Friday, September 13, 2013

Educating the Whole Musician

Now that you've begun Let's Play Music class, you might be wondering, why aren't we on the keyboards yet!?  Why isn't my child doing drills and building up a big repertoire of performance pieces already!?  What's the holdup!?  Is my child falling behind in the music world!?

I often tell people, "we're not just a piano class, and we're not just a voice class, and we're not just a theory class...we're a complete musicianship program."  Our program is intentionally broad, and covers so much more than technique and repertoire. 

Why Musicianship? 

Does your musician read notes off the page, but find difficulty improvising and composing?
Imagine if your child could play a fancy piece of piano music beautifully, but he struggled to learn new songs easily or pick out a melody at the keyboard without sheet music.  Or perhaps he always practices with great form but doesn't seem to notice discordant mistakes until the teacher points them out.  Or perhaps he plays his lesson repertoire just fine, but is baffled at the thought of improvising or inventing music, wondering when his lessons are going to teach him how to do that.

On the flip side, what if he could sit down and easily play 'The Itsy-Bitsy Spider' by ear, but really felt overwhelmed trying to read any new songs from sheet music?

At Let's Play Music, we nurture all aspects of musicianship before your child graduates into specialized programs like private lessons. We are building a foundation for broad musicianship that pays off in the long run.  It seems that there are so many elements to be taught, but luckily activities of each type are complimentary to each other: skill in one task helps a child have success in the others. 

What Do We Cover?

Note reading AND ear training for success!
We've carefully balanced skills of various types, and considered your child's natural development.  

You'll find us working on 

  • music theory, 
  • ear training (interval recognition, chord recognition, relative pitch training, etc.), 
  • sight singing, 
  • vocal training, 
  • playing by ear, 
  • dictation, 
  • sight reading, 
  • improvisation, 
  • ensemble playing, 
  • analysis, 
  • listening to music from various styles, 
  • arranging and composition.  


You're probably saying "Hey! when I was a kid, my piano lesson didn't cover all of that!" Rest assured that Let's Play Music is a different, carefully crafted program, designed to help you raise a well-rounded musician.  

With all of these skills in place, folks will be saying "he's a talented musician!" and not just, "he can really play piano!"

To answer the questions, "Why aren't we on the piano yet?" and "Are we falling behind!?" the answer is: We are taking the first year of class to train the ear and brain for success on the piano. We're training the large and small muscle groups, too, through harp and bell performance. We're fundamentally internalizing how music works, through a variety of types of training, so that when we play piano, we'll be truly successful as whole musicians.

Now remember, when your child asks, "What will be doing in class today?" simply and honestly answer, "fun songs, silly games, and exciting activities!"  It's the perfect venue for all that hard work we're not telling him about.

-Gina Weibel, M.S.
Let's Play Music Teacher


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