How old should my child be for private music lessons?

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.

Listen To Music In The Home

This seems rather common sense,

Inside a music lesson – it’s more than just sitting on the piano bench

Our music lessons are fun!

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.

 

We’re Hiring Music Teachers

Music teachers wanted in Park Slope, Brooklyn

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 responsible
  • are honest
  • 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 impatient
  • 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.

Spring Music Recital June 18 2016

SPRING MUSIC RECITAL in park slope

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
  • 2pm -3:30pm(?)
  • Open to the public
  • Park Slope Library
  • 6th Avenue at 9th Street
  • Lower level auditorium – there is wheelchair ramp and elevator

Summer Music Lessons 2016 in Park Slope Brooklyn

Park Slope Summer Music Lessons 2016 (2)

 

Park Slope Summer Music Lessons 2016 (2)
Learn ukulele, guitar, piano and general music using the Musicolor Method™

The summer semester will run for 6 sessions from

June 29 – August 11 (no lessons the week of July 4 through 8).

Here’s the options.

Piano Using The Musicolor Method™

  • Ages 4 and up
  • 30 Minute private lessons
  • Including all materials, books and sheet music
  • First 2 lessons are trial lessons at $65/each
  • Subsequent summer lessons are $59/each payable in advance

You will need a keyboard or piano – here’s some piano and keyboard recommendations.

Guitar Using the Musicolor Method™

  • Ages 7 and up
  • 30 Minute private lessons
  • Including all materials, books and sheet music
  • First 2 lessons are trial lessons at $65/each
  • Subsequent summer lessons are $59/each payable in advance
  • You need to bring your own guitar – here’s some guitars for kids recommendations.
Please contact to set up a call to discuss your child in detail.

 

January 30 is the 2016 Winter Recital

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.

2016 Winter Music Recital

Holiday Sing-Along Party & Music Salon

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!

 

Summer 2015 Music Lessons in Park Slope, Brooklyn

summer lessons banner

Summer is usually the best time to get started with private music lessons.  There’s less distractions going on with other activities and homework and my roster is much more flexible and open.

  • Dates:  July 6 – August 6, 2015
  • Days:  Monday through Thursday
  • Times available:  10am – 6pm (last lesson starts 5:30pm)
  • You can register your child here.
  • Within a day of registration, you will be sent a welcome email as well as access to the calendar to schedule your times/days as you wish.
  • Cost per lesson is $59.
  • There is a $10 materials fee.
  • You will receive an invoice by mid to end of June.

For more information take a look at the homepage at Park Slope Music Lessons.com

American Idol And Finding Your Voice: A Music Teacher’s Perspective

My family loves to watch American Idol as well as The Voice.  These competitive singing shows are fun and introduce a new audience to a lot of great songs, old and new.   The shows are both well produced and fun and get you involved with each contestant’s story so that you care whether or not they make the cut.

One thing that stands out for me is the subject of song choice.

So many of the judges comments on these shows go something like, “That was the perfect song for you.”  But who’s helping these fledging artists make these choices?

Last night’s American Idol had a lot of interesting re-workings of old songs in such unusual ways.  There was a slow, introspective almost morose version of “You’re the One That I Want” – the song from Grease.  There was a female singer doing a version of an Adam Sandler song!  That is probably the first cover he ever got.   So interesting!  Talk about “making it yours.”

A&R is not Accounts and Receivables

In the early days of the recording industry, there were specialists at the record companies.  They called them “guys with ears.”  These Artists & Repertoire or A&R men (they were always men) were the specialists in matching the singer with the songs.  This art of song selection is the true magic behind some of the greatest music stars.   The most famous of these A&R men are guys like John Hammond who discovered Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin and Billie Holiday to name a few. 

Winter Recital 2015 is this Saturday Feb 7

WinterRecital 2015 Poster-2

Where: Park Slope Library (corner of 6th Avenue and 9th Street)

Brooklyn, NY 11215

Time:2pm

Day:  Saturday February, 7, 2015

Lower Level Auditorium.

Hopefully the weather will be cooperative.

We have a great lineup of kids from ages 4 to 14 playing everything from Peanut Butter Sandwich to Moonlight Sonata to Demons to Do You Want To Build A Snowman and everything in between.

Watch for the coming video deluge right here on our video page.

Music Instruction Expands Brains!

As an independent, private music teacher, I am always being forwarded studies and news articles about the benefits of music lessons.  It definitely feels good to be on the right side of this issue!   And it certainly validates my profession.

