Thanks to The Network Niche, today’s post is sponsored by Music & Arts.
My entire life has been filled with music. My mom says I sang before I could talk. As I napped, she played Barbara Streisand albums and there are several old home movies showing me dancing and marching to whatever music is playing. I have loved to sing my entire life and while voice has always been my primary instrument over the years I have studied organ, piano, clarinet, bass clarinet, flute, percussion, recorder, trumpet and saxophone. I have taught private music lessons for 27 years to students of all ages from 4-70+. My goal as a music teacher was to give students the tools so that they will enjoy making music.
Of course, my husband is a music guy too and we raised our boys in and around music. Aaron has played violin, piano, recorder, clarinet, trumpet, voice, guitar and percussion. He landed on drums as his favorite and he plays with a few local worship bands-when he isn’t running sound or occasionally playing keyboard. Jordan took a similar path of piano, recorder, clarinet, voice and bass guitar. His favorites are bass and keyboard and he fills in on worship teams as he travels with his missions team.
As you can see, even with mom as a music teacher, their musical lives is a journey not a destination. I was also not their only music teacher. Along the way they also learned from Miss Carla, Michael, Mr B, Mr Sheffield, John, Sean and Doug. Each instructor gave my children something special, the next stepping stone on their journey. Over the years, as you can see instruments changed and grew as well. My goal as a mom was that they love what they are doing. Our rule was that music lessons were not an option, and neither was piano BUT any other instrument you wanted to try was great, but you committed to an entire school year or summer of that instrument.
Keeping them committed to practicing wasn’t always easy either. For us, it was an assigned part of our daily homeschool schedule-this worked much better than just saying “after your school work is done.” Knowing that at 9:00am Aaron had to practice piano while Jordan did math and then at 10:00am Jordan would practice while Aaron did math worked well for us.
When they were younger we didn’t focus on time spent practicing but number of repetitions on each song or exercise. I would put 10 M&Ms in a cup on the left side of the piano and each time they completed an exercise they would move 1 M&M to a cup on the other side. When all 10 were moved, they could go on to the next exercise. When the entire assignment was completed 10 times each, they could eat the candy.
Music lessons teach our children so much more than just music. Studies show that regularly playing a musical instrument improves cognitive skills, increases the capacity of your memory, increases mathematical ability and reading comprehension, and enhances hand-eye coordination. Regularly playing a musical instrument also builds self-confidence, reduces stress, teaches self-discipline, perseverance, and responsibility…just to name a few.
One thing that made our musical journey enjoyable was working with a great music store. If you are looking for a music store see if there is a Music & Arts store near you. They have over 135 stores nationwide to serve you on a local level and if there isn’t one close to you, they are online too. Visit Music & Arts for local information on music lessons. To keep up with Music & Arts on social media follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.