Did you ever go to a library or coffee shop just to have a bigger desktop? There’s something so spacious and freeing about just having more physical workspace right in front of you.
Last week, I visited several co-working spaces in New York City just for that reason. Having a bigger desktop is incredibly freeing. It opens up your thinking.
And it’s the same thing with your internal mental workspace. Years ago, I came up with the metaphor of the mental desktop. This is how I imagine each child learning. As I begin teaching a 4-year-old, they can only retain one note at a time in their mental workspace.
Over time, we begin chunking that into two and three-note phrases. Over time, we begin expanding their “mental desktops” to be able to hold complete phrases and sections. It is incredible to witness!
Each child’s progress is individualized.
There are no hard and fast rules of how many days or weeks it will take to expand from two notes to two measures.
But sometimes we overestimate how much a particular student can retain. Sometimes the student will shut down and not want to do anymore. They’ll refuse to even try! Other times, it’s as if we’ve gone backwards.
I’ve had some parents complain about their kid’s slow speed in learning how to read music. But it’s similar to learning to read words. You can’t skip ahead. That will only lead to confusion, frustration, and overwhelm.
The core principles of the Musicolor Method include a 7 step framework of teaching and learning.
I believe music education is vitally important as it teaches one of the most important skills of childhood…confidence.But it’s not the egotistical, brash arrogance posing as confidence that is plaguing our society.
Rather, we parents want our kids to be a clear channel for intuition and spirit developed by learning the laws of the Universe so perfectly exemplified in music.
We are all vibrating, resonating beings.Let’s lift ourselves by resonating with the highest vibrations!
Come join us
This Saturday, June 10, 2017, we will host our Spring concerts at the Park Slope Library on 9th Street and 6th Avenue.
We have an 11am show and a 2pm show in the lower level auditorium. Free and open to the public. Come check out what your kids and neighbors have been working on for the last few months.
We have a diverse and eclectic music program including everything from Bach to Beethoven, Folk Songs to Lady Gaga, classic rock to the blues, original compositions and songs and, of course, music from Disney’s Moana.
Public performance is a huge growth opportunity and an essential skill for success in life.I’ve heard many adults say how public speaking is at the top of their fear lists.
It was mine too!
Back when I was an awkward kid, somehow, I knew that if I could get over my fear of speaking or performing in public, I would have an easier time in life.Through repeated practice in jobs, gigs and performing, I somehow got better.Eventually, to my sheer amazement,I even got a job as a host for MTV with a daily audience of millions!
Over the last ten years, I’ve seen many of my students blossom from shy wallflowers to starring in school plays – from unable to take a bow to belting out pop songs at the top of their lungs – from hiding behind their mother’s legs to standing confidently in front of a middle school interviewer…
Our recitals have played a huge part in your kid’s lives and I am immensely proud to be a part of this magical journey.
If you have never been to one, they are warm, family-friendly affairs where your children can grow.I’ve considered moving to other venues, but the intimacy and community aspect of the library space is exactly what we are after.A safe space.
Wow, what a great set of concerts we had on Saturday!
It’s truly amazing to see what our kids can accomplish with some directed focus, guidance and perseverance.
These skills translate into wonderful life success skills and you may already notice them surfacing in areas like school, sports and homework.
But, I think this photo truly captures the spirit and essence of what our recitals at Park Slope Music Lessons are all about. Can you guess what it is? Elias with his Dad perform Heart and Soul with a surprise support guest little brother Gabriel.
Look at all that joy! And how fun is it that Gabriel was so moved that he had to join them on stage! After all, what good is music (and life) without joy?
Music is fun.
Music is social.
Music is therapeutic.
Music is all of these and more!
I’m so proud of all our students. Please tell your children how much you appreciate all the courage and hard work that happened this week.
(And continues every week in the lessons and practicing.)
We have two concerts scheduled at the Park Slope Library at 9th street and 6th Avenue.
