Helpful tips and funny thoughts from a musician's mind

Author: wprovencher

Torn about summer lessons? Here are some of the benefits!

Torn about summer lessons? Here are some of the benefits!

It’s almost summertime — and summer means more time for growing, learning, playing, and exploring your community. Here are five great reasons to make music lessons part of your summer plans in 2019:   1. MUSIC IS FUN! Learning an instrument can be an awesome experience — […]

What to expect at your first lesson

What to expect at your first lesson

Have you ever wondered how private music lessons work? Here is a glimpse into how lessons work at Learning Allegro!   1. SHOW UP ON TIME. Most nights, the studio is full of students! Your teacher, as well as the other families, will probably be on a pretty […]

How to be Recital Ready

How to be Recital Ready

Recital season is upon us! Here are a few ways to make sure that you’re ready to go when the big day rolls around.

 

1. PICK A SONG YOU ENJOY. If you’re going to play for your family and friends (or even strangers), pick something that you love! It does not have to be the most popular, complicated, or recent song you have learned. If you can play it well and enjoy playing it, the audience will love it.

 

2. PRACTICE EFFECTIVELY. When you practice at home, spend extra time with your recital piece. In lessons, ask your teacher to help you “brush up” on the song before the end of each lesson. The more comfortable you feel with the piece, the easier it will be to battle nerves.

 

3. RELAX. Let’s be honest — recitals rarely go how the musician wants them to go! Ask your teachers! No matter how great you are at piano or violin, you will probably walk away from recital saying, “I wish I had done XYZ better.” Don’t stress about making everything perfect. Enjoy the experience and celebrate the moments that do go according to plan!

 

4. FIND THE JOY. If you look at recitals as a chore or an obligation, it will be very difficult to enjoy them. Choose instead to look at recitals as a chance to bless people, share something awesome, and set the mood! The more you can look at recitals as a chance to have fun and brighten someone’s day, the more you will be able to play onstage with confidence.

When is my child ready for private music lessons?

When is my child ready for private music lessons?

Every now and then, we’re asked how early a child can begin private music lessons. Is there one right answer?   Not exactly. As we all know, people are unique. We all learn at different paces, adjust to new situations differently, and have our own […]

Why isn’t my child improving? (The solution isn’t always practice!)

Why isn’t my child improving? (The solution isn’t always practice!)

Guest post from former Learning Allegro instructor Haleigh Swansen    When I was at Learning Allegro, my favorite lessons to teach were to brand new violin students — the people (young and not-so-young) who had no idea how to hold a bow or name the […]

Five Great Practice Tips for Musicians!

Five Great Practice Tips for Musicians!

Is your practice routine getting stale? Ineffective? Does it even exist?

Let’s face it — your not alone. “Practice blues” are part of the journey! When working on your instrument gets boring or fails to yield results, you might just need to rethink your routine.

 

Here are a few ways to make the most of your practice routine all year round:

 

1. ALWAYS GO FOR QUALITY OVER QUANTITY. It can be tempting to make practice time all about speed (“How many times can I play this in 30 minutes?”). Don’t make speed your benchmark! Practice makes permanent, not perfect. Instead of marking your success by how many times you can play a song, take your time and focus on quality pitch, rhythm and dynamics.

 

2. BE CONSISTENT. If you only practice once a week, you won’t grow — even if that one practice session is long and in-depth! Try practicing in small, consistent “bites” all week long. Can you make time to play violin for 20 minutes a day five times a week? Musicians need to train just like athletes — in measured portions all week long.

 

3. RECORD YOURSELF. Most people have voice recording apps on their phones nowadays. That’s an amazing practice tool! At the end of your practice session, record yourself playing your assigned songs. Next week, record it again and compare the two files. Recording software, even basic apps, are a great way to track your progress and work through your mistakes.

 

4. TAKE THE TIME TO EXPLORE. Music is supposed to be fun! If you’re burning out on your assigned work, take five minutes at the end of your practice session to just goof off. Play something you enjoy. Make something up. Find the sheet music for your favorite pop song. Give yourself the space to explore your instrument and (what a concept!) just make music.

 

5. GIVE YOURSELF A REASON TO PRACTICE. For the Learning Allegro family, spring recital is just around the corner. That’s a great reason for us to encourage our students to practice, practice, practice! When you struggle to find motivation, give yourself some kind of benchmark or milestone to work toward. Do you want to play at a coffeehouse? Participate in a recital? Have a jam session with some friends on a Saturday night? Let those opportunities motivate you, help you refocus, and remind you to approach practice seriously.

 

Another great way to grow as a musician is to find a “sparring partner” — someone who will help you grow and check in on your progress! If you’d like to hire a private music instructor to help you make the most of your instrument, check out Learning Allegro.

For the Love of Music

For the Love of Music

Valentine’s Day might be over, but love is always a timely subject! In the spirit of keeping love alive this month, here are a few of our favorite things about Learning Allegro’s dearest art form, music.   1. MUSIC SPEAKS TO US. No matter how scientific we […]

Here are four instruments your child can start early

Here are four instruments your child can start early

In most Pennsylvania public schools, orchestra electives begin in third grade. That means that the average student doesn’t formally pick up an instrument until age eight. Is it possible to start learning an instrument younger than that?   Yes! In fact, at Learning Allegro, we’ve […]

Does music REALLY make a difference for toddlers?

Does music REALLY make a difference for toddlers?

For a decade, Learning Allegro has been offering group music classes for toddlers — and from time to time, someone will ask us, “Does music really make a difference at THAT age?” 

 

It’s a valid question! After all, the average two-year-old can barely talk, struggles to eat neatly, and can’t put her own shoes on the right feet. Does early exposure to music really make that much of an impact?

 

Believe it or not, it does.

 

In the 1990s, researchers discovered that children who start music classes early will speak more clearly, develop a larger vocabulary, and exhibit stronger social and emotional skills than their peers (Novak Djokovic Foundation). When children are exposed to music before the age of 4, they are more likely to master a second language. And since music encourages phonological awareness, toddlers who take regular music classes also tend to make quicker headway with reading and public speaking.

 

Toddler music classes are good for parents, too! When mothers engage in music alongside their children — especially when they play or hum the music personally — their cortisol levels are lowered. That means lower stress for mom and toddler alike.

 

Many of the skills that we value as adults — reading, public speaking, a good sense of timing and coordination — begin in the formative toddler years. That’s why Learning Allegro began its toddler music circles nearly a decade ago. Today, some of the toddlers in those early classes have become skilled musicians and students. We have personally witnessed the difference that a “head start” in music can make, and we encourage you to make music a part of your child’s life as early as possible.

 

If you’d like more information about toddler music programs at Learning Allegro, visit our website. 

 

 

 

My Learning Allegro Story: Miss Haleigh

My Learning Allegro Story: Miss Haleigh

Miss Haleigh shares her Learning Allegro journey with us in this last blog post of 2018. The last week of December is an interesting paradox. Within the span of a week, we go from celebrating the past to cheering on the future. Christmas is all about […]