Signs of Musical Talent
1. Frequently sing, hum or make sound effects
2. Listen to a specific song over and over
3. Songs get "stuck" in the mind, remember lyrics easily
4. Move, dance, or tap fingers to music
5. Express a strong desire to take lessons
6. Affinity to try to figure out tunes "by ear"
7. Relatives who sing or play: Grandparent, Uncle/Aunt, Cousin
Have you observed any of these signs of musical talent?
Here's why to take action!
CHILDREN WITH SIGNS OF MUSICAL TALENT:
If your child has more than 3 out of 7 signs of musical talent, it is important to expose them to as much music as possible from a very young age. Infants, toddlers, and small children are very sensitive to music, and easily learn melodies, lyrics, and the sound of individual notes. Playing music with their parents and grandparents is a wonderful way to introduce them to a musical instrument or voice, and formal lessons (as long as they are taught by a highly trained teachers who specializes in preschool music lessons) are very effective. Even if the child doesn't seem to be paying attention to what is going on in the lesson, months and years later, that same child knows everything that they were exposed to in the lesson. Spend as much time as possible showing your child that music is important to you, too. It's much easier to get them to want to play if they see that music is valuable to you, too.
We offer private lessons for children as young as 1.5 years old, but it all depends on whether they are ready to start. The only way to really know is to come in for a lesson and see how it goes. Many children are shy at first, but by the 3rd or 4th lesson, they are engaged and having a really fun time getting to know the instruments. We start with a combination of piano, voice, ukulele, drums, and perfect pitch. Perfect pitch is really the primary reason for getting them in so young, as every other skill can be taught at an older age. Perfect pitch, however, is much easier for a child to learn before the age of 6. The more exposure they have to the timbre of each note, and how they have a variety of colors, the easier it will be for them to remember the unique sound of each note for life.
Finding a daily time for play for parents at home is really important for motivation... the more time is spent as a family appreciating each other, the better!
OLDER CHILDREN AND TEENS WITH SIGNS OF MUSICAL TALENT:
Children who have more than 4 signs of musical talent will learn music very quickly, and can easily become amazing musicians in their lifetimes. These children are obviously musical, and are usually very attracted to an instrument or voice. They enjoy figuring out how an instrument works, and how to play a tune on one. When in high quality lessons, they go through the material very quickly, and easily reach the higher levels of music. They do very well in performing, and need a teacher that understands their personality type and learning style. Setting clear goals for play at home is also very important, as well as making sure they have a knowledgeable teacher who knows how to motivate with carrot rather than stick. In teen years it is very important that the teacher give them alternative songs that they can relate to. Popular songs are just as difficult as classical pieces, and the teacher should be willing to be flexible with the student's musical choices so the student remains motivated to play as much as possible. For competitive types, finding fun talent competitions and school talent shows can be very motivating.
ADULTS WITH SIGNS OF MUSICAL TALENT:
If you are an adult with more than 4 signs of musical talent, you can learn music fast... you can type, you can read... all of these things are involved in learning to read music and play by ear. A good teacher, who specializes in teaching adults, is the way to learn quickly. We have seen adult students learn to play all the way to level 3 (fur elise) in 4-6 months. They play 2-4 hours per day at home, and have 1-2 60 min lessons per week. Don't wait to learn music... you will never be as sharp as you are right now. You can get it done and have the skills of a lifetime in 6 months! From there, you can go on to study Chopin, Beethoven, and all of the greats!
I took lessons as a child, and I wish I had stayed with it. It seemed like I lost interest, and didn't feel like practicing. How do I ensure this doesn't happen to me again, or to my child?
We are able to keep you/your child engaged because we find out how each brain learns, and we present the information in a way that will help our student understand it quickly. Everyone learns differently, and we find out what your differences are and how to build on incremental success. No one is born with the ability to play an instrument. The brain's placticity is continually growing and changing depending on the tasks we set for it. Having the correct tasks, in the order that the brain processes need to learn it, will save years off of weekly lessons at the beginning levels. Students progress faster when they learn correctly, and they are able to play more complex pieces in just a few years. Having the ability to play pieces that no one else in lessons can play is a powerful motivator for our students. Learning music isn't hard... you just have to do it absolutely correctly, building each brain process upon the last, and you will learn... and it will be easy.
