Home Music Lessons – The Benefits of Taking Music Lessons in Your Home

We’ve all heard about the academic and personal benefits of taking music and piano lessons. Once a family has decided to start music lessons, they then have the choice between taking music lessons at home or music lessons in a teacher’s studio.

One of the questions an in-home music teacher hears frequently is, “Does taking a music lesson in your own home make that make of a difference versus in a school or a studio?” The answer is “absolutely!” I have taught over 200 students in both Home Music Lessons and Studio Music Lessons – I can speak from experience. The comparison between the two is crystal clear.

What is it that makes lessons in the home so successful? The answer can be found in the reaction of the child. How a child perceives what is taking place during the lesson is crucial to a young music student’s success. Is the student receiving positive feedback and encouragement? Or are they only being told what they are doing wrong. Does the child have a positive one-on-one relationship with the music teacher? Is the lesson another “job” they must finish before they can go play? Or is the lesson a real treat that they look forward to.

Children are incredibly perceptive. They can sense if someone is genuinely interested in them and will react almost immediately to even the slightest rise or fall in a teacher’s voice. A child’s perception is even more impacted when they feel comfortable – such as in the familiar surroundings of their own home. I have seen children become extremely focused when they have sensed the presence of a parent in a nearby room. Children have a natural desire to please – and that desire is doubled when it comes to pleasing their parents. By keeping the music lessons in the home, the children have a constant reminder of their goal. I have seen a child’s face light up when mom praises him for learning her favorite song. Lessons in the home remind the child of his purpose and this completely changes the way the child views the lessons.

A music or piano lesson in the home is also a completely different experience than any of their other activities. Most homes aren’t equipped to have a swim team practice in the living room! Music Lessons are one of the few extracurricular activities that children can actually enjoy in their home. This creates a unique experience that the child comes to view as a special event – different from anything else they (and probably their friends) do.

The creation of a unique experience truly comes to light when comparing in-home lessons to lessons at a studio. Children spend an average of eight hours a day in a school environment where they are fed a constant stream of information. When lessons are taught at a school or studio, the setting mimics a school environment. Although any music lessons are better than nothing, the child frequently starts to associate the lessons as just another subject to get through – not something to love and enjoy for a lifetime. Again, exposing a child to any form of music lessons is a gift; however, the question we are exploring is whether not in-home music classes are a more effective choice than Studio or School Lessons. While music lessons in a studio are better than no lessons at all, a student will be able to reap the full benefits by having music lessons in the home.

Turning to my own teaching experience, the results were clear between my Home and School Music Students. Children of the same age would start at the same time – and quite often in the exact same book. By the time the Spring Recital rolled around, the difference between the two students were obvious. Children who took music classes at home far exceeded the others in their progress – without exception. I have had several parents switch their child from Studio to Home Music Lessons – almost all of them have remarked on the increased progress their child made after switching. Parents who have made the switch from studio music lessons to home music lessons say they would never go back!

I do not have a degree in Child Psychology or Education. What I do have is years of experience teaching music classes to hundreds of young students. Parents want the best for their children – the best teachers, activities, and the best learning environment. At the end of the day though, they rely on their instinct and experience to determine what is best for their child. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand a child – you just have to care enough and show it. Many families haven’t considered how important the learning environment is for music students. After exploring the difference between home music lessons and studio music lessons, parents often chose the in-home lesson option.

Guitar Music Lessons – 7 Traits of an Expert Guitarist

With my guitar music lessons, I’ve done some research and started noticing a group of common trends among expert guitarists. You see, anyone can pick up the guitar and attempt to play, but those who naturally carry these certain “expert” traits will find themselves passing up those who maybe have been playing for years!

We all know that guitarists are different. You learned something new didn’t you? But, there are a few common traits among them that have set them up for success while their peers have just let the guitar remain only a hobby since their efforts were to just learn guitar fast.

So we have these “special traits”. I know that you’re dying to hear what they are after all this introduction, so let’s get to it:

1. Having Goals

As simple as this sounds, if you don’t have any goals on what you actually want to achieve, you can wander aimlessly around the instrument and never get anything accomplished! There are a few tips to making goals regarding your guitar music lessons however.

(a) Get them in writing.

(b) Say exactly what you want to achieve. Don’t beat around the bush.

(c) Create visual reminders that will keep you on track. If you need pictures to motivate you, hang some around your room. If you like motivational quotes, read a new quote each day.

2. Daily Practice.

This might sound like a drag but it isn’t. If you want to get good at something, nothing should stand in your way. Don’t worry about your job or your relationship problems when they flare up. Make playing your guitar the one consistent thing that happens each day.

3. Ability to Read Music

There are plenty of guitar music lessons on reading music so you should get cracking! The best players no how to read actual sheet music as opposed to just tablature.

4. Owning Quality Equipment

This tip doesn’t require you to have expensive equipment, just well-made instruments and accessories that will work when they need to. When you purchase your first guitar, you should be doing plenty of research anyway and getting advice from experienced players.

5. Experienced in Multiple Genres

Diversity broadens your mind and forces you to learn new skills. It’s amazing how that works. Don’t lock yourself into just one genre. Explore your horizons and see if there are other guitar music lessons that will enlighten you to new and interesting skills.

6. Good Social Skills

For anyone that’s spent even a year in the music industry, they can vouch that learning, improving, and getting anywhere is all about who you know. But before you can “know” someone, you have to be polite and know how to talk to them!

I guess what I’m trying to say is, check your attitude at the door, treat your fans and supporters like gods and goddesses, and carry yourself well. Guitar music lessons can only do so much.

