Helpful tips and funny thoughts from a musician's mind

Tag: music

WATCH: Clips from Learning Allegro’s 2018 Christmas Recital

WATCH: Clips from Learning Allegro’s 2018 Christmas Recital

Here are a few clips from our 2018 Christmas Recital — including a guest appearance by Miss Wendy! We heard from over 30 talented young musicians at this year’s event. What a treat! Do you have a budding musician in your home? Check out our […]

Thankfulness at Learning Allegro

Thankfulness at Learning Allegro

One of the best parts of November is the chance to slow down and think about the blessings in our lives. Life, even with all of its pitfalls and hurdles, leaves us with so much to appreciate. We just wanted to share a few of […]

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 since last October.

 

1. WE STARTED A BLOG. Let’s go with the obvious first. Blogging lets us connect with our families and friends beyond the studio. It’s also like a real-time scrapbook, in some ways! We’ve thoroughly enjoyed our venture into the blogosphere this year, and we plan to keep on flooding your feed with great musical content.

 

2. NEW STUDENTS. We’ve seen our student population grow–and with that growth, we’ve seen a great new diversity in the types of instruments and musical styles being taught in our building. Thank you for helping us make Learning Allegro a bigger family!

 

3. NEW TEACHERS. Where would we be without them? In the last twelve months, we brought new guitar, voice, piano, woodwind, and drum teachers on staff. Each one brings something special to the studio and clearly loves what they do. We’re so blessed to have awesome teachers under our roof!

 

4. GROUP CLASSES. We started a group strings class this year, which has been great (shout out to Miss Amanda!). We’ve also seen group guitar and rock band classes take center stage.

 

5. ART! The people have spoken: art at Learning Allegro is a huge hit! Budding artists of all ages have composed their own creative works under the skilled eye of Miss Sarah. Our walls are getting full of paintings, and we wouldn’t have it any other way!

 

6. OUR LIVE MUSIC BUSINESS TOOK OFF. This year, we started a live music group for special events. We never dreamed it would take off so quickly–but WOW, were we busy! Allegro Music played for a small army of events, including weddings, memorial services and corporate dinners. We also became the preferred musicians for several venues in the PA and New Jersey region. (Thank you!)

 

7. WE VOLUNTEERED. We played at local festivals, farmers markets, in pits for community theatres, and volunteered at a local elementary school’s talent show. We love doing our part to make the community more musical and cohesive.

 

8. WE HAD TWO GREAT RECITALS. See videos at the bottom of this post!

 

9. WE DISCOVERED THAT MUSIC IS AWESOME. Okay, this one is a freebie…but seriously. This is a discovery that we make every day at the studio. Every time a student aces that “impossible” song, or one of our teachers creates something awesome, we realize how blessed we are to be on this crazy ride as a music school.

 

 

 

2017-18 was a year of real growth for Learning Allegro, and we can’t wait to keep growing right alongside the rest of the Chester County region. Thanks for being part of our family!

 

To learn more about Learning Allegro, visit 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 […]

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 […]

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 up with musical parents. My dad has an amazing ear and hails from a long line of musicians with perfect pitch. My mom CLAIMS she can’t carry a tune, but I inherited that perfect pitch gene, and I can attest that she’s more musical than she thinks. I also had the influence of my grandfather, an orchestra violinist, and several musical siblings in my life at an early age. In other words, as far as growing up with music goes, I hit the jackpot.

That’s not the case for everybody. I’ve met many parents over the years who worry that their own lack of musical ability (or even interest) will keep their children from reaching their full potential as musicians. It’s true that having a musical parent is handy, especially when you’re learning music theory, but I promise it’s not the deciding factor in your child’s musical future.

With that in mind, here are a few common concerns I have heard from parents that need to be addressed:

 

1. I DON’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT MUSIC.

That’s okay! My younger brother is currently majoring in finance at a state school. I know nothing about finance — but it doesn’t stop me from supporting him and appreciating his passion. It’s okay if your child can read sheet music better than you, or if you don’t know too much about technique. Your support and encouragement can honestly go just as far as a crash course in technique or theory.

 

2. I DON’T LIKE HOW IT SOUNDS WHEN MY KID IS PRACTICING.

Okay, music teachers get this one. As much as we love our students, anyone can get tired of “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” after hearing it 500 times! Remind yourself that the season of squeaky notes and nursery rhymes is short, especially if your child loves his or her lessons. The more they enjoy themselves, the more they will practice! The more they practice, the more enjoyable their music will sound to everyone around them.

You can also ask questions (kindly!) to steer your child in the right direction–questions like “Are you sure that’s the proper note?” or “How did your teacher ask you to hold your bow?” Those questions allow your child to “teach” a little by relaying the information to you, and they should also help correct the sour notes.

 

3. I DON’T FEEL EQUIPPED TO HELP MY CHILD AT HOME.

There are plenty of ways to troubleshoot this one. The best way is to sit in on your child’s lessons. Listen to the teacher’s dialogue with your child and take a few notes. It’s amazing how much you can learn as a fly on the wall! You can also check out some simple theory videos on Youtube or find a theory app for your smartphone.

