Helpful tips and funny thoughts from a musician's mind

Tag: former student

My Learning Allegro Story: Miss Haleigh

My Learning Allegro Story: Miss Haleigh

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 […]

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 […]

How a summer camp helped me see the FUN in violin lessons

How a summer camp helped me see the FUN in violin lessons

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 […]

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 walk of life and put them under one roof.

Diversity is not just a matter of language or background, though. It’s also a matter of age. Every week, I sit down at the piano with pupils as young as five and as old as…well, old enough that they don’t have to tell me their ages. *wink wink*

That being said, I’m often asked “When is the best time to start lessons?”

Scholars and critics are all over the place on this one. Some people insist that you should start young, citing a child’s powers of retention and motor skills. Others say you should wait a little while, citing the importance of self-discipline and initiative.

PERSONALLY, I FIND THE QUESTION — AND ITS PREMISE — KIND OF FUNNY. 

The question seems to imply that there’s a magical age that somehow makes music lessons more valid or worthwhile. It also assumes that people are cookie-cutters, uniformly developing in every possible way. And both of those assumptions just aren’t true.

The best answer I can give you is this:

THE BEST TIME TO START IS WHEN YOU ARE GENUINELY INTERESTED IN MUSIC. 

Maybe that’s too simple for the scholarly community, but really, I think that’s what the issue boils down to.

It takes time, patience, and practice to become a musician–and from personal experience, you won’t care enough to “stick with it” unless you have some baseline interest in what you’re doing. But that baseline will be different for every person.

I started taking violin lessons somewhere between the ages of three and four (yep!), and although I wasn’t always a diligent student, I stayed engaged in lessons for fifteen years. My sister, who started at the same time, swore off the violin at the ripe age of five–and my parents never made her play again. It just wasn’t her thing.

On the other side of the spectrum, we’re starting to see more and more parents take lessons at Learning Allegro. People are finally getting over the “too late” stigma and treating music lessons as a chance to “learn for fun.” Imagine that!

ARE THERE BENEFITS TO STARTING YOUNG? SURE — BUT I WOULD RATHER TEACH A 64-YEAR-OLD WITH GENUINE INTEREST IN MUSIC THAN AN 8-YEAR-OLD WITH PHOTOGRAPHIC MEMORY. 

Why? Because the person with interest is the one who will practice, push themselves, and value the end goal: great music!

So what’s the right age to begin music lessons? It’s really a matter of personal discernment. Know yourself (or your child)–and if you see that glimmer of interest, give it an outlet! Whether you’re four or four hundred, a little bit of personal desire can go a long way.

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, […]