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How Piano Lessons Benefit Young Children
Piano lessons provide a wide range of benefits to young children. Here are my "Top Five."
1. Piano lessons help preserve and develop children's natural creative abilities. The best analogy of how children learn through music that I've found is from Donald Kroodsma's book "The Singing Life of Birds." Every songbird can be identified by the unique song it sings, but a baby bird has to be taught by its parents to sing the family song. Baby birds, like humans, just 'babble' at first. Mother birds sing the family song over and over to the baby birds as they try to repeat it back. At first, the baby birds are only able to sing back one or two notes, but they gradually learn to sing the whole song. And birds with two voice boxes even learn to sing their own harmony parts! Once baby birds learn the family song, they can start developing their very own songs. Similarly, I encourage students to compose their own music after developing needed skills. In my experience, young children in piano are a lot like baby songbirds!
2. Piano lessons help children perfect their natural learning processes. Music is a language, and children are programmed to absorb languages. Studies have shown that kids can most easily learn new languages when they start at a young age. Piano lessons help children develop the very same skills needed to accomplish language arts, like reading. In piano, students learn how to follow directions, scan written materials, think critically, create solutions and translate writing into action. For example, students must look at each note, measure and phrase and decide how to play each note to make the music come to life. Many children (including my own sons) have become much better readers after starting piano lessons. Further, piano lessons involves an interplay of both right and left brain activity that stimulates neural development.
3. Piano lessons help children learn how to stay focused and achieve goals. Piano lessons help children set specific goals and then work towards reaching these goals. Each new piece of music a student learns requires a specific set of skills and playing habits. To achieve these goals students must learn to stay focused and study each note, measure and phrase to understand how to play the song. In doing this students learn to think critically and creatively as they decide how to make the music come to life. Staying focused over time develops good study habits that become natural. This is important because learning to practice good habits that match their goals shows children how to make their dreams come to life!
4. Piano lessons help children develop courage. It takes courage to face challenges without letting our anxiety and worries get the best of us. Piano lessons help students learn to accept challenges such as learning a difficult song, as well as to perform pieces in front of teachers, friends, and families at recitals. Lessons also help kids learn the importance of keeping a positive perspective despite difficulties. Learning to handle uncertainty and stress in a way that minimizes anxiety and maximizes creativity is a valuable life tool. We all need practice at this!
5. Piano lessons teach children to persevere. A key part of accomplishing anything difficult is not to give up easily. As children grow, piano lessons teach kids to try and then try again if they don't initially succeed. However, as Yoda explained to Luke Skywalker, the objective isn't just trying itself, but accomplishing the desired goal -- "Do or do not, there is no try!" Piano lessons teach students how to adjust their expectations if they can't initially master a tough song or skills, and to tackle these big goals by taking small incremental steps. In the end, just like the baby songbirds that eventually learn to sing, students learn that they can accomplish great things and reach their dreams through careful and consistent effort.
Copyright 2005, Cynthia Marie VanLandingham
Cynthia VanLandingham is the owner of TallyPiano & Keyboard Studio in Tallahassee, Florida where she has been teaching piano for 20 years. She is a member of the American College of Musicians, the National Guild of Piano Teachers, a graduate of the Florida State University College of Education, and President of TallyPiano Enterprises, LLC. You can visit her website and download her original compositions free at http://www.tallypiano.com
Cynthia is also an author of a series of exciting books for children, with the mission of Using Music, Art, Science and Literature to Help Children Achieve their Dreams. Her illustrated series for piano students is called, Little Bear's Piano Adventures!TM These stories take young piano students on a Musical Adventure to find out what piano lessons are all about in a fun way that children can easily understand.
For more information about these wonderful books E-mail Cynthia at firstname.lastname@example.org, where you can also subscribe to her free internet newsletter, Piano Matters!
TallyPiano Studio: (850) 386-2425
Beginner Guitar Lessons - Learn Guitar without Ever Leaving Your Home!
So, you think you'd like to learn to play guitar, but you're put off by the high cost of lessons? You don't want to put up with a teacher showing you a bunch of theory and boring songs that you don't want to learn and won't get you where you want to go? Look no further, online instruction is now available that provides comprehensive beginner guitar lessons to anyone who wants to learn to play guitar quickly and easily.
Music Making as Spiritual Experience
If you've been playing piano for some time, you may come upon periods where you forget yourself and only the music remains. You might even have had a spiritual experience. A phenomenon where emotion and intellect become one and the outside world disappears.
Launch Pad Introduces Subliminal
Who would have ever thought that a call out for a guitar player from the audience would turn into such a wow! Beginning the night off at Launch Pad playing excellent covers of Eagles and Jimi Hendrix it could only follow by something as extraordinary as beat boxing.
The Top 10 Reasons Why You Suck At Playing Guitar
You don't 'need' to play guitar enough.
