Preschool Piano: What does your child stand to gain?

You won’t be alone if you were wondering why children are encouraged to start piano lessons early. While every parent would fancy the thought of bringing up the next world famous pianist, enrolling in a preschool piano class doesn’t necessarily mean you want them to become professional musicians.

Musical training helps to develop children’s minds and a preschool piano class with other children remains one of the most popular ways to begin this training.

Here are a few things your preschooler will learn in our preschool piano class:

Impulse control

Children are known to move and act impulsively. However, our preschool piano class would allow your child multiple opportunities to coordinate his/her movements. When songs or stories are acted out, children learn how to control their impulses and move or talk only when they should. Having to sit in a specific place with others and follow directions helps them control their impulses. Even when they are not being actively engaged (listening instead of dancing), they absorb the environment and sounds around them. These are invaluable opportunities for growth and it would help them developmentally for other group situations in life.

Concentration

On the surface preschool piano lessons might look like all fun and games, but in reality it takes a great deal of patience and discipline on the part of the child.  Learning to play with others, following directions, singing only when it’s your turn, singing as you play the piano, how to sit correctly at the piano, which keys to play, how to play gently instead of pounding, and the list goes on!  Internalizing all of these generally requires perseverance.

A preschool piano class helps your child absorb these skills early on. They are learning to focus and be successful at seemingly difficult tasks. Little by little they are acquiring the maturity needed for the day when formal instruction begins.

Listening Skills

Numerous studies have attempted to investigate the benefit of music education in children. One common theme about these studies is the ability of music to improve the listening skills of children. In our preschool piano class auditory skills are fine tuned by listening to voices and sounds of nature and the unique qualities of acoustic instruments. These activities are not only fascinating to children but will definitely be a boost to their beginning reading skills!

Confidence

There is a need to build your child’s self-esteem right from an early age and a preschool piano class offers an effective method of accomplishing that. When children are allowed to be themselves in a safe environment that is loving and kind, they will feel confident to share their music with others.  They experience weekly success with music in class and these seemingly small achievements mean the world to them, building the confidence they need.

Are you ready?

There you have it! Highlighted above are just some of the things your preschooler stands to gain from our preschool piano class. The lessons are specially designed to attract the interest of children and they’ll naturally find them intriguing. Preschool piano class is an amazing way to start your child’s musical journey!

Piano Lessons Without Practice

Maxes at DPS

 

Week by week. Year after year. Students arrive at their piano lesson without practicing their assigned pieces.

Week by week. Year after year. Piano teachers try to find ways to entice students to practice.

Piano students are “let go” from piano studios because they do not practice.

Households are stressed because piano students do not practice.

Piano teachers are loosing students because parents are tired of weekly messages saying “Johnny needs to practice .”

On the other hand…

Playing sports is so much fun! Put on your t-shirt, join your team, play the game together, go home.

Next week? Repeat!

How many of these players will be drafted by a major league team? less than 2.9%.

How many will have a career in sports? Probably a few more.

How many will love the game for life and dabble in it when gathering with friends? I bet 99% of them will at least still enjoy the game.

What does this have to do with piano lessons?

Learning to play the piano has a tradition of discipline, repetition and loneliness. Students may love to come to their lesson every week, it may even be fun; but the daily practice at home… that’s another story.

Is there another way to learn to play the piano and love it?

Here is my vision.

Piano lessons are so much fun! Grab your music bag, join your team, play the piano, go home!

Next week? Repeat!

How many of these pianists will pursue the career of a concert pianist? Probably none.

How many will have a career in music? Maybe quite a few.

How many will love the game for life and dabble in it when gathering with friends?I bet 99% of them will at least still enjoy music the rest of their lives.

Do you see what I see? It’s a beautiful vision of my students  making music at the piano with others. For life.

Will you join me?

Music and the Brain

 

It has been said that music is healthy for the brain, happiness for the soul and pleasure to the heart.

Many of us have experienced how music affects our soul and heart but how does music affect the brain?

Does classical music really help encourage infant development?

How does musical training affect the brain and does music really improve the quality of life?

Wanting to understand exactly how music affected me, I did some research.

Have a good read and explore the effect of music on the brain!

Does classical music really help encourage infant development? 

I’m sure many of you have seen albums such as “Baroque for Babies” which encourage classical music exposure to infants. In 1998, a study was conducted to determine if music truly affected the mind of a young child. The belief of the time was that listening to classical music in the crib would improve skills in math and engineering. What came of this experiment is known as the ‘Mozart Effect’.  Music also relaxes your baby. Studies show that babies exposed to classical music relax, move less and sleep more comfortably at night.

How does musical training affect the brain? 

As corny as it sounds, musicians have bigger, better brains! This isn’t something made up, science proves it. Looking at a CT scan of a brain, musicians tend to have bigger, more connected brains. If you hadn’t noticed, musicians tend to have exceptional memory, auditory skills, and cognitive ability. Not all of us a professional level musicians but if you listen to music half as much as I do in a week, music is influencing your brain too! 

Does music really improve the quality of life?