7. Reliable and Responsible

In the end, it doesn’t even matter how great you are at the guitar if no one wants you to join their band. It’s all about having a good attitude, being responsible, and doing your part. Don’t let a bad reputation hold you back from showing the world that you’re a great guitarist!

Notice that in two of these seven traits, it has nothing to do with your actual skills as a guitarist! It’s mostly just about being nice. The bottom line for guitar music lessons like this is that expert players are ambitious, kind to everyone, and focused like a penetrating laser beam. Follow in their footsteps and get something done!

Playing For Life – How to Keep a Child Engaged in Music Lessons From Early Childhood Through Teens

How many parents have given their children years of music lessons, only to have the child one day announce: “I quit!”

It can be heartbreaking for the parent, not least because of the thousands of dollars they may have invested in lessons and instruments.

But inevitably, years later, the former teen will say, “I never should have quit the violin (or cello or viola)! I wish my parents had forced me to stick with it!”

Being a music school director for the past ten years, and the parent of three (an 8-year-old, a teenager, and a former teen), I have seen this sort of thing happen again and again. So I have made it one of my primary missions to create an environment that keeps kids in music, from tot through teen years. Here are some of my most powerful techniques for keeping children involved in, and passionate about, their music.

1. Start them young – on piano. I have found that children who begin with piano, and then come into my violin or other stringed instrument class, always do better than children who have not had early piano training. Violin and other stringed instruments are difficult, due to the many aspects needed to focus on at once. It is also physically challenging. Piano is a lot easier to grasp for pre-k kids. Once the student already has a basic understanding of music, including note-reading, rhythm, and practicing, they are freer to focus on the technical challenges of the stringed instrument. I now require tots to take my beginning piano class, and i encourage parents to keep those lessons going until they begin in my violin class.

2. Don’t go it alone! How many parents enroll their children in private music lessons, only to have them refuse to go because they don’t know anyone? Yet the same child will participate in almost any activity if at least one friend is present! Group beginning music classes can be a lot of fun for the younger set, and particularly ideal for children age 3½ years through 5 ½, depending on their maturity.

3. Kids who play together like to play together! The more opportunities the children have to play the more they will improve. In addition to private lessons, as soon as the child is eligible, we place him or her in a performing group. At our school, graduates of our beginning violin class will enroll in private lessons and in our training orchestra. More advanced players go into our more advanced children’s orchestra. Older students are encouraged to join regional youth orchestras. Ninety-nine percent of the time, once the initial excitement of playing an instrument has passed, it is the group playing that the kids will remain excited about. Children love to be with other children! Participation leads to more practicing, especially if the conductor or musical director connects well with children.

In addition to private lessons and orchestra, many participate in our chamber music program. I started the chamber music program with four kindergarten girls who knew each other from orchestra. After a few months of playing together they named themselves the bff (‘best friends forever’) they have been playing together for 3 years by now. They’ve performed for our us congressman, senior centers, local schools, and even at our local farmer’s market. What I’ve discovered is that the kids in the quartet were developing faster and playing better, so i set out to form more groups and a chamber music program.

4. Keep em’ in the spotlight! It is rare that a kid doesn’t thrive from the envelopment of warm feelings, positive attention, and sense of accomplishment that they feel after a performance, (not to mention camaraderie with their fellow performers). Whether it’s performing in a studio recital, a solo competition; or with their youth orchestra at carnegie hall, performances are key to keeping up a child’s interest, and improving their playing. The vast majority of children who only do private lessons, and don’t have any performance opportunities, will eventually lose interest and drop out.

5. Stay positive! When in doubt, do not shout, berate, belittle, or threaten to drop the lessons. None of the negative stuff works, and it will just lead to more frustration for you, and your child. Even when it feels like your child is not meeting your or the teacher’s expectation, remain positive. Your child may just be going through a rough patch.

To get through it, with the little ones, offer small rewards for practicing daily or weekly. It could be a sticker or a trip to the toy store. In their teens, you can relax their practice schedule if it feels like too much of a burden. When my teen son decided that he wanted to quit saxophone, his teacher suggested that he just practice five minutes a day. He did this for over a year, continuing to participate in various orchestras and jazz groups. It worked! He continued playing saxophone through high school, and received a huge music scholarship to college. Although he has decided not to make music his career, he continues to make money with his instrument through teaching and gigging.

6. Summer and school breaks are a great time to move ahead! Rather than taking a break from music lessons, vacation is actually a great time to make headway. It’s an opportunity for life-changing musical adventures or just plain getting lots accomplished. Enroll your child in a summer music program that offers something different in the way of lessons and orchestra or chamber music. For teens, there are many programs away from home, in beautiful settings in the mountains or countryside. The more your child improves the more they will like playing, and the more they will feel good about themselves. It’s the child who lags behind who will want to stop practicing or worse, quit.

7. Don’t over schedule. Although we want our children to be well-rounded, it’s better for their psyche for them to excel in one thing. And if that one thing is playing a musical instrument, it will have tremendous benefits. Skill on a musical instrument sets them apart from their peers. They will begin to identify themselves as a musician, which is great for their self-esteem. Excelling at a musical instrument – especially strings – will help in applications for arts schools and programs, and eventually, colleges! Most colleges have orchestras with many chairs to fill. There is usually a need for many more violin, viola, cello and bass players!

8. Stay committed. Staying committed to your child’s music education may be the hardest part of raising your child, but i can say from first-hand experience, it’s worth the it! The experiences your child will have being a musician will shape their lives (not to mention their brains) in a way that cannot be duplicated any other way. Music promotes self-esteem, teamwork, and good study habits, and it has shaped the lives of many youngsters in a most profound way.

Taking all these steps will make it far more likely that your child will have lifelong appreciation for their instrument and for music.