Music Lesson Parent Handbook

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Private Music Lessons

The majority of music students at the Spark School of Music choose to take private lessons. They enjoy working at their own pace, according to their own learning style, and on material that is best suited to them. Their teacher will develop a lesson plan specific to them. We have an open door policy and parents are welcome to chat with the teacher at any time they wish. We find that students usually learn best without the distraction of a parent in the room, but if desired you can sit in on your child’s lesson. We find the most successful approach is to take a few minutes at the end of the lesson to speak with the teacher and see how the student is doing. Students start out with a 30-minute private lesson once a week and can progress to a 45 minute or 1 hour lesson. Every conceivable style of music is taught at our school.

Practicing

In order to progress and learn their instrument, it is essential that your child regularly practice. This does not have to be a negative experience for them and their teachers can let you know what they expect in terms of practicing each week and give helpful hints on making practicing easier. You can also look at our practicing tips page.

Attendance

Regular attendance at lessons really supports your child’s success. If your child is ill, please call the school before their scheduled lesson time, and we can schedule them in a group make up class.

Substitutes and Makeup Lessons

In the event that, for any reason, a teacher cannot teach a lesson, we will provide a substitute teacher. If we are unable to secure a substitute to teach the lesson, we will reschedule the missed lesson at a future date. If we have to cancel a lesson due to acts beyond our control, such as a power failure or a snow day, the lesson will be made up at a future date.

Bring a Friend Week

Twice a year all music students can bring a friend to their music lesson. As much as possible the teachers will have the friend participate in the lesson. An invitation is sent home for your child to give to their friend. Each student who brings a friend is entered into a draw for a prize.

Treasure Chest

We want to reward each of our students for doing a good job in their lesson. Several times a year the teachers will reward the student with the opportunity to pick a prize out of the treasure chest. This is earned for attendance, attitude and practice.

Spring Break

Please note that our spring break may not coincide with the public school system’s spring break. Please consult our music calendar for the dates we are closed.

Student Appreciation Day

Each year in June we hold a Student Appreciation Day party. This is a fun way to end the year and to thank our students for all their hard work throughout the year. We provide live music, hot dogs, pop, ice cream and more. Everything at the party is completely free as a thank you to our students. At Student Appreciation Day we award a trophy to every student who has been taking music lessons for five years and a very large specialized trophy to each music student who has been taking lessons with us for 10 years. Please plan on joining us, and the whole family is welcome.

MUSIC RECITALS

Each year music students are given the opportunity to participate in a music recital. These recitals are optional and the student can decide, along with their teacher, if they wish to participate. The recitals are free of charge, although we do ask that you bring a non-perishable food donation for the food bank. Recitals typically happen in November and in May.

Recitals are held at a local church and maps to the location of the recitals will be available on our website www.sparkschoolofmusic.com. Each recital session is approximately 1 to 1 ½ hours long.

We try to keep our recitals as stress free as possible so that the students gain performing experience in a supportive environment. Students do not have to memorize their pieces and we encourage them to select a short piece. Vocal students will use a microphone and our staff will adjust the mic for them. The order in which the students are performing is listed in a recital program.

Recital Etiquette

It is just as important for students performing at the end of the recital to have an audience as it is for students at the beginning. We ask that you plan to stay for the entire duration of the recital. Please refrain from talking in the audience while the recital is happening. Should you need to use the restroom, please only exit between performances and return between performances. Cell phones should be turned off. Video recording and taking of photos is highly encouraged.

Year-End Recital Participation Medal

At the recital in May, every student will receive a recital participation medal.

Accompanist for Music Recitals

Voice students, violin students, or any other students requiring an accompanist will need to sign up for a rehearsal time at the school. We have a professional accompanist who will rehearse with your student at the Spark School of Music, and then attend the performance to accompany them. Students need to provide a copy of their music to the front desk at the time they sign up for accompaniment. This needs to be done before the rehearsal so the accompanist has time to go over the music. Any changes to the music need to be clearly marked. There is a fee for the accompanist, as they have to come to rehearsal, learn the music and come to the recital. 100% of the accompaniment fee goes directly to the accompanist. The fee is low, as we provide a large number of students for her/him to accompany. We will make you aware of rehearsal times several weeks before the recital.

