Frequently Asked Questions
How much does it cost?
What times are the lessons?
Where are you located?
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Who are your teachers?
What instruments do you teach?
Please check our Home Page for a display of instruments currently taught.
How can I encourage my child to practice?
Remember that there are always peaks and valleys in the process of learning. You and your child should expect times of discouragement, accept them, and focus on the positive fact that you are learning to make music. Here are some tips to help.
Seek Private Instruction
It is important to find a private teacher who knows how to play your instrument. They can help you with the specific characteristics unique to your instrument. Private lessons can help you learn the proper techniques to better enable you to perform on your instrument.
Make a Schedule
A schedule is a good way to organize your practice time. When you practice, it is important to follow a consistent routine. You should always try to practice at the same time each day. It is also a good idea to find a nice quiet place where you can concentrate without any interruptions.
To make a schedule for your practice routine you need to determine what days you are going to practice. You then need to determine the length of time you will practice. A healthy practice schedule would be at least 20 – 30 minutes every day. The time can also be split up into two 10 – 15 minute practices. Once you plan out your practice schedule, it is important to stick with it.
During the practice session itself, figure out what you are specifically going to practice. You should include any suggestions your teacher has made and also something you enjoy playing just for fun. By following a schedule you will begin to develop good practice habits that will enhance your knowledge of your instrument and your music.
Setting goals for yourself is very important. Since each student develops at a different pace, it is important to set clear goals for your own needs. Goals help you to have something to aim for in your personal development. It is very likely that your goals will be different from someone else’s. As long as you are always trying to achieve success you will improve your talents.
Concentration is an essential part of practicing. It requires you to focus on the “task at hand”. When you concentrate, you are devoting yourself totally to what you are doing. If you concentrate during your practice session you will more likely retain most of what you were working on. That can mean reaching your goals faster. Reaching your goals will make you a better musician. Being a better musician means you will have more fun with your instrument!
Don’t allow yourself to become easily distracted. Distractions cause you to start over. They also can make you feel frustrated. If during your practice time it is getting difficult to focus on your goals, stop and come back to them later. That will help you to make the most out of your practice time.
Relax and Practice Slowly
Don’t be in a hurry to get your practicing done. It is important to take your time and practice slowly and carefully. The more difficult your music is, the more slowly you should practice it. Practicing slowly on a hard section of your music allows you to work out the problems you may be having with it. Take your time and carefully work out the fingerings and rhythms. Be certain you are doing everything correctly. Don’t forget to blink, breathe and relax.
One of the most effective ways to make a piece sound better is to pinpoint the difficult passages in the piece and then work on one small section at a time. Don’t reinforce mistakes by repeating them. Identify what the problem is, then determine how you will fix it. Play the notes of a problem spot very slowly, one note at a time, until you are playing with the proper rhythm, fingering, and notes. Once it sounds correct, play that small section over and over, gradually picking up speed until that segment of music is up to tempo. It’s always simpler to begin at a slow tempo and increase your speed rather than go back and correct new errors.
Practice Hard Parts Longer
The majority of your practice time should be spent on the parts of the music that you find the most difficult. It can be frustrating and discouraging to keep trying to attempt something that you can’t do very well. Sometimes the music might seem too hard to play. However, if you remain persistent and have a desire to master the hard parts, you will become that much better!
Many times if you have worked on a difficult passage it may seem like you are not getting any better at it. Often however, after a little while you start to notice that it is getting easier and easier to play. Consider the following example:
We don’t see ourselves growing taller. We grow very slowly. Eventually we have to begin wearing different sized clothes. Even though we didn’t see ourselves getting taller, we know we did because our old clothes no longer fit. Practicing is the same way sometimes. We don’t always feel like we are progressing but we actually are. The results of your hard work start to show themselves over time.
Be patient and continue to work on the things that are difficult for you. The rewards are unmeasurable.
Play With Expression
Music has the ability to make us feel many different emotions. How often has a song made you feel happy or sad or even scared? Great movies usually have great soundtracks. The music adds so much to the movie because the music helps you feel what is happening on the screen.
As a musician, your music should be performed with expression. You have the ability to express your feelings about the music to the listener. Once you can play the correct notes and rhythms, take your music to the next level by performing it expressively.
I like to think that music is to a musician as a script is to an actor. An actor has to say his lines with expression. They have to make you believe in what they are saying. They don’t just read them out loud. A musicians script is the music.
Perform your music beyond the notes and rhythms and make it expressive.
Learn From Your Mistakes
When you practice you are bound to make many mistakes. I believe mistakes are a good thing. Why? Because mistakes help you pinpoint where your problems are. When you make a mistake analyze why you made it. Was it a wrong note? A wrong fingering? A wrong rhythm? Try to step back and determine just what it was that caused you to play it incorrectly.
Once you have made a mistake try to figure out how to solve it. What is it that you could do differently that would help you not make the same mistake again? Develop some strategies that will help you overcome this mistake. This problem solving will enable you to become more aware of what it is you are doing wrong. Once you understand what you are doing wrong, you are more likely to determine a solution that will lead to your success.
Don’t be discouraged by your mistakes, learn from them.
Possibly one of the most important tips concerning practicing is to remain optimistic. Never begin to doubt yourself. Always believe that you will be able to play everything to the best of your ability. It’s easy to get discouraged and feel like giving up, but successful people always continue to move forward. If you fall, get back up. Remember, if you do your best you will be your best!
Know that you have unique talents and abilities that no one else has. You can do anything you set out to do if you have persistence and a positive attitude.
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