We specialize in Individualized music lessons and personalized Musical Growth Plan for each student. Lessons are custom-tailored to each student's personal learning style and strengths based on their learning style, personality, musical tastes, instrument, and age. Students learn differently in every phase of life as goals change, the brain changes in how it takes in knowledge. Below is information on studying music at each age, and what you should expect from a good music teacher at each phase of development.
Preschool Ages: 2 years - 6 years
The most important reason for a child to be in structured lessons before age 6, is to develop the ability to hear "in color", also known as "Absolute Pitch" or "Perfect Pitch". Music lessons at this age actually change the structure, processes, and organization of the brain. Children who learn at this age won't remember learning to read music, they just will know how. They won't remember learning the sound of which note is which, they will just know the difference between them when they hear them. They will play any song they hear, and any instrument they pick up. They are the natural musicians who just play anything. This is because of changes that happen in the brain as an infant and pre-schooler that increase IQ, and spatial reasoning. Spatial reasoning affects language learning as well as math aptitudes.
Increased brain plasticity (the ability to form new connections in the brain) allows very young children to learn to identify the sound and name of each note much like they learn to name colors. This skill, called "Absolute or Perfect Pitch", is a permanent and powerful addition to the mind of a child that is already musical. Children who learn music at these ages learn to read faster, and end up never remembering that they learned to read music notation. These ages are absolutely magical. The more instruments and exposure time they get, the greater their natural musical gift. It is critical, however, that the teacher be matched to the exact personality type of the student. Students this age do not tolerate mis-matches of personality types or learning styles, and can be adversely affected by the wrong teacher.
It is our greatest responsibility to match the student correctly with a teacher. It is also critical that the parent be relaxed, easygoing, and gentle with a child in this age range. Any observed or perceived resistance or pushing from parents or the teacher will result in the child losing motivation, and lessons will be stopped until the child is older. Our prime focus is to make sure the child loves coming to music every week. Children this age do very well with a nightly "family music time", where everyone in the family plays for the others for 2-3 min.
Elementary Ages 7 Years - 12 Years
The elementary ages are when everything comes together for a lesson that is based on a great relationship with a kind-hearted teacher who understands how to connect with the student from day one. We hire teachers that really care about building a supportive relationships in their lives, and who will naturally connect with each student... for us, teacher/student personality type matching is more important than anything else we do. Our teachers have a long life history of being successful tutors, apprentice teachers, and teachers before they are placed one-on-one with a student. Our methods are written and chosen specifically for their ability to be customized for each child's personality type. Everything we do engages whole-brain learning, making students this age super exciting and fun to teach. We begin all students with perfect pitch training first, and they will learn the color/sound of the 12 notes of the scale first, then adventure through our entertaining method books! For kids who like fast, impressive music, we've got fast moving, exciting sounding pieces. For kids who love animals and nature, we have fun songs about animals, train rides, and family members that they can learn to play and sing. For kids who want to learn to sing, they can choose from singing their favorite animated movie songs, or any artist they really love. We can use almost any type of music to teach the fundamentals of good tone and safe vocal habits.
There is a lot of neuro-plasticity at this stage of development, and students at this age pick up perfect pitch and music very quickly with whole-brain music learning. We can suggest which instruments are best for each personality type, if they haven't decided yet, and start all lessons with SensAPitch first, to engage the associative processor/"right brain". This allows the child to get into experiencing joy and flow before they are tasked with more sequential "left-brain" tasks like sight-reading. We encourage building a fun list of memorized favorite songs that the child can play at any time to reconnect with the joy of learning music. Students this age start moving through music more quickly, and we focus on a balanced curriculum of theory, technique, performance, and artistry. The songs and pieces will be chosen based on the tastes of each student, with lots of choice, improvisation, and creative composition thrown in!
