Frequently Asked Questions about Lessons
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Music lessons are very beneficial for both children and adults. For children, it benefits education skills used in reading, science, and math. It helps develop fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, as well as brain and memory development. Children and adults who study music enjoy better emotional and physical health. They also have the benefits of personal satisfaction, increased confidence, coordination, enhanced memory and concentