In the 26 years the Yamaha Music Schools of Cerritos & Chino Hills have provided music lessons, we are no strangers to seeing students succeed. However, it helps to be informed, aware, and educated.
Here are some common questions parents tend to ask our music teachers here at CYMS.
1. How do I know if my child is ready for music lessons?
Some children show natural interest in wanting to play a certain instrument such as the piano or guitar, or in singing. If they seem excited when listening to others playing the instrument, and tend to want to imitate what they see, that's a sure sign that your child have no problem beginning music lessons with enthusiasm.
Watch your kids for passive signs of tonal/rhythmic expression, like constant humming or tapping with their fingers; this is a instinctive representation of innate musicality, and should be developed as soon as possible. As they start asking questions about musicians, and developing opinions on artists you show them, structure forms around their learning capacities and social skills.
For the rare case scenario, music seems to be a zero interest option for your child. However, piano is a great way to introduce music theory, which develops both mathematical skills and spatial reasoning. Second, the learning curve for picking up piano and vocal technique is not nearly as steep as other instruments. This allows the student to focus on learning general musical concepts, before stepping into a well-rewarded other instrument.
2. Can I make my kids enthusiastic about learning an instrument?
It easy to fall into the trap of forcing an instrument on your child that he or she doesn’t want to play. Rather, try and determine what makes music fun for you and your child, as they will tend to choose an instrument you enjoy. They may pretend to play the guitar, drums, or other instruments jokingly when they hear music; this can be a good indication of their natural inclinations.
It can help if your child has friends who are in music programs, or if they realize they will be joining a community of music students. Being able to share a sense of comradery, development, and similar interest has been scientifically proven to accelerate the musical learning process.
3. How can I encourage them to practice?
Make it fun! Students commonly want to learn what they listen to. Music courses should not only develop on a child's natural interest in music, but also tradition and discipline, two highly overlooked aspects of music education. Providing access to some sort of music or musical style a student can relate to helps sustain their interest and lead to more practice time, and will increase their enthusiasm for performing!
We hear at Yamaha believe is far more important to have regular exposure to practice sessions than forcing long practice hours that are infrequent. Students who practice for even 10-20 minutes daily (4-5 days a week) will advance more quickly than those who practice for an hour once or twice a week.
And sometimes you will have to do more than “encourage” them. This is especially true when you are the driving force behind the lessons, as opposed to your child taking because they genuinely want to. If you are determined to have your kids learn an instrument, you are going to have to stay on top of them and this might mean rewards and incentives for playing and practicing. And because music is a life-long endeavor, positive motivation is always better than the threat of negative consequences.
4. What qualities should I look for in a music teacher?
A lot of parents that speak to us mention music lessons growing up and then stopped because they hated their teachers. In light of this, we surmise a positive experience while learning an art form that stimulates the emotions is crucial. Developing a strong sense of patience is an extremely important aspect of learn an instrument, and should honestly be representing in their teacher. That said, each child is different and should be taught accordingly. No two teachers have the same style: If your instructor doesn't seem to fit your child or your requirements, try another.
Another concern is your teacher’s level of proficiency in the piano. It's of utmost importance to screen those who claim their effective role as your child's academic role model. If you feel you're not in a position to screen a teacher, search for a professional opinion from a trusted resource.
This is important for at least two reasons: One, you don’t want your kids to develop bad habits that will hinder them in progressing and two, you don’t want to waste your time and money twice when your child is just going to have to start over to try and unlearn all of the bad instruction she received from the previous instructor.
5. How much do music lessons cost?
Music teachers in your area will have competitive rates. At the same time, the teacher’s level of expertise and experience are also factors: Professional musicians may charge more per lesson than those who do not earn their living by playing the instrument they teach.
Also, instruments can be expensive. Our studio offers rentals for a low monthly rate, while most music stores offer instrument rentals on a rent-to-own basis.
You have a lot of options out there so don’t feel the need to rush the decision when you’re ready to start your kids on their music education. Listen to your instincts and those of your child and you can help them learn a skill and joy they can keep with them their whole lives.
If you're interested in learning more about music lessons, feel free to ask us at (562)809-3886 or stop on by for a visit!
-Cerritos & Chino Hills Yamaha Music School Staff