When I was taking algebra in grade school, my mom bought herself an algebra textbook and would teach herself the problems at night while we were asleep. She always managed to stay one step ahead of us–and it was a huge help! I’m not suggesting you lose sleep over your kids’ lessons, but I do believe that a little bit of self-education can go a long way and make you a more confident source of support for your young musician.

 

4. I’M NOT REALLY INTO THE MUSICAL GENRE MY CHILD IS LEARNING.

If your child is learning an orchestra instrument, he or she will probably get a foundation in classical music because it really is the best technical training you can get. Country, pop, and fiddle are all fun, but they don’t typically test your skillset as thoroughly as classical music does. If your child is learning a genre you don’t particularly enjoy, that’s okay. Again, your support is the main thing

You might find, however, that you enjoy it more than you think. Do a little research! Play the classical/folk/rock and roll songs around your house. The more you expose yourself to the genre your child is playing, the more you will be able to appreciate it.

 

5. IT’S TOO HARD (OR TOO LATE) FOR ME TO LEARN THIS KIND OF THING.

Nope! Some of my favorite students are parents who wanted to cross “play piano” off their bucket lists. You can do this! More specifically, you can learn to enjoy your child’s passion. Why not try classes for a month or two? It’s a good way to give yourself some “me time” while challenging your brain, learning a new skill, and entering the musical world of your son or daughter.

 

For more information about lessons at Learning Allegro, click here!

 

 

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 […]

Thoughts from above a stage

Thoughts from above a stage

This week, Miss Haleigh shares a little bit about the important role music plays in live theatre. 

 


 

This spring, a number of the Learning Allegro teachers, myself included, have been playing in the pit for local theatres. If you’re not familiar, “playing in the pit” is a term we use to describe a small, live orchestra that plays for the actors in musical. Normally, pit musicians are literally seated in a pit in front of the stage, but that’s not always true. My “pit” for Titanic: the Musical at SALT Performing Arts was actually in a recording booth above the stage.

I’ve played in orchestras and wedding quartets before, but this was my first experience playing in a pit for live theatre. Here are a few of my observations.

 

MUSIC IS IMPORTANT. LIKE, SUPER IMPORTANT.

I often tell my Learning Allegro students that language is largely effective because of its musicality. I can say something as simple as “Yes, mom!” with many different tones behind it…and in my younger years, some of those tones might even have gotten me grounded! How we say something is often just as important as what we say.

Playing for a live show really underscores the musicality of simple speech (pardon the pun). It gives the actors an idea of what emotions to put into their words, and it gives the audience a framework for interpreting the mood of the story.


LIVE MUSICIANS HAVE A TOUGH JOB. 

While the actors are delivering lines onstage, the pit musicians might have to speed up, slow down, or repeat segments of music to accommodate the speed of the actors’ conversations. The orchestra has to stay attuned to what’s happening onstage and be prepared for sudden changes.

In a normal orchestra setting, the music is the main event; in a pit, the story is the main event. That means the role of a pit musician is much more interactive than that of an orchestra violinist. You have to stay flexible and make sure the emphasis stays on the actors — all while playing beautifully.

FORMAL MUSICAL TRAINING HAS FAR MORE APPLICATIONS THAN MOST PEOPLE REALIZE.

Playing in the pit has reminded me how many ways a trained musician can truly use his or her skills. When we think of violinists, flutists, or cellists, we normally associate them with classical orchestras. We sometimes fail to remember that classical training will benefit a musician in tons of different performance situations. Wedding quartets need trained musicians. Pit orchestras need trained musicians. Cruise ships, black tie formals, big-shot recording artists, film scores, and even simple, local functions need trained musicians.

When we put our kids in private violin or piano lessons, I think we fail at times to remind them that their talents have applications beyond school band — applications that are fun and exciting! Which leads me to number four…

PLAYING IN A PIT ENCOURAGES COMMUNITY.

As a kid who grew up in music lessons, I almost never heard about community-oriented ways I could use my instrument. My middle and high schools did not have an onsite arts program. I took private lessons for 13 years before I ever got a chance to play in a group setting. And I have a feeling that many young students today have a similar experience. They know music academically, but have no idea how much fun it can be in a group setting.

In three short weeks of playing at SALT, our orchestra pit has become full of inside jokes, hilarious mishaps (that the actors hopefully didn’t hear!), and a general sense of community I never expected. I hope my students find that musical experience earlier in their careers than I did!

 


Thankfully, kids don’t have to wait until they’re orchestra-ready to see the community side of music. Sign your child up for a summer camp. Look into a youth orchestra. When your child insists that there’s nothing to do, encourage him to go write a song. There are many ways that you can convince your child to see music as fun and interactive. No pit required!

Learning Allegro offers fun, interactive summer camps for musicians of all ages. For more information, visit our main website

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 […]