Improvisation and Musical Form
Do you ramble on endlessly with your improvisations? If so, good. This has its place in music making and in new age piano playing in particularly. Just listen to New Age pianist Michael Jones's music to hear an example of this kind of free-form improvisation.
Music Mini Course: Learn The Basics Of Reading Music On A Keyboard Instrument
Welcome to the wonderful world of music. As you begin reading this Music Mini Course it is fun to realize that you are also participating in a very important cultural aspect from around the world which has been going on for centuries. Did you know that pianos in some form have been around for over 500 years? Some of the first instruments of this kind were created in the late Medieval Period and were called clavichords. They had a very light, metallic sound because the small hand-pounded 'hammers' were made of very light weight metal-like material. These hammers struck strings of varying lengths to create different tones or pitches. The next cousin to the clavichord was the harpsichord invented by Cristofori in Italy around 1450 A.D. This keyboard instrument had a mechanism in it called the plecktrum which 'plucked' the strings and produced a slightly stronger sound than its predecessor. Whether you are playing an acoustic instrument, which is the closest relative to the history just mentioned, or an electronic keyboard, you are now participating in a centuries old musical art form.
The Open Position Piano Chord
Chords. They're amazing. There's no doubt about it. Especially when it comes to piano playing and the Open Position Chord. Here we can use both hands to create music with. The chord is broken up into its main elements and its voicing is spread out which gives it a nice open sound. The sound that's perfect for the New Age style.
History of the Clarinet From the 19th Century
While composers had already begun to write music for the clarinet, such as Mozart with the Clarinet Concerto and Clarinet Quintet, it was the 19th century that saw an explosion of use of the clarinet in the music of most composers of the day. This was mainly due to two factors.
Why Play Guitar?
As a full-time guitar instructor, I am constantly faced with people in all walks of life who, for all different kinds of reasons, believe that playing the guitar will add something to their lives. Most people that are just starting the guitar for the first time are young (pre-university) although certainly not all. One of my favorite students last year was a 65-year-old retiree who wanted to learn enough to be able to start a bar band with his friends.
How to Create Backing Tracks If You Dont Play All the Instruments... or Any
Congratulations! Your singing has become amazing, and it's time the world knew. You've also written some songs that are just kick you-know-what. They need to be recorded, MP3ed and put on the net ASAP. But you've got two problems. First, you can't afford a studio, let alone a band for all this stuff. Second, you don't play all, or any, of the instruments.
Common Thoughts That Kill Inspiration
Do you sit down at the piano and feel anxiety or peace? Are you anxious to begin creating or does the thought of being at your instrument bring you a sense of well being? It all begins with what you're telling yourself. If you think that what you are doing is not good enough, it's sure to kill off that quiet little motor of inspiration.
Inspiration Wanted - Apply Within!
One of the biggest stumbling blocks for music students is knowing what to practice. In the early years students listened to their teachers and did what they told them to do, which is still of course perfectly valid. But the real turning point that sets a student on their own path is the ability to self motivate and take the reins without the aid of a mentor.
How to Start Your Own Band
Every once in awhile a guitar student will express a desire to be in a band someday.If this is your ambition too, then read on. Whether you're a guitar player or not doesn't really matter. If you are a talented singer or musician then the question is, do YOU want to be in a band? In this article you will find some helpful ideas on how to get started in that direction.
Establishing Your Mix
Now that you've spent hours and days and weeks and months recording your musical masterpieces (and you've also read my article "Tips for a Great Recording Session"), you have arrived at my favorite time in the studio; The Mixdown.
Right-Hand Techniques for New Age Piano
Recently, I had a student ask me to offer some techniques for using the right hand. Usually, it's the left hand that causes the most difficulty but I had to think about it because up till then, I really did not have any "techniques" for the right hand.
Is Your Child Struggling in School? Get Him (Or Her) Music Lessons
This is counterintuitive, I know. Our natural response to seeing our child struggle is to find a way to help, not to add to the burden. If a child is struggling, why should we risk setting them up for failure in music lessons?
The press have reported this week that silent disco's are now the in thing, saying:
6 Tips for Organizing Your Music Files
If you're a digital music fan, you probably have problems organizing your music file collection. For me, I used to have hundreds of MP3 files lumped in one folder in my hard drive. Can you imagine the pain I had to go through to find one specific tune to listen to?
Music Licensing: The Cold Cash Facts About Money for your Music
Where music meets licensing, there's money to be made. How much money? "I have synched quite a few thousand songs into productions over the years," states Peter Jansson of Janssongs, Inc., "and have charged anywhere between US$1.00 and US$250,000 for each one."
Building Your Digital Music Collection
The previous two Tech Tips took a look at eight basic features of portable MP3 players worth considering before laying down some serious money on one of these devices. Once you have a nice new MP3 player with plenty of space for music, you need to fill it up! There are several ways to go about building your digital music collection, and we'll take a look at a few ways to do so.
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