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5 Ways To Get The Most Out of Music Lessons
These guidelines will help you to have a successful, rewarding experience learning an instrument. These are practical tips that we have discovered from years of teaching and our experiences with teaching hundreds of students each year.
1. HOW YOUNG IS TOO YOUNG - STARTING AT THE RIGHT AGE
Adults can start any instrument at any time. Their success is based on how willing an adult is to commit to practicing. We teach many beginner students in their 60’s and 70’s and 80's.
For children, starting at the right age is a key element to the success of their lessons. Some people will tell you “the sooner the better” but this attitude can actually backfire and be a negative. If a child is put into lessons too soon they may feel overwhelmed and frustrated and want to stop lessons. The last thing you want to do is turn a child off music just because they had one unpleasant experience which could have been prevented. Sometimes if the child waits a year to start lessons their progress can be much faster. Children who are older than the suggested earliest starting age usually do very well. The following are guidelines we have found to be successful in determining how young a child can start taking music lessons.
18 months through Age 9
If a preschooler or young child has a keen desire and wants to start music, a private or group preschool music class will give them a good foundation in music basics which will be helpful in later private lessons. In addition, we have teachers that specialize in early childhood education. We have the BEST program on the market for this age group! Music Fun Time (MusicFunTime.org).
At our school 3-5 years old is the youngest age that we start children in private piano lessons. At this age they have begun to develop longer attention spans and can retain material with ease.
Guitar - Acoustic, Electric, Classical and Bass
5 years old is the earliest we recommend for guitar lessons. Guitar playing requires a fair amount of pressure on the fingertips from pressing on the strings. Children under 6 generally have small hands and may find playing uncomfortable. Bass guitar students generally are 10 years old and older.
10 years old is recommended as the youngest age for private vocal lessons. Due to the physical nature of voice lessons (proper breathing techniques, development of the vocal chords and lung capacity), the younger body is generally not yet ready for the rigors of vocal technique. *Exceptions to the 10 year old start age for private lessons will be considered on an individual basis-where they will be taught how to use their voices properly, in a fun, relaxed environment
Flute, Clarinet & Saxophone
Due to lung capacity (and in the case of the saxophone the size of the instrument), we recommend that most woodwind beginners are 9 and older.
We accept violin students from the age of 5. Some teachers will start children as young as 3, but experience has shown us the most productive learning occurs when the beginner is 5 or older.
The trumpet requires physical exertion and lung power. 9 years and older is a good time to start the trumpet.
The average age of our youngest drum student is 8. This varies greatly depending on the size of the child. They have to be able to reach both the pedals and the cymbals.
2. INSIST ON PRIVATE LESSONS WHEN LEARNING A SPECIFIC INSTRUMENT
Group classes work well for preschool music programs, and theory lessons. However, when actually learning how to play an instrument, private lessons are far superior since in private lessons it is hard to miss anything, and each student can learn at their own pace. This means the teacher does not have to teach a class at a middle of the road level, but has the time and focus to work on the individual student’s strengths and weaknesses. For that lesson period, the student is the primary focus of the teacher. The teachers also enjoy this as they do not have to divide their attention between 5 - 10 students at a time and can help the student be the best they can be.
3. MAKE PRACTICING EASIER
As with anything, improving in music takes practice. One of the main problems with music lessons is the drudgery of practicing and the fight between parents and students to practice every day. Here are some ways to make practicing easier:
Set the same time every day to practice so it becomes part of a routine or habit. This works particularly well for children. Generally the earlier in the day the practicing can occur, the less reminding is required by parents to get the child to practice.
We use this method quite often when setting practice schedules for beginners. For a young child 20 or 30 minutes seems like an eternity. Instead of setting a time frame, we use repetition. For example, practice this piece 4 times every day, and this scale 5 times a day. The child then does not pay attention to the amount of time they are practicing their instrument, but knows if they are on repetition number 3 they are almost finished.
This works very well for both children and adult students. Some adults reward themselves with a cappuccino after a successful week of practicing. Parents can encourage children to practice by granting them occasional rewards for successful practicing. In our school we reward young children for a successful week of practicing with stars and stickers on their work. Praise tends to be the most coveted award - there just is no substitute for a pat on the back for a job well done. Sometimes we all have a week with little practicing, in that case there is always next week.
4. USE RECOGNIZED TEACHING MATERIALS
There are some excellent materials developed by professional music educators that are made for students in a variety of situations. For example, in piano, there are books for very young beginners, and books for adult students that have never played before. There are books that can start you at a level you are comfortable with. These materials have been researched and are continually upgraded and improved to make learning easier. These materials ensure that no important part of learning the instrument can inadvertently be left out. If you ever have to move to a different part of the country, qualified teachers and institutions will recognize the materials and be able to smoothly continue from where the previous teacher left off.
