Parents look for activities that support their children academically, socially and emotionally. Our student-centered curriculum makes learning an instrument fun with most students staying with us for years practicing essential skills for success in school, work and life.

FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions and their Answers

“Is there a certain curriculum or method that you follow?

The Musicolor Method which was created here in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

“Do you only teach children?”

We specialize in only teaching children.  However from time to time, we invite parents to adult classes or brush-up lessons to help support their child at home.

“At what age should my child start private music lessons?”

Usually around 3 or 4 years old depending on the child. If he/she knows their ABCs (can correctly order the letters up to G) and shows an interest in music, we can try it out.
With any beginning student, we are connecting them to sounds that they create in their bodies with their instruments. These sounds are then connected to the “alphabet of music” (the names of the notes) and then connected to where those notes reside on their instrument(s). Then we connect them to how those notes are represented in written form. We use a combination of techniques with the youngest children to bridge the gap between knowing the note names and standard musical notation including colors, boxes, flash cards, movement and vocal games.

4 hands are better than 2!

Which instrument should my child study?

We believe every child should begin with piano/keyboard.

Piano is the most logical way to learn music, especially theory. Piano or keyboard produces sound without much effort and is pleasing to the ear. This is not the case with the violin!

The keyboard also covers every sound available from the orchestra to a composer. So learning the piano will enable a deep understanding of music and enable one to play virtually any note created from an orchestra. Using modern electronic keyboard samplers and synthesizers will give access to a complete sonic palette from Beethoven to Bach, The Beatles to Taylor Swift!

By studying keyboard/piano first, it makes it faster and easier to transfer this knowledge to ANY OTHER INSTRUMENT.

Strumstick student Felix

4 year old Felix on Strumstick

What is the structure of the lessons?

  • Reviewing previous work including fixing technical issues
  • Learning a performance piece
  • Practicing sight-reading (when ready)
  • Presenting new concepts in music theory through games / activities
  • Summarizing what to work on next
Piano Lessons For Kids in Park Slope, Brooklyn

Winter 2013 Music Recital

 

What can I expect my child to learn over the first few months?
With the Musicolor Method®, you can expect your child to be playing simple pieces from the first lesson and progressing each and every lesson as long as they are practicing at home.
The six phases of our Musicolor Notation™ enable everyone to “read” music from the start and progress rapidly.

Phase 1: basic technique and finger patterns using all ten fingers Phase 2: longer pieces with structure marked

Phase 3: two separate parts played at the same time, notes going DOWN page with left side for left hand, right for right hand reducing the time it takes to play complex pieces

Phase 4: left hand chords with right hand melody Phase 5: chord movement songs
Phase 6: notes on the staff with colored note-heads

The songs we use all have lyrics as we encourage all of our students to sing as they play. This helps internalize rhythms and pitches, as our voices are the primary instrument we are all born with.

The early pieces focus on building proper technique. We gradually introduce new finger patterns each week. The pace of progress through these phases depends entirely on the child. Some children take a few months, others years.

For older students or those transferring from other teachers and/or instruments, we are able to accelerate the progress.

During Phase 3, we introduce other method books to help with reading on the staff. By gradually increasing the use of fun songs with the Musicolor Method®, we have achieved a far greater success rate with kids who keep going with music lessons.

 

“Why are the lessons half an hour and not one hour?”

Unless you are an advanced student or a professional, 30 minutes is plenty of time to cover a lot of material. The younger the student, the shorter the lessons can be as their attention spans are shorter. For pre-school students, we need to do a lot of switching up of activities, moving from keyboard to xylophone or just to writing and drawing exercises to change it up.

 

Do you offer performance opportunities like concerts and recitals?

We feel that public performance can amplify learning. It creates a deadline and urgency that would otherwise not exist. By polishing and rehearsing, we create an opportunity for mastery. This is why music lessons can be a perfect path for personal development!

Do you get nervous while speaking in public or during a presentation? The more you practice being in front of a crowd, from the earliest age, the easier it’ll be.

We hold two recital concerts each year- one in January and one in June. We have also hosted Holiday music salons at student homes in December. These all offer fantastic opportunities for growth!

Do I need to buy a real piano?

You will need an instrument to practice. You cannot just borrow your neighbor’s on the weekend.

Practice is an important daily habit to build.
Some music teachers/schools will say they require you to purchase an acoustic piano – no digital or electronic keyboards allowed.  We feel that the requirement of an acoustic piano is absurd. First of all, many of us live in smaller apartment with neighbors and thin walls! Having a digital piano will allow you to control the volume and even use headphones.

Digital pianos have come a very long way and the feel and sound is incredibly realistic. Here’s an article with links to recommended digital pianos and other instruments for kids.

You can always upgrade to a real piano later. Many of my students are bowled over by the sound of real strings with the harmonic overtones. If your child is particularly tuned into sound, you may want to get a real piano from the start. The motivation to play will be amplified.

How much practice is expected?

We aim to set a daily practice routine beginning with just 5 minutes per day. If we teach this to our young preschoolers, and they internalize this, it becomes a habit and then a routine. We always say, pick a time of day consistently.

For example: right after breakfast or after snack time or before dinner. By having a set time of day, everyday, it becomes a habit. A habit repeated over time becomes a routine-and routines are powerful! This is the same process you can use to empower your morning routine if you design it consciously.

What if you miss a day? Well no one is perfect. Vacation time is the hardest to keep the routine going. Just get back on track! Don’t beat yourself up over it or berate your child. Just move forward and get back into the routine.

Did you ever see that episode of Seinfeld where you see Jerry making X’s on his calendar? It’s his daily writing routine and extremely powerful. No wonder he’s a billionaire!

“Do you teach intermediate or advanced students?”

Yes.  Please register after reading this information.

 

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