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 […]
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. […]
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 get about frequencies, timbres and chord structures, music always ends up back at the same place — a place that touches the human heart. What makes a sad song sad? A tense song tense? How can you tell that a song is sad or tense without even hearing a lyric? At some point, the answer is, “It just does.” It speaks that unwritten language of emotion, tension and release that every single human being shares.
2. MUSIC ADDS DIMENSION TO THE WORLD. Some of our senses, such as sight, touch, and taste, deal with things that are very visual parts of our world. Music is different; you will never see it on a horizon or collect it in your fists, but it adds depth and meaning to every tangible thing around us! There’s a reason a street performer can capture our attention before we even see him on the sidewalk. Even without seeing him or his instrument, his music adds dimension to the ordinary in our lives.
3. MUSIC IS LEARNABLE. Yes, music is art, but it’s also science. That means that right-brain and left-brain types can both become great musicians! It takes time and dedication to become a good musician, but that dedicated person can come from any background. Music was meant to be learned!
4. MUSIC IS SHAREABLE. Some of our senses are experienced individually, such as sight — you can’t hand your eyes to somebody and show them exactly how you see the world. Music is a little more versatile. You can take the beauty, grandeur, or heaviness of what you see and turn it into something that others can hear.
5. MUSIC CONNECTS PEOPLE. When I bring my violin on the road with me, or even overseas, I always make friends. Again, music is shareable and speaks to us on a very natural level. It’s something people can rally around and enjoy together. On the formal level, it connects artists with other artists. Some of the best friends I’ve made in life are fellow musicians. We share a form of expression. It’s awesome!
At Learning Allegro, we LOVE music, and we LOVE giving people the tools they need to make it for themselves. Can we share our first love with you? Check out our website to start your own musical journey today!
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 […]
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 […]
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 remembering things — the birth of Jesus, the traditions our parents put in place — and catching a whiff of childhood again. New Year’s Eve asks us to put those memories aside for a moment to celebrate the unknown.
Anyway, since today is the last day of December, it seems fitting for me to look backward and forward a little myself.
Let’s start with backward.
I came to Learning Allegro as a high school student in 2009. At the time, I had no intention of doing anything with violin after high school, and I was “burned out” on the whole lesson scene. According to my mom, I copped some serious attitude in that first lesson. It’s a good thing the teacher was patient.
Within three years, much changed. I found my love for music again. I became a more confident musician, a more confident person. That “patient teacher” from 2009 became my boss. Wendy encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone and try my hand at teaching in 2012 — and with her help, I found a career that I loved.
From 2012 until today, I taught a small army of students — some much younger than me, some much older — and found that teachers and students really do grow together. I learned to see the basic elements of music with fresh eyes again. Best of all, I spent my evenings and weekends with a fantastic collection of parents, teachers and colleagues who genuinely cared for each other. The people at Learning Allegro truly celebrate each other’s achievements.
My job not only “filled my tank” every week emotionally, but put me through school financially. I graduated from Penn State debt free in 2016 — and I paid for my school while doing something I loved with people that I loved.
Now to look forward.
Today was my last day teaching at Learning Allegro. I’m heading into a new future, one that is daunting in the best way possible — and as I look, I am so grateful for the time I had at Learning Allegro. My 2009 self had no idea that her first day in this place would lead to a job, incredible friends, and a second home — and I’m glad she couldn’t see that far ahead. The best things in life are twice as sweet when they are surprises.
To whoever reads this blog — current students, potential students, parents, colleagues — I hope that you make some space for music and discovery in 2019. I hope “my students” will go twice as far with their new Allegro teachers as they did with me. And I hope the studio continues to impact people like it impacted me. Plenty of changes are ahead in 2019, but no matter what, I know for a fact that Learning Allegro will continue giving great lessons and impacting lives.
Thanks to the teachers, parents and students who made Learning Allegro so memorable. Have a blessed and happy new year!
Here are a few clips from our 2018 Christmas Recital — including a guest appearance by Miss Wendy! We heard from over 30 talented young musicians at this year’s event. What a treat! Do you have a budding musician in your home? Check out our […]
Learning Allegro has been blogging for a whole year! Here’s what happened since last October.
Since the Learning Allegro blog has now been active for a full year (woohoo!), we’d like to take a minute to look back on everything that has transpired since last October.
1. WE STARTED A BLOG. Let’s go with the obvious first. Blogging lets us connect with our families and friends beyond the studio. It’s also like a real-time scrapbook, in some ways! We’ve thoroughly enjoyed our venture into the blogosphere this year, and we plan to keep on flooding your feed with great musical content.
2. NEW STUDENTS. We’ve seen our student population grow–and with that growth, we’ve seen a great new diversity in the types of instruments and musical styles being taught in our building. Thank you for helping us make Learning Allegro a bigger family!
3. NEW TEACHERS. Where would we be without them? In the last twelve months, we brought new guitar, voice, piano, woodwind, and drum teachers on staff. Each one brings something special to the studio and clearly loves what they do. We’re so blessed to have awesome teachers under our roof!
4. GROUP CLASSES. We started a group strings class this year, which has been great (shout out to Miss Amanda!). We’ve also seen group guitar and rock band classes take center stage.
5. ART! The people have spoken: art at Learning Allegro is a huge hit! Budding artists of all ages have composed their own creative works under the skilled eye of Miss Sarah. Our walls are getting full of paintings, and we wouldn’t have it any other way!
6. OUR LIVE MUSIC BUSINESS TOOK OFF. This year, we started a live music group for special events. We never dreamed it would take off so quickly–but WOW, were we busy! Allegro Music played for a small army of events, including weddings, memorial services and corporate dinners. We also became the preferred musicians for several venues in the PA and New Jersey region. (Thank you!)
7. WE VOLUNTEERED. We played at local festivals, farmers markets, in pits for community theatres, and volunteered at a local elementary school’s talent show. We love doing our part to make the community more musical and cohesive.
8. WE HAD TWO GREAT RECITALS. See videos at the bottom of this post!
9. WE DISCOVERED THAT MUSIC IS AWESOME. Okay, this one is a freebie…but seriously. This is a discovery that we make every day at the studio. Every time a student aces that “impossible” song, or one of our teachers creates something awesome, we realize how blessed we are to be on this crazy ride as a music school.
2017-18 was a year of real growth for Learning Allegro, and we can’t wait to keep growing right alongside the rest of the Chester County region. Thanks for being part of our family!
To learn more about Learning Allegro, visit our website.
At Learning Allegro, we never pass up an opportunity to take great music into the Greater Chester County area — or even beyond! Just this year, students and teachers from Learning Allegro have… Volunteered at the West Vincent Elementary Talent Show Partnered with local school […]