Music, Education, Learning Styles,
And the Journey of this Music School
And the Journey of this Music School
Everyone is making resolutions and goals for 2017. January is a great time to try to keep warm (somehow) and to be renewed with fresh energy to tackle our goals for the year.
But with goals and resolutions often comes guilt. "I'm not doing enough. I keep falling flat. I feel like a failure."
Instead of focusing on what you are NOT, I encourage you to celebrate what you ARE! Focus on all the good you did in 2016. Remember what you did accomplish last year. Then, head into this next year with the confidence that you are doing a good job.
I'll admit. I don't play piano as often as I'd like. My goal is to sit down and play every day. But as a busy mom of 4, it just doesn't happen. However, instead of beating up myself over it, I choose to celebrate the times when I do play.
This summer, I had gall bladder surgery. As I came out of the anesthesia, my first thought was, "I don't play the piano enough." Piano was my first love (and the reason I started this music school!) I resolved to make playing piano a priority in my life. I pulled out some favorite music and it sits on the piano, beckoning me to come sit down. When I play, I think more clearly. I become focused. The crazy of my day fades away.
My hope is that music is like therapy to all our students. I hope that practicing isn't a chore, but instead something to enjoy. I pray that music is a balm to the busy, weary soul and something to be enjoyed and cherished.
If you (or your child) isn't practicing "enough," maybe reframe it. Practicing isn't something to be dreaded, but something to enjoy at the end of a busy day. Yes, make a checklist. Put a reminder on your fridge or phone (because we have to form habits somehow), but most of all, ENJOY playing music.
I hope you enjoy music more in 2017. I also hope you find a way to stay WARM in January!
November is a month of thankfulness and the beginning of the holiday season!
At Rogers School of Music, we believe in giving back and helping people in a tangible way. This summer, Rogers School of Music started a new program called Music for Missions. We are providing keyboards, guitars, microphones, drum equipment, and other supplies to missionaries in Mexico so they can have music in their churches!
Rogers School of Music also wants to make a difference right here in Minneapolis. We are supporting a program called WOVEN--a ministry of North Central University that offers free music lessons for kids in the inner city. (WOVEN: With One Voice Energizing Neighborhoods) Some of our teachers have taught with this program and now we want to help in a real, tangible way by sending monetary donations to this organization. You can donate your lightly used music books for these students to use! Just drop them off at our front desk.
The director of WOVEN, Joanne Kersten says: " I was just at an event and saw another WOVEN student who just graduated from Spring Lake Park High School. She first came to WOVEN as six-year-old refugee child from Africa. Their family had been in the refugee camp for four years. For about 10 years North Central University students taught and mentored her. Now she is on her way to study to become a registered nurse! She told me about her WOVEN teachers how important nights at WOVEN were in her life. Thanks for helping this program. So appreciated!"
We also want to make a difference right here in our city. There is a box in our entryway for you to donate winter coats and canned food to CAER.
From their Facebook page: "CAER still needs coats, boots, snowpants, mittens, scarves, hats & gloves for adults & children in all sizes!"
Please bring those coats that your kids have outgrown and let's bless someone this winter!
Thanks for being a part of Rogers School of Music and for "giving back" with us this November!
Your kids have a once-a-week lesson. They come home with songs to practice. Sometimes they are brand new songs, sometimes they are songs to review from the previous week. So what on earth is the teacher doing anyway? What are we looking for after a week with these songs?
When we assign your child a song to practice, we are looking for a few important things to happen:
Concepts Mastered. Each week, students are introduced to new terms or concepts. The assigned songs help reinforce and teach these concepts during the week, and then the next lesson will build upon what has been learned.
Attaining Confidence. It takes a lot of confidence to play in front of your teacher and not be so nervous that it affects how you perform. We are teaching our students to relax and do the best that they can. Because learning music is about sharing the gift of music...and you can’t do that if you never perform.
