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    March Is Sing With Your Child Month


    No one in The Music Junction needs prodding to become songbirds but we’ll happily sing a little bit more in honor of Sing With Your Child Month!


    Yes, there is a month dedicated to singing and it begins in March!


    As we learned in an earlier blog post, parents are more likely to sing in the shower than to their children so we fully support a month dedicated to belting out tunes. After all, the benefits of music are scientifically proven and we all could find more ways to add music to our lives. So, forget about the quality of your singing voice — trust us, you’re probably a lot better than you think you are — grab a drum and starting singing.


    Still, not sure what to do? We have some advice:


    Make up a song: Turn off the car radio and have your family sing a song, suggests Music Together. Don’t worry about rhythm or the quality of the lyrics. In our house, we borrow heavily from the song “Mary Wore A Red Dress” except we change the lyrics to say what we’re wearing.


    Turn Storytime into Musical Storytime: Visit your local library and check out books you can sing. The Denver Public Library, has curated a list for you and it goes beyond “Twinkle, twinkle little star” and “Mary had a little lamb.”


    Sing to Chores/Tasks: Some things are just inevitable in a child’s life. She will have to pick up toys, brush her teeth, and wash her hands. Why not make the experience fun by singing some music. These can be quick tunes that your child is learning at school and preschool.


    Good luck and keep singing!


    The Music Junction offers piano and voice lessons at our Burbank and Hollywood locations. Call us today to learn more.

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    Encouraging Adult Music Students

    At The Music Junction we enjoy having students of all ages and believe music making is a good hobby for everyone. After all, it is well documented how music lessons benefit older students with their memory.  So, if playing the piano or taking voice lessons was one of your new year’s resolutions but you’re a little uncertain about this new journey, do not fear! We’re here to help!


    You Can Do This!

    The old saying is true, we are our own worst critic. Or as a music teacher told the New York Times, older people tend to “beat themselves up more” about their music abilities. Just relax and realize that being a student means you will make mistakes but you will get better. Teacher Brad Hubisz wants adults to remember something that is sometimes overlooked: “Adults are smarter than children!” He adds that older students have an easier time learning more theoretical-based concepts such as scales, chords and circle of fifths. Also, adults have a quicker grasp on learning sight reading tricks.



    You Should Practice But …

    Perhaps more than children, adult students tend to feel bad when they show up for lessons unprepared. Maybe it was a busy week at work filled with late meetings. Perhaps, you had a few too many dinner parties with friends. Either way, your day quickly filled up and you had little time, or energy, to practice. Out of respect for the teacher’s time you cancel the lessons and hope to catch up in time for the next session.


    Not so fast, says Music Junction owner Charissa Vaughan-Wheeler. She is a trained vocalist and pianist who is also learning how to play the guitar. She knows what it’s like to not practice. “Canceling actually has the opposite effect,” she says. “When students do that, they end up not practicing again for another week because they didn’t get the momentum back up again, and that’s when they start thinking about quitting.”


    Do you have any other concerns? Call us at The Music Junction so we can help!

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    What A Spontaneous Jam Session Can Teach Us About Improv

    Sometimes the best music can happen inside a concert hall.

    And other times the best musical moments are unplanned.

    That’s what happened recently in Texas when an aspiring musician strumming his guitar outside a grocery store was joined by two strangers. A third stranger recorded their impromptu session and posted it on YouTube and Facebook. The rest is Internet history.

    The video is has since gone viral, boosting the popularity of the three men so much that they  were flown to Los Angeles to perform on “Jimmy Kimmel Live.” Not only were the three strangers reunited but they also were joined by rappers Trey Songz, Juicy J and Aloe Blacc.

    While the video is entertaining, it is also very educational. Improvisation appears deceptively simple but it is a very difficult skill because it requires music knowledge and creativity.

    Here are some basic improvisation tips we observed from the video:


    Wait: Notice how the singer in the blue jersey takes in the song before joining in. He may or may not consciously know it, but he’s listening to the song’s scale and the rhythms, figuring a way he can contribute.


    Simplify: You’ll notice that the guitarist’s song is more complicated in the beginning but when he is accompanied by other musicians, everyone works to simplify the song. Eventually, they all seem to agree on an ostinato – a brief, repeated pattern that is at the heart of improvisation. The ostinato the men create are the hooks: “I don’t know what you came to do” and “Tell them that I just don’t know.”


    Be Fearless: The creativity needed to improvise a song can be daunting. Musicians, however, need to be fearless and experiment with music-making. If your music education has been focused on scales and reading music, The Music Junction educators can work with you to enhance your improvisation skills.


    The Music Junction offers piano and voice lessons at our Burbank and Hollywood locations. Call us today to learn more.

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    Are you ready to sign up for lessons? See Our Rates. | Questions? Contact us.


    What To Do When Your Child Wants to Stop Taking Music Lessons

    For every child who begs his parents to stop taking music lessons there are just as many adults who, years later, regret that their parents let them quit.

    So, what do you do when your child wants to stop? How do you find the balance motivating them to learn something that they might appreciate later in life and not having them dread touching the keys on the piano?

    Like many other parenting issues, the answer is not easy.  Still, here are some tips to dealing with the issue:


    Have An Exit Strategy: Talk to any entrepreneur, and chances are she has carefully crafted her exit strategy just as much as she has spent time thinking about her company’s launch.

    Parents also need their own version of an exit strategy for music lessons and communicate it clearly with their young musician.

    When your child approaches you about quitting you should already have an idea about how long you want music lessons to last.  Some parents require a year’s worth of lessons, hoping that the child will understand the fun and benefits of music in that amount of time. Other parents stand firm that music lessons will last throughout high school. Find a length of time that works with your parenting philosophy, your child and your beliefs the power of music education.


    Communicate: Does your child want to genuinely end music lessons or is he currently struggling through some difficult passages and techniques? Talk to his educator at The Music Junction and ask about any issues occurring during instruction. Sometimes some extra encouragement or added patience can solve the problem.


    Be Honest: As adults, we know the numerous benefits of exercising but that doesn’t mean we’re on the treadmill every day and eagerly sweating it out. Sometimes it is hard to find motivation.

    Your children have the same feelings.

    Acknowledge that practicing can feel tedious and repetitive at times and it’s fine not to love it.  In fact, famed cellist Yo-Yo MA once told the Washington Post about his childhood:  “I hated practicing! I spent more time thinking about practicing and dreading it than actually practicing.”

    As adults we understand that practicing makes us better musicians but children do not intuitively comprehend this concept. Help them make the connection.

    Make Music Fun: At The Music Junction we offer recitals as a way to make music fun and a social experience. Find other ways to achieve this goal. For the young child, that could mean setting up music play dates with children who are also taking lessons. For older children, that may mean finding music summer camps where they can make friends and become better players.

    The Music Junction offers piano and voice lessons at our Burbank and Hollywood locations. Call us today to learn more.

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