5. HAVE FUN!!
Music should be something that you enjoy for a lifetime. So, try not to put unrealistic expectations on yourself or your children to learn too quickly. Everyone learns at a different pace and the key is to be able to enjoy the journey.
Common Music Questions and Answers
Q: Do I need a piano at home to take piano lessons?
A: It is ideal if you do have a piano at home, but you can start lessons by using an electric keyboard to practice on as long as it meets these requirements: It should have a full keyboard (88 keys), It should have a stand so that it is at the proper height to avoid injury, It should have a bench that is also at the proper height to avoid injury and ensure the proper posture, It should have regular sized keys and a touch sensitive response (A touch sensitive keyboard means if you press a key harder it will play louder and if you press a key softer it will play quieter) and it should have a pedal. Please call/email if you need further information or a name/number for such a purchase.
Q: How long does it take to learn an instrument?
A: There is no set answer of how long it takes to learn an instrument. With regular practice a basic level of playing can be accomplished in a few months. Most of our students take lessons on a long term basis because they want to be constantly improving and they find the lessons enjoyable.
Q: I don't have any musical background or ability; can I still help my child practice?
A: Yes. Even if you don't have a musical background you can ask the teacher for advice on how to help your child practice. By simply monitoring that they are doing exercises a certain number of times per day the student will progress. Many parents occasionally sit in on their child's music lesson to get an idea of the proper way a song should sound or how the student should be positioning their hands.
Q: Are Private Lessons Tax-Deductible?
A: Yes, there are some instances where they can be. Contact your tax advisor to see if you qualify.
Q: My child is interested in learning the guitar. Does he have to begin on an acoustic or is it ok to start on an electric?
A: Since most parents began learning guitar on an acoustic they often think that it is necessary for their kids to start that way. In reality a child can learn how to play using either an acoustic or an electric because the notes and the chords are the same. We always advise the parent to get the opinion of the child if he has one, since for some children emulating their favorite artist will motivate them to practice more. The advantage of beginning on an electric is that it has lighter string tension which means it will take less strength to get a good tone. The advantage of having an acoustic is that you can practice anywhere because you don't need an amp. Parents don't have to worry about the electric being too loud because most beginner amps have a headphone jack so the child can practice without disturbing others.
Q: My child is only interested in rock and roll, can he benefit from taking lessons?
A: No matter what style of music a person is interested in, the fundamentals of music still apply. Learning the terminology (language) of music and developing a comprehensive knowledge of music does not impede one’s ability to “rock out”. It actually will allow a person to develop to a higher level of playing no matter what style they prefer.
Overview of Offerings
Overview of Offerings at North Phoenix Academy of Music
Private and Group Music Lessons on the Following Instruments
Violin, Viola, Cello
Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, Bari Saxophone
Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Classical Guitar, Ukulele, Mandolin, Banjo
Early Childhood Music Classes with Music FunTime (Ages 18 months through Age 7)
We serve students from North Phoenix, Sonoran Foothills, Fireside, Anthem, 85085, 85086, 85087, Arizona and MORE!
Band and Orchestra Instrument Rentals AND Sales
Rental Payments Apply Towards Purchase of the Instrument
An Early Purchase Options may be exercised at any time
There is NO obligation to Buy and the FULL option to return at any time
Maintenance and Service Plan Included (Normal use maintenance, not Damage)
A Professional Mouthpiece is Supplied with every Wind Instrument (included in the Rental Fee)
Each Instrument is Covered by a Damage Waiver (no deductible) and by a Fire and Burglary Waiver (No Deductible) No Additional Charge!
Only Name Brand Instruments in NEW or Like-NEW Condition rented!
Authenticity of New Instruments is Guaranteed!
Sheet Music is sold for ALL Instruments by ALL Publishers!
We sell Sheet Music and ship anywhere in the USA and outside the USA with special arrangements.
We carry and sell music accessories such as metronomes, tuners, cleaning supplies, music stands, reeds, picks, strings and more!
We sell Music Accessories and ship anywhere in the USA and outside the USA with special arrangements.
Tuition & Fees
Tuition and Yearly Registration Fees at North Phoenix Academy Include:
· Private Lesson Time
· Daily Teacher Preparation Time
· Time Spent Searching for New Music and Materials
· Time/Money Spent on Recitals, Festivals and Auditions
· Continuing Education
Tuition is not considered as an hourly charge or as a charge by the lesson at North Phoenix Academy of Music! We have lessons year-round and we bill by the month. We have 3 modalities to choose from for how you receive your lessons:
You can start at anytime (based on availability) and your tuition will billed monthly based on your start date
· There is a $39.00 Registration Fee per student per instrument you enroll in!
· Books/Supplies are extra
· For your convenience, we accept Visa, Mastercard, and Discover
· Tuition is billed by the month
· You can start at anytime (based on availability)