Is it ok to prefer pop over classical?
The short answer? Yes. Music To Your Home is an equal opportunity instruction service. There’s no rule-book – at least not that we subscribe to – that says you must play Mozart and Bach in order to study music. It’s true many of our teachers have devoted countless hours of their lives to learning and mastering these classics, and trust me, they are masters – but we are happy to teach students any style of music they are enthusiastic about.
Some parents are worried their child might lose interest in music if they aren’t learning familiar tunes. So let us be your musical collaborators. Tell the teacher your musical interests. Go to the computer and purchase some sheet music! Yes, there is sheet music out there for Katy Perry, Taylor Swift and all the other artists currently topping the charts. Check out these sites for easy access to some popular music: http://www.sheetmusicplus.com, http://www.musicnotes.com.
You see our goal is simple, get children to love music. And if playing Beethoven’s 5th isn’t what’s going to do it, we’re prepared to accommodate each student’s passion.
Not only will we work with popular music, we have many students composing and arranging their own pieces. And we’ve heard them performed at our annual recitals and it’s impressive! So we will help you purchase staff paper, and show you how to start getting some of those melodies in your head onto paper and out for the world to hear.
So when you think about music lessons, it’s ok to speak up and let your instructor know what really moves you, and we will be happy to oblige!
Why do we spend all those hours practicing and learning how to read music? Well, I guess there are a lot of reasons we take piano lessons or lessons on any instrument for that matter.
For most of us, we started learning an instrument because our parents forced us to, or it was just another activity we couldn’t wiggle our way out of at school. But for some people, learning an instrument is a great outlet for creativity and an opportunity to tap into our talents.
Some of us love the challenge of sitting at the piano and reading a new piece of music for the first time. Maybe it’s a song you heard on the radio or in a movie or perhaps it’s something you grew up listening to. Being able to recreate that sound and moment in time can be a very rewarding experience. Music has a way of bringing back emotions we felt at certain times in our lives. Being able to create those moments yourself, without the help of itunes is very empowering.
Playing an instrument and making music in general can be an amazingly peaceful experience if you want it to be. I have played piano since I was 9 and learning those notes at the beginning was tedious to me. It took me about 4 years of constant reminding from my parents to practice until I realized I actually had a talent! So after all the hard work and practice I found that learning new music and even playing old songs became much easier and enjoyable.
For young students, playing the piano can have advantageous effects on the development of the brain and can also help build self-confidence. Those same effects are realized by adults too, but as an adult I find now that sitting at the piano and playing the songs I like is a major stress reliever.
No matter how long or stressful your day might have been, if it was the late subway, the long commute, the snoring guy on the bus – sitting and playing an instrument can take you away from all the things in your life that are causing you anxiety, even if it’s only for a few minutes. So next time you’re feeling stressed, find your favorite sheet music, sit down and play and try to find your inner peace.
Guess what? I have two seven-year old boys and they both want to quit their piano lessons! And I own Music to Your Home. So am I going to let them? The easy answer would be yes. They can quit. And then they can play on their ipods and computer and watch You Tube videos of kids skateboarding.
But I won’t give in. Because in my eyes that means I’ve quit piano lessons. Twice, really, if you take into account the twin thing.
So how do I get them to enjoy what they’re doing? First of all, I inspire them. I play music they love and point out the piano parts. We really listen for them, and I remind them that one day they can learn those parts. But first they need to study the basics. Once they have that down, they can branch out into any music they want.
Kids also need a goal. We all know when a child has a target, usually they will work twice as hard to achieve it. So what could a goal be? Well, for one, a recital. There’s a ton of merit that comes along with playing on a stage in front of a group of people. It’s difficult and scary, but participating in a performance is an unbelievable confidence builder, not to mention a proud moment for any parent.
Another goal? To impress people! Seems shallow and simple, but I saw my son play piano for a girl at a play date. I reminded him that without those piano lessons – that would not have been possible. My husband is a pianist and I’m a singer. We met in high school because we were both musicians. So there’s that!
Signing your kids up for piano lessons means you’re signing yourself up for piano lessons. You are also making the commitment, albeit you can cook dinner while they practice, but you’re still involved. You’re listening. Applauding when they get it right. Appreciating that your child is learning a skill that could potentially last a lifetime. So when your kid quits, you are also quitting. So stick with those piano lessons. For their sake, and yours.
For singers and parents of singers, here’s a piece of advice for you – learn to play piano. Your child might outperform their peers, bring you to tears with their voice, sing like no one’s listening, et cetera, et cetera. But when it comes time to get serious, they will struggle.
Music school is a conglomeration of all musicians, not just vocalists. Your star singer will be taking classes with people who know music theory backwards and forwards. They will study conducting next to the boy who’s taken piano since he was three. They will take music theory classes with the violinist who played Carnegie Hall at 10 yrs. old. Ask any professional singer and they will tell you the value of learning piano.
Want examples? When you get a new score you can sight-read it. When you need to accompany yourself, you can. When you want to pick up private voice students you’ll be able to play for them! And if becoming a professional musician isn’t your bag and you want to jam every now and then, it’s way cooler to know what the band is talking about when they say, “let’s pick it up from the key change after the turnaround.” If you don’t know what that means? Maybe its time for you to take some piano lessons.
The school year and little league are coming to an end and our recitals are almost all finished. Once the summer is here we often get asked the question: Should my child take a break from their lessons? The answer is simple. NO!
Learning an instrument and learning to read music are both skills that require constant practice and guidance until a certain level of comfort and expertise is achieved. We totally understand that some children go away to sleep away camp over the summer and can’t take music lessons. In that case we suggest that the students bring their instruments with them to practice periodically so they don’t lose the skills they have already learned. Most camps have pianos so children can usually sneak away and practice a few minutes whenever they can. The longer they’re away from the routine of practicing and reading music the longer it takes to get back the skills they already learned. Playing an instrument is not like riding a bike…
The good thing about the summer is that there’s more free time because school is out. Not to mention a nice activity to escape the heat! We’ve also found over the years that summer is a good time to begin learning an instrument when the pressures of school and excess homework are not prevalent. We do have many students who go to day camps but fitting in a weekly piano lesson can still be a fun way of having a creative and mind stimulating experience. Our teachers are generally more flexible and can fit lessons in between trips or whenever our clients are available.
So our suggestion is to take advantage of any free time you have this summer and enjoy learning an instrument!