There is a prevailing notion that there is a group of musical people in the world and a group of non-musical people. In decades of teaching music, we believe that notion couldn’t be further from the truth. While it’s true that everyone learns at a different pace, music has always been imprinted in our DNA. If you’ve clapped along at a concert or hummed to yourself as you did some housework, you’re a musician. Now it’s a matter of going through those early steps and building up the foundation to set yourself up for success.
Though children are ultimately in charge of their own learning, we base our teaching styles on tried and true methods we’ve honed over the past several years. Our approach focuses on a balance of skills, technique, instrument mechanics, muscle memory, music theory, performance, and music literacy. We tend to deliver these essentials to different age ranges using different methods.
Ages 5-9: The idea for young kids is to make music fun while building up muscle groups and mental models that give a solid foundation. The primary way we are able to deliver these benefits is through games.
Children build strength when they play the dinosaur game, their ability to hear and distinguish notes is built when we play musical hangman, practicing simple melodies become a blast when it is turned into a race with the Dark Wizard, and solid rhythmic foundation is developed through the secret door game.
On top of these games, children are encouraged to choose songs that interest them and introduced to songs and styles they have never heard before.
Ages 10-15: Once a foundation is built around age ten, children usually become physically and mentally ready to pursue more complex musical concepts. The focus shifts to techniques that define their instruments they learn, a step by step approach to music theory, and of course deep dives into the songs they love. Quite often students will find that the foundational building blocks discussed early in a lesson will be demonstrated in the songs they choose. This always helps to reinforce the importance of theory, technique and dynamics.
Ages 15 and beyond: Adult students always seem to require a different approach than younger students. One positive aspect of learning an instrument later in life is that finger strength and cognition are never an issue among older students. In our experience the hardest thing for adult students always seems to be patience and self assurance and we are there every step of the way.
We want to stoke passion for music within our students. Though the level of discipline and self-regulation required won’t always come easily, the last thing we want is for music to become another chore on a to-do list. Through building a musical foundation, the end goal for our students is to get to a place where music can add some texture to life’s events, provide a creative and emotional outlet, or become a major part of their identity like it has for us.
YourPlace students can expect a very supportive and encouraging environment filled with a variety of different activities and approaches to learning. Though lessons are centered around a student’s specific genre/artist/song interests, the foundations will always remain the same. Lessons incorporate ear training, theory, rhythm, improvisation, playing with others, and aim to empower students creatively. Playing any instrument should remain challenging, intriguing, and pleasurable at all times. A deep sense of accomplishment comes from being able to achieve a task or understand a concept that would have seemed impossible only one week before.