Music Parent Handbook

Music Parent Handbook

CLASS INFORMATION

Private Music Lessons

The majority of music students at the Spark Music Studio choose to take private lessons. They enjoy working at their own pace, according to their own learning style, and on material that is best suited to them. Their teacher will develop a lesson plan specific to them. We have an open door policy and parents are welcome to chat with the teacher at any time they wish. We find that students usually learn best without the distraction of a parent in the room, but if desired you can sit in on your child’s lesson. We find the most successful approach is to take a few minutes at the end of the lesson to speak with the teacher and see how the student is doing. Students start out with a 30-minute private lesson once a week and can progress to a 45 minute or 1 hour lesson. Every conceivable style of music is taught at our school.

Practicing

In order to progress and learn their instrument, it is essential that your child regularly practice. This does not have to be a negative experience for them and their teachers can let you know what they expect in terms of practicing each week and give helpful hints on making practicing easier. You can also look at our practicing tips page in the appendix of this handbook.

Attendance

Regular attendance at lessons really supports your child’s success. If your child is ill, please call the school before their scheduled lesson time, and we can schedule them in a group make up class.

Substitutes and Makeup Lessons

In the event that, for any reason, a teacher cannot teach a lesson, we will provide a substitute teacher. If we are unable to secure a substitute to teach the lesson, we will reschedule the missed lesson at a future date. If we have to cancel a lesson due to acts beyond our control, such as a power failure or a snow day, the lesson will be made up at a future date.

Bring a Friend Week

Twice a year all music students can bring a friend to their music lesson. As much as possible the teachers will have the friend participate in the lesson. An invitation is sent home for your child to give to their friend. Each student who brings a friend is entered into a draw for a prize.

Treasure Chest

We want to reward each of our students for doing a good job in their lesson. Several times a year the teachers will reward the student with the opportunity to pick a prize out of the treasure chest. This is earned for attendance, attitude and practice.

Spring Break

Please note that our spring break may not coincide with the public school system’s spring break. Please consult our music calendar for the dates we are closed.

Student Appreciation Day

Each year in June we hold a Student Appreciation Day party. This is a fun way to end the year and to thank our students for all their hard work throughout the year. We provide live music, hot dogs, pop, ice cream and more. Everything at the party is completely free as a thank you to our students. At Student Appreciation Day we award a trophy to every student who has been taking music lessons for five years and a very large specialized trophy to each music student who has been taking lessons with us for 10 years. Please plan on joining us, and the whole family is welcome.

MUSIC RECITALS

Each year music students are given the opportunity to participate in a music recital. These recitals are optional and the student can decide, along with their teacher, if they wish to participate. The recitals are free of charge, although we do ask that you bring a non-perishable food donation for the food bank. Recitals typically happen in November and in May.

Recitals are held at a local church and maps to the location of the recitals will be available on our website www.sparkschoolofmusic.com. Each recital session is approximately 1 to 1 ½ hours long.

We try to keep our recitals as stress free as possible so that the students gain performing experience in a supportive environment. Students do not have to memorize their pieces and we encourage them to select a short piece. Vocal students will use a microphone and our staff will adjust the mic for them. The order in which the students are performing is listed in a recital program.

Recital Etiquette

It is just as important for students performing at the end of the recital to have an audience as it is for students at the beginning. We ask that you plan to stay for the entire duration of the recital. Please refrain from talking in the audience while the recital is happening. Should you need to use the restroom, please only exit between performances and return between performances. Cell phones should be turned off. Video recording and taking of photos is highly encouraged.

Year-End Recital Participation Medal

At the recital in May, every student will receive a recital participation medal.

Accompanist for Music Recitals

Voice students, violin students, or any other students requiring an accompanist will need to sign up for a rehearsal time at the school. We have a professional accompanist who will rehearse with your student at the Spark Music Studio, and then attend the performance to accompany them. Students need to provide a copy of their music to the front desk at the time they sign up for accompaniment. This needs to be done before the rehearsal so the accompanist has time to go over the music. Any changes to the music need to be clearly marked. There is a fee for the accompanist, as they have to come to rehearsal, learn the music and come to the recital. 100% of the accompaniment fee goes directly to the accompanist. The fee is low, as we provide a large number of students for her/him to accompany. We will make you aware of rehearsal times several weeks before the recital.

