We Have It All Wrong – 5 Reasons We Need Music In School

We Have It All Wrong – 5 Reasons We Need Music In School

Most school districts around the country are facing tough decisions every year as they put together budgets. What should the keep? What should they give up?

For most districts, STEM classes have received two thumbs up. The arts – not so much. When school systems cut back, the music, dance, visual arts, and theater are the first to go. And that’s not a good thing. 

Music is important – for some kids, it’s the only reason they show up. Maybe it’s time to rethink what kids receive in instruction throughout the day. 

Music engages kidsWe Have It All Wrong - 5 Reasons We Need Music In School

For most STEM classes, the curriculum is one on many. The teacher talks, the students listen. And for many, the only way they’d describe these classes is – boring. When you weave in music programs, it allows kids to express themselves in lively ways. They participate. They show off their skills. They take part in creating something bigger than themselves. And if these classes help motivate them, they’ll be more likely to stay engaged in the STEM classes as well. 

Music builds self confidence

With music, kids get a sense of accomplishment every time they learn a new song. They can see their own skillset changing. They can feel better about themselves based on the music they are playing. They learn how to set goals and stick with them to improve along the way. 

Music builds imagination

Creativity is an important skill to have. It adds innovation into our society. But slowly, we’re taking away the activities that build our imagination skills up. Music allows kids to explore. The arts allow kids to get messy, express themselves through movement, and through the sounds that they make. Music develops the whole brain, both by listening and be using their skills to create their own sounds. 

Music improves academics

Studies consistently show that kids that engage in music do better in all subjects across the board. They rank higher on their SAT scores, and they are more likely to get into medical school. Music develops critical thinking skills in a way sports never will. 

Music teaches a lifelong skill

No other skill can provide enjoyment throughout your life as music can. And playing the piano is something virtually anyone can do. You can learn piano at any age, and perfect your skills a little at a time. With such a wide array of music available, you can be playing your favorites in a short period of time. 

Music benefits and engages us like no other. To create well-rounded children that can use their skills throughout their lives, add music to their lives today. 

Piano Lessons and Learning Disabilities

Piano Lessons and Learning Disabilities

Every child has their own outlook on life. Every child excels at what matters most to them. But finding what that is can be challenging at best for a parent. 

So, like any good parent, you plod along signing them up for classes and teams, hoping something will stick. 

That changes when your child has learning disabilities. If they have trouble concentrating, if they can’t read or write in a manner a traditional classroom asks, it’s up to you to find what helps. 

Music might be the solution. Music builds up the muscles of the brain – audio, visual, and motor skills. This is what controls language, reading, comprehension, math, problem solving, focus, concentration, and attention to detail. 

Studies show that some children with learning disabilities can benefit from starting up the piano. Especially where background noise is a problem for learning, music helps build up attention, focus, self-esteem, and self-expression. 

What can you do to enhance this skill?Piano Lessons and Learning Disabilities

Follow the rhythm. We each have our own unique circadian rhythm – it’s your biological clock that helps control your sleep/wake cycle. This clock is attuned to our heart beats – thump, thump, thump. It’s a natural rhythm that allows us to focus and stay on task. Focus in on this. Play music with distinct rhythm. Your child can also clap their hands or tap out a simple beat to feel the power of the beat. 

Dance. Movement is especially helpful with certain types of learning disorders. As a child moves, it helps them tune in on both physical coordination and the ability to concentrate throughout every move. 

Listen. You can easily bring in different types of music right through your home music system. But take it to the next level too. Attend concerts. Watch for special evenings with your local symphony – many have special programs just for kids. 

Sign up for group lessons. This can be something as simple as a dance class when your child is a few years old. It doesn’t have to be formal or with purpose – just a basic class to start feeling the rhythm. 

Private lessons. Piano lessons can help tremendously with focus. Just be sure you find the right instructor that understands the issues your child is facing and has the experience to work with them each week. 

Give Your Child The Gift Of Discipline – Play The Piano

Give Your Child The Gift Of Discipline – Play The Piano

Parents struggle with a lot of decisions on how to raise their kids. They push them in all kinds of directions to develop a happy, healthy life. 

That’s the reason many parents push their kids into sports. Sports teach a variety of skills, from coordination to team building, to sportsmanship. 

But for others, they’ve learned the benefits music has on success. And unlike sports that can only be a part of a child’s life for a certain number of years, the arts can last a lifetime. 

Learning to play the piano sets your kids up for a lifetime of success. Here’s why. 

