Brass Instruments

Brass Instruments requires physical exertion and lung power. 9 years and older is a good time to start the trumpet.


2. COMBINE MUSIC THEORY WITH MUSIC LESSONS

Music theory is the study of the fundamentals that make up music such as note names, scales, terms, note values etc.  To learn to play an instrument without learning music theory is like learning to speak a foreign language without learning the meanings of the words.  Students that take our computer music theory lab are better able to understand the music they play and are able to learn their pieces faster and more fully understand what they are playing.  Most evaluations and competitions also include a music theory portion, so if a student wishes to participate in one of these, our music theory lab is a must.


3. TAKE LESSONS IN A PROFESSIONAL TEACHING

ENVIRONMENT

Learning music is not just a matter of having a qualified teacher, but also having an environment that is focused on music education. Our music lessons take place in a professional school environment where students cannot be distracted by television, pets, ringing phones, siblings or anything else. With only a half hour or even one hour of lesson time per week, a professional school environment can produce better results since the only focus at that time is learning music. Also in our school all of our individual piano studios have real pianos, not keyboards. Students in a school environment are also motivated by hearing peers who are at different levels and by hearing and seeing a variety of musical instruments. In a music school, the lessons are not just a hobby or sideline for the teacher but a responsibility which is taken very seriously.


4. MAKE PRACTICING EASIER

As with anything, improving in music takes practice. One of the main problems with music lessons is the drudgery of practicing and the fight between parents and students to practice every day. Here are some ways to make practicing easier:

Time

Set the same time every day to practice so it becomes part of a routine or habit. This works particularly well for children. Generally the earlier in the day the practicing can occur, the less reminding is required by parents to get the child to practice.

Repetition

We use this method quite often when setting practice schedules for beginners. For a young child 20 or 30 minutes seems like an eternity. Instead of setting a time frame, we use repetition. For example, practice this piece 4 times every day, and this scale 5 times a day. The child then does not pay attention to the amount of time they are practicing their instrument, but knows if they are on repetition number 3 they are almost finished.

Rewards

This works very well for both children and adult students. Some adults reward themselves with a cappuccino after a successful week of practicing. Parents can encourage children to practice by granting them occasional rewards for successful practicing. In our school we reward children upon completion of a piece with stickers. Praise tends to be the most coveted award - there just is no substitute for a pat on the back for a job well done. Sometimes we all have a week with little practicing, in that case there is always next week.  In our school we have an awards system in which students earn points for practicing which helps them earn awards such as trophies, medals, plaques etc.


5. USE RECOGNIZED TEACHING MATERIALS

There are some excellent materials developed by professional music educators that are made for students in a variety of situations. For example in piano, there are books for very young beginners, and books for adult students that have never played before. There are books that can start you at a level you are comfortable with. These materials have been researched and are continually upgraded and improved to make learning easier. These materials ensure that no important part of learning the instrument can inadvertently be left out. If you ever have to move to a different part of the country, qualified teachers and institutions will recognize the materials and be able to smoothly continue from where the previous teacher left off.



Most Importantly . . . HAVE FUN!!



Music should be something that you enjoy for a lifetime. So, try not to put unrealistic expectations on yourself or your children to learn too quickly. Everyone learns at a different pace and the key is to be able to enjoy the journey.

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