they still have not learned a song. This is much like going to swimming lessons for years and talking all about swimming techniques without ever going into the water. It is important to dive in when learning an instrument and play songs early on so you can connect with and learn to love the instrument. If a program is designed in such a way that it allows students to both learn to play by ear and learn note reading and theory in small amounts along the way this approach will provide the best of both worlds. Children will be able to enjoy playing their instruments every day and they will begin to understand how music is structured through the note reading process. This combination approach keeps students motivated by playing lots of songs and it avoids the risk of not being able to understand the more complicated pieces they will learn in the future.
Question: “How do I go about finding the right music teacher?”
Answer: “Most parents want to see their children practicing consistently and if this is not happening then they are not happy. This is because parents want to see their children develop and grow. Parents also want to see their children happy and enjoying music all around. A skilled teacher will be able to understand this process and they will be able to deliver a healthy balance of fun and growth. I have noticed over the years that if students are not growing at all musically they might be having fun but it will not last. Other students who are growing all the time through very difficult pieces can become burnt out and lose the love of playing. Only when lessons balance fun and growth will the lessons be a success. This idea is a simple one but designing lessons in this fashion can be very challenging. Finding an experienced teacher with a music degree who is devoted to being a career teacher is preferable to a teacher who teaches as a hobby occasionally from their home. Music schools are the best place to find highly skilled teachers who are dedicated to their students and to music.
Question: “How much practice should be required for learning the instrument?”
Answer: “This varies depending on what your goals are in learning to play an instrument. Most parents are not pushing their children into music as a profession but they want to see them learn the skill and be able to play well. A quality, thirty minutes of practice four or five days a week can produce excellent results over time. Students who continue with this amount of practice will eventually be able to play extremely advanced works such as concerto’s and they have a beautiful sound when doing so. Music is a wonderful skill that children can have for life and will enrich their lives in so many ways.
Question: “How long will it take for my child to become good at their instrument?”
Answer: “This depends of course on how much time is devoted to practicing. Typically if a student is practicing thirty minutes a day, four to five days a week they should be able to play a Christmas Carol in about four to five months of practice and sound good while performing. To be able to perform more complex works such as Gavotte’s and Minuets will take about one and a half to two years and concerto performing will take about five years of study. Small, consistent practice over years can produce truly amazing results!
Brian Eliason is a music educator who has taught over 15,000 music lessons and he is the founder of the Eliason School of Music in SW Portland.
If you have questions, you can contact Brian through the website: www.EliasonMusic.com or by calling (503)293-2390.