Reach High. We place a high standard on our students. Our philosophy is that even if they don’t reach that mark, they’ve still come further than if we would have settled for less. However, perfection is not our ultimate goal. Is the music beautiful? Filled with emotion? Up to tempo? Expressing what the composer intended?
Gaining Discipline. We think that practicing regularly is the only way to truly progress in the music world...and to slowly learn how to be a responsible, disciplined adult someday.
As the parent, you may be wondering about your role as a parent in this whole piano lessons thing. How much do you get involved? When do you back off? Here are a few suggestions from a piano teacher, mother of three, and a former teacher at our studio:
Busy parents, don’t worry! The answer to “how involved should I get in my child’s practice?” is “not very much.” But, there are a few simple things you can do to make sure that your child is getting the most from his or her practice time.
Encourage your child to work on all the components of their piece, especially their tempo and dynamics. It’s not okay just to get the notes right. Their music should be expressive. Each piece has a marking such as “lively,” “with zip,” or “peacefully.” Your child should try to create a feeling using these markings, as well as the title of the piece, as their guide. Ask them how they want you to feel when you hear their piece.
Dynamics! Each piece is filled with them, and a child should be practicing their dynamics all week long. It’s easy for a teacher to tell when a child tries to “add them in” on lesson day...it doesn’t work. If every piece sounds like it’s being played at the same volume, then your child probably isn’t practicing their dynamics.
Most of these suggestions do not require much time on your part. It can be as simple as listening from another room and calling out a comment or question every so often. Most importantly, your child needs to know that you care and that you support them on their journey of learning music!
Music is Science.
It is exact, specific; and it demands exact acoustics. A conductor's full score is a graph which indicates frequencies, intensities, volume changes, melody and harmony all at once and with the most exact control of time. It embodies many levels of physics from acoustics to architecture.
Music is Mathematical.
It is rhythmically based on the subdivisions of time into fractions which must be done instantaneously, not worked out on paper, in a highly specific form with regard to exact placement and symmetry.
Music is a World Language.
Most of the terms are in Italian, German or French; and the notation is certainly not English. It is a highly developed kind of shorthand that uses symbols to represent ideas. The semantics of music is the most complete and universal language.
Music is History.
Music usually reflects the environment and times of its creation, taking on the emotion of a nation, region or a people. It is the only Art form we can hear as people hundreds of years ago had. Unlike paint, whose image is always there once created, Music is perpetually "repainted" each time it is performed. The feelings and thoughts of countless generations are forever cast in Sound.
Music is Physical Education.
It requires fantastic coordination of the fingers, hands, arms, lips and facial muscles, and control of diaphragmatic, back, stomach and chest muscles, which respond instantly to the sound the ear hears and the mind interprets. There are as many calories burned by a symphony trumpet player in one performance as there are by a quarterback in a professional football game.
Music is Art.
It allows a human being to take technical and sometimes difficult areas of learning and translate them into human emotion. It helps every person to recognize and understand beauty, and to understand love, compassion and how to live more fully within this world.
This is Why We Study Music.
Not because we expect you to major in music. Not because we expect people to play music all their lives. Not so you can relax. Not so you can have fun. BUT: So you will be human, so you will recognize beauty, so you will be more sensitive, especially to all the thoughts and feelings put into sound throughout the ages, so you will be closer to an infinite beyond this world, so you will have something to cling to, so you will have more love, more compassion, more gentleness, more good - in short, more life!
Of what value will it be to make a prosperous living unless you know how to live?
(shared from http://www.pthsd.k12.nj.us/sch/phs/band/Why.htm)
If you’re anything like me, fall scheduling can be CRAZY. You’re waiting on sports schedules, figuring out class schedules, planning music and theatre and after school activities, and more. You’re assigning driving duties and bracing yourself for sack lunches and hoping you can squeeze in family dinners somehow!
I have 4 kids, ages ranging from 8 to 15. The older they’ve gotten, the crazier our schedule has gotten. So I GET it.