With each new song and concept learned, students gain confidence and momentum. At this age, music education increases spacial reasoning abilities 34%*, which are used in both math and language processing. It isn't an accident that the smartest and brightest kids in every elementary school class are the students who take music lessons at teVelde. Music is not for students to "try". At this age all students can be successful at learning, if they have the right teacher, the right instrument, and the right support at home. We've got lots of suggestions on how to make your home into a home that supports the young musician in their lessons. A custom-tailored lesson, the perfect teacher, a beautiful music room at home, a Yamaha piano, and family music time every night will give us everything we need to create an amazing musician that loves to play. At The teVelde Conservatory of Music, we make sure learning is equal parts challenge, excitement, and FUN!!!
*University of Irvine Study: Gordon L. Shaw, Principle Investigator. EEG coherence study of the positive effect of music on spatial-temporal reasoning. Neurol. Res. 1997; 19: 107-116.
Teenage Years 12 Years - 18 Years
By the time a music student is in their teen years, the brain is learning at a very high level, hand/eye coordination is amazing, and students are able to understand concepts of advanced reasoning. They are learning advanced math and physics, as well as advanced & multiple languages. We sometimes find that students of this age can lose momentum if the lessons don't have a "social credit" component to them. Playing songs that are popular, or music that they identify with, is really important to keep younger teens engaged in the learning process.
At this age, students need to have a "Point of Emerging Competence" that gives them self-esteem and confidence while really utilizing their superior brain processing power. For many of our students, they find that they are really good at music because they started so young, and that they can play really complex pieces that not many others can play. What an amazing thing it is to see a young person figure out that they are REALLY GOOD at something complex, challenging, and FUN!
We give our teen students the opportunity to tutor first, and to learn to teach when they turn 15. After a year of training, we are honored to give them their first job as an apprentice teacher. When teens realize that all of their lessons over the years have uniquely prepared them to teach, they get a whole new perspective on the knowledge they have learned. As they teach, they solidify their theory and technical skills. Many have gone on to work with special needs students and found their calling in life.
Some students prefer to use the language of music to express themselves through songwriting and recording. We have many summer classes that focus on playing together as a band, writing music, using digital technology to create new music, and publishing. Some of our students are discovered at this age, and others go on to college music, theater, and higher education programs.
Our goal is to keep them engaged through these years, so they can continue to enjoy music as a form of personal expression, and apply for music scholarship money that will help them with college tuition.
Adults 18 Years - Mature Ages
Even if lessons weren't taken as a child, an adult student can become an accomplished musician. We have had many adults who decide, later in life, to take the music lessons they had always wanted to take as a child. We have many adult students who, after working at it for 2 hours a week in lessons for about 3 years, go on stage for the first time. They are local songwriters, band members, and musicians in our community. There is absolutely no reason why an adult can't get to the highest levels of playing an instrument. This does not mean that most adults want to perform. Learning music just for the sake of fulfilling a life-long dream is just as wonderful and satisfying. When you learn with our team, you will be able to choose to play the music you love while you are getting to your ultimate goal song(s). Plus, there's the added benefit of music being the best thing to keep the brain healthy and preventing dementia, Alzheimer's and other cognitive disorders.
Adults learn differently than children do, however, and this can be a problem if the teacher is not familiar with those differences. Where a child learns to read music slowly, an adult learns quickly. Where a child memorizes songs easily, an adult has trouble remembering everything on the page. Because of these distinct differences, a teacher that teaches children does not necessarily have the training to work effectively with adults. Although adults usually learn to play complex songs much faster than children, the fluidity with which they play can be a real challenge. It is critical for the teacher to understand how the human brain transitions throughout life. Our teachers are trained to work with adults in the most effective and time saving way. We want you to get the skills you need, fast, without playing kid's music to get there.
This is where perfect pitch SensAPitch training can help. By engaging the whole brain at the beginning of each lesson, the adult brain learns more intuitively, and progressing through the stages of learning is much faster. We have had adults go from zero playing to a memorized "Fur Elise" (full version) in as little as 4 months, with daily effective playing at home.