Helpful tips and funny thoughts from a musician's mind

Tag: music

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 — […]

How to be Recital Ready

How to be Recital Ready

Recital season is upon us! Here are a few ways to make sure that you’re ready to go when the big day rolls around.   1. PICK A SONG YOU ENJOY. If you’re going to play for your family and friends (or even strangers), pick something […]

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 sets of strengths and weaknesses. That means that a student’s “timeline” of musical readiness will always be unique. A focused four-year-old will be ready for piano lessons long before a disinterested ten-year-old!

 

No matter what the age, here are a few ways you can tell if your child is ready to start private music lessons:

 

1. HE OR SHE HAS EXPRESSED INTEREST — WITHOUT YOUR PROMPTING. In my experience, the most dedicated students have always been children who expressed personal interest in an instrument without a parent prompting them. There are certainly times for Mom and Dad to make executive decisions…and I have seen many students “forced” into music who learn to love it…but if the child does not have a personal stake in lessons, that interest often dies within a few years.

If your five-year-old is obsessed with the violin and asks you about it frequently, that’s probably a sign that she’s interested and will work at her craft. Give it a shot!

 

2. HE OR SHE HAS LEARNED HOW TO SIT STILL. Everyone gets a bit wiggly now and then, but an uncontrollably wiggly student is hard to teach! Has your child learned how to sit and listen in another setting, like preschool or kindergarten? Do they know how to listen and take advice? If so, they might be ready for lessons.

 

3. HE OR SHE IS DILIGENT AT HOME. Most of a musician’s growth happens outside the studio! Your child needs to practice when lessons aren’t in session. If your child is diligent with his or her other duties, like chores or homework, they will probably do well juggling music assignments as well.

 

4. HE OR SHE ASKS GREAT QUESTIONS. The best students are inquisitive students — and music is a GREAT outlet for curiosity! If your child loves to understand how things work, music lessons are a great way to explore questions tactically.

 

5. HE OR SHE LIKES TO HAVE FUN. Maybe this is a no-brainer…but ALL of us work harder when we enjoy whatever we’re doing! If your child seems to truly enjoy music in other contexts, it’s probably safe to assume they will enjoy music lessons…and by extension, will have the patience to stick with them.

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 […]

For the Love of Music

For the Love of Music

Valentine’s Day might be over, but love is always a timely subject! In the spirit of keeping love alive this month, here are a few of our favorite things about Learning Allegro’s dearest art form, music.   1. MUSIC SPEAKS TO US. No matter how scientific we […]

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 remembering things — the birth of Jesus, the traditions our parents put in place — and catching a whiff of childhood again. New Year’s Eve asks us to put those memories aside for a moment to celebrate the unknown.

 

Anyway, since today is the last day of December, it seems fitting for me to look backward and forward a little myself.

 

Let’s start with backward.

 

I came to Learning Allegro as a high school student in 2009. At the time, I had no intention of doing anything with violin after high school, and I was “burned out” on the whole lesson scene. According to my mom, I copped some serious attitude in that first lesson. It’s a good thing the teacher was patient.

 

Within three years, much changed. I found my love for music again. I became a more confident musician, a more confident person. That “patient teacher” from 2009 became my boss. Wendy encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone and try my hand at teaching in 2012 — and with her help, I found a career that I loved.

 

From 2012 until today, I taught a small army of students — some much younger than me, some much older — and found that teachers and students really do grow together. I learned to see the basic elements of music with fresh eyes again. Best of all, I spent my evenings and weekends with a fantastic collection of parents, teachers and colleagues who genuinely cared for each other. The people at Learning Allegro truly celebrate each other’s achievements.

 

My job not only “filled my tank” every week emotionally, but put me through school financially. I graduated from Penn State debt free in 2016 — and I paid for my school while doing something I loved with people that I loved.

Now to look forward.

 

Today was my last day teaching at Learning Allegro. I’m heading into a new future, one that is daunting in the best way possible — and as I look, I am so grateful for the time I had at Learning Allegro. My 2009 self had no idea that her first day in this place would lead to a job, incredible friends, and a second home — and I’m glad she couldn’t see that far ahead. The best things in life are twice as sweet when they are surprises.

 

To whoever reads this blog — current students, potential students, parents, colleagues — I hope that you make some space for music and discovery in 2019. I hope “my students” will go twice as far with their new Allegro teachers as they did with me. And I hope the studio continues to impact people like it impacted me. Plenty of changes are ahead in 2019, but no matter what, I know for a fact that Learning Allegro will continue giving great lessons and impacting lives.

Thanks to the teachers, parents and students who made Learning Allegro so memorable. Have a blessed and happy new year!

 

 

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 […]