COVID-19 Updated Policies

COVID-19 Policies And Procedures

We are happy to announce that in-person lessons will resume for teachers and students who feel comfortable coming in for lessons. Please know, some teachers at Spark will not be starting in-person lessons until a later date; however, they will be continuing to offer virtual lessons for their students.

ALL teachers will still offer the option of virtual lessons to any student who is not yet comfortable coming for in-person lessons or is feeling ill.

We ask that any students or teachers who have a fever or experience any COVID-like or flu-like symptoms stay home and do virtual lessons until 72 hours after the symptoms go away.

We will enact new processes and procedures in order to make sure we keep students and instructors safe. These are:

– Anyone entering the building is asked to use hand sanitizer before entering the building at the front entrance, once at the beginning of the lesson, and once while exiting the lesson. (Hand sanitizer will be provided by Spark)

– There will be a one-way traffic flow through the building. You will enter through the front door and exit via the back door.

– The waiting room will be closed for any visitors until further notice. Parents of younger students are encouraged to attend the lesson with your child. If a student attends a lesson independently, it will be expected that the student independently find their family once they exit the building. Teachers will no longer be communicating with parents at the end of the lesson if parents do not attend a lesson. All communication will be completed through LessonMate.

– Students must stand on the corresponding studio number that their teacher is in. Arrive no earlier than 5 minutes before your lesson.

– Face masks must be worn while inside the lobby and common areas. All teachers are required to wear a mask, and in the lesson rooms, it is up to the teacher’s discretion to require the students to wear a mask or not.

– Each student must sign a waiver before they are allowed to continue in-person lessons. A parent or guardian must sign for students under 18 years of age. The link to the waiver is below.

We will continue to sanitize rooms and instruments in between lessons. In addition, hand sanitizer will be supplied in each room.

SIGN THE WAIVER HERE

WATCH THE WALKTHROUGH VIDEO HERE

As directions from the state and federal authorities evolve, we will continue to monitor and adapt these changes, as necessary.

4 Ways Playing In A Rock Band Can Help Your Child Learn Teamwork

4 Ways Playing In A Rock Band Can Help Your Child Learn Teamwork

As we roll out our “Rock Band Experience” program this fall, we wanted to share with you the 4 ways that playing in band can help your child learn about teamwork.

  1. Listen – Being in a band means that you have to work together to make something sound amazing.  The drums must be listening to the guitar and piano to know where they are at in a song or how loud to play, the vocalist must listen to the drummer to know how fast to sing, the pianist must listen to the guitarist to make sure they are playing the same chords.  The list goes on and on.  One of the most important skills in being a part of a successful team is learning to listen to each other and not talk (or play) over the other person.
  2. Appreciate – Being a part of a successful team means appreciating each individual personality and voice that is brought into the group.  Playing in a rock band means you have to appreciate what the drums are bringing to the group.  You have to appreciate the textures that a piano can bring to the group.  You have to appreciate the rumble that a bass guitar provides.  Without any of these other unique instruments and voices, we would be back to practicing our instrument all alone.  Music was meant to be done with a team!
  3. Persist – Have you ever been to see your favorite band or singer, then all of the sudden, they make a mistake!!!  Oh no, they aren’t totally perfect!  When they made the mistake, did they stop playing or singing?  Or did they keep on going?  I’m willing to bet they kept going!  Being in a rock band means that you need to be persistent even if you make a mistake.  You must keep going and never stop to derail the whole band.  Your job is to get back on, keep going, and proceed like nothing ever happened.
  4. Fun – Being part of a highly successful team means you get to have fun!  Have you ever seen your favorite band playing on stage and they look like they hate what they are doing?  Probably not!  When you are part of a team or band that values each other, and leaves egos at the door, you can’t help but have fun!  Some of the most magical music moments I’ve been a part of involve another person turning around, rocking out with me, and smiling about how much fun we’re having.  Being a part of a rock band is one of the most thrilling experiences!

