Helpful tips and funny thoughts from a musician's mind

Tag: advice

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 […]

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 sets of strengths and weaknesses. That means that a student’s “timeline” of musical readiness will always be unique. A focused four-year-old will be ready for piano lessons long before a disinterested ten-year-old!

 

No matter what the age, here are a few ways you can tell if your child is ready to start private music lessons:

 

1. HE OR SHE HAS EXPRESSED INTEREST — WITHOUT YOUR PROMPTING. In my experience, the most dedicated students have always been children who expressed personal interest in an instrument without a parent prompting them. There are certainly times for Mom and Dad to make executive decisions…and I have seen many students “forced” into music who learn to love it…but if the child does not have a personal stake in lessons, that interest often dies within a few years.

If your five-year-old is obsessed with the violin and asks you about it frequently, that’s probably a sign that she’s interested and will work at her craft. Give it a shot!

 

2. HE OR SHE HAS LEARNED HOW TO SIT STILL. Everyone gets a bit wiggly now and then, but an uncontrollably wiggly student is hard to teach! Has your child learned how to sit and listen in another setting, like preschool or kindergarten? Do they know how to listen and take advice? If so, they might be ready for lessons.

 

3. HE OR SHE IS DILIGENT AT HOME. Most of a musician’s growth happens outside the studio! Your child needs to practice when lessons aren’t in session. If your child is diligent with his or her other duties, like chores or homework, they will probably do well juggling music assignments as well.

 

4. HE OR SHE ASKS GREAT QUESTIONS. The best students are inquisitive students — and music is a GREAT outlet for curiosity! If your child loves to understand how things work, music lessons are a great way to explore questions tactically.

 

5. HE OR SHE LIKES TO HAVE FUN. Maybe this is a no-brainer…but ALL of us work harder when we enjoy whatever we’re doing! If your child seems to truly enjoy music in other contexts, it’s probably safe to assume they will enjoy music lessons…and by extension, will have the patience to stick with them.

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 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 taught violin and piano students as young as four years old. If your child wants to start early, it’s totally a possibility.

 

Here are four instruments that, in our experience, are great starting points for young learners.

 

PIANO. This instrument is basically kid-proof! If you can teach the student to identify the right key, it will never sound squeaky or out of tune. Not only does that save mom’s ears, but it gives a young learner immediate feedback that sounds nice. Pianos allow our smallest learners to learn the basics of music and rhythm in a fun, tactile and pleasant-sounding way.

DRUMS. Don’t panic, mom! There are lots of drum-practicing methods that are easy on a parent’s ears, including practice pads and rubber drum covers. Drums are a big hit with young learners. Hitting things? Deep noises? Surprising sounds? What’s not to love!

On a more serious note, drum lessons are a GREAT way to give your child’s motor skills and sense of rhythm a boost.

VOICE. Your child was born with an instrument — and most kids already LOVE to sing. Don’t overlook voice lessons! Your child will learn the basics of pitch, proper breathing techniques, and how to be an effective communicator through song. This is perhaps the most natural instrument for a young child to learn, and it’s a great outlet for energy and creativity.

UKULELE. Stringed instruments can be tough at first, but what’s not to love about the sound of a ukulele? Ukes have four strings (compared to six on a guitar), so they are a little easier for a young learner to handle. The size also makes them perfect for kiddos! Since they’re smaller, they are not particularly loud, and they have a beautiful, mellow sound. If you have a child who has expressed interest in guitar, ukulele is a great starting point.

 

 

To learn more about lessons at Learning Allegro, visit our website. 

 

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 […]

FAQs about Renting an Instrument

FAQs about Renting an Instrument

Renting an instrument for the first time? Here’s what you need to know!   If the idea of renting an instrument stresses you out, take a deep breath! When you have the right help, renting is actually an easy process and comes with LOTS of […]

Back to school checklist for music students

Back to school checklist for music students

As your son or daughter heads back to school band, orchestra, or choir, here are a few tips to help pave the way for success!

1. PRACTICE AT HOME.  The best way to prep for the work you do in class is…you guessed it…practicing on your own time! Encourage your child to take a little break from homework to spend time with his or her music assignments. We recommend framing practice time as a BREAK from homework, not an additional component of homework. It helps to give your child a more positive perspective on his or her practice times.

 

2. CHECK ON YOUR RENTAL SITUATION. If you don’t already own your child’s instrument, renting is the best way to go. Most instrument rental programs use a rent-to-own system to cover each month’s expenses — and then, when your child is ready for a full-time instrument, you can often purchase it for next to nothing! At Learning Allegro, we are providers for Menchey Music, an affordable, quality service offering rentals for all school band and orchestra instruments from strings to brass & woodwinds.

 

3. MAKE FRIENDS IN MUSIC CLASS.  Your kid will probably do this on his or her own, but a little encouragement can’t hurt! Music classes at school are a great way to make music a community-building activity…and when you make friends with other musicians, you find out you’re not the only one who struggles with difficult notes and rhythms. Encourage your child to find that sense of camaraderie in class and encourage his or her peers.

 

4. CHECK OUT PRIVATE LESSONS. As we said in our last post, group lessons have a lot of great qualities, but they will never really be enough on their own. One-on-one help is a huge deal when you’re learning a new instrument because everyone’s motor skills, reading skills, and innate sense of rhythm and tone develops at a different pace. Give your child a boost and sign him or her up for a private music lesson outside of school. You won’t regret it!

 

5. BRING ON THE ENCOURAGEMENT!  Music lessons, whether in a group or in private, can be tough! Encourage your child not to quit or get stressed when the midyear school blues kick in. Remind them that music is an outlet for energy, emotion, relaxation, and learning initiative. Applaud their progress when you notice positive change, and encourage them when they are frustrated with how things sound. You, the parent, play a huge part in making your child’s school music lessons successful!

 


 

To learn more about lesson opportunities for all instruments at Learning Allegro, call us (484-341-8842) or check out our website.

Private Lessons vs. Group Lessons: Which are Better?

Private Lessons vs. Group Lessons: Which are Better?

Every now and then, someone asks us whether their child should be in group lessons or private lessons — but believe it or not, the two are really designed to work together. Allow me to explain! Group lessons and private lessons, as separate entities, both […]