7.15.2010

5 Ways To Get The Most Out Of Music Lessons: Part I - Starting the Right Program at the Right Time

Welcome to my first series called the “Five Ways to Get the Most Out of Music Lessons”. Enjoy!


1. Starting the Right Program at the Right Time

So when do I start? How do I decide when my child or grandchild is ready for music study? Is it too late for me to learn? Here are my answers to these pressing questions.

Piano: The ideal time to start piano lessons is when a child is 4 years old. I also ask if they can count to 10 and recite the alphabet with ease. In 4 years old's we see an increased attention span and ability to retain new concepts which is key to having a successful music experience.

Voice: You can start as early at 8 years old but I believe the ideal time to start voice lessons is when a student is 10 Years old. Since so much of singing is about the physical body and learning breathing technique, it's important to not start too early. The lungs and vocal chords need to be sufficiently developed.

Early Childhood Music: Parent and child style music and movement classes should be specifically designed to meet the developmental needs of young children, infants and toddlers. It's important that the music class be fun, creative, imaginative and educational. These programs focus on fundamental music skills and concepts. They learn to focus and expand their attention through exposure to many different kinds of music, rhymes and rhythms. This will be done through singing, instrumental play and rhythmic movements with a variety of mu­sical styles.

Adult Voice or Piano: It's never too late to start your journey with music. You can start from the beginning or build on what you have already learned in the past. Some of my favorite students are adults because of their specific goals and willingness to learn. Building a skill does takes time so give yourself 9 to 12 months to see significant results. No prior music experience is necessary to begin study. It's never to late to start learning!


Now you have the information you need to start music study at the perfect time. Next you need to decide what kind of program to sign-up for. Typically you have two choices: Group Lessons or Private Lessons. Here are my thoughts on each.

Group Lessons or Classes:  Group lessons are great for everyone but they are especially suited for early childhood music and those that need the motivation of a group to learn. For piano and voice instruction the age range is 4 years old to adult. I limit my hour long piano or voice classes to 2 – 3 people because of the size of my studio and what I feel that I can handle as a teacher. My early childhood classes are kept at 30 minutes to suit the attention span and the patience of the younger child.

Private Lessons:  The most traditional and effective way to study a musical instrument is through private lessons. Private lessons give you the opportunity to enjoy one-on-one instruction with the flexibility of individualized scheduling. It is important for lessons plans to be constructed to fit your learning style and to help you meet your musical goals.

Music Study should be something that you want you or your child to enjoy for a lifetime.  So, let it begin with your group or private lessons here at the Elliott Music Studio!


Next we will look at Part II: "Taking Lessons in a Professional Environment & Looking for a Well Rounded Program".  See you then!

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