Most of our students at Park Slope Music Lessons have some experience with early childhood music programs. But you can even start singing to your baby in the womb. I came across this delightful and educational infographic from the fine folks at Mom Loves Best.
Our Musicolor Method® is a fun, simple and effective next step from those Mommy&Me type programs and makes learning higher levels of music easy.
When I was a kid, I felt like loneliness was my best friend. It’s not like I wanted to be around him. He just clung to me.
We were the only Asian family in an all-white neighborhood in a suburb of New York City. The typical question was,
“What are you, Chinese or Japanese?”
As if those were the only two options.
“I’m Thai, Chinese and Korean.” I would try to explain.
This answer was usually met with bewildered stares and silence. Mind you, this was long before kimchi tacos, Pad Thai noodles and Sriracha hot sauce were even a blip on the radar of the general public. Heck, most people hadn’t even heard of sushi back then.
My New Best Friend
Somewhere along the way, though, I discovered music, who quickly became my new best friend. It was through music that I began to feel less alien, foreign and an outsider and more like “just one of the gang.” Through the bonds of shared passion for Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones and Jimi Hendrix, I found new friends.
Music was the social lubricant and the universal language of our tribe.
I was 14 and teaching myself to play guitar. I needed to get better fast! Thus, I began to learn how to learn and how to practice.
I dove deep into technical exercises and repetition. I studied the form and structure of music. And I improved rapidly. I began to realize that I could improve my results by focusing on the things that gave me better results and leaving the rest behind. This was before I had ever heard of the Pareto Principle, also known as the 80/20 rule which states that 80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts. By focusing on that high leverage 20%, I was able to improve much more quickly.
One day I realized something profound.
Practicing what I already know is a waste of time. I need to practice what I don’t know to improve!
The Practice of Practice
Now, I am a professional music teacher, and I strive to teach the practice of practice to all my students.
Last week, I held a Parents Curriculum meeting where I shared my core belief:
“Learning a musical instrument is one of the best paths for personal development.”
It requires knowing how to study, learn and focus. These skills affect everything in life. Cultivating these skills will transform your child’s life forever.
Most people, kids included, will enthusiastically start a project like learning an instrument with great enthusiasm and a lot of willpower.
But there’s a problem with willpower.
Many world leaders, CEO’s and military commanders know about decision fatigue. It’s been proven- there is a finite amount of decisions you can make in a day.
It’s why Steve Jobs wore the same outfit everyday. He saved his decisions for designing life-changing products. It’s why President Obama didn’t choose his meals. (I don’t know about Trump.) Why waste limited resources?
It’s the same thing with practicing, and the good news is that you can design a practice routine.
Many successful people have a morning routine. New parents are familiar with creating a sleep routine for their infants.
It’s the same with practice.
By creating a practice routine that is at the same time everyday, in the same location, you begin to cultivate a habit. Willpower is required at first, but then it becomes a trigger that sets the routine in motion.
So take some time to consciously design a successful practice routine for your child that then becomes a daily habit. It will transform your child’s life and make your kids more successful. And, through the shared love of music, it may even open doors of friendship, too.
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.
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 – if you know of other children the same age and experience level, I can accommodate up to 4 children for group lessons.
If you are interested, you can register here. I will discuss specific scheduling with you.
All parents want the best for their child and after-school is an opportunity for extra enrichment beyond the classroom.
Yesterday, The Atlantic published an article, After-School Activities Make Educational Inequality Even Worse. The author, Hilary Levey Friedman, interviewed and followed 95 middle-class families over 16 months who were involved in soccer, dance and competitive chess. She identifies 5 skills she believes separates middle/upper class children from less fortunate children and which she calls Competitive Kid Capital. There’s some overlap here with Angela Lee Duckworth’s concept of Grit which I discussed previously. Though Friedman didn’t profile music students, these all overlay very well with music instruction and recitals.
1 – The Importance of Winning – In music there is not necessarily winning and losing, but if you didn’t get the right notes, or you didn’t perform as well as you did at home, then, there’s a sense of a loss. All of my students are pretty hard graders on themselves when asked, “How did you do on that piece?”
2 – Learning from Loss – this is resiliency and happens everyday you practice at your instrument. You’re going to make mistakes, but what matters is what you do next.
3 – Time Management – Music is a time based language- you need to keep the beat – events happen over time. Having good rhythm and timing to correctly and effective communicate a beautiful piece of music is one aspect but so is the management of practice time over weeks and months for a big recital. Will you be prepared? This is life!
4- Adaptability – you need to go with the flow – some days you’ll feel different and you’ll play the music different because of that. But also making small corrections everyday on technical issues is a way of adapting.
5 – Grace Under Pressure – performing in front of a roomful of strangers can be a very intimidating experience. The more you do it, the easier it gets. I’ve seen some of my students blossom over the years and these skills will be useful in the classroom, the job, the board room, anywhere. I wrote this article Why Music Recitals Are Like Life Skills 101 a few years ago.
A new study reports that older adults who took lessons at a young age can process the sounds of speech faster than those who did not.
“It didn’t matter what instrument you played, it just mattered that you played,” said Nina Kraus, a neuroscientist at Northwestern University and an author of the study, which appears in The Journal of Neuroscience.
What’s incredible is that this is 30-40 years later! And these people may never have continued on an instrument after their childhood music lessons.
I still have some availability for my Fun With Music Games for Learning Theory classes. There is no prior experience necessary (for the beginner class) and it’s guaranteed to make music learning fun and memorable.
You know kids love games! They instantly perk up at the slightest mention. I so wish my music teachers knew about making games out of music theory. It’s the fastest, funnest and most enjoyable way to learn some very abstract concepts.
In my private music lessons, I always use a game for the theory stuff. Usually it’s just me and your child.
This summer, I’ve dedicated 2 afternoons for Music Games days – Tuesdays for beginners and Thursdays for advanced. This will let us enjoy the fun of a group playing the games – and learning at the same time. These classes are open to my current students as well as new ones who may have never even played an instrument. No matter, it will be fun for all.
What Are Music Games?
Here’s the core of what we’ll be learning through the fun and magic of games. Advanced students will touch on these but go further faster.
Music alphabet – 7 letters – sequencing backwards, forwards, up, down and then skipping in intervals. These girls are “thinking in thirds.”
Line and space notes – Learning the differences
Rhythm with Blue Jello words and symbols
Dictation – using numbers for pitches, developing listening skills
Solfege with Curwen hand signs – then Melodic Dictation and Melodic Bingo using solfege.
Grand staff – treble and bass clefs, pitch names, intervals
And lots more!
I still have a few openings for both Beginner and Advanced. Please note these are small groups of 6 students, so it will be fun for all!
Mark Your Calendars
Here’s the dates:
Tuesday Beginners – 4pm to 5:15pm ($45/each student/class)
July 9, 16, 23, 30 and Aug 6
Thursday Advanced – 4pm to 5:15pm ($45/each student/class)
July 11, 18, 25 and Aug 1, 8
Please contact me know if you are interested as soon as possible.
The Fall semester is fast coming to an end with the last lesson on Saturday November 20, 2010. We’ll have a break for Thanksgiving with the new Winter session starting Tuesday November 30, 2010 and running until Saturday February 19, 2010.
The cost for the new semester is $550 with an early bird discount of $50 if paid before November 15, 2010.
There will be no lessons the week of
* December 24 – January 2 – Winter Holiday Recess
If you are not currently studying with me, space is extremely limited, but you may register on the waiting list here.