If you are interested in having your child be a part of the “Rock Band Experience”, please contact us at (763)445-9516 or fill out our contact form.  We can’t wait to rock out with you!

A New Solution to Summers and the Education Gap

I recently read a book called Outliers by Malcom Gladwell that highlights different stories with the idea being that success comes more from society and community. One of the chapters in the book briefly discusses an educational program called “Knowledge Is Power Program” also known as KIPP.

As I dug a little deeper into this program I found a close relation to music lessons and KIPP. In the book, Gladwell discuss the achievement gaps between students of low, medium, and high income families. After a research team decided to administer aptitude tests in June and August, they found results that were surprising. Low income students actually learn more than high income students, but high income students are given the opportunity to continue learning over the summer. These activities range from summer camp, special classes, and music lessons! This research determined that the achievement gap issue is not necessarily due to socioeconomic or lack of funding in schools, but the amount of time the students are engaging in educational activities over the summer.

KIPP seeks to close the education gap in kids not through more rigorous classes, but through providing more time to learn! They continue classes through July, and even do classes on Saturdays.

Now we’re not here to tell you we want to put your kids through rigorous music lessons or schooling, but more explain to you the importance of keeping them in actives over the summer. As parents, we generally feel the need to make summers super relaxing, fun, and non-educational. And while I do think that is important, I think activating your child’s mind over the summer with educational activities and programs is even more important.

So this year, I want to challenge all of our students and parents with this:

Make this summer an educational one to never forget. We know families take off music lessons and activities over the summer to give their kids a break, but is a break what’s best? You know your kids better than I do, but I know I am going to have my daughter in programs this summer to keep her engaged, learning, and even out of my hair at points! Maybe this is not the year to withdraw for the summer, but to keep them engaged in music and witness exponential growth.

I love education. I love that we get to teach kids math, science, english, history, and so much more through the outlet of one subject: Music. We love that you have chosen to do music lessons with us, and we are always are striving to give your kids excellence. We’re committed to closing the education gap in both low, middle, and high income families and we are committing to serve your family and the community! Thanks for choosing Spark School of Music for music lessons!

Dear Hate

We are living in a time where news and media comes in faster than we’ve ever experienced. With that comes a time where the world seems like a scary place. As the dad of a young child, I think through how I will explain to my child the importance of caring for people even when they don’t care for you. Helping people when they don’t help you. And loving people even in their worst times. With last Monday being MLK day, it brought to light a lot of the darkness that seems to be in the world. I want to make a difference in the world. I want to help change the lives for generations to come. I think that’s a big reason I place such a high value on teaching music lessons. I think music is incredibly important for the brain, but for a child it can mean so much more than that. As a music school, our teachers all know how important their role is. To teach music, but also be an impactful adult that inspires kids. Wether that inspiration is to be the next Bruno Mars or its the next president of the United States, we get to create a safe space to not only ignite a passion in music, but inspire youth to be better than us. To care for people better than us. I came across this song by Maren Morris and Vince Gill this past week and it’s been so inspiring to me. It’s called Dear Hate and it talks about how even through all of the hate in the world, Love is going to conquer all. I know there’s a lot of times the grumpy me comes out. When I’m not inspiring. I’m not loving. I’m not forgiving. I’m not helping. Those times I am my worst. The truth is this. Every word we speak. Each action we take. Has the ability to change someone for a lifetime. Positive or Negative. So here’s my challenge to you, and to myself. Ask yourself this – What am I doing today that will change the tomorrow? Is it good? Or is it bad? Am I making the conscious choice that even though I might be experiencing hate, I am going to let love conquer? Take a listen to the song and let me know what you think. Get out there and make a difference in the world.

Check out the song HERE!

 

Music Lesson Stocking Stuffer Guide

Music Lesson Stocking Stuffer Gift Guide

Happy Holidays!  This time of season can be stressful for a lot of people.  As you run around trying to figure out what you are going to get for your child, family member, friend, or coworker who loves music, we have come up with a simple stocking stuffer gift guide to help relieve some of that stress. 

FOR THE DRUMMER IN YOUR LIFE

Moon Gels – $6.99

With a name like moon gel, you know you’ve found the best gift of the year. 