This weekend’s Wall Street Journal has an article, A Musical Fix for U.S. Schools, which puts music instruction higher than all other so called non-academic activities.

“Kids in sports also showed increased ambition, while those in theater and dance expressed more optimism. But when it came to core academic skills, the study’s authors found, the impact of music training was much stronger.”

This seems to be one-upping another article this week in the NY Times about how Exercise Boosts Young Brains.

Breaking the day into different activities just makes sense.  You need a break from just constant focus of core curriculum of Science, Technology, English and Math.  But what the WSJ article says is it’s not just a break, but actually a boost.  And the most potent boost comes from learning, playing and practicing an instrument, so much so, that it could be a simple cure-all for all the ills of the school system.  At a calculated cost of $187/student per year, a typical large suburban school system could turn itself around.

Ava performs Lightly Row
Ava gets prepared to play Lightly Row

The list of benefits of musical training include:

  • Music raises the IQ
  • Music can reduce the academic gap between rich and poor
  • Music does more than sports,

Teaching Strategies For Growth Mindset

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.

Spring Recital 2014 is on June 7 at 2pm

 

Our Spring Recital will be June 7, 2014 at 2pm
June 7 at 2pm, Park Slope Library

I’m looking forward to our upcoming Spring Music Recital on June 7 at 2pm.  It will be in our usual location, the auditorium of the Park Slope branch of the Brooklyn Public Library.

We have a great program of diverse music from folk classics to Suzuki standards to pop songs from Katy Perry, Imagine Dragons, One Republic, jazz standards in the style of Frank Sinatra and film and Broadway soundtracks all played by kids ages 5 to 13.

The show is free and open to the public.   You can see previous recital videos here.

Also, if you haven’t already signed up your child for summer lessons, I have some openings for our short summer session which runs 4 weeks in July from the 7th to 31st.   More info.

I’m also offering music lessons via internet (Skype, FaceTime, Google Hangouts) over the summer and into the Fall too.  This may be a good opportunity to continue practicing whilst at Grandma’s house.

Online Private Music Lessons via Skype or FaceTime or Google Hangouts

Update Jan 2017.  THIS SERVICE IS TEMPORARILY SUSPENDED AS OUR CALENDAR IS FULLY BOOKED.  PLEASE CONTACT US FOR FURTHER INFORMATION.

You can now book a private lesson with me via SKYPE or FACETIME or GOOGLE HANGOUTS from anywhere in the world.

I can work with you and/or your child on piano, guitar, ukulele, songwriting, or music production via the comfort of your own home.

What you will need:

  • your instrument
  • an internet connection – preferably high speed Broadband
  • a webcam with your computer or a smartphone (iPhone or Android) or a tablet (iPhone or Kindle Fire or Galaxy or Surface)

When you register, please let me know what instrument you are registering for and if you have had any experience at all and the age of the student. After booking I’ll contact you via email to schedule a time. Please note, I am in New York City time zone so will not give lessons at 3am EST. 🙂

Music lessons for Summer 2014


Summer Music lessons for kids in Park Slope Brooklyn Summer is usually the best opportunity for new students to join my private music studio.  Once you are on my roster, if the fit is good for teacher, student and parents, I will make every effort to accommodate you on the school year schedule.  I am incredibly grateful to have so many students who stay with me for years. This summer,  I will be offering private and limited group lessons beginning July 7. Music lessons:

  • Monday through Thursday 10am to 5:30pm.
  • July 7 through 31, 2014
  • Lesson are  $57 per half hour with an additional materials fee of $20 for the summer.

You can sign up for once per week or even 4 times per week for a super accelerated learning experience. The summer is a time for renewal, recharging and having some fun along with learning.  With that in mind, I’ve designed a few summer fun-tastic ways to learn basics of music, ukulele, guitar, piano or songwriting.  These music lessons are usually private, but I can accommodate small groups.  See below.

  • For ages 4 to 5, I highly recommend starting with piano and basic music theory in a weekly 30 minute private lesson.
  • For ages 6-7, especially if you have had some prior experience with music instruction, we can work on guitar, ukulele, recorder, piano, songwriting etc.
  • For ages 8 and up, we can usually move much quicker and move into pop songs, Broadway, blues and basic jazz.
  • Group discounts are available

Fabulous Music Recital Success!

We had our 10th recital hosted by the Brooklyn Public Library and it was a resounding success!  Such a wonderful diversity of music, talent and focus.  All my students pulled it together and presented their best.

Winter Recital, Jan 25, 2014
Winter Recital, Jan 25, 2014

I’ve posted all the videos on our YouTube Channel.