How Does Your Teacher Pick Your Study Music?

How Does Your Teacher Pick Your Study Music?

This one goes out to the students out there!

How does your teacher select music that is appropriate for you?

 "Easy" Music. 

"Easy" Music. 

That’s a simple question with a thoroughly complicated answer. It all can come down to having a productive teacher-student relationship.

Truly, in my experience, these kinds of things are taken on a case by case basis. Each student’s needs are completely different from one to another. That is something that we strive to do at Stage Music Center - create a tailored learning plan for each student. But for the sake of this post, I’ll offer some ideas of where some teachers might come from.

For me a perfect study piece needs to satisfy three things: fit the student’s technical abilities,  pose some kind of reasonable challenge, and to be somewhat fun! (I’ll deem something passable if it satisfies two of those criteria.) Depending on the student and their skill and maturity level, I’ll also let them in a limited way drive the course of their musical study.

"Difficult" Music.

That leads to this question: So how can we negotiate a student having fun while also learning something? That’s where the knowledge and intuition comes into play. It’s a hard balance, but, can be made easier by a variation on this statement that I’ve uttered - “You choose a piece you would like to work on, and I will choose a piece that is appropriate for you to learn something right now”. This is a fair negotiation that can help the student become directly involved in their learning. Again this works best with a student who has some knowledge of their instrument or that is a bit more mature in terms of their artistry.

That’s the teacher side of things. Back to the relationship part - for the student. As a teacher we’re open to helping you as best we can to reach your musical goals. That sometimes requires that you trust us and that we trust you. Trust us when we say that you’re not ready for something. Feel free to tell us when you’re not liking something or, if you’re struggling. That’s what we’re here for.

When should someone start studying singing?

When should someone start studying singing?

When is it a good time to start studying singing?

Really...anytime!

BUT -  you need a teacher that is understands what it means to be working with a developing young vocalist.  This is the only thing you need to worry about. Simply - just as there are stages in development for a young person physically, mentally, and emotionally there are similar ways that the voice also changes and develops.

Most teachers will shy away from working with the youngest singers because they are afraid to damage the voice. This is understandable since there are many challenges that come with young artists.

One of the major challenges is repertoire...or what songs they might want to sing. The young musician might want to sing the songs that they hear on the radio, in movies, or through the myriad of streaming sources available. Many of those pieces are completely inappropriate for the young voice. A solution is to stick with songs which their melodies rarely leave the range of one octave, are simple, and are in some ways repetitive.

Attention span can also be an issue. The older musician (high school aged and older) can benefit from a longer lesson length of up to an hour based on skill level. This gives adequate time for warm-up, technical exercises, and repertoire guidance. For the youngest student it is best to keep their lessons short to a half hour at most. Finding a teacher who can also navigate this will directly contribute to the student’s success. A solution is to work directly on musicianship skills (ie. pitch recognition games, rhythm reading, interval work). These are the things that will absolutely help give any musician a nice foundation.

Don't worry! We have teachers that specialize in young voices. They are here to help! At Stage Music Center, we strive to develop a nurturing environment that helps you (or your student) achieve their goals in music. Come in and Play!

Summer Music Lessons? Why not!

Summer Music Lessons? Why not!

music lessons over the summer, Enjoy a more relaxed time to learn

Believe it or not, summer will be right around the corner. Sunshine, warm air, longer periods of daylight, fun,  and school vacation. For most people it’s a favorite time of year to rest and reset. 

So, you ask why take music lessons over the summer?

Why not?!

What do you think would happen if you spent a couple of hours per day practicing an instrument during summer?

Magic -- You would be one step closer to mastery of that instrument! 

1. The summer is a great time to get a jumpstart on a new personal project. That’s why we’re hoping that you might start your instrumental or vocal journey with us!

2. Now, If you’re already started this year and are looking to take the summer off...why? Why not keep up the positive momentum and keep going for that next piece, that difficult scale, or those new fingerings. The sky is the limit! How would you feel when taking the summer off means taking a few steps back?  All of that work that was done throughout the year can be easily undone by not keeping up with practice! Study for the summer = keep your progress going. It’s as simple as that. 

3. Even if a student is motivated enough to practice over the summer they still might find it difficult to progress without the guidance of a teacher. Sure, you can continue to work your way through a method book, but, you would lack the guidance through instruction and demonstration that a teacher can offer you. 

4.You can also try something new! Taking piano? Why not try voice, too! Taking guitar? Why not try piano, or saxophone! Take this relaxing time to explore. We’ll be here to help you. 

Call us today at (781) 570-2556, email-us or fill in our online contact form.

We look forward to helping you get more music into your life during summer!

More Music Apps, April Edition

Welcome to the near-middle of April and boy do I have some fun music apps for you. Sit down, grab your favorite device (iOS, Android, or browser) and try these out!

Patatap: iOS, Google Play, Web - This app is just for exploration. Basically, create an image, and that image will create a fantastic soundscape. Take some time to create! It’s good for you!

 Patatap - color your music!

Patatap - color your music!

StaffWars!: iOS, Google Play - Drilling the notes on the staff is one of the best things to do, especially early in a student’s music education. This app makes it fun!

 StaffWars! Blast through your notes!

StaffWars! Blast through your notes!

Auralia: iOS, Web/Cloud  - This app is a one stop shop for training all aural skills. Sight reading, interval recognition, rhythm dictation, harmony -  you name it! Worth the investment!

 Aurelia. The one stop stop for all your musicianship skill training needs!

Aurelia. The one stop stop for all your musicianship skill training needs!

Composer Spotlight

Composer Spotlight

Welcome to April, Stage Music Center! Here’s another issue of Composer’s Spotlight. Here we have a pretty well known composer who was born in April of 1857 -- Ruggero Leoncavallo. Known most famously for his opera Il Pagliacci and a few well known art songs including “Mattinata”(more on this one later).

He was born in Naples and moved back and forth between there and Calabria for most of his early life. He studied literature at first until his father took a position with the Foreign Ministry in Cairo Egypt. There Leoncavallo found a piano teacher who was a member of the royal family. He fled Egypt for France after the uprisings in 1882. There he continued his studies and subsequently made debuts of his major works in Milan, and throughout Europe.

The Museo Leoncavallo (Leoncavallo Museum) was established in 2002 in Brissago which houses many manuscripts and some of his other personal effects.

Of historical note, one of the oldest recordings includes this gem (below). With the great tenor Enrico Caruso and Leoncavallo himself at the piano. Enjoy!