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 […]
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 benefits. At Learning Allegro, we do rentals in-house thanks to a partnership with Menchey Music.
Here are the top five things you need to know about renting an instrument — especially if your child is new to the game!
1. RENTING IS AFFORDABLE. Instruments–even student grade instruments–can be very expensive. Renting allows you to pay in small increments instead of stomaching a $750 investment up front. It also means that you don’t lose much if your child decides to quit six months later!
(Obviously, the hope is that your kid sticks with lessons and loves them…but hey! Life happens.)
2. SOME INSTRUMENTS ‘GROW’ WITH YOUR CHILD. Most of the brass and woodwind instruments, like flutes and trumpets, are “one size fits all.” If your child is a string player, he or she will actually go through several small instruments until he or she is big enough to handle a full-sized one. Renting is especially a good move for string players because it allows you to switch instrument sizes without hassle as your child grows. (Little violins are super cute, by the way.)
3. MOST RENTAL SERVICES LET YOU PURCHASE THE INSTRUMENT DOWN THE ROAD. When I was ready for a full-sized violin in eighth grade, we went to the music store where we had rented for 9 years. The full-sized violin should have costed $1,500 (yikes!)…but the money we’d spent on rentals over the years was counted towards the cost of the new instrument. We ended up paying about $500 instead.
If your child loves his or her lessons and plans to play for longer than 3 or 4 years, renting is a great long-term decision. You essentially pay for the instrument over time, which is way more affordable!
4. RENTALS CAN COVER ACCIDENTS. Did your child lose part of his clarinet? Put a foot through his cello? Leave the violin on the edge of the table when you told him that wasn’t a great idea? No worries! Most rental companies give you the chance to opt into a “maintenance and repair” fee. For a few bucks per month, they offer a total repair service that will keep even the clumsiest kid in the world in business.
Instrument repairs can be very expensive “on your own,” so this is something we strongly encourage our renters to do!
5. RENTING IS A LOT EASIER IN PERSON. There has been a surge in people renting instruments online. As a music school, we strongly recommend against that. If you’ve never rented before, or you don’t know much about an instrument, it’s easy to end up with the wrong product — or worse, to get locked into a more expensive contract.
Find a rental instrument supplier in your area and GO THERE! If you’re in the Chester County area, we recommend stopping at Learning Allegro (shameless plug). Talk to a live person; take the opportunity to see your instrument before you sign any contracts. You will have much more peace of mind and will learn more about the instrument you’re bringing home!
Need to rent an instrument? Come see us! We’d be happy to help you. Our address and contact information are listed on the side of this blog and on the Learning Allegro website.
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 […]
Did your young musician take a break from lessons this summer? Then she might feeling a bit rusty. May we humbly suggest a great way to get back on track?
Let’s face it — we don’t use every musical skill in day-to-day life. Street signs, thankfully, are not printed on treble clefs. Traffic jams, sadly, do not sound particularly melodious. And while all the world is a stage, very few places are good practice rooms.
However, there are certain musical skills, such as sight reading, intonation, and muscle memory, that are very important for young musicians to practice. These are skills that require time and attention to develop properly. In other words, if you don’t keep up with them, they get rusty.
That’s where this blog post comes into play. Many of our Learning Allegro students take a break from lessons during the summer, but most of my “break families” come back in August, not September. Why? Because it gives their children four weeks to get “back in shape” before heading back to orchestra, band, or lessons at school.
It’s not a huge surprise if your kid is feeling rusty after three months off. The most important principles of music are built on hours and hours of practice. So before you send your child back to school, take a month to help them get back into the musical routine!
Not only do August lessons refresh musical skills, but they can re-instill your child’s sense of confidence in classes. As a kid, I dreaded September lessons because I felt like everyone would figure out how rusty I was. It was embarrassing to come back to a class and feel like I had regressed to “square one.” When you sign up for August lessons, you also give your child a chance to rebuild confidence in a lesson setting — BEFORE they have to play in front of other kids again. That’s a huge deal!
We offer private lessons at all hours of the day, seven days a week, on virtually every instrument taught in public schools. Sign your child up for August lessons! You will send them back to school in September with confidence, renewed skill, and a splash of energy to shake off that summer rust.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT LESSONS, CHECK OUR WEBSITE.
I SHOULD PREFACE THIS POST WITH A LITTLE NOTE. Yes, I’m in the music education business. No, I’m not writing this to guilt-trip you into keeping an unhappy child in lessons! There are certainly times to take a child out of music lessons, just like […]
What do you do when your child is taking music lessons, but you don’t consider yourself a “musical person?” How can you make sure your child is truly progressing? Miss Haleigh returns to the Learning Allegro Blog to tackle this common question. I grew […]
Are you struggling to keep music lessons fun and exciting during the summer? Here are five easy ways to jazz up your studies, keep learning, and make the summer months feel fresh.
1. EXPLORE A NEW GENRE OF MUSIC. Are you a classically trained pianist? Try some jazz or ragtime. Are you a pop musician? Try something a little more formal. Think about some interesting musical genres that lie outside the “normal” realm of your lessons and give them a shot. You might find something that you really enjoy!
2. EXPLORE A NEW INSTRUMENT. That’s right — it’s not a sin to try an entirely new instrument! In fact, we know many people who use the summer months for that very purpose. When you try a new instrument over the summer, you have a chance to “test drive” lessons without committing to a full school year. You also become a more well-rounded musician in general
3. TRY A GROUP LESSON. There are many, many benefits to learning in groups, as we discussed in one of our very first posts. They make music class a more social activity, and they will help you improve your technique in a new, engaging environment.
4. DO SOME RESEARCH OUTSIDE OF LESSONS. One of the best ways to become a better cultured musician is to listen to new, well-composed music in your spare time. Believe it or not, this might help you approach your own lessons with a new sense of direction and enthusiasm.
5. TAKE YOUR SUMMER LESSONS AT LEARNING ALLEGRO. Okay, perhaps number five is a little cheeky of us…but what can we say? Our summer students look like they’re having an awesome time in the studio. Maybe you should join us and see for yourself!
To learn more about summer lessons at Learning Allegro, check out our website.
In last week’s post, I said that I did not start playing violin in a community-oriented way until I had been in private lessons for thirteen years. That’s a partial truth. My middle school and high school did not have onsite music programs, so until […]