In Home Music Lessons or School? Which one is better for my child?
You’ve decided to put a child into music lessons – great! By making that choice you are on the road to having, statistically, a more creative, intelligent and successful child. You’ve picked an instrument and you’re all ready to start – but where? Are In Home Music Lessons or lessons at a local school better?
You have several options for music lessons. Let’s look at them in order:
Option One: In Home Music Lessons
This is a fast-growing type of lesson today, and it’s easy to see why: A music teacher drives to your home and teaches, using your own piano or drum set, or guitar. The benefit here is obvious – no need to leave the house, sit in traffic, or find parking. However, let’s ask some important questions about lesson quality: Is your child really able to concentrate? Did your teacher show up on time? Is the dog barking? Are siblings trying to pester each other during the lesson? And who’s keeping tabs on the teachers?
Speaking of siblings, one drawback with in home lessons is the inability to have more than one sibling learn at a time – a local school will be able to do 2-3 children at a time, saving the parent 30-60 minutes in waiting. The extra waiting time tends to undo any benefit gained by not having to drive anywhere.
(Note: Along with in-person lessons, this also describes some of the challenges with online training courses and YouTube videos. Also, although convenient, learn-at-home courses tend to lack the accountability and regularity that a human teacher provides.)
Option number two: Drive to a music teacher’s home.
The possible benefit is that the teacher might have a dedicated space for learning. However, there could still be distractions if their family or pets are home. There’s still no-one checking the teacher’s qualifications; for example the teacher may be under-qualified to teach to your child’s level, however without doing research and asking for proof of qualifications, most customers won’t find out before doing business with them. In addition, their set-up may not be ideal (out of tune piano, improperly maintained drum kit). Lastly, they can only teach one sibling at a time – imagine having a 1 hour wait versus a 30 minute wait in a local school. And where do they hold their recitals?
Option Three: professional, private lessons at a music academy.
The individual practice rooms ensure no distractions, and the school is well equipped with in-tune pianos, books, and staff to help with scheduling and billing. If you have multiple children, they can take lessons at the same time. This is simply the best way to learn an instrument, and what better way to showcase your child’s new skills than at a fancy, professional and fun recital?
So why not make the best choice – high-quality music instruction to make your lesson money go further, and build musical skills faster than you ever thought possible.
Learn more at musicboxnw.ca/request-info
Music box is New Westminster’s top music school. Why not call us today to set up a music lesson? 604 553-1176
There are approximately one thousand, five hundred musical instruments on planet earth…and most we’ve never even heard of (what’s a cat piano?) So how do you decide the best instrument for kids to learn?
A child is probably only considering about three or four different instruments, such as piano, violin or guitar. And this can be tricky for parents, who often think, “What if I let them choose the wrong instrument”? or “What if they choose drums?”. (We should add that an electronic drum kit is a quieter option that works great for apartments and small houses!)
The most versatile and popular instrument is still the piano. You just won’t find anything else that’s able to cover such a broad range of pop, jazz, classical and rock music as easily. This is why it is known as a “foundational instrument”.
Guitar and violin remain very popular in our school, due to the expressive nature of stringed instruments. Plus, they’re easier to bring home than a piano. Many students who enjoy rock music gravitate toward the electric guitar. If your family attends church, acoustic guitar works very well for praise and worship music.
When choosing an instrument for a child, you should consider factors such as physical size, natural ability and the child’s likes and interests. For example, a student with tiny hands may have trouble playing the upright bass. A student with large fingers may have trouble fretting chords on an electric guitar (disclaimer: we strongly believe that any physical limitation can be overcome by dedication and practice, within reason).
No matter what a child chooses, the most important thing is the support they receive and effort they put in. Having a great, professional teacher will make them want to practice and grow their musical vocabulary.
Music Lessons New Westminster | Video – How Young Can My Child Start?
Some children demonstrate a love of melody and rhythm from a very early age. Babies can clap their hands to a beat as young as 6 months old. A two-year old can copy basic melodies and lyrics. It can be tempting to run out and sign them up for lessons, but how young is *too* young?
First of all, we want to encourage parents to introduce music to a child as early as possible. Have music playing in the home, and sing to/with your children as often as you can. In our household, we like to sing good-night songs, as well as songs when brushing their teeth, cleaning up, etc. (BONUS: Singing “Clean up” songs has a Mary-Poppins-like effect that actually makes them want to participate in putting away toys).
The youngest age we recommend for private music lessons is 4 years old. It may seem early, but listen to this: In a study of preschoolers, children who took weekly piano lessons showed a 34% improvement in spatial skills than the children who did not take lessons. Starting music lessons at a preschool age can give your child huge developmental benefits.
