Helpful tips and funny thoughts from a musician's mind

Tag: education

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 […]

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 […]

Rusty? We can help!

Rusty? We can help!

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.

Musical burnout? Finding the source of your child’s frustration.

Musical burnout? Finding the source of your child’s frustration.

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 […]

Why summer is the best time to try a new instrument

Why summer is the best time to try a new instrument

Here’s what we’ve noticed at Learning Allegro when our students try out new instruments during summer break.  In the last few years, we’ve seen a surge of students at Learning Allegro who try a new instrument over the summer. We don’t blame them! Here are […]

Why do so many schools downplay the arts?

Why do so many schools downplay the arts?

Many public schools treat art and music extracurriculars. In fact, the arts are often defunded before subjects that really are extracurriculars, like sports. Why?

In the scheme of global history, we’re really the first era to downplay art education. Our ancestors treated the arts just as seriously as science and technology– and in some ways, their music and poetry actually outlived their scientific discoveries. For example, when Pythagoras claimed that the world was round, it was a big deal in his own time…but children today can figure that out with one glance at a satellite image. The discovery still matters, but it doesn’t necessarily surprise us anymore.

On the other hand, we STILL have whole fields of study devoted to understanding the paintings, musical practices, and stage plays of our ancestors. High schoolers still read Homer and Sophocles, as part of their basic education.

In other words, while cutting-edge science changes constantly, art is evergreen. It can pass through the hands of ten generations without losing its potency. That’s why it’s one of the best ways to map and understand a culture.

 

SO WHEN DID PUBLIC SCHOOLS START DOWNPLAYING THE ARTS?

 

Two words: Cold War.

American schools began to elevate math and science in the late 1950s as a response to tensions between the USA and the Former Soviet Union. Basically, national leaders saw science, tech, engineering and math (“STEM” subjects) as the best way to stay ahead of the Soviets. If kids were interested in math and science, they would grow up to develop new technology, weaponry, and aerospace programs. That was the logic–and as I type on a MacBook Air, it seemed to work.

Unfortunately, this created a see-saw effect in public education — when one budget goes up, the other goes down. As the United States began passing legislation like the National Defense Education Act (1958), the budget for STEM education was raised.  At the same time, more schools began to treat the arts as secondary subjects.

 

TODAY, MANY SCHOOLS ARE STARTING TO REDISCOVER THE VALUE OF AN ARTS EDUCATION.

Students who take art and music are four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement. Studying music and theatre has actually been proven to improve math and science test scores. In fact, many of the leading STEM nations, including Japan, Hungary, and the Netherlands, require schools to fund the arts seriously.

Fortunately, public schools is not the only way to give your child a musical head start. That’s one reason we view our work at Learning Allegro as so critical to a child’s development. Music studios, art lessons, and community theatres are great ways to expose your child to the arts…and that exposure will positively impact the rest of their formal education.

Music and art are more than just fun creative outlets. They help us interact with our world intellectually!


WHETHER YOUR CHILD IS A FUTURE SCIENTIST, ARTIST, OR SOMETHING IN BETWEEN, LEARNING ALLEGRO OFFERS A VARIETY OF MUSIC AND ARTS COURSES TO HELP THEM GROW. BE SURE TO VISIT OUR WEBSITE FOR MORE INFORMATION. ASK US ABOUT OUR SUMMER CAMPS! 

Seven ways to help your child practice more effectively

Seven ways to help your child practice more effectively

It’s no big surprise that most kids love music, but hate practicing. We often sell practice negatively, whether we mean to or not. We paint it as work (which is true), but fail to emphasize the room for discovery, improvement and fun within that work. Like any good […]

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 […]

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? Absolutely!

Group music classes are a great way to introduce children to music lessons and offer a variety of benefits to young musicians. They allow young learners to develop technical and social skills in an atmosphere that individual lessons can’t duplicate.

We asked the teachers at Learning Allegro to list some of the most common benefits they have observed while teaching group lessons. Here are some of their top answers.

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1.  Heightened Interest.

When a student takes private lessons, he or she will potentially only learn (and hear) a small portion of the music universe. However, students in group classes are typically exposed to many aspects of music–including different genres, techniques, and the chance to play alongside different instruments. Also, since groups allow for a continuous flow of ideas and dialogue, it’s often easier to keep students focused on what they’re learning!

2.  Peer Learning.

Nothing helps us learn faster than teaching someone else! In group classes, students don’t just have the opportunity to learn from the teacher–they often get the opportunity to teach their fellow peers!  Some students may be too shy to ask a teacher about a technique, but feel totally comfortable asking a peer to demonstrate. The group dynamic also gives the students chances to see their peers working to use techniques, improve rhythm, and hear notes to improve intonation.

3.  Competition.

Many students have a competitive approach to learning–which is wonderful when founded in positivity and collaboration! Group classes allow for healthy competition to abound. Also, a competitive spirit will often drive students to practice more and learn faster than they would in private lessons.

4.  Self-Esteem.

Unlike private lessons, students in group classes are constantly performing in front of their peers.  Because they are always “performing”, students gain a level of showmanship that is not found in private lessons. This can greatly benefit a musician down the road. Students in group classes are also able to hear their peers learning and struggling with some of the same concepts, which brings a sense of community to some of the more difficult aspects of learning an instrument.

5.  Social Competency.

Unlike private lessons, group classes make learning music a social event. Students learn how to take turns, ask questions, play together, and make friends! Students also have the opportunity to learn about their own interests while celebrating the unique interests of their peers. 

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Having the confidence to perform in front of others, help each other, and ask questions are skills that apply to all aspects of a student’s life. Learning an instrument is wonderful; being able to learn that instrument with a friend is even more fantastic!

 


 

At Learning Allegro, we offer group classes for all ages. For more information, check out our website.
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 […]