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    “But I Don’t Wanna Play The Piano….”

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    “Forcing a child to play an instrument rarely leads to the love of music making we want.”

    (Dr. Robert A. Cutietta, author of “Raising Musical Kids”)

    I have very mixed feelings about this statement. I was one of those children who’s parents “forced” them to play an instrument. In my family learning to play the piano was not optional for my siblings and me. Practicing the piano regularly was also not optional.

    My parents made a deal with me during one of my many rants about wanting to quit. They said that if I could find 3 adults that had quit playing piano as a child and didn’t regret it then they would let me quit. I tried for years, asking every grown up I came across. Needless to say, my parents won. Every adult I spoke to said “I wish I would have kept going.” Not only did I develop my own love for the piano, but I also went on to study music in college, perform on multiple stages worldwide, and even become a piano teacher myself.

    We’ve all heard of the cognitive and physical benefits of learning an instrument as a child. We’ve heard how students who study an instrument for an extended period of time have improved grades and test scores, increased creativity, and stronger balance in left/right brain function. Even so, it can be very difficult when our kids refuse to practice or argue to quit taking lessons. The competition is fierce with the internet, video games, sports, and even school work. As a teacher, I encourage parents to push through and continue through those phases (which is exactly what they are) in setting non-negotiable standards for their children. I do, however, recognize the need to maybe switch to another instrument or introduce new musical genres into the students repertoire. Music teachers and parents can work together as these different stages of growth arise for the young musician.

    There are always ways to keep it fresh!

     

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

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    Does Practice Really Make Perfect?

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    We’ve all heard the phrase before “practice makes perfect“. It sounds nice but is it actually true? Sometimes, not entirely; not even perfect practice makes perfect.

    Studies show that the most effective way to learn quickly is varied practice. I like to think of this as approaching a task from every angle. Practice the task repeatedly, yes, but add a small variation each time.

    When a student is learning new musical material this approach is extremely helpful. Practicing the song from different starting points each time can strengthen the memorization and muscle memory much faster than simply repeating the same line over and over again.

    Here’s a great article about how we can apply this skill in other areas of our lives.

    http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/77S6m8/www.fastcoexist.com/3056223/the-secret-to-learning-new-skills-twice-as-fast?ref_src=fb

     

     

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

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    A New Year’s Resolution To Become A Better Music Student

    Happy new year!

     

    We hope you enjoyed the holidays and are looking forward to a new year. As you know, this is the time of year when it is popular to make a resolution, be it losing weight, saving money or, learning a new skill. If you are Music Junction student and want to become a better musician in 2015, we have some tips for you!

     

    Make A Plan: This works for every resolution you may have, including improving your music skills. After you make a resolution to become a better player, devise a plan on how to make it happen. Forbes.com suggests digesting a major goal into actionable steps: “Try mapping out a rough schedule for the year in advance, covering one part of your goal each month …”

     

    After that, use apps or sticky notes to remind yourself to achieve each step and make yourself accountable. If you need help figuring out a monthly goal, talk with your Music Junction teacher.

     

    Practice Every Day: You had a feeling this advice was coming, didn’t you? You know — we know — that practicing every day can help make you a better pianist and/or singer. The last few months have been extra challenging carving out time with holiday parties, shopping and family gatherings. So, let’s re-commit to finding 20 minutes out of your day to practice. If you need some helpful tips for you or your child, read this blog post.

     

    Give Yourself A Pat On The Back: While we’re fans of new year’s resolutions we admit that sometimes they can sound negative. We’re forcing ourselves to learn a new skills out of the assumption we need to improve ourselves. How about congratulating yourself for sticking with lessons and renewing your commitment in 2015 to continue your journey as a musician? So, next time you play a wrong note or get overly frustrated with a new piece, do not wince. Instead, congratulate yourself for keeping at it.

     

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

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    The Life of a Music Major Requires A Lot of Practicing

    If you think you practice music a lot, check out the life of a music major.

    An article from The Daily O’Collegian from Oklahoma State University shows the amount of commitment students need for their craft and it is an interesting read if you’re deciding on majoring in music.

    Student Corrine Bean is a music education major and says she spends 13 hours a day at the university’s performing arts complex that include taking classes and studying music. Although she is primarily a cello player, her university requires that she learn another instrument as well as take vocal lessons. She also participates in her school choral and strings group. That is a lot of work!

    Bean wants to score movies after she graduates is preparing herself with her thesis project that includes playing three cello pieces and an original composition.

    By the way, unless you are a music major it would be hard to spend 13 hours a day on your instrument.  If you would like to know a how much a practice, it is hard for us to give universal advice. Although generally the youngest musicians should practice 15 minutes a day and older, more advanced musicians should devote an hour a day, the truth is that quality is more important than quantity. If you lose interest or concentration, take a break. If, after the break, you still cannot focus, move on.  And do not try to make up for lost time with a marathon session on the weekend.

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

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    4 Ways to Get Your Child to Practice Music

    The study of music provides so many benefits it just makes sense to bring voice and piano lessons into your child’s life. So, you select the right teacher — ideally someone from The Music Junction — as well as buy or rent a piano.

    Your job, however, is not done. The day will come when your child has to practice and doesn’t want to. We’ve all been there. At some point every young musician will throw a tantrum or give attitude about practicing at home. The allure of toys and cartoons can sometimes overpower the wonderful ivory keys on a piano.

    Don’t give up. We have some advice:

     

    1.  Practice Regularly — Get your child in the habit early that practice should happen every day or every weekday, says Baltimore Symphony Orchestra violinist and mother Ellen Pendleton Troyer.  Eventually, this will feel like a normal routine, just like brushing their teeth and getting dressed. Troyer also recommends experimenting with morning, afternoon and evening practice sessions to see the time of day that works best for your child.

     

    2.  Don’t Put The Instrument Away — Keep the fall board up and leave the music sheets out, says NPR. You might be surprised to see your child play a few notes, even when it’s not time to practice. Your young musician may not be practicing music assigned by the instructor but he will be improvising and learning something truly important, that music can be fun.

     

    3. Make It Positive — Granted, it’s not always easy to figure out what is fun and positive for your child. Sometimes, it’s receiving praise from learning a song and other times it’s being rewarded for practicing a certain amount of hours. Some parents have found success in breaking up the monotony of rehearsing with some silliness ( i.e. have them practice while will standing on one leg) and others have realized that their children are more engaged when they have a say in music selection. Find the tactic that works best with your parenting philosophy and your child’s personality.

     

    4. Be Involved — Even if you don’t know how to play or sing music, there are many ways you can be involved. Keep your young musician company as he or she practices. Also, offer words of support when your child becomes overly frustrated with a difficult passage and be there to congratulate her when she successfully finishes a song.

     

    Have you found a successful tactic? We would love to hear your ideas in the comments section.

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

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