Learn Now Music, Inc.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

How does music practice fit into a child’s schedule?

There are innumerable constraints on our childrens’ time: soccer practice, dance class, art lessons, play dates, homework, school projects, family outings, and the list goes on. Even the weekends are filled with scheduled activities, and when does a child even get time to just play?

The good news is that our youngest students are doing their music ‘practicing’ simply by playing. If they are taking time to pluck strings, play low and high sounds, rap out rhythms on a drum pad or interact in any range of musical experiences, then they are showing their interest and engagement. It does not matter that they are not ‘sitting down for fifteen minutes a day’ to work on their scales. Children are no different from adults in that they will learn the most, and the best, when they are having fun.

If a child is not yet in school, then that child is young enough not to need a structured practice regimen, and parents should simply support any range of musical expression the child chooses to undertake.

For those students in the kindergarten to second grade age range, a practice regimen can certainly be easily incorporated into the schedule. About fifteen minutes a day is a great goal to set for early elementary musicians. Between 3rd and 6th grade, thirty minutes of practice per day is a great goal. If it is difficult to find that fifteen minute block of practice time, remember that this is not an all-or-nothing game. Five minutes of practice is better than none, and five minutes twice a day (say, once in the morning and once at night) is incredibly beneficial.

An added bonus can be achieved if your child practices right before bedtime. While they are sleeping, their brains will be working through all the musical experiences they had just a while earlier.

One final thought: if music ‘practice’ is framed as constructive play, and inserted at a regular time (or times) each day, then it not only becomes an accepted part of the daily routine, but something every student will appreciate as a rewarding, positive part of their day!

Happy Practicing!

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Friday, November 15, 2013

Holiday Music Ideas

The holidays are here! The season is full of festivities and joy, and parents can channel this excitement into musical practice and playing. Holiday songs are not only fun, but familiar, and this provides young students the inspiration to keep practicing during the Thanksgiving to New Year doldrums, when so many activities are competing for their time and attention. Instead of allowing family visits, parties, and get-togethers to become impediments to wintertime practice, embrace them as opportunities for children to play for (and with) loved ones and friends. Sing-alongs, duets, trios, and mixed instrument groups are all fantastic outlets for different ages and groups of kids to play together, from the beginning guitarist who strums along to the beat, to the more ‘seasoned’ pianist who can dazzle with all ten fingers at the same time. It’s not just holiday spirit that your children will experience – they will learn to listen to each other, to practice teamwork, and to make the world merrier through their music! If you need holiday book ideas for the young musician in the family, please follow the link below, write "Holiday Music" in the feedback section & LNM will send you info on great options. Happy Practicing! Holiday Music

Friday, November 8, 2013

What does a group class look like?

What does a group class look like? Parents often wonder what a group music class looks like, what happens in one, and generally how the whole thing works. This is an extremely important topic, because if expectations do not meet reality, it can be a frustrating situation for everyone involved. Firstly, a fantastic analogy can be drawn between learning music and learning a language. In a language class with a number of students, the pace of progression will not be as steep, let’s say, as one-to-one instruction, but there will be that all-important element of socialization and group interaction. While private instruction will probably move at a faster pace, it will not contain the social component. Music classes are exactly the same – group classes should be a fun, enjoyable dynamic where all the students participate together and have a great time learning music as a group. Next: what, specifically, does a group class look like? What do the kids do? Are rhythm exercises in a group piano class, for instance, appropriate? Because there are many aspects to musical expression, and because young minds crave variety, the most effective music classes are those that accomplish many different tasks in a given lesson. Learning the specific techniques of an instrument is important, of course, but understanding – and feeling – rhythm, dynamics, articulations, and many other elements of music is equally essential. Students should be able to stand up, stretch, perform clapping games and rhythmic exercises, to practice writing and drawing musical notes and notation, and to listen to others play, as well. When students are having fun, when they are engaged, and when they want to participate, that is when they will learn the most, and retain that knowledge for a lifetime. Happy Practicing! Looking for music lessons?