Well music has been proven to improve your mood and reduce stress! Don’t believe me? Find a quiet country road, go out on a sunny day, roll down your windows and turn on your favorite song. I guarantee you’ll start smiling and your body will physically and mentally relax. Listening to upbeat music can give you energy and positive attitude. Music increases our dopamine levels (dopamine is our “happy” hormone!) and that’s why listening to your favorite song makes you so happy!

Music is a key factor in my life – I believe that I am a more loving and compassionate person because I have music in my life. Above all else, music is a sensation, it has the power to raise feelings you didn’t know you had before. Music makes you happier, healthier and enhances everything of the human experience.

You can read more about music and the brain here.

written by piano pedagogy student Lindsey Johnson, Southwestern Adventist University.

Music. Experience it. Live it. Make it.

 

This is what Dorla’s Piano Studio is all about.  Music.

Sometimes we get bogged down by recital deadlines, practice requirements and performances, but when it comes down to the last line in the score, it’s all about the music.

Experience it.  Of the many ways available to experience music, participating in a group is at the top of the list.  This is one of the many reasons DPS offers group lessons for beginners. It’s fun.  Children play music games, they sing together, they make music together, play for each other and learn from each other.

Live it.  When you wake up in the morning singing “Mouse, Mousie in the Housie”, “There’s a Worm At The Bottom Of My Garden” “Wake Up Pointer Panda” or any of your songs from music class, you know that you are living the music! It might me annoying at times to have a song stuck in your head, but that is exactly what needs to happen in order for you to play it on your instrument.

Make it.  Each and every lesson should be about making and creating beautiful sounds. Even if you are playing only one note at a time – you should make them the best.  No banging! Instead, tell a story with drama and flair.  So what if you can only play Hot Cross Buns! Play it in a way that is unique. Improvise, change the ending, change the key.  Whatever you do…make MUSIC.

You have to read this book! (or not…)

music library

Actually…this is a short list of the books that I have read this summer.  I can’t say that I read every single word…but the chapters I read were really good, extremely helpful in planning for the new semester even if it was just for me to realize that I wasted my money on buying the book…

  • The Savvy Musician – I’ve owned this book for a year or two.  It is full of information that I don’t necessarily need but chapter #7 made me realize I need more gigs. Gigs? really, Dorla?  Well, in my world that translates to saying yes to church performances.  Most of them are volunteer- however I had underestimated the positive reaction of the families enrolled in my Studio each time they actually hear me perform.
  • Teaching Piano in Groups – Kindle version. I am listing it because I actually read more than 3 chapters.  But it is geared toward college professors – not dynamic independent studios who need to be at the cutting edge of piano teaching.  It reads like a textbook. Well…it is definitely a textbook!
  • Piano Lessons: A memoir – Kindle version. Such a good book to read by the pool. You can hear the piano teacher’s voice as she rants and raves – but there is also drama. Real drama that even included a few words about my school TCU! A great read about the life of a pianist.
  • How I Made $100,00 My First Year As A Piano Teacher – I am sure I have mentioned Kristin Yost before.  Her book is VERY easy to read – and that is a good thing.  She gets to the point and makes you think hard about how you will set up your first studio or how you are running your 20 year old studio.  Kristin’s book made me re-think recitals (p. 14), her idea of hiring musicians for a “Keyboard Jam” was just that. An idea.  But a few weeks after reading her book I was privileged to attend her “Keyboard Jam” and loved it!  It made me take the final step in deciding to change my studio recitals.  We now play at the local Nursing Home once a month and  I am working on a few other musical opportunities!
  • Steal Like An Artist – Thanks to Leila I now have a new favorite book! The author of this little book says: “Be Boring. (It’s the only way to get work done.) This is one of those books that you read over and over  again. Simply awesome.
  • Studio Makeover: Technology “Addition” – eBook. Can you believe Leila also recommended this one? She is a treasure trove! Anyway…a decade or more ago I had a computer lab in my studio for the students to work on music theory, composition, ear training, etc. I don’t remember if there was a specific reason for closing it down, but I just could not keep up any longer. Nowadays it is a piece of cake – provided your computer is not a dinosaur…this ebook took me step by step and showed me what to do and how to do it with today’s technology. I did not even purchase any new software – everything is online – just the way I like it.  Next year I might invest in new software, however it was exciting to be able to have this technology addition without a big expense.
  • The Dynamic Studio – Kindle version. When you read any of Johnston’s books it feels like your body is being pumped with adrenaline. His voice is so fast paced! I wonder if he speaks as fast as I read him! Granted, I did not read every single word. I can always come back and research or review.  His ideas are always good.  Some a little extreme. But it validated the changes I have made in my studio.  If you are stuck in a rut – strive for a dynamic studio!
  • Piano Hands Should Not Flip Burgers – eBook. Another fast paced book – but full of gems! There are many things that I have wanted to add to my student’s lessons but was not really sure how to go about it.  Composition, improvisation, games, things I would do once in a while without a good plan.  Well, Dow & Dow (the authors) put it on paper for me and I had my aha! moment. A favorite to re-read.

So…what have you been reading?