The Gift of Music

Merry Christmas and Happy New Y25594090_1506129039424391_884384784259335833_near to all!  I hope that everyone is fully enjoying this special time of the year.

Music lesson registration is now being accepted for January.


It’s time to register for the New Year!


New Music Season

brain on music 2Summer Vacation has been GREAT!  I hope that everyone has fully enjoyed this special time of the year.  And now – let the new school year begin!

Music lessons will start the third full week of school – the week of September 26th.  All students from last season have been given priority for registration until September 1st. Registration is now open to all.


                               It’s now time to register for the coming year!  

Parents and Practice Help

Most parents know the value of practice.  How can a parent – musically inclined or not help their child to develop good practice habits?

Children need parental help to establish a productive practice routine at least until they are 11 years old.  Help them to read their assignments.  Help them to keep their routine.  Encourage them to keep trying – even when the going is tough.  They can overcome many difficulties when they learn to keep a positive attitude,

Decide with your child when is the best time to practice.  Give them two or three options to choose from.  They will enjoy being an active participant in choosing their routine.  These chosen practice schedules should be kept every day such as any doctor or dentist appointment.  Consistent daily practice is the key to good progress.  Cramming for an hour the night before the lesson is much less effective than 10 minutes every day.  And don’t forget to practice on the lesson day!  Instructions are still fresh in their mind and will be better applied to their week’s work.

Give a visual feedback chart to record their practice.  Many charts are available to download.  Students may fill in with times or stickers.  You may even have a “thermometer” chart that could be coloured for each practice session.  Children may also be encouraged if rewards are offered after a certain amount of practice is achieved.  Rewards may be as simple as choosing a special dessert or as extravagant as choosing where to go for a special occasion.

Enable a successful practice session.  Make sure that proper lighting is available.  Do they have a distraction free place to practice?  Are siblings cooperative in allowing them to practice at their designated time?  Do they have all the necessary tools?  Do they need a music stand to hold their books?  Does their keyboard need new batteries or a power cord?  Is their chair/stool the correct height?  Is their instrument tuned?  Does their instrument need to be tuned?  Great guitar tuning Apps are available for free for most electronic devices.  I’ve also found that tuners that clamp to the guitar head are easily handled and very accurate.

Invest in a quality instrument to help your child experience beautiful sounds.  There are many great and affordable options that will give your child the tools that they need to truly experience music lessons. An investment in a good instrument ensures that you are receiving  the most benefits in your child’s musical education.

Record them.  This can be done with both photos and videos.  It will enable both parent and child to see progress over time and to create a wonderful keepsake.

Be involved!   Ask questions about their lesson.  What is their favorite piece? Here is a great resource of good questions along with blank cards to create your own.  Question Cards  Show them that you care about their musical abilities.  Brag about them to grandparents and friends.  Encouragement and taking an active part in their lessons will develop their confidence and desire to continue to develop their musical skills.

Not all children will become professional musicians, but all children may benefit from music study by developing life long skills and the enjoyment of music!



Recipe for Success: The first 6 months of piano lessons

1. Timetable practice into your daily schedule

2. Sit down once a week with your child for an intensive practice session together

3. Lavish praise and encouragement

4. Use bribes 🙂

View the complete article for more ideas- Diary of a Piano Mama

Diary of a Piano Mama

1. Timetable practice into your daily schedule

Nothing but nothing but nothing (but nothing) will replace actual time spent on the piano, each day.

With any luck your child will have a lovely time spending 30 mins each week with a piano teacher – piano teachers are notoriously lovely people, after all. If you have chosen the right piano teacher who chooses the right piano method for your child, your child is bound to have fun and look forward to going along to lessons each week.

Any student is likely to be able to move along and progress through a method book just by playing once or twice each week – it’s not rocket science, after all.

However, no one is born with “piano hands.” And prodigy is developed and nurtured – not some kind of divine blessing.

If you have decided to make the investment in piano lessons…

View original post 1,370 more words

Tips to Arrive Prepared for a Music Lesson

Mother and Children Waiting for a School Bus --- Image by © Jim Craigmyle/Corbis

It’s that time of year again.  Time to transition form the carefree summer holidays to the new schedule of school.  Mornings are rough in every household.  Sometimes students come to their lessons with it all – every music book needed – as well as their assignment book!  And, other times they arrive wrinkled and with no books.

It’s possible to train your troops to work in tandem for a smooth, synchronized morning. It will definitely help them to have an organized and smooth progress in their studies.

