Starting Music Lessons
It is ideal if you have a piano at home, but you can start lessons by using an electric keyboard for practice. Most of our students rent or buy small electric keyboards to practice on at home. We recommend a keyboard that has regular sized keys and a touch sensitive response. A touch sensitive keyboard means if you press a key harder it will play louder and if you press a key softer it will play quieter.
No, you do not need a full drum set to start drum lessons. Students can start lessons by using a practice pad. A practice pad is a small dinner plate sized pad that costs $20-$30. The practice pad can be used for practicing basic drum rhythms.
Even if you don't have a musical background you can ask the teacher for advice on how to help your child practice. By simply monitoring your child's practice time, he or she will make progress. Many parents occasionally sit in on their child's music lesson to get an idea of the proper way a song should sound or how the student should be positioning their hands.
There is no set answer of how long it takes to learn an instrument. With regular practice a basic level of playing can be accomplished in a few months. Most of our students take lessons on a long term basis because they want to be constantly improving, and they find the lessons enjoyable.
The world's top academic countries place a high value on music education. Hungary, Netherlands and Japan stand atop worldwide science achievement and have a strong commitment to music education. All three countries have required music training at the elementary and middle school levels, both instrumental and vocal, for several decades. The centrality of music education to learning in the top-ranked countries seems to contradict the United States' focus on math, science, vocabulary, and technology.
Source: 1988 International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IAEEA) Test
"Music education can be a positive force on all aspects of a child's life, particularly on their academic success. The study of music by children has been linked to higher scores on the SAT and other learning aptitude tests, and has proven to be an invaluable tool in classrooms across the country. Given the impact music can have on our children's education, we should support every effort to bring music into their classrooms."
Source: U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman (NM)
A ten-year study, tracking more than 25,000 students, shows that music-making improves test scores. Regardless of socioeconomic background, music-making students get higher marks in standardized tests than those who had no music involvement. The test scores studied were not only standardized tests, such as the SAT, but also in reading proficiency exams.
Source: Dr. James Catterall, UCLA, 1997
Young children with developed rhythm skills perform better academically in early school years. Findings of a recent study showed that there was a significant difference in the academic achievement levels of students classified according to rhythmic competency. Students who were achieving at academic expectation scored high on all rhythmic tasks, while many of those who scored lower on the rhythmic test achieved below academic expectation.
Source: "The Relationship between Rhythmic Competency and Academic Performance in First Grade Children," University of Central Florida, Debby Mitchell
Research shows that piano students are better equipped to comprehend mathematical and scientific concepts. A group of preschoolers received private piano keyboard lessons and singing lessons. A second group received private computer lessons. Those children who received piano/keyboard training performed 34 percent higher on tests measuring spatial-temporal ability than the others, even those who received computer training. "Spatial-temporal" is basically proportional reasoning - ratios, fractions, proportions and thinking in space and time. This concept has long been considered a major obstacle in the teaching of elementary math and science.
Source: Neurological Research February 28, 1997
High school music students score higher on SATs in both verbal and math than their peers. In 2001, SAT takers with coursework/experience in music performance scored 57 points higher on the verbal portion of the test and 41 points higher on the math portion than students with no coursework/experience in the arts.
Source: Profile of SAT and Achievement Test Takers, The College Board, compiled by Music Educators National Conference, 2001.
College-age musicians are emotionally healthier than their non-musician counterparts. A study conducted at the University of Texas looked at 362 students who were in their first semester of college. They were given three tests, measuring performance anxiety, emotional concerns and alcohol related problems. In addition to having fewer battles with the bottle, researchers also noted that the college-aged music students seemed to have surer footing when facing tests.
Source: Houston Chronicle, January 11, 1998
Music majors are the most likely group of college grads to be admitted to medical school. Physician and biologist Lewis Thomas studied the undergraduate majors of medical school applicants. He found that 66 percent of music majors who applied to med school were admitted, the highest percentage of any group. For comparison, (44 percent) of biochemistry majors were admitted. Also, a study of 7,500 university students revealed that music majors scored the highest reading scores among all majors including English, biology, chemistry and math.
Sources: "The Comparative Academic Abilities of Students in Education and in Other Areas of a Multi-focus University," Peter H. Wood, ERIC Document No. ED327480
"The Case for Music in the Schools," Phi Delta Kappan, February, 1994