We are opening the doors for September enrollment EARLY this year. If you’re trying to plan for lessons, just give us a call (you can email us, but sometimes over the phone is just easier!) and we will walk you through your schedule and help you find music lessons that works for you. If you’re enrolling multiple kids, we will do our best to help you find lessons that are back-to-back or even simultaneous!
Not completely sure about your schedule and what will work? I get it! Give us a call and grab a spot now. If things change in a month or so, we’ll help you make that change. (And current students always get priority on our waiting list, if you really need a specific day or time.)
We’re here to bring music into your life and encourage you in your journey as a musician. I believe in music and I believe in education…and that’s why I do everything I do to bring you the best possible teachers and staff at Rogers School of Music. It’s not easy, but it’s SO worth it when I see all the joy and smiles on the faces of our students!
Happy fall everyone! (Or as they say in the south, Happy fall, y'all!)
And when you get stressed about schedules, just think of pumpkins and apple cider and hayrides and cozy sweaters. Ahhhh. That helps me every time!
Owner and Director
Mom of 4 awesome (busy) kids
With the seasons shifting and the smells of summer in the air, it’s a great time for reflecting on the past school year and planning how we will spend our summer days. Here are a few thoughts on getting the most from your music lessons.
Lessons with a music teacher is participating in the art of mentoring. When you or your child have a weekly lesson, that time is spent transferring skills and the love of learning from the mentor to the student. Outside of lessons, the most effective way of spurring on learning is not nagging to practice. Instead, it is deliberately planning ways to inspire the student. In the car, discuss different musical styles. (Listen to all different kinds!) This summer, plan on attending the outdoor concerts in Maple Grove, on the Town Green or hear the Minnesota Orchestra perform free on Lake Harriet. Try attending a music festival!
Recently I decided to do an experiment with my own kids. Instead of even mentioning, “You should practice,” I began playing piano more often myself. Immediately, the younger kids were drawn to the piano. They watched and listened, and then they wanted to play after me. The older ones started asking questions. We discussed the basics of songwriting, and my son started jotting down chord progressions and composing music. Modeling my love of music has spurred on my kids to play and sing more themselves and ask more questions at their lessons.
What if you aren't musical or don’t play an instrument? How about taking lessons yourself? Have you always wanted to play or sing? There is nothing greater that you can do for your own child’s music education than modeling it yourself. When my husband Chris started guitar lessons, he struggled to learn simple songs and switch between chords, but that inspired my son that the struggle is part of the process! They loved practicing together, and figuring out new things together.
Education expert Oliver DeMille says “Youth very naturally long for the passion of being inspired, although many would probably not say so or even admit it explicitly.”
3. Make space for learning
Too much clutter in any student’s life, in their room or in their schedule, can derail the love of learning. As you change over the winter clothing into the summer apparel, consider boxing up most of the toys, books, Legos, and “stuff” cluttering your child’s space. Take out those items again when the snow flies—your kids will love the clean space to think and dream (and the toys will feel new again in a few months!) Or, just donate it!
With school out, you may naturally find your kids (or yourself!) wandering over to their instrument or to sing more often. Let practice happen organically—it doesn't have to be a set time and place. You may find yourself playing for hours one day, and then have a stretch when you are traveling and it’s hard to get any practice in. Just remember to create space in your schedule where lazy summer days can turn into strumming the guitar or playing a new piece on the piano.
Let this be an encouragement to you: Learning music starts with loving music. If you turn your head and heart in the direction that you want your arrow to fly, you will hit your mark.
Don’t underestimate the power of deliberately exposing your children to the things you want them to pursue. If you guide them in the right direction, you won’t have to “force” them to do anything at all. Their own inspiration will guide them into depths of learning that you didn't even know were possible!
Dear Moms and Dads,
April is a hard month, isn’t it?! There could be snow or the weather could be beautiful. Kids are having theatre performances, sports are starting and ending, papers and projects are due, stress is high and time is short.
I GET IT. I have 4 kids and sometimes it’s just downright overwhelming. I want to quit EVERYTHING. I want to clear the schedule and fast forward to June.
Here’s the thing. This time of year is wonky, but things are going to get better! We are going to make it through graduations and open houses and award ceremonies and performances.