1. Prep the Night Before
The key to morning efficiency is in what you can do ahead of time.

Establish a morning routine for your kids, and encourage them to check their backpacks before bedtime to make sure homework and books are packed – especially music books the night before their lesson day. Perhaps have them put an alarm on the calender of their MP3 player or phone.

2. Reward Consistency + Practice
It’s really tough to get yourself ready while trying to get someone else ready, too. One strategy is to get up a half hour before your kids, but there’s another way: make it into a game!

Announce to your children that whoever’s ready for the school bus gets a sticker on a “morning routine chart.”  Once they’ve reached five stickers, reward them with a small but irresistible prize — like music control in the car for the week!

3. Bundle Books
Prevent the panic of being halfway out the door only to realize you have no idea where all of the books are. Put all essential items in the same spot every time that they are finished. It’s preferable to have a special bag to keep the books in whenever not actively using them.  This keeps them all together and handy for “grab and go” when they were unfortunately forgotten in the previous night’s backpack check.

5 Numbers You Need to Make Your Kid a Good Musician- and Printable Practice Charts

The following is reblogged from Heather of Moderately Crunchy.

Keeping kids motivated during the winter semester is an uphill battle, and we need parents to help!

Here’s the hard truth: not even Yo-Yo Ma can make a child an excellent cellist with one lesson per week. (Sub in whatever instrument your kiddos play in that analogy). My job as a music teacher is to teach your child how to practice because- you ready for this?- your child will never learn an instrument unless they practice at home.

Sooo… how much should your child be practicing? How often should he practice and for how long?

Well, I’m glad you asked! I wish I could say I was basing this on hard evidence and studies, but I’m not. This is my personal and professional opinion, based on my combined experience in both music and psychological development.

Here are the 5 Practicing Numbers You Need to Know~

~ 5 Days a Week

Kids do best when they practice most days. Consistency lends itself to progress, and it also helps cut down on the practice battles. When practicing is a part of the daily routine, kids push back less. In our home, we take practice breaks on lessons days and on Sunday.

~ 10 Minutes Per Year of Age, Per Week

I recommend that my students practice a minimum of 10 minutes per year of age per week. For example, my four year old has to practice a minimum of 40 minutes a week. I would expect a ten year old to practice a bare minimum of 100 minutes a week. Bare minimum.

~ 15 Minute Practice Sessions

It takes time to warm up and start “thinking musically”. Kids do their best learning as they get into the practice session. With that in mind, practice sessions should be a minimum of 15 minutes long. As tempting as it may be to throw in a five minute mini-session to round out a practice week, it’s not productive time.

~ 1 Year Per Level

Parents often ask me how long it should take to get through one level of books. Many method books are formatted to get through in one year or less. If your kid is languishing in a level for two or three years, it may be time to re-evaluate either your practice schedule or interest level (or maybe, possibly your instructor, but that’s a whole other can of worms).

~ 30, 45, 60 Minute Lesson Times

Many students start out with a 30 minute lesson time and get stuck there. Beginners do well with 30 minute lessons, but intermediate students need a 45 minute long lesson. Advanced students need a 60 minute lesson and may even need lessons more often than once a week. If you’re unsure what level your child is at, ask your instructor.

Do you need to shake-up your practice routine to get through winter? I’m sharing my studio practice charts in an instant download with you. I love practice charts that can be used for long-term goal setting (ie. more than one week). For practice charts to work well, follow these steps:

Establish an incentive. In a perfect world, all kids would practice for the sheer love of music. You can get your kids there, but it’s going to take some prodding along the way. Set an overall practice chart goal and then pick a prize at the end. I use a treasure box full of candy and small toys in my studio. You can also try going out for dessert, choosing a family outing, or extending a privilege as rewards.

Use it! Once you’ve chosen your chart and an incentive, post the chart in the open and refer to it daily. If you forget about the chart, your kid will forget about practicing.

Keep it up. Fill out the chart, reward with the incentive, then immediately start a new chart. This is how good habits form.

In this download, you’ll find:
Punch Cards (similar to an old-school lunch ticket)                                                                           Race Game Board (looks like a board game)
Blackout Bingo Cards
Race to 1000 minutes (race car themed with tens charts)


It’s time again to enjoy the wonderful music-making of students! Students have the opportunity to perform in a concert on February 22.  It’s sure to be a wonderful event. It’s time for students to perfect their music.  Think of it as an Olympic challenge!

Please contact me if you need more details.