Is it hard to learn to play a musical instrument?
No, not especially. Anyone can learn to play several easy pieces during the first weeks of study. It is important to remember that it takes time to progress to different stages of musical study. You may not be able to play your favorite piece within the first year of study (depending on what it is), but you can play an instrument. Keep in mind that many books of popular music are available for all levels of players, and you and your teacher should be able to select music that you will enjoy studying that will also help you progress in your studies.
When should my child start lessons?
Our Musikgarten programs awaken and develop your child’s inborn joy and natural talent for making music. Early childhood – a time of rapid growth and brain development – is the optimal time to start this musical journey. Beginning with Family Music for Babies and continuing with Music Makers At the Keyboard, your child steps across that important bridge from general music learning to instrumental skill. Between the ages of five and seven, children can begin to learn other instruments, however, it is important to check with the instructor to see what age student he or she accepts.
I have never taken a singing lesson before. What happens in a voice lesson?
All students sing scales and exercises for the first 5-10 minutes of the lesson to improve their tone and increase their range. Students have the option of bringing along a regular-sized cassette tape to have these exercises recorded for study during the week. Most beginners are surprised to learn how much they can improve the tone of their voice while singing exercises. The remaining time is spent working on music the student enjoys while trying to maintain the improved tone accomplished during the exercises.
The cost is a little higher for lessons at a Professional Facility. Why?
The benefits of studying with a trained teaching professional are difficult to measure. First, our teachers are experienced and expert musicians. Most of our teachers make teaching and performing music their career. They have been educated in music at the college level and have received instruction in the method of teaching as well. Our instructors belong to professional organizations that discuss current trends and share new ideas. Our studio is well maintained and has state-of-the-art digital pianos, accoustic pianos, and electronic keyboards.
Our large studio offers the unique opportunity for small groups to learn and perform together. Students perform not just solos, but duets, trios, quartets, sometimes even larger ensembles and our piano students also accompany our instrumental soloists. Because we offer recitals, group lessons and the opportunity to participate in various competitions, our students are experienced performers as well as accomplished musicians.
We encourage you to attend one of our recitals to experience the difference for yourself!
Which teacher should I choose?
A long time ago, a teacher would tell you what to do and your job was to do it. Fortunately, better teaching techniques have been developed, and music teachers often have different ways of meeting a student’s needs. A major factor in the decision should be the rapport you, (if you will be taking lessons) or your child, has with the teacher. A good teacher genuinely cares about their students’ musical development and endeavors to continue the student’s enjoyment of music. That being said, there are some different styles of teaching. Some teachers focus on a particular student’s goals, interests, and challenges and tailor lessons to meet these needs. Other teachers focus on a method of teaching that is designed to assist the student in learning different skills at the appropriate time and provides a structure of learning that helps them know where they are going. It may be helpful to ask questions about the length of lessons, how the teacher assigns pieces for study, and how they adjust their teaching to meet the needs of their students.
Most good professional teachers have studied music at a college or conservatory and belong to professional organizations such as Music Teachers National Association, National Association of Teachers of Singing, etc. Do keep in mind, however, that being an excellent performer does not equal being a good teacher. Although it depends on your interests, it may be better to find a teacher who is a good performer and loves to teach rather than study with an established performer who takes on a few students to earn some extra money.
How much practicing is expected?
A desire to learn, plus repetition is the formula for success in learning to play a musical instrument. Therefore, spending time daily making music with your instrument of choice is ideal and will result in rewarding progress. Setting a regular time each day, and a minimum amount of time will support your efforts and provide an approximate measurement for your instructor to adjust the lesson according to your needs. Practicing should not be a chore, but rather a personal time to enrich the mind and spirit. It can also be a time for family members to explore the social art of music-making together.
How do I make the most of my practice time?
Here are some tips to practice smarter rather than harder. First, try to transform a large job into a smaller one by studying the music and identifying the shorter “chunks”. Look for different sections within the music and apply concentrated repetition to one section for a period of your practice time. Many times there is a phrase or just a few notes that can be isolated and practiced over and over again. Sometimes just taking the four problem notes and playing them ten times slowly and getting used to the feeling of the pattern can make such a difference, and you have already cut your practicing time drastically. Rather than repeating the piece from beginning to end multiple times, repeat the challenging areas and notice how the wrong notes float away…and the boredom too! Other tips include setting small, challenging, yet achievable goals at the beginning of every lesson. Also, make sure all distractions (TV, cell phone, laptops) are not in the room so focus is easily maintainable.
Do all keyboard students need to own a keyboard?
For all our piano/keyboard courses, except Recreational Music Making, a keyboard or piano to practice on is required. Your instructor will explain the different options available to you. These options will be based on the age and level of the student, type of music the student will be studying, budget, space in the area the student will be practicing in and personal taste in the sound of the instrument. For those taking RMM classes, owning an instruement is optional, however, the formula for success in learning to play includes “repetition”, therefore, being able to play more often is a definite advantage.
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