We offer Education for the following instruments
(Classical, Jazz, Ragtime, Rock, Blues, & More)
(All styles including Pop, Jazz, Rock, Kpop, Musical Theater, Opera, Country, Alternative)
(Electric and Acoustic)
(Rock, Pop, Finger-Picking, Country, Classical, & More)
(Violin, Viola, Cello)
(Flute, Clarinet, Oboe, Saxophone, French Horn, Trombone)
(Accordion, Mandolin, Banjo)
What Instrument Should I or my Child Play?
New adult students usually have an idea of which instrument they want to learn to play. That said, your personality type does have a lot to do with whether you will stick with the instrument long term. This is because different instruments require different skill-sets. A child may ask to play a specific instrument because they have heard someone else either play it, or talk about it in a favorable way. Until they actually spend some time learning them, they won't realize why it is or isn't working except to know that they have lost interest. Rather than lose momentum in learning by making the wrong choice, we would rather have the student really try a few instruments and compare them to each-other. This will give them a broader basis from which to make an informed choice that will work for them long term.
If a child expresses a direct interest in a specific instrument, we do our best to accommodate that choice, but there are other recommendations we may make depending on the child's personality type, age, and physical size.
Why We Believe the Best First Instrument is Piano
Piano is a whole-brain instrument. What we mean by this phrase is that when one plays piano, they engage both the right and left hemispheres in the process. One hand is trained to play the melody, and the other plays a harmony. Both hands are engaged in the rhythm of the piece. For children, the process of playing an instrument is mostly done with the Associative Processor, or with Right Brain processing. This is because the Sequential Processor is simply not well developed yet, and not fast enough to manage multiple tasks at the same time. When children learn piano at a young age, their brains actually grow larger. Professional pianists have a larger corpus callosum as well as less inhabition across the corpus callosum. This means more connections for information to pass between the hemispheres of the right and left brain, increasing processing speed. (Stanford University Study)
What this means is: a child's brain is set up to learn to play intuitively, with all senses engaged at once, and mostly by ear. When a young child learns to play an instrument, they pick up information from all of their senses in a big picture way, and then memorize it and play it back. Because piano is laid out in a linear fashion, a child can see and copy the patterns a teacher is playing easily. Piano is played with the right and left hand both doing separate jobs. This forces the left and right hemispheres of the brain to build new connections that communicate information in real time in order to play a song. Once built, these connections remain available for tasks utilizing spatial reasoning, such as higher math, sciences, and language skills. (UC Irvine Study) These new connections also have the effect of speeding up the processing in the brain, and so increase the average IQ of a child, ages 6-9, by up to 7 points! (Article)
Besides the obvious proven benefits of learning to play the piano, it has benefits for ease of use that go further. Where a guitar or violin string can hurt little fingers, and require a lot of precise motion to make a good tone, a piano is painless. On a band or orchestra instrument, all of the motion of both hands goes to playing one note at a time. If one learns guitar or ukulele, they are playing one rhythmic chord at a time, or one melody and one note at a time. The combination of playing a melody over a harmony, with a rhythmic beat is not learned.
A child can learn to play a song on the piano in about 30 minutes of lesson time and it will sound like a song they recognize when it is played. This offers immediate rewards for learning, and is priceless when it comes to motivation with a small child.
A preschool aged child is almost exclusively an associative processor, while the adult learner tends to be much more sequential. Associative processing is using the big picture part of the brain. It is the creative space where color, feeling, melody, creativity, whole songs, and memorization happens. The combination of the whole-brain process of learning piano, and the natural associative processing that happens with a young child sets them up for physical brain growth, structural changes, memory enhancement, and IQ increases that will last a lifetime.
Piano for Adults
Learning to play piano as a first instrument is highly beneficial for adults. The piano provides a foundation that makes music theory easy to learn, and allows the student to see the see the music on the page translate to the keys in a logical manner. Engaging the whole brain in learning an instrument has structural and processing benefits for the adult brain that affect memory retention, speed of information processing, and dexterity between the hands. It has now been proven that the human brain retains plasticity (the ability to grow and change) well into the senior years. Learning piano enhances split processing between tasks, improves neural connections, increases hand dexterity, improves vocabulary retention, and stimulates hormone production. (Study)
Your Personality Assessment will Tell You Which Instruments You Will Love to Learn
The first consideration when trying to figure out which instrument, after piano, would be the best to study is the person's personality type. When you start lessons with teVelde, we will do a personality type assessment in our first meeting with you, either by phone or in person. We consider this to be a critical piece in plotting your optimal joyful path in music lessons. By their nature, each instrument attracts specific personality types.