“Moongel Percussion Dampening Gels are a wonderful and easy way to control unwanted resonance and overtones. Move the pad around on the surface of your drums or cymbals to create the desired tone. These washable pads are made form a soft nylon gel. They are self-adhesive and retain their stickiness for years. The RTOM Moongel Percussion Dampening Gels come in a 4-pack plastic carrier.” Every drummer should have these in their arsenal!

Buy Now


Drum Key – $2.95

I don’t know how much to say about this.  If you know someone who plays drums and doesn’t have a drum key, this should be the first thing you buy them.  Drum keys fit the tension rods of the drums to tune them up and make them sound pretty.  It can also be used to tighten certain hardware.  If you have someone in drum lessons, this is a must have.  Being the cheapest thing on the list, its a great option to throw in the stocking!  

Buy Now


FOR THE SINGER IN YOUR LIFE

The Singing Machine Wireless Microphone – $12.99

 

If you have the next Bruno Mars, Taylor Swift, or karaoke superstar in your life, this is the best gift you can give them!  

“Channel your inner pop star. The Singing Machine Wireless Microphone is a Uni-Directional dynamic wireless microphone with a VHF receiver. Plug it into your microphone Jack and do away with messy cords. The Singing Machine Wireless Microphone has a wide frequency response and high sensitivity for optimal performance. Note, you can only use one SMM107 per machine, as more than one receiver will cause interference. Battery Operated”

If you have someone in voice lessons or just loves to sing check out this item!

Buy Now


FOR THE GUITARIST IN YOUR LIFE

String Winder/Cutter – $7.93

This is one of the best tools (besides a tuner) for a person in guitar lessons, or who just loves playing Van Halen licks in the basement.  Having a guitar string winder/cutter saves time and hassle by making it easier to get your guitar strings tight and cut.  

“The Planet Waves Pro-Winder is a patented high-quality peg winder with a built-in string clipper. Ergonomically designed with hardened tool-steel wire cutters. The Pro-Winder enables you to change strings with just a single tool. Easy and comfortable to use. Unconditionally guaranteed.”

Buy Now


Electric Guitar String – $4.45

I can’t tell you how many people don’t realize they need new guitar strings!  The natural oils on our hands will slowly destroy your strings.  If you have someone who plays electric guitar, these are our favorite strings on the market.  Plus, they are cheap! 

“Regular Slinky Electric Strings are Ernie Ball’s top-selling set and are favored by many musicians around the globe. Regular Slinky wound strings are made from a nickel-plated, steel wire wrapped around a hex-shaped, steel core wire. The plain strings are made of specially tempered, tin-plated, high-carbon steel, producing a well-balanced tone for your guitar. 
All Ernie Ball strings are precision manufactured to the highest standards and the most exacting specs to assure consistency, optimum performance, and long life.
Ernie Ball is a pioneer of rock and roll guitar strings. Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, Steve Vai, and Slash are among the long list of Slinky players.”

With a list like that of guitarists, you’d be crazy to not pick these up.  Who knows, maybe if you change those strings you can start playing like them too(Not guaranteed). If you know some in guitar lessons, toss these things in the stocking and watch everyone be a lot happier.

Buy Now


Acoustic Guitar Strings – $10.99 

Just like the electric guitar strings, putting new strings on your guitar is crucial.  These strings usually last longer than a lot of other brands, which makes our guitar students happy, and our guitar teachers even happier!  

“Elixirs are the first major innovation in strings in over forty years, and they deliver what they promise: great tone and long life no matter what you put them on or how often you play. Nanoweb coating permits strings with the feel, bright tone, and punch of traditional strings. 
Elixir Acoustic Guitar Strings are covered with an ultra-thin, space-age polymer tube that contacts the string on the tops of the windings only. This leaves the all-important winding-to-winding-to-core space free from the fear of the enemies of tone!
Most players report that Elixir Strings keep sounding great 3 to five times longer than ordinary strings.”

These strings are an industry standard and something that we recommend to all of our guitar students for their lessons.  The strings that normally come on the guitar are not awesome, so now is the time to get that guitar lover in your life the gift of better tone.

