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Music Lessons for All Ages in New Orleans, LA


An Overview to Beginning in Music Lessons


Beginning the journey into the wonderful world of music is an exciting time. With the many different instruments, programs, and styles of music offered, it can be a difficult and even confusing at times getting all of the information you need to make the best choices. It is for this reason that we've taken the time to highlight the following points of interest.


1.) What is the Best Age to Start?


As with any of our programs, adults may begin at any time. It truly is never too late to get started in music lessons. For children, starting at the correct age is key since beginning in certain programs/instruments before they are ready can not only discourage their love of and interest in music, but it can also be physically harmful in some cases. The following is a widely practiced general guideline for appropriate starting ages in a variety of music programs.


.:. Preschool Music Classes


Preschool music classes offer an excellent first formal introduction to music for toddlers and lap babies ages birth-4 years. Classes focus on the development of the whole child by listening to a variety of styles of music from around the world, singing, dancing, etc. Parents often attend all or part of these classes with their child. Preschool classes provide these young students with a basic foundation in key concepts that prepare them for private instruction.


.:. Piano Lessons


Age 5 is the most commonly recommended age to begin piano lessons. Students at this age are typically more attentive and able to focus on and retain the information being presented to them.


.:. Guitar Lessons


Age 8 is typically the best time to begin guitar lessons. Some students display a talent and desire to learn guitar as early as age 6 and this is possible with the right teacher and school but is mostly dependent on the physical build of the student. Younger players may find playing a bit too strenous on their hands due to the amount of finger and hand strength needed to sound notes and chords. Bass guitar students may begin studying between ages 9-10. Bass guitars are usually larger/heavier instruments whose physical demands are most often best left to this age bracket.


.:. Voice Lessons


Students who show an interest in singing may enroll in lessons as early as age 5. As the vocal chords and lungs do not fully mature until the ages of 11 or 12, students younger than 11 must select age appropriate repertoire and exercises to avoid permanently damaging their vocal chords. Students ages 12-adult are ready to begin full studies in vocal repertoire and technique.


.:. Violin Lessons


Violin students are able to begin lessons as early as age 4. Some schools and private instructors will accept students as early as 2 or 3. The Suzuki method of instruction is typically the first introduced to violin students as it de-emphasizes the need to read notes to play. As many violin students can come away from years of violin lessons without being able to read music, we use a hybrid method that combines the ease of the Suzuki approach along with learning to read music.


.:. Drum Lessons


Students as young as age 4 have been successful in weekly drum lessons. This can vary from child to child and is highly dependent on the student's ability to concentrate and maintain focus on the topics at hand. A full drum set is not necessary to begin drum lessons as new students typically are first introduced to the snare drum. The additional drums and cymbals are introduced as the student progresses.


.:. Flute, Clarinet, Saxophone (Woodwind Lessons)


Instruction for instruments of the woodwind family usually begins between the ages of 8-9. Learning the correct embouchure (mouth position) for all woodwind instruments is notably the most challenging starting point. With proper instruction and patience, it quickly becomes second nature.


.:. Trumpet, Trombone, & Tuba (Brass Lessons)


Instruction for instruments of the brass family usually begins at the age of 9 for the trumpet and ages 10-11 for the trombone and tuba. All members of the brass family require a large amount of facial musle memory and control to produce the various pitches correctly with the limited number of key triggers native to the instruments.


2.) Private Lessons Almost Always Work Best.


Learning an instrument is best within a private environment. Within this environment, teachers are free to completely customize lesson plans so that each lesson focuses on the precise needs of the individual student. Group classes work well for choirs, bands, and preschool students, but private lessons will always present the most opportunity for progress.


3.) Choose to Study Within a Professional Environment.


While lessons in the home or at a teacher's home are usually either more affordable or convenient, the loss of time due to distractions from the telephone ringing, familiy, or other personal interupptions must be considered. For the best possible learning experience, teaching studios should be free from the many distractions of life for the full thirty minutes - one hour each week.


Music lessons taught within a school environment also presents the student with an opportunity to meet, listen to, and/or perform with a variety of other musicians.


Lessons taught at most schools also ensures that the Instructor is qualified and capable of teaching. The practice of hobbyists trying to make a few extra dollars on the side by teaching beginning music lessons is not uncommon.


Don't be afraid to additionally request the qualifications of the Instructor. Does the Instructor hold a Degree in Music for example?


4.) Practice Makes Perfect


As with learning anything, a strong, consistent routine of practice is the best way to maximize progress each week. Students should have an instrument at home available for practice. For pianists, a 61 note keyboard with full size, touch sensitive keys can be used to begin lessons. Most other instruments may be rented either from the school or a local music shop. In that way it is not necessary to invest in an expensive instrument until you're a sure that you or your child will continue music lessons.


5.) Use Established Teaching Methods


Most music programs have extremely well written texts and methods for beginning students (children and adults). These methods and authors are well known and respected throughout the music education community. Be sure to ask the Instructor which methods he/she prefers for beginning students. They should be able to give you a few examples. Organization and lesson plans are keys to a successful learning experience and established texts should be at the forefront of any beginning student's weekly lesson.


6.) Don't Forget to Have Fun!


At the end of the day, music needs to be fun and enjoyable. Realize, as the teacher should, that each student will learn at his/her own pace. Be sure to arrange for daily practice and set reasonable weekly goals. This will enable the student to develop a lifetime appreciation for the art of music.

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