The Piano sharpens concentration

Playing the piano brings many different skill sets together. You have to pay attention to what both hands are doing. You have to focus on the music. You have to focus on the notes you’re creating and the rhythm of the music. Every time you sit down to play it’s an exercise in multi-level concentration. 

The Piano teaches perseverance Give Your Child The Gift Of Discipline - Play The Piano

Playing the piano isn’t something you accomplish in a few weeks. It takes a lifetime to master. And when kids set certain goals for themselves, they can see their skills developing over time. To learn to play favorite songs takes patience, something they can take joy out of when they finally reach playing to their own level of perfection. 

The Piano increases memory

Piano playing is one of the most effective ways to stimulate the brain. It takes a lot of skill to put hand-eye coordination to play music with both hands while reading music. A lot of the skill comes from memorization. It also comes from understanding deeper levels of thinking. It’s also been noted to help people as they age, keeping the mind healthy. 

The Piano teaches discipline

Each new song, each new level of learning to play the piano has its own series of challenges and rewards. Students quickly learn that by reaching towards more challenging music, and understanding that the only way to get better is through practice. They also learn that the more they get involved in the process, the better they’ll sound, the better they’ll feel. 

Make this the year you give your child the gift of learning to play the piano. 

Are App or DVD Piano Lessons Worth It?

Are App or DVD Piano Lessons Worth It?

It seems as if everything has been touched by technology. Why shouldn’t the way you learn piano too? 

Do a quick search for piano-related apps and you’ll find they can help you with just about anything. We’ve highlighted a few of them here and in our gift guide. 

They’re fun to play; but are they educational too? Can you really learn to play the piano, and become a better musician, all with an app or a DVD?Are App or DVD Piano Lessons Worth It?

If you look closely at most of the promises with these learning systems, they say they’ll have you playing the piano in a short period of time. And that’s true. With color-coded guides and quick tutorials, they can have anyone finding middle C and plucking out a tune. 

In the short term, apps and DVDs for piano lessons work. But where they start to fall through is in the long term. 

Piano lessons through technology are rudimentary at best. They teach you about chords. They help you put your fingers together to play a song. You learn about rhythm, melody, and chords just enough to help you put together your favorite music. And this can have any beginner excited about their progress. 

But that’s when things become more difficult. That’s where having an instructor pays off. 

An instructor listens to your wishes and desires and gives you feedback on how to proceed. They offer suggestions when you’re struggling with a piece of music. They help tailor your instruction towards your goals. 

This comes from developing a relationship between you and your teacher. This also comes from diving deeper into understanding musicality, and how music theory applies to what you’re learning. This is especially important if you want to transfer your knowledge to other instruments. 

When it comes to piano learning apps or DVDs, you get what you pay for. Yes, they may be a great place to start. Yes, they can offer a lot of tips and tricks to help you start to play. But if you want to be the best piano player you can be, at some point, hire an instructor. They are your best course of action for success. 

7 Advantages To Learning Piano As An Adult

7 Advantages To Learning Piano As An Adult

While there are many things children can pick up quicker than adults, playing the piano isn’t one of them. Sure, some kids seem to be able to carry a tune easily. Their nimble fingers can quickly run across the keyboard. 

But as an adult, you already have musicality. You’ve had years of taking in composition, and deep down inside, that helps when you place your fingers on the keyboard for the first. Time. 

Advantage 1: You’re committed

7 Advantages To Learning Piano As An AdultKids usually start playing piano at their parents’ request. As an adult, you make the decision yourself. You have an interest. You seek out music education. That gives you an added advantage of having the desire to see it through. 

Advantage 2: You’re ready to pursue piano

As an adult, you’ve already learned how to place priorities in your life. If you want to spend time at the piano, you’ve already let go of other activities to make the necessary time available for lessons and practice. 

Advantage 3: You know what music you like

What type of music do you like? Have you always dreamed of playing like the band you grew up with? Or is your desire to play the classics? The good news is there’s piano music for that, and your teacher can quickly help you move towards what you want to play. 

Advantage 4: You’re focused

Kids get bored. They give up on a lot because there’s always something else to capture their attention. You know what you want and can stay more focused on the end result. 

Advantage 5: You’re open minded

Sure, you’ve always wanted to play songs from your favorite band. But you’re also open to new opportunities. Why not try jazz? Or play a tune from Bach or Beethoven? You might be surprised at how much you enjoy playing something new. Especially when you know it will increase your talent. 

Advantage 6: You clear distractions better

How do you operate best? Do you need a quiet room? Can you schedule in time for yourself? You know what works for you. And you can ensure you create quality time for you and playing. 