As we have grown, we’ve had to create two separate concerts as the auditorium would not fit us. Plus, I’m afraid of tiring out our audience with multiple renditions of Hot Cross Buns! 🙂
We’re going to have some great music – everything from folk songs to classic rock from Deep Purple and the Police to newer hits by Rihanna, Broadway show pieces, classical sonatinas and original songs.
Here’s Oliver practicing for the recital as he discovers a new sound he can use!
All music should be memorized. This is all about creating mastery. With exception of lyrics and duets.
Stage Jitters and Power Poses
It is normal to be nervous and anxious. One of the most amazing discoveries in the last few decades is the idea of the power pose. It has been proven in scientific studies that by holding the body in a confident pose, you can create the feeling of confidence. And it only takes 2 minutes! Check out Dr. Amy Cuddy’s Ted Talk or her new book Presence.
So when I talk about Power Poses on Saturday, you’ll know what I’m talking about.
Get There Early
Another way to alleviate anxiety is to get there early. It gives time for your child to acclimate to the new room.
There has been a lot of attention towards the affects of music instruction on brain development. But I think this is the first time I’ve seen actual scans of the brains of young children.
Studies have already shown that learning music can be beneficial to children with brain development disorders like autism. Researchers from the Hospital Infantil de México Federico Gómez in Mexico City wanted to understand more specifically what changes happen in the brain due to musical instruction.
“When a child receives musical instruction, their brains are asked to complete certain tasks. These tasks involve hearing, motor, cognition, emotion and social skills, which seem to activate these different brain areas.These results may have occurred because of the need to create more connections between the two hemispheres of the brain,” explained Dr. Dies-Suarez.
Our preschool piano lessons are virtually unmatched. Most teachers will not accept a student until 7 or 8 years old.
Why is that?
There is a gap in most music curriculums that do not cover the pre-literate preschool aged child.
The curriculum we use with our young preschool students is what makes us stand out.It was developed in house by our founder, Andrew Ingkavet and is called the Musicolor Method.It is currently being taught to music teachers all over the world through an online training course and curriculum.
What makes the Musicolor Method unique?
The Musicolor Method is the first music curriculum aimed at teaching piano to preschoolers (aged 3 1/2 to 6 years old) that aligns with principles of human development, early childhood education and information design.Over a ten year period, the curriculum and method have codified into a dynamic and flexible program that has been used successfully with hundreds of children.
By labelling keys, fingers and notation with color, we create a direct labelling that allows children to bypass all the abstract symbolic knowledge required in most other curriculums.
It is the best curriculum for bringing preschool beginners up to a level where they can then begin to read music on the staff and can branch out to other curriculums, methods and styles of music.
Here are some of the key components of the Musicolor Method:
It doesn’t rely on the need to read
Unique musicolor notation is clutter-free and designed specifically for this age group
Begins with piano/keyboard which allows for easier understanding of theory
Transferrable to other instruments such as guitar,
As parents, we want the best for our children and we are usually anxious about getting it right.Here in Park Slope, we all know the competition for preschool, day care and elementary schools begins at birth!
You can usually get a sense of your child’s interest in music by around the age of 2 or 3.They will be singing along with songs in the car or asking you to play a certain song over and over again. And at some point, they may even ask you,
“Can I learn to play ____?(guitar, piano, flute or whatever).
So when should we start getting our kids into a private music lesson?
As a private music teacher and parent, I recommend the following.
Try out a mommy-and-me type class first.
My son enjoyed the Music Together classes on the corner of 1st street and 6th avenue though he was usually more interested in putting away the instruments than actually participating!We also had a lovely time with Juguemos A Cantar, a Spanish language program that includes lots of music and playtime.
There are so many sing-along programs available where general exposure to music,singing and dancing take place in a group environment.This is great for toddlers from 6 months to around 3 years old.
We not only want our students to learn how to play songs. We also want them to understand the concepts of music theory which make it easier to transfer to other instruments. Many of our students have started at the keyboard and then added other instruments like ukulele, guitar, recorder, flute and lap dulcimer to name a few.
In our Musicolor Method™ curriculum, around the 3rd or 4th lesson, we introduce solfeggio, which was invented over 1000 years ago in Italy! How crazy amazing is that? Somehow, the French word Solfége has become more widely used. Most people just know of it from the movie the Sound of Music where Julie Andrews teaches the children to sing using do – re – mi – fa – so, etc.