Buy Now


FOR THE VIOLIN, VIOLA, AND CELLO PLAYER IN YOUR LIFE

Violin-Viola-Cello Rosin – $9.99

Players of violin, viola, and cello rub cakes or blocks of rosin on their bow hair so it can grip the strings and make them speak, or vibrate clearly.  This should be the case of every violin, viola, and cello student.

“JADE rosin is made by a venerable French manufacturer, steeped in formulating professional quality rosin for well over a century. JADE rosin is a new, refined formulation, with remarkable qualities of dust-free adhesion. Avoiding metallic residues, which do not contribute to adhesion and may indeed scratch fine varnishes, JADE rosin incorporates highly refined resins to produce a smooth yet firm grip. From symphony musicians to concert artists, JADE rosin has received enthusiastic acclaim. Each rosin is mounted on a protective velvet cloth wrap and comes with its own attractive lidded container with gold and slate graphics.”

Buy Now


FOR EVERY MUSICIAN IN YOUR LIFE (AND YOURSELF)

Ear Plugs – $15.99

This is hands down the most important thing on this list.  Wether is going to a concert, mowing the lawn, or using power tools, EVERY PERSON NEEDS TO OWN EAR PLUGS.  I can’t say how many tragic stories I have heard of people losing their hearing because of rock concerts, playing drums, or playing with their band.  Please, if you don’t own any ear plugs buy them for yourself, and buy a pair for someone else.  

“Hearos High Fidelity Ear Plugs are a breakthrough product that delivers flat attenuation for musicians. With flat attenuation you hear the music just as it was intended, but with the elimination of up to 12 decibels of potentially damaging noise. For concerts and jam sessions that can exceed 125 decibels, Hearos High Fidelity Ear Plugs are the way to go. Washable and reusable.”

Buy Now

5 Ways Music Changes At-Risk Youth (And the One Way You Can Help)
“Music can change the world because it can change people” – Bono

With more than 30.7 million American children in low-income families, there’s no doubt that we need to help. That’s 43 percent of the children in our country! Research is clear that poverty is the single greatest threat to a child’s well-being, so what can we do about it? Here’s how music can make a difference and how you can help.

 

1. Increases Self-Worth – Studies have shown a significant positive increase in a music students self-worth. This is likely because students feel free to be themselves in the music room, and can gain confidence.

2. Increase in Academic Results – Studies of 8th grade students with a focus on the arts and a low socioeconomic status were 31 percent more likely to plan on earning a bachelors degree. High schoolers who had access to the arts were 3 times more likely to earn a bachelors degree than the students who did not get those experiences.

3. Increase In Workforce Opportunities – Low socioeconomic college students who had high exposure to the arts had a rate were 2 times more likely to choose a major in a professional career such as accounting, education, nursing, and social sciences. 50 percent of adults with low socioeconomic status and art-rich background expected to work in law, medicine, education, or management.

4. Increase In Community Involvement – Studies have shown that kids with high exposure to the arts and low socioeconomic status are more likely to volunteer than those of the same status with low arts exposure. Young adults involved in the arts were also 14 percent more likely to vote than those with low involvement in the arts

5. Creates Consistency – Many of the at-risk youth have an unstable home life or personal life. Music lessons are at the same time and day every week, creating a constant time blocked off in their schedule. Even if it may only be 30 minutes, that may be the only thing consistent in that child’s life.

How Can You Help?

Spark Music Studio has partnered up with Lux Homes MN and Inverted Arts to create the Jimmy C Jensen Youth In Music Scholarship. Our goal is to give a creative voice to the youth who might not get the chance otherwise. We do this by giving several scholarships each year for private one-on-one music lessons and providing the student an instrument to practice on. Financial donations are tax deductible in the United States and made through Inverted Arts a 501c3 non profit organization – let them know your donation is for this program. If you would like to nominate a child for the scholarship please fill out the application here.

The Problem With Today’s Piano Lessons

Piano is such a great starter instrument, which is why it’s the #1 choice for parents to start exposing their kids to music at Spark. I think it’s so important to give kids the ability to discover and express their creative side through music, but I’ve heard so many horror stories about parents taking their kids to piano lessons. Kids hate going to lessons, dread the instrument, and dislike the idea of playing music in general. The good news is the problem doesn’t typically lie within the instrument, kids, or parents. Unfortunately the problem can be your piano TEACHER.