And then (drumroll) our kids will be declaring that they are BORED.
How do we go from crazy-busy to “I don’t know what to do… I’m bored” soooo fast?!? But it happens every year!
So before you quit every activity and drop lessons, I just want to encourage you that things WILL get better! And when your kids need something to do, playing their instrument or singing or going to lessons will be the perfect thing for them to do! There is SO much students can do with music. They can learn to read music, play by ear, write music, record music, play in a group, perform for family or at events, and the list goes on! There are SO many styles of music to explore too! If you’re getting a little bored with your books, choose a new FUN book of popular songs, movie tunes, Broadway music, Rock and Roll, Jazz or other! Ask your teacher for fun music to try. They will have lots of suggestions! Try playing or singing with backing tracks (check out www.karaoke-version.com). You can customize your mp3 and play with a full band backing you up!
Don’t forget about all our awesome weekend classes. (With a new, easy to use, online sign up form!) Weekend classes will keep your students having fun all summer long.
And NEW this summer—any student in lessons this summer gets 30 minutes of Studio Recording time! Come record as many songs as you like in 30 minutes PLUS have a professional photographer take your photo! Upload your songs to SoundCloud and share with all your friends and relatives! There are so many options to keep your student learning music all summer long! Talk to your teacher for more ideas!
NEW! We are opening up another day of lessons because we are getting SO full during the week!
We are SOLD OUT on most days during the week and many teachers have a waiting list! To accommodate the Spring and Summer enrollment rush, we have decided to offer lessons 7 days a week and to be open on Sundays! We are the ONLY music school in the Twin Cities to offer lessons 7 days a week and to have morning, evening and weekend lessons! And that’s because our teachers are SO amazing!
To book your Sunday lessons, just give us a call or shoot us an email: 763-670-8882 or email@example.com. This is a great opportunity to enroll other family members, siblings or a parent, because we have lots of new openings!
Sunday afternoons are a great time to do something wonderful for yourself—music lessons!
Our lessons are unique because we tailor every lesson to YOUR personality and learning style!
Hurry—spots are filling fast! Lessons are first come, first served, so contact us today!
Do you make a resolution each year, only to fall apart by the third week? We would all probably agree on one thing: we’d like to be healthier and happier in 2016. There’s a simple answer: play more music! Did you know that playing music relieves stress, gives you a healthy creative outlet, and exercises all the different parts of your brain? And it’s fun at the same time!
Studying music sets you up for success in life:
· A student involved in the arts is 4x more likely to be recognized for academic achievement.
· Students who take 4 years of arts and music classes average almost 100 points better on their SAT scores than students who take only one-half year or less.
· 72% of business leaders say that creativity is the #1 skill they are seeking when hiring.
Students involved in the arts are:
· 4x more likely to participate in a math and science fair
· 3x more likely to win an award for school attendance
· 4x more likely to be recognized for academic achievement
· 3x more likely to be elected to class office
So what are you waiting for?
Take a step toward a healthier, happier YOU!
Call us today at 763-670-888 2 to book your lessons. We offer piano, guitar, ukulele, bass, mandolin, violin, voice, and drum lessons in one location. We teach both kids and adults, and you’re never too old to start something new!
References: Conn-Selmer Division of Education, Touchpoint newsletter #488
Mrs. Joan Wikstrom, our band teacher and band director, died on Tuesday, December 7th. She taught music for 50+ years and conducted homeschool band for 25 years. We were blessed to have her at Rogers School of Music for the last 4 years. In January, before her memorial, we will be collecting new, unwrapped stuffed animals to donate to the U of M Children’s Hospital in her honor, which is what Joan wished. Joan, you will be missed!
Jen Hickle, Author,
Hi! I'm Jen Hickle. I started Rogers School of Music when I was newly married and finishing my music degree. I LOVE music, I love education and I also love writing! This blog is where you can get to know me a little better and I can share my love of education and music and personalities, as we tailor music lessons to each individual student!