Helpful tips and funny thoughts from a musician's mind

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When should my kid start music lessons?

When should my kid start music lessons?

IN TODAY’S POST, MISS HALEIGH TACKLES A COMMONLY-ASKED MUSIC QUESTION. One of my favorite parts about working at Learning Allegro is the diversity of the people I encounter every day. Music is one of those rare things that manages to pull people out of every […]

Don’t be the 40 percent!

Don’t be the 40 percent!

Here’s a discouraging fact: although many of us will make “new year resolutions” in 2018, about 22 percent of those resolutions will fail within a week. In a month, that number will have doubled to 40 percent. We imagine it continues to go downhill from […]

Merry Christmas from our STUDENTS!

Merry Christmas from our STUDENTS!

Last Sunday, Learning Allegro held its annual Christmas concert. Over 40 students showed up to spread some holiday cheer–and show off their FANTASTIC skills.

It’s a joy to teach (and learn) alongside each of our budding musicians, and we can’t wait to see where they go in the future!

Here’s a teaser from last Saturday’s show.

 

 

 

Some presents don’t fit under the tree

Some presents don’t fit under the tree

If you’ve managed to pull out of your Thanksgiving food coma, congratulations! You’ve come to your senses just in time for everyone’s favorite month-long shopping spree — that dreaded stretch between Thanksgiving and Christmas. At least there’s Christmas music on every radio station. That should […]

Don’t lose your marbles!

Don’t lose your marbles!

Every now and then, we come across a really  innovative way to make music. Today is one of those days! Today’s wacky and impressive instrument was invented by Swedish musician Martin Molin. The instrument, called the Marble Machine, is technically a “musical sculpture” and took Molin […]

Confessions of a former bad student: how group music took the “FRIGHT” out of me

Confessions of a former bad student: how group music took the “FRIGHT” out of me

“Confessions of a Former Bad Student” is a series by Miss Haleigh — Learning Allegro teacher, orchestra violinist, and former bad student.


I never celebrated Halloween growing up. I went trick-or-treating exactly twice in my life: once when I was two (my parents, kind souls, ate the candy on my behalf) and once when I was fourteen (when my parents felt badly for eating my candy and sent me out into the world to get my own).

 

I was never big on the whole “getting scared” thing. Halloween and horror movies sounded like as much fun as an appendectomy.

 

But whether you’re two or two hundred, the world is full of frightening things. For me, as a former bad student, one of those frightening things was…wait for it…recitals.

 

Growing up, I was incredibly self-conscious whenever I had to play violin or piano for another person. I honestly can’t explain why. Looking back, I think part of it was that I was always incredibly eager to please–and as any parent or teacher can tell you, the violin does NOT sound pleasing at first. Between bad practice habits and my own self-consciousness, recitals were torture.

 

Even lessons were awful at times. In high school, I switched violin instructors, and at my first lesson with that teacher, I literally cried. And I was a teenager. Talk about embarrassing! (You can verify this story with Wendy, the founder of Learning Allegro; she was that teacher. And she’s not at all scary.)

 

I started private violin lessons when I was four years old. I switched teachers four or five times and played in a number of recitals. But many of those recitals weren’t exactly fun.

 

But believe it or not, after a few years, I did ditch the stage fright. And learning to play with a group was a big part of that change.

 

During my junior year of high school, Wendy encouraged me to audition for a local youth orchestra. Since my school didn’t have a music program, I had had very little experience playing in groups, but I decided to give it a shot.

 

The fear factor definitely came with me to auditions. My hands were shaking so much that the conductor stopped me and asked if I was okay. But somehow, I made the cut–and at that first rehearsal, I totally fell in love with playing in groups.

 

Instead of focusing on the soloists, orchestra focused on the unit. We were taught to listen for each other and to play our parts well while remaining sensitive to the dozens of other melodies happening around us. I made great friends who also loved music–some with way more talent than me and some who were just getting started in the music world.

 

But most importantly, playing in a group gave me, the shy musician, a chance to fade into the background and actually take in the music.

 

Private lessons were great, but the focus was always Haleigh front and center. Orchestra wasn’t about me; it was about playing something beautiful and working together to make it sound great.

 

Today, I continue to play in a local orchestra. I’ve been a member of Immaculata Symphony for seven seasons, and it continues to be something I truly enjoy. I also play in a number of other settings, including for weddings and at my church–and yes, I play alone.

 

And the best part is, as I grew more comfortable in my group setting, I stopped “getting scared” of performing solo. Playing in a group gave me a new appreciation for music itself–and now, instead of thinking of people staring at me, I can play for my own enjoyment, no matter who is watching or who is standing beside me.


AT LEARNING ALLEGRO, WE OFFER GROUP CLASSES FOR ALL AGES. FOR MORE INFORMATION, CHECK OUT OUR WEBSITE.

 

 

 

 

 

Group Lessons: Why They Matter

Group Lessons: Why They Matter

Although most of the lessons we teach at Learning Allegro are one-on-one with students, we get questions from time to time about group classes (which yes, we do teach). Are there any benefits to putting your child in a group setting to learn an instrument? […]

For the orchestra violinists…

For the orchestra violinists…

Hi, Allegro fans! If you’re a violinist, you’ve DEFINITELY met one of these people in your orchestra!  

Welcome to The Music Room

Welcome to The Music Room

I’ve decided to start a new adventure–and no, it’s not another instrument.

 

Every musician has a friend who says, “I used to play…” or “I wish I could learn…” And at Learning Allegro, our response is always the same: “You can still learn,” or my personal favorite, “You aren’t dead yet!”

I guess if I can encourage others to step out of their comfort zone into the world of music, then I should put down the violin for a few minutes to step outside of my comfort zone and into the world of blogging.

The Music Room is my attempt to share the collective knowledge of the teachers at Learning Allegro, my music school.  I’m sure there will be funny anecdotes (or stories of frustration) along the way, but music is my first love. It is my passion. I hope I’m able to share that love with some of you.