If they’re less than four years old, a group class may be a great option. Parent/child participation in a group setting can establish a lifelong love of music. These classes are also a wonderful way to meet other parents in the area.
A Personal Anecdote:
Our daughter attended group music classes from just 3 months old, and we actually noticed a difference in her vocabulary and math development compared with our second child, who did not attend classes regularly. We believe this was due to her early exposure to rhythm and music in a social setting, which laid the foundation for pattern recognition, language and self-expression.
A group class at the River Market in New Westminster
A few tips on deciding when to start music lessons:
Watch children as they listen to music – do they stomp their feet, hum along or play air guitar? They may be ready to pick up an instrument.
Take children to a music shop, church or somewhere there are many instruments available to see/touch. Watch to see if they gravitate toward any particular instrument. For example, our son always runs up to the drum set after church service ends. Needless to say, we have started him on drum lessons.
Caution: NEVER force a child to take music lessons. Nothing will form a negative association faster than making them practice something they’re not even slightly interested in. Yes, they may groan before a lesson (especially if they were in the middle of their favorite TV show), but this is normal; regular commitment and dedication is not easy, week after week. However, a child that dreads attending lessons will quickly associate musicianship with boredom or frustration, and will likely avoid it later in life.
A great music teacher can inspire a student to grow and push the limits of their ability. Our professional instructors are ready to help your kids become their very best.
Are you worried it’s too late to start music lessons? You need to hear an amazing fact: did you know that Brahms wrote his first symphony when he was forty years old?
Even more incredibly, Andrea Bocelli actually practiced law until his mid-thirties. He finally became a best-selling artist at the age of forty-one. *
If Brahms and Bocelli can start getting noticed at the same time most people start having a mid-life crisis, then a person who is eleven, fifteen, twenty-six or thirty-four can actually begin training with a good head start. You may not sing like Bocelli at first, but we can give you some pointers.
Fact: At Music Box, our youngest student is Four, and our oldest student is Eighty-Five!
Smarter, Faster, Stronger
It’s a scientific fact that you become smarter when you start learning music. A 2003 Harvard study revealed that the brains of musicians had a larger volume of gray matter than the brains of non-musicians. Music lessons also improve your ability to learn other subjects, such as math and languages.
Never picked up an instrument? Don’t worry – a beginner piano or violin student can learn to play a simple song on their instrument in as little as one lesson. We’ve seen our teachers take someone from barely able to form a note, to performing confidently in front of fellow students at our year-end recitals. And their energy and mood always get a boost from the confidence they get from learning a new skill.
You can start learning guitar, or singing no matter where you are in life. The most important thing is getting started.
Music Box, New Westminster’s Music School | 604 553-1176
*Footnote: We should be clear that both Brahms and Bocelli had years of training prior to becoming famous, but their stories are included here to inspire others. Remember – skill is only a small part of success; attitude makes up the majority.
If you have children, then you’re most likely noticing certain skills that are developing early. For instance, some children have a strong aptitude for sports, or art. We constantly hear that not every child develops at the same rate, but why do some children seem to pop out of the womb, already singing opera?
Sometimes we hear parents say that their child isn’t “musical” because they don’t show a natural skill for it. This is usually because the child simply doesn’t understand the language of music. Just because they can’t sing doesn’t meant they’re not bursting with potential.
Music is a Learned Skill
Here’s an example: If I gave you a pair of skis, and you had no idea how to use them, you probably wouldn’t have much fun (and probably end up hurting yourself!) But you likely wouldn’t hear someone say “oh, they just aren’t natural skiers”. That would be silly, since skiing is a learned skill that doesn’t come naturally to most people.
Over the years, time and again, we have seen that anyone can learn to play music, and the benefits are scientifically proven. (For example, Time magazine ranks music lessons as number one on their list “How to Make Your Kids Smarter”) Music makes kids smarter. It helps with math, and problem solving. It gives them social skills and creative thinking.
Your Child Can Excel
We fully believe that if your child picks up an instrument (any instrument is fine), practices regularly and focuses on improving, they can surpass someone with natural talent who doesn’t practice.
And who knows? Your child may end up a famous musician one day. We’ve seen children blossom when given a violin, or guitar, or drums. If they don’t take to a certain instrument right away, don’t force anything. Maybe your ballet-loving little girl wants to play Led Zepplin on drums. Maybe your son loves hip hop but secretly wishes he could play violin. They just need to take the first step and begin taking private music lessons. Our professional, highly trained teachers can inspire a love of music in your child that will help them develop and grow.