WHAT?! BUT DON’T YOU TEACH PIANO?

Yes, but the difference is our approach. Kid’s want to learn to play songs on piano that they love, not necessarily play the music of the 1700’s. Piano teachers are spending so much time teaching the stuff they know and love, and not making the focus on the kids. We do believe that it is important to learn about classical music and understand theory, but not at the expense of letting the kids ignite their passion in the music they love. At Spark we try to follow what we call the 10-10-10 method.

So in your standard 30 minute lesson what does this look like?

10 Minutes – This time is spent learning a new piece of theory or technique with the piano. This means we will talk about note length, dynamics, expressions, and so many other ideas. We do this through writing, playing, and other hands-on exercises.

10 Minutes – During this time we play and talk about how we can apply theory and technique. Piano students play songs and listen to examples of how we can use what we know to play the music they love.

10 Minutes – This is the part the kids love! We learn songs on the piano that the student wants to play. These songs can be classical, pop, country, hymns, or any other genre you can think of. It doesn’t matter what song it is, our teachers do their best to create a way to make a happen. Some students learn the melody of the song on the piano, while some actually learn the piano part so they can sing along. This is my favorite part of the lesson too. We get to incorporate everything that the student has worked on, and apply it to their passion.

Following this 10-10-10 idea makes the piano lesson not only educational, but more FUN too! If you feel like your child had a bad experience but want them to try again, I encourage you to come try a lesson with us! Our mission is to ignite a passion in music, and watch them grow as musicians. Piano is meant to be FUN!

Top 3 Music Apps Of 2015

As a working musician, I am quickly realizing how important it is to use technology to stay relevant. So many songwriters are using electronic samples and sounds that are vital to the song. For a drummer, this may mean using a sample pad to replicate different sounds. For a keyboardist, it may mean building synth patches or sampling various sounds. Or, it could be running a computer with Ableton or another Digital Audio Workstation(DAW). With the advancement of technology the ability to do so many things in the palm of your hand, and the start of a new year, I have comprised a list of my top 3 music apps of 2015.

tempo-frozen-ape-logo 1. Frozen Ape – Tempo $2.99

This is hands down the app I use most frequently. I use this almost every day for teaching and gigging. This metronome app has the ability to set tempos which are easily adjustable for teaching purposes. You can set multiple subdivisions (quarters, eighths, triplets, sixteenths, swung triplets, and swung sixteenths) to fit any need. However, my favorite feature on this app is the “gig” mode. On this setting you can save all of your song titles, tempos, and subdivisions then simply press the arrow key to move through your set list. You can have multiple set lists for those playing with multiple bands. To customize this app you can change the sound of the click with the 15 included samples, change the display, and change accent. This is the app I have all of my students download after their first lesson.

GarageBand-Icon2. Garage Band – $4.99

Are you a songwriter who wants to explore getting your songs recorded? This is the app for you. It is an easy to use music recording app. I’ve used this app from recording quick song ideas in the car all the way to recording live mixes from gigs. Guitarists can use this with a mini recording pod and track what they are playing. Vocalist’s can sing right into the mic on the phone. If you play piano, you can use the built in keyboard and play with your fingers or you can get an adapter and plug in an electric keyboard. This is also an extremely useful practice tool, as you can record a practice session and listen back to what your playing. The recording will point out your flaws and other areas of improvement. It’s like having your music teacher with you all the time! Plus it’s pretty cool that you can show your friends a song that you wrote and recorded.

ASD3. Amazing Slow Downer (ASD) – $14.99

I first found this amazing program on the computer and then discovered the app. One of the first things I tell my students is start something slow and work to speed it up. I have found this helps my students learn rhythms faster and helps them to play at any tempo. With this app, you are able to import a song, slow down the tempo and loop sections without losing audio quality. If you are working through a song that is too fast or struggling to hear a specific guitar line or drum fill, then you need this app. There are cheaper, even free, versions of this app, but I have found the price is worth it.