Advantage 7: You’re more patient

Kids like instant results. As an adult, you realize perfection takes time. Instead, you can focus on progress. You can see improvement along the way. You can also understand timing and how long it takes to reach new plateaus. 

Are you ready to take up piano as an adult?

How Much Time Does It Take To Learn Piano?

How Much Time Does It Take To Learn Piano?

How long does it take to learn to play the piano? It’s a question we hear all the time. Maybe you have a certain song in mind you’d like to play. Or maybe you want to play in a band and want to know how long that will take. 

How long does it take to learn to play the piano? It depends. 

The real question is: How well do you want to be able to play?

How Much Time Does It Take To Learn Piano?Even a person with no prior experience can tap out a tune on their first try. Sit down with an experienced piano player and they can help you learn simple songs without prior training. 

However, if you want to become a world-class classical pianist, it will take years of training before you can ever expect to sit on a stage. 

For most, their goals fall somewhere in between. Whatever level you are hoping to accomplish depends on how much practice you put in to reach your goal. It can also depend on the teacher you select and how hard they push you. Your motivation and drive will also impact your final outcome. 

In general, many of today’s popular piano study programs are organized into levels or grades. When you master one level, you move to the next. And that can happen as quickly and easily as the time you put into it. For a child who puts in average study, they may move between levels after a year of study. For an adult who is looking for quick action, they may move in months. 

It’s not just a question of what songs you’ll play. It also is a matter of increasing skill and technique. Your fingers have to learn to stretch and handle a variety of chords. You learn independence between your hands and your feet. You learn performance skills, working with speed, and developing your own expression. 

Above all, you should never get discouraged with your progress. Piano is a journey, not a destination. If you enjoy what you do, then the outcome is always at your personal best. 

Is Piano Hard To Learn?

Is Piano Hard To Learn?

Are you ready to learn a new talent? Playing the piano is a skill that can last a lifetime. 

But how difficult is it? Is it hard to learn the piano? 

The answer isn’t as straightforward as you might think. Sitting down for the first time can have you tinkering out a tune. But to master piano as an art form can take a lifetime to perfect. 

Along the way, you’ll encounter many things that make the process difficult. If you avoid them, it makes your practice sessions easier. Is Piano Hard To Learn?

Learn With A Teacher

It’s always easier to learn the piano with expert guidance. If you’re not ready for private lessons, try group classes instead. Classes are perfect for beginners as they’re easy to take from home in your free time. You can find many different opportunities online – learn anywhere, any time. 

Then as you progress, a private teacher can help you:

  • Establish good habits
  • Provide proper teaching materials
  • Help you make stylistic corrections
  • Holds you accountable

Practice, Practice, Practice

There’s a saying you’ve probably heard: practice makes perfect. We actually think the saying should be: perfect practice makes perfect. Just sitting down and pounding out a tune three times every day won’t make you a better piano player. But if you sit down and enjoy what you do, you’ll see improvement all the time. 

As a general rule, strive for at least 30 minutes of practice per day. You have to put in the time if you want to see improvement week to week. 

Have The Right Expectations

Keep your expectations in check. If you start piano lessons with visions of performing Rachmaninoff tomorrow, you’ll be greatly disappointed. It’s important that you get the basics down to have strong building blocks for playing in the future. If you jump into pieces that are above your skill level to early, you’ll get frustrated and have a stronger urge to quit. 

5 Mistakes Beginner Piano Students Make

5 Mistakes Beginner Piano Students Make

Starting any new project is an exciting time. For a budding musician, sitting down at the piano can also be a daunting task. So many keys, so many positions, so many things to learn. Where do you begin?

The first step for any piano player is to avoid mistakes from the beginning. Bad habits are difficult to correct once they are ingrained in your mind. Here are a few things you should watch out for as you’re learning to play. 

Flat Fingers5 Mistakes Beginner Piano Students Make

Playing with flat fingers may seem natural at first. But playing the piano with flattened hands limits your control of speed, accuracy, and dynamics with the keyboard. The proper pattern is with rounded fingers and palms, resting just the tips on the keys. It’s as if a small ball is placed in your palm and you don’t want to grasp it too hard. This allows you to maximize the thrust from your hands and forearms. 

Warm Ups Too Fast

As with any activity, warming up is a part of the process. For most piano players, that means practicing a simple scale or exercise. It’s always tempting to rush through it to get to the good stuff. But these are there to help you learn. Take it slow and methodical. What can you learn from the process? 

