Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Music Education in Early Childhood

5 Reasons to Teach Music to Young Children 

'Music education begins nine months before the birth of the mother'  - Zoltán Kodály 

Extra-curricular activities, like music class, tend to be reserved for school-aged children.  However, research has shown that the benefits of music education can be shared by children of all ages.  Establishing a home where music is heard and music education is valued can benefit even the youngest of children.  Here are the 5 main reasons I teach music to my children:

My Listening Ears

1. Improved Listening Skills
Music is an aural art; it stresses listening skills. It's no secret that young children love repetition.  My two-year old son asks for the same bedtime song over and over again.  This repetition helps strengthen his listening skills, which I often test by changing a word or phrase or the melody.  Children who participate in music education learn to be good listeners. They are more aware of the various sounds in the environment, and pay better attention in school.  Northwestern University researchers recently showed an association between musical training and better listening skills.  Adults who studied music as a child (even if just for a few years) had enhanced brain responses to complex sounds and were more effective at hearing the fundamental frequency (crucial for speech and music perception and enables recognition of sounds in complex and noisy hearing settings).  

2. Encouraging Language Development
From the instant children are born (and even while still in the womb), they begin decoding sounds and words.  Music education enhances these natural abilities.  Dr. Kyle Pruitt, clinical professor of child psychology at the Yale School of Medicine (and a practicing musician) said "The development of language over time tends to enhance parts of the brain that help process music.  Musical experience strengthens the capacity to be verbally competent."

3. A Harmonious Child
In music class we define harmony as: two or more things played at the same time that sound good together. As we study and participate in music, our awareness of others grows as does a sense of appreciation.  This is especially true as we participate in music ensembles.  Music education helps us become more sensitive and compassionate.  Self-esteem thrives, and we are more able to benefit others and society in general.

4.  We Can Do Hard Things!
One of the greatest lessons children can learn is how to stick-to-it when things get tough.  Learning to play an instrument (or sing) is not easy!  Through music study, students learn the value of sustained effort to achieve excellence.  As children participate in music education (and especially performance), they learn at a young age to overcome the anxiety and fear that naturally occur in everyday life.  The ability to overcome obstacles is valuable in all areas of life.

5. Maximize Cognitive Potential
Our brains are not fully developed at birth, but the experiences we provide thereafter improve the connections and neurological pathways.  Studies have clearly indicated that musical training physically alters the development of the brain.  Music requires both sides of the brain to work together simultaneously, increasing the connective pathways between these two hemispheres. So in essence, music improves the way your brain works, offering maximum cognitive potential.  Linking new information to a melody can also help imprint information on young minds (how did you learn your ABCs?) Music education is actually a means to achieving brighter, happier, more successful students.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Bonding Parent to Child

After my last Parent Orientation meeting on Saturday, one mom mentioned that I got a little choked up as I was reading the Let's Play Music vision statement:

Music is wonderful for so many reasons... it enriches our lives, as we perform our confidence increases, practice develops talent, and research has shown that learning music even enhances our intelligence.  With all these wonderful benefits to music education, it's easy to overlook that magical bonding that takes place as two people share in a musical experience together.  And THAT, is the vision of Let's Play Music.  

This amazing bonding opportunity is the reason I chose to send my children to another teacher. My favorite moments in the classroom have been watching my 6 month old smile and try to sing along, while bouncing in my lap, or as I snuggle with my child and sing "May There Always Be Sunshine," or the excitement of a "DO-bomb" shared the first time my son plays the blue-chord independently.  And, I'll admit, I may even get teary eyed as I watch you sharing these tender moments with your children.
My friend and fellow Let's Play Music teacher, Bekah Jennings, recently guest posted on the corporate Let's Play Music - Making Musicians blog: here.  She said: "If I can create an environment that strengthens the family by bonding the parent and child, I have succeeded as a teacher. And if the child happens to learn piano along the way--and they all do to varying degrees--that's a bonus!"  

