FOR CHILDREN: Music is a language just as the spoken word. Children should be immersed
in an environment of music of high artistic quality from before birth, just as they are
surrounded by skilled speakers of their native tongue. Language is learned through the senses
not the intellect. Reading and writing is important but is learned only after one first learns
to speak. If you have not already the time to start your child's music education is now.
When the parents have made the decision that musical training is important for their child, and
follow through with their actions, is when the child's musical education begins. Please note
it is not the child's decision, anymore than it is the child's decision to speak or go to school.
The parents set the expectations. When they set up a positive and supportive environment (see
the Learning Team below) the child's natural curiosity will lead them to follow. All children
of normal aptitude learn to speak their language fluently; this remarkable feat is accepted without
question. If provided the proper environment they can also learn to play artistically at a very
FOR ADULTS: Self motivation, willingness to accept challenges and a drive to develop and
maintain a healthy work ethic. It is never too late to learn. Not only does it provide great
personal fulfillment but it aids in sharpening and maintaining ones mental acuity.
No audition or experience is required.
Music is a birth right, a fundamental part of being human. It emanates from the very essence
of our beings and has been an integral part of human culture for tens of thousands of years.
Everyone can learn to express their innate musicality in an artistic manner. Many cultures
place high value on music education. In Western culture this dates back at least over two
thousand years to the time of ancient Greece, where music was considered a fundamental
part of a well rounded education inseparable from mathematics, the language arts, the
physical sciences and the spiritual realm.
The study of music teaches basic life skills: creativity; perseverance; focusing and paying
attention to detail; reflection; self-reliance; responsibility; organization; development of
memory; problem solving and analysis; the discipline of good study habits; and learning the
value of working toward goals and the personally fulfilling reward in achieving those goals.
The study of music teaches, enhances and reinforces these skills in children that are required
to succeed in all areas of life and plays an important role in developing the moral character at
the foundation of well rounded human beings and productive citizens. Innumerable scientific
studies have proven the lifelong benefits of music study. It literally helps raise your child; the
time spent in the study of music pays itself back in huge dividends in all areas of your child's
Artistic playing not only requires fine motor control but a sophisticated integration of ear,
mind and body. In addition to the development of rational, intellectual and physical faculties
in students, music at its core allows the expression of our emotional side and has the power
to inspire. Music making combines both the artistic, involving a personal and at times
un-analyzable creative power, and skill, requiring technical knowledge and proficiency.
Fundamental physical concepts are taught through the study of sound production and abstract
thinking through theoretical analysis of melody, form and harmony. Music and culture being
inseparable, historical perspective is developed not only through the study of music from
various periods but also the various styles of music in their cultural context. This perspective
is further enhanced by the exposure to different composers and the motivations that inspired
their creativity. Teamwork is developed through ensemble playing, independence of thought
through artistic interpretation.
Think of how a child learns to speak. No one ever explains to them the rules of grammar,
the articles of speech or the difference between a vowel and consonant or noun and verb.
Yet by the time they enter school they speak their native tongue fluently with all the
nuanced subtlety of their local dialect. This remarkable feat is such a human universal,
all children of normal aptitude raised in a normal environment succeed in learning to speak
fluently, that it goes almost unnoticed. What would be considered remarkable is if a child
failed to learn to speak fluently.
How does this come about? A child is surrounded by a rich environment of language from
before birth. When they make their first sounds and speak their first words everyone
around them enthusiastically encourages them. When they make mistakes no one scolds
them but gently corrects them by modeling the correct pronunciation or grammar. Parents
sit with picture books and let the child explore new images and learn their names. The
human mind is obviously designed for language; the young mind is naturally curious and
If you wanted your child to learn a second language what would you do? You wouldn't buy
them a book on grammar or books for them to read in that language. You would immerse them
in an environment rich with the spoken aural sounds of that language. Perhaps one of the
parents would be fluent and only speak to them in that language. You would seek out friends
and family that spoke that language. You would expose them to shows, plays and movies spoken
in said language. Children raised in such an environment effortlessly become fluent in more
than one language.
Music is not only a language but an aural language. The brain circuits that process spoken
language are the same as the ones that process music. They are more appropriately called
sound processing circuits and music and speech have been inseparably intertwined since
humans first developed the ability to speak. As with spoken language music should be first,
and is mostly easily, learned through listening. Again as with spoken language one should
learn to read and write only after learning to speak the language of music through playing.
In fact it is much easier to learn how to read and write after one can already speak or play.
Anyone of normal aptitude is capable of learning to play music with a high level of
artistic expression. Children rapidly learn to walk and talk without any training by
observing, listening and trial and error imitation. These natural abilities can be tapped in
musical training. Playing piano also requires a high level of technical skill which can be
acquired under the guidance of a professionally trained teacher. Mozart was intensely
trained from a very early age by his father, a professional music teacher and player. Bach
came from a family of professional musicians that dated back generations and was immersed in
music making from an early age. A chess grandmaster has literally seen thousands of chess
boards. A professional soccer player has played hundreds of games. The decisive factor in
any area of expertise is lifelong training not inborn talent.
There are three members of equal importance on the Learning Team. The student is the
player, their job is to practice their assignments daily and try and do their best. The teacher
is the coach; they are the guide and show the student what and how to practice. They also
train the third member of the team, just as important as the first two, the parent, in how to
guide the student in their daily practice.
The parent is the assistant coach; they bring the student to the lesson and actively observe,
provide the student with a quality instrument (see Pianos on this website), the proper
equipment (see Studio Policy below) and sit with them to guide them through their daily
practice. The parent should also attempt to learn some of the basic repertoire so they have a
basic understanding of piano technique. Children do not do what you say but what you do.
Modeling good practice habits and the willingness to persist even when it is hard will make
a lasting impression on your child. It is important that the parents understand and support
the broader goals of music education as outlined above.
It is only through daily practice that anyone acquires the necessary skills for artistic playing.
Young children simply do not have the necessary maturity: commitment, persistence,
organization, focus and a long range perspective to do it on their own. For children
under 10 it is required for a parent to attend and observe each lesson and guide the student
through their daily practice. For pre-teens the parents need to be actively involved until the
student demonstrates the ability to be more independent, at which point the parents can
gradually step back.
Children should be regularly exposed to music of high artistic quality through live performance
and recordings. It is important for the parents to make music and practicing a part of the
family's daily routine in a positive and supportive environment. Music making should be seen
as a wonderful opportunity to spend quality time with your child on a daily basis doing
something fun and rewarding. It builds strong bonds with your child, enriching and making the
most of the precious preteen years. They will be teenagers soon enough and want to do less
and less with the family. Read Brian Chung's excellent article on the benefits that studying piano
will have for your child's personal development. Go to page 7.
"those who play the piano are far more likely to flourish, thrive, and experience success
in life than those who do not."
WITH ACTIVE, COMMITTED AND ONGOING PARENT PARTICIPATION
AND SUPPORT ALL CHILDREN SUCCEED IN THEIR PIANO STUDIES.
If you are excited about developing your child's personal, musical and artistic potential
please give me a call to discuss lessons.