I didn't take lessons as a child. Will it be harder for me to start as an adult?
Yes, but it can be done very successfully with specific instruction geared towards adults. Adults are not just older children, and they need specific "right brained" instruction. This is best done by a teacher trained to teach adults so they can become fluid musicians. Most adults actually learn faster than children because they already know how to read, and have skills like typing and reading already. An adult can learn to play quite well in about 2 years, with a degree of mastery at about 5 years. We love working with adults because they really appreciate lessons at a deeper level, and take them more seriously.
I learned piano as a child, but now I really want to play guitar. Will guitar be easier because I played piano when I was younger?
Yes, musical skills learned as a child NEVER go away, even if you think you don't remember anything! (This is why we are so adament about children learning to play at a young age!) You will learn much more quickly as an adult, but becuase you know more, your expectations of your own progress may be unrealistic. Most skills will come back to you even if you think they are totally gone, but you may not realize just how fast you are learning compared to a student who has never taken a lesson. There's no real shortcut to mastery... it takes 10,000 hours to thoroughly master anything. Music is a language that is shared easily among all instruments, so if you already play one or more instruments (even at a very basic level), the knowledge is cumulative and transferable, and you will learn that much faster.
I have a friend who's child tried music lessons for a while. Over time, they seemed to lose interest, stopped practicing & quit. How do I make sure that doesn't happen to my child?
Answer this: How many times have you had to force your child to do something they love to do and are good at? That's how they will feel about music lessons if they are placed with the correct teacher for their personality type. Think back to being in school. Did you ever have a subject you liked, but because the teacher didn't click with you, you ended up not doing well in? Conversely, have you ever had a subject you disliked, but because the teacher clicked with you and made it interesting to you, you ended up doing well in it... and liking it? By letting us match your child with teachers that are a) engaged and enthusiastic, and b) a good personality match, you are guaranteeing that they will love the experience of learning. The younger the student, the more important a personality type match with the teacher is to the success of their music lessons. In addition, the teacher must be trained in how to work with each learning style and age group, so that they have the tools necessary to engage the student where they are. The most important indicator of whether a student will stick with lessons is how well they click with their teacher. When students stick with lessons, they progress faster, and that makes them feel accomplished. The more accomplished they feel, the more fun it is, and the more they play.
My child has been labeled "ADHD" at school, and I know they are highly intelligent. How are you going to keep them interested and engaged for 30 minutes or longer?
We find that many children diagnosed as having ADD and ADHD are highly intelligent children who are bored in class. They need something that uses all of that extra brain power and gets them positive attention with teachers and peers. Many of our most brilliant, gifted, focused, talented, and fun students to teach are highly intelligent students who get in trouble for "focus problems" in school! They are absolutely amazing musicians, composers... on the level of the greats like Bach, Mozart, etc. They belong in a conservatory where their energy, creativity, and gifts are recognized, not shut down! In our one on one, high-tech classrooms, we utilize a combination of drums, classical music, and technology to keep the lessons fast paced and exciting. It is critical for these students to find a point of emerging competence as young as possible, so their self esteem is builded and their mental powers utilized in a powerful and positive way. Music training fosters mental organization, and helps grow brain connections that can be utilized in every task that requires spatial reasoning abilities, ie: math, english, reading, etc. We've got many children, that had been labeled with "ADHD", that love music lessons with us so much, they are literally at the school 5 days a week, on two or more instruments, taking 6+ hours a week of private lessons... and they still beg for more! These are our prodigies, and they are amazing to watch. There is no limit to their genius, and they go on to excel in school, getting straight A's in high school and gaining acceptance into some of the great colleges in the U.S.