Can I take piano lessons, Mom?

Children innately move to music and many sing along. Having music in your home is the best way to show you appreciate it and value it in your life. Sing, hum or whistle why you play together, wake up or tuck in at night and join in with the radio when you're riding in the car. This will pique their interest. It doesn't take much and they will be moving and singing to music they have heard, or asking if they can play drums, guitar or piano, or all of them "pleeease!"

Many parents ask when is the best time to start lessons. It depends on the the child but they can start exploring music very early, even age 1, but definitely by 2, 3 or 4 they can start learning rhythms on shakers, hand drums and anything they can hold or tap.  At age 4-5 a year of pre-piano lessons (Keyboard Kingdom below) is a great way to get started. You can expect to see fun, laughter and enjoyment in your child if the teacher is connecting well and being creative when learning might become difficult. You should be a part of the lessons at this stage. You bring structure and support to what's being covered and for reviewing together at home. Learning together always makes it more appealing to kids!

How much you practice isn't first priority; having fun with music is. Just do a little every day. Total of an hour a week is great for young students up to age 9. After that a bit more, say 1 - 2 hours each week is great. For more serious students from 12 or 13 up, we can see 30 - 60 minutes per day, 4 or more days a week. 

Learning how to sing and play music is one of the easiest things to do if we can get to the essence of who we are. Breathing, warming up, relaxing, and letting go are the first steps to feeling the freedom to express yourself, and knowing that what comes out has all the beauty it needs to be accepted and worthy of your own recognition. There's a profound feeling of independance that develops when a student makes their own sound. Right up there with walking and talking, it's a statement of who we are. As Ella Fitzgerald said, "The only thing better than singing is more singing."

Stick-to-it-ive-ness. I believe this is what Ella's talking about. We continualy see success in students when they stay with it over a long period of time. It takes time and persistent application of onesself to learn music, or anything with depth. It's less important your natural aptitude, or how quickly you are able to attain skills and understanding. It's the students that stick with it, those whose curiosity gets the better of them, who go the farthest. That's not to say to the highest level or the most commercially successful, but the farthest in their personal path of enjoyment of music, deepening satisfaction, and of the many intrinsic rewards of playing music.

Through opening up, expressing yourself makes you feel good, healthy, and happier. It lets your feelings and emotions out in a positive and heathly way. Even if you're expressing difficult experiences or feelings, expressing them through any artistic form is quite possibly the most beneficial and cathartic way we humans can share ourselves. We can make art through any means, whether it's cooking, building, empathetic conversation, or being honest. Distilling our experiences into their essential elements results in inner freedom   

In my life, I find this freedom most easily in playing guitar and making music, which is why I'm passionate about teaching. We're lucky in that all of the teachers here also have this feeling running through their own lives. We believe in the power of music and on reflection, know that sharing our knowledge with care and commitment reafirms our experince and heightens the moments of joy. Ella's wisdom might apply to all of the "music" that we make in life. Through all the gifts and challenges that we face we must find the art, the inner music, and keep coming back for more.

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