I'm excited to see your children this week as classes begin, but more importantly, I'm excited to see YOU with your children. We are going to have a great time together!  Sure, you're learning how to help your child practice, and maybe even how to play the piano yourself.  But the one thing that is really going to make this year special, is the opportunity you have to strengthen your own relationship with your child.  

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Fall class calendars

Fall class calendars are here!  Also, mark your calendars for our spring recital which will be held on Saturday, April 26th at 2:00 pm.  

Don't forget the mandatory parent orientation meetings scheduled for Saturday, August 10th.  This meeting is for parents only, so please make other arrangements for your children.  The parent who will be attending class and practicing with the children should plan to attend this meeting. However, both parents are welcome to attend.  Fall semester materials will be distributed at this meeting.

Third Year Parents 10:00 am
Second Year Parents 11:00 am
First Year Parents 1:00 pm

Congratulations on choosing the very best beginning piano instruction for your children-  Let's Play Music!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Here Comes the Red Balloon!

Although I wasn't originally planning on taking any new students this year, it has come to my attention that there is a need for another class in the west Mesa area.  So....  if you are interested in piano instruction for your child, check out this awesome program!

If you don't know anything about Let's Play Music, you will probably want to attend a sample class to see for yourself.  For information on upcoming sample classes, click here.

Hello!  This is me, Nicci Lovell.  This is my 4th year teaching the Let's Play Music Curriculum.  I love watching the Red Balloons fill with excitement as they learn about the Major Scale, practice baby steps, skips and leaps.  This year, my third child will begin the Let's Play Music curriculum.  Although I teach, nothing can compare to the experience of being a Let's Play Music parent.  I'm so blessed to have the opportunity to participate in this program as a parent AND a teacher.

I teach from my home studio near Country Club & University in downtown Mesa.  This fall, I am only planning on taking ONE new class; thats just enough room for 6-8 students.  Currently this class is scheduled for Tuesday evenings from 5:15 p.m - 6:00 p.m.  This class will fill quickly, so get registered TODAY!

Fortunately for you, there are other teachers in the area who are accepting new students as well.  Let me introduce them as well (Just click their name to contact them about classes).

Bekah Jennings is the teacher who introduced me to Let's Play Music!  She taught my oldest son and will teach #3 as well.  Bekah teaches from her home studio near Alma School & 8th St in Mesa.  Bekah is the West Mesa team leader and also teaches Sound Beginnings.  She will be teaching Red Balloons  at the following times:

Tuesday 1:15 p.m. - 2:00 p.m
Tuesday 3:15 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

 Marie Guthrie joined our team last year, so this is her second year teaching Let's Play Music.  She teaches near Dobson and Guadalupe in west Mesa.  Her Red Balloons classes will be:

Tuesday 3:20 p.m. - 4:05 p.m.
Tuesday 5:10 p.m. - 5:55 p.m.
Tuesday 6:00 p.m. - 6:45 p.m.
Thursday 3:30 p.m. - 4:15 p.m.
Thursday 4:20 p.m. - 5:05 p.m.

Brooke Sutherland is brand new to the west Mesa LPM team, however she has taught piano lessons for several years.  Brooke teaches from her home studio near Dobson and Baseline.  Her Red Balloons classes will be held:

Monday 4:00 p.m. - 4:45 p.m.
Wednesday 9:30 a.m. - 10:15 a.m.
Wednesday 3:15 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Wednesday 4:15 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Sound Beginnings!!!

I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am to be teaching the new Sound Beginnings curriculum!  My 3 youngest children and I (ages 4, 2 and 8 months) have had the privilege of attending these classes for the past year with another teacher.  What fun!!!  We all enjoy the bonding time together, the fun we have in class, and the joy that spills over into our home life.  Take a moment to watch this short video that highlights some of the benefits of early music education.  Then CLICK HERE to REGISTER for classes!