Helpful tips and funny thoughts from a musician's mind

Tag: lessons

Torn about summer lessons? Here are some of the benefits!

Torn about summer lessons? Here are some of the benefits!

It’s almost summertime — and summer means more time for growing, learning, playing, and exploring your community. Here are five great reasons to make music lessons part of your summer plans in 2019:   1. MUSIC IS FUN! Learning an instrument can be an awesome experience — […]

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 […]

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 strings. Before those lessons, I would always give the same speech:

 

“Violin takes a while to sound good. Don’t get frustrated if things don’t click right away.

 

That speech is probably important for beginners on every instrument to hear. Musicianship is a marathon! It takes time, patience, discipline, and faith in what the sound will become over the years.

 

Eventually, though, those beginner violin students would get a different kind of pep talk:

 

“Watch your pitch! Other finger! You’re still having trouble with that measure.” 

 

Why the change? Simple: those students were progressing in their studies. The basics were becoming more natural to them. Once a students finds his footing and gets comfortable on an instrument, it’s time to turn up the pressure a little bit!

 

The pep talk game is interesting. On one hand, there should always be grace for learners! Teachers should help students enjoy their craft, and the classroom should never be a place to fear. As one of my friends always says, “Lessons should be the safest place to fail.”

 

However, classrooms should also be places where people are challenged. When encouragement is not paired with honest criticism and hard work, you can’t grow! 

 

Personally, I have seen very talented musicians “fizzle out” and plateau because they weren’t encouraged to take their craft seriously. Again, music should be fun and exciting, but it should never be fun at the expense of effort and focus.

 

From time to time, people ask us, “Why isn’t my child getting better at violin/piano/drums/etc?” Sometimes, the answer is lack of practice. Sometimes, the child lacks confidence and just needs to be built up a little more. But sometimes — many times — the answer is that in the name of having fun, the child is forgetting to take the learning process seriously.

 

If that’s happening, one of the best people to combat that issue is you, the parent!

 

Mom and Dad play a huge role in the pep talk game. You need to be your child’s biggest cheerleader, but also a coach — someone who will cheer for their successes, keep the game fun, but also keep their eyes on the prize. As your child practices, attends lessons, and dives deeper into studying music, help them to push towards real growth. Learning does not always have to be boring, and fun should not be purposeless. Help your young musician to find the fun in learning while embracing the challenge of hard work. 

 

After all, the best way to run a marathon is with a buddy — someone who believes in you and won’t let you give up.

A Year in Review: Learning Allegro

A Year in Review: Learning Allegro

Learning Allegro has been blogging for a whole year! Here’s what happened since last October.     Since the Learning Allegro blog has now been active for a full year (woohoo!), we’d like to take a minute to look back on everything that has transpired […]

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.

Help! My child is in lessons, but I’m not musical!

Help! My child is in lessons, but I’m not musical!

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 […]

Highlight clips from our 2018 spring recital!

Highlight clips from our 2018 spring recital!

Our student musicians did not disappoint! Check out a few of the very talented young artists who played at our 2018 spring recital. So proud of ALL of our Learning Allegro families!  

Five ways to jazz up your summer music lessons

Five ways to jazz up your summer music lessons

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.

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 […]