Here is a Personality Type Test for Children.
Here is a Personality Type Test for Adults.
Personality Types with an S in Them
If your personality test came back with an S in it, you are a sensory learner. This is a very detail oriented, meticulous personality trait, and when combined with an auditory learning style, is best suited for strings, like violin, viola, or cello. These instruments also require a highly trained ear, as they are tuned as they are played. If one is attracted to a string instrument, the first part of their music education should always include SensAPitch tm perfect pitch training on piano for about 3-6 months. After they have developed perfect pitch on piano, they will be able to add the string instrument and play it well much more quickly than the other students. This builds a tremendous amount of confidence, which is a component of building a desire for playing every day. Good drummers may have both sensory and intuitive personality types, but are usually kinesthetic learners. Pianists can have sensory personality types, but these tend to be more visual learners. Sensory learners also do well with various band instruments, as long as playing them does not involve improvisation or composition. Playing in a band or orchestra can be particularly enjoyable for a Sensory personality type because the expression of the music is up to the conductor, and the details of the music must be played perfectly according to the written music.
Personality Types with an N in Them
If your personality test came back with an N in it, you are an intuitive learner. This means you use all five senses and intuition when learning. This personality trait is big picture oriented, future focused, and likes to learn quickly across multiple styles without a lot of focus on the details. An intuitive learner does best on an instrument that allows a lot of creativity, and will enjoy composing and improvising if taught. The best instruments for intuitive learners are guitar, ukulele, voice, harp, and piano. Saxophone, trumpet, and fiddle players who play in jazz, rock, or country bands usually have intuitive personality types that allow them to feel comfortable with the improvisational side of playing in those environments and genres.
Here is a Summary:
ENFP or ENFJ
Highly creative students who are also outgoing (EN) tend to do well on: Piano, Guitar, Ukulele, Voice, Cello, and Saxophone. They also do well in composition and improvisation, where the music may be added to. They love to perform, play in bands, and share their music with others. They also make great conductors and drum majors.
INFP or INFJ
Intuitive Feelers tend to love instruments that they can play for personal expression, preferably in their room or in their home. Piano, Voice, Guitar, Ukulele, Harp all fit this description nicely. They love to compose and play songs with words about things they love most... pets, dolls, toys, etc. These are gentle learners that feel a lot of love and connection when they share music with their family.
ENTP or ENTJ
ENT loves competitions, solos, and musical theater productions where they get to be the star of the show. Loves performing, loves learning fast, doesn't like the details. ENT does best with high level piano, cello, voice, and any instrument that they can use to compose, solo, or improvise with.
Sensory Learners, very detail oriented, do well with: PIano, Strings, Most Band and Orchestra Instruments, & Drums. They do well with written music that is clear and set.
ISFP or ISFJ
Students who are (IS) quiet, detail oriented, and organized do best on band instruments like:
violin, viola, flute, clarinet, oboe, french horn, & harp. They love to read music and leave the expression to the conductor or director. (ISF) Does not like competition, is detail oriented, and introspective. Loves piano, voice, and gentle slower learning.
ESTP or ESTJ and ISTP or ISTJ
Students who are detail oriented, and competitive (ST) do best on Orchestra or Band Instruments, where they compete for chairs as a measure of success. They love the process of practicing a piece or exercise perfectly, and comparing the results with another person to win. Introverted types don't like to play solos, and extraverted types do. They usually don't like to compose or improvise, but if they have a hard piece of music to learn, they will get it done with the details perfectly executed. They do best with band instruments such as flute, clarinet, oboe, french horn, trumpet, trombone, bass, percussion. They also love strings: violin, viola, cello, bass, as the learning goes along with their penchant for details. Since this personality type does well with all band instruments, they do best if they learn multiple band instruments at a young age. To facilitate the learning of multiple instruments, SensAPitch on piano as a first instrument is particularly helpful for children ages 2-7. The band instruments would be started at age 8 and continued throughout high school.