In our lessons we use the syllables, along with hand signs invented in the 1800’s by John Curwen along with the positions created by Zoltan Kodaly in the last century. If you’ve never heard of them, it doesn’t matter, but they are iconic figures in music education.
Each student begins to use the solfege along with the hand signs to learn every new song going forward. It helps to internalize the music through multiple modes: visual, aural and kinesthetic. And…it’s fun!
And they each go home with a fun poster to help them remember this along with some fun facts.
Here’s Lilah learning the first phrase of the old folk song Lightly Row.
Park Slope Music Lessons has several positions available for part-time piano teachers.
We would consider vocal and other instruments, but you should have a basic familiarity with piano and basic technique.
About Park Slope Music Lessons
We focus on working with young children ages, 3 1/2 and up, giving them the basics of music beginning at the piano keyboard. We use a unique non-traditional method called The Musicolor Method™.
The position is ideal for someone who lives near to Park Slope, Brooklyn and can travel to student’s homes in the surrounding neighborhoods.
Experience as a music teacher is NOT required.
Pay ranges from $25–$40 per hour.
We’re looking for teachers who…
At least 21 years of age
love working with children
are open to non-traditional approaches to teaching
Able to commit to working with students from September 2016 thru June 2017
are looking to make the world a better place
may have children or grand children of their own
may be still in school
We are not looking for people who…
don’t like change
are not open to new ideas
don’t enjoy being around or working with children
are prone to using foul language
We have a unique method and approach that has led us to having a 2 year waiting list.
A super Spring Music Recital is headed your way. We’ll have 26 of my students performing uplifting music from Beethoven to Katy Perry to Andrew Lloyd-Weber to the Beatles to music from Hamilton and beyond!
Saturday June 18
Open to the public
Park Slope Library
6th Avenue at 9th Street
Lower level auditorium – there is wheelchair ramp and elevator
Our Winter Recital is tomorrow. 28 kids performing after months of preparation everything from Beethoven to Bruno Mars, Carole King To John Williams, Harold Arlen to Hoagie Carmichael, Taylor Swift to Andrew Lloyd Weber – even some Jimi Hendrix. Big day for all!
We’ll post videos soon and may even try a little live Periscope.
All the students are doing fabulously well, and especially with their Christmas / Holiday songs. Somehow having a hard time finding any Hannukah songs besides the Dreidel Song. Anyone want to send me one?
Because our Winter Recital is not until late January, we have started a tradition of Holiday parties hosted at one of the student’s homes. This is a great way we build community amongst our “music friends” as one of my little boys likes to say.
So check your inbox for the Evite from me. Space is limited so we had to limit the amount of people. As I currently have over 30 students weekly, there’s no way we could all fit in my home and we’re so happy that our student community has large lovely living rooms!
What is the most important factor in a student? Many people would say it’s talent, or effort, or persistence, or luck or some combination of these.
Behind all of this is something that is more important – the proper mindset. Recent research (Blackwell, Trzesniewski, & Dweck, 2007) has shown that there are two different mindsets among students:
1) intelligence as a fixed, static trait or you got what you got
2) intelligence is a changeable, flowing trait, in other words: you can learn whatever you put focus and effort to
Most of my music students do have a growth mindset, but may need some extra encouragement. To do this I need to use a specific way of communicating.
The Dangers of Praise and How To Do It Right
Researchers have discovered that if you just praise the intelligence of the child, there are negative consequences. So just being positive and saying “Good job!” is actually detrimental and has a backlash because given a new challenge, the child would rather not participate (quit) in order to “save face” and live up to the expected standard. Rather if the child was praised for their effort, the next harder challenge was met with more effort.
Communicating Learning Goals
Almost daily I have a student who complains
“That’s too hard! I want to just stay on the same song!”
Here’s some things I say and you can too in your classroom, studio or with your own children. Though I’ve made these specific to music, you can apply a variation of these to any subject.