Not Using A Metronome

By instilling a rhythm into your practice, you can learn to play at an even tempo. This can slow you down and ensure that your technique is intact throughout your practice. It reinforces your rhythmic confidence and allows you to build your skills the right way the first time. 

Bad Posture

Still sitting on a chair to play? Kids can’t touch the floor while sitting on the bench? Then bad posture might be impacting your play. Poor posture limits your ability to practice and play properly. It leads to bad playing technique that will impede your ability to focus on the skills you are learning. 

Forcing Practice

Practice should be something fun; something you enjoy. If you do it simply to check it off the list, you’ll quickly find resentment setting in. If you’re not into it, push it back to when you’re more comfortable, more relaxed. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t develop discipline with your practicing routine. But if you’re having a bad day, put it off until you’re better. Playing the piano should be enjoyable, not a chore. 

Are you or someone in your family ready to play the piano?

4 Times Your Child Shouldn’t Be Practicing Piano

4 Times Your Child Shouldn’t Be Practicing Piano

Practice. Practice. Practice. 

As parents, we push our kids to be the best they can be. That means ensuring homework is done every night. That means getting in quality practice for each activity they take on. 

But when is enough, enough?

When should you say NO to practice, because doing so will actually work against what you’re trying to achieve? 4 Times Your Child Shouldn’t Be Practicing Piano

When a child is exhausted

Our kids are busier than ever before. And sometimes they come home after a long day at school and are simply too tired to do high quality work. As a parent, you know when your child has reached their limits. Attempting to get a child to practice when they are physically or emotionally tired will only result in frustration. 

If you push, you won’t see high quality results. And the more you push, the more likely they will be to hate the piano rather than love it. 

As a punishment

Sometimes we create lists of to-do’s to ensure everything is completed in a timely manner. The problem with putting things on a to-do list is it becomes a chore. Piano playing should be something a child enjoys. If you push lessons or practice on them as something they have to do instead of something they should enjoy, you’ll be fighting an uphill battle. Piano playing is a happy activity that gives them peace and enjoyment after the busy days they’ve had. 

A rushed activity

Remember how well you did with homework you’ve tried to cram in before heading off to a class? Piano practice isn’t something you rush to do before you head off for lessons. Piano practice is something to improve your skills and help you become a better player. If parents feel rushed or stressed about fitting everything in, a child will too. 

A frustration

Children sense our stressors. They know when we’re happy … and when we’re not. If you don’t feel your child is making headway with their lessons, try not to bring that up to your child. Don’t correct them or point out their mistakes. In most cases, they already know. If you trust the piano teacher you’ve selected, let them teach in their own manner. If a teacher isn’t working for your child’s temperament, find someone else. Finding a way to make it a joyful experience will always win out. 

Want your child to love piano for many years to come? Give them everything they need to succeed. Have a question? We’re here to help. 

Common Beginner Piano Problems

Common Beginner Piano Problems

Every piano player takes his or her own path when they sit down to play the piano for the first time. Most simply want to make music. They have their idols they hope to mimic and they want to play something recognizable in the short term. 

Children differ in expectations from adults. Yet ultimately all want the same thing. To play. And to play well, no matter what level you’re at. Common Beginner Piano Problems

Teachers will tell you there are several beginner piano problems that hold players back. And if you don’t correct these problems quickly, they can lead for more significant problems. 

Technique

Kids and adults alike pick up a keyboard or a piano and start playing by themselves. Maybe they download an app to play. Or maybe they tinker out a sound. But in the process, they start developing bad habits. They hold their wrists in the wrong positions. They don’t play while seated properly. They use the wrong chair, the wrong setup, or even incorrect sizes for their physical form. 

When you create good habits from the beginning, you play faster, better, easier from the very start. You don’t have to go back and unlearn problem habits that can make your style and position wrong. 

Engage the ear properly

Have you ever played a piece of music only to realize you have no idea what you played? Reading notes isn’t the same as understanding the music you created. It’s important to listen to the sound you create and critique your playability along the way. Engage your ear and listen to every note. Hear what you’re playing. Visualize what you’ll be playing and then ensure it sounds like you anticipated.  

Mindset 

Mindset is different for children and adults. Children usually approach lessons with little expectation. Adults, however, are more likely to be discouraged when they don’t pick up the process somewhat faster. 

In both, mindset is everything. It’s important to realize that to be good at playing the piano takes time. Don’t go into it with unrealistic expectations. Have an instructor help you create realistic goals. Then use those goals to stay on track as you move and adjust based on your interest and your needs. 

Playing the piano takes time. But with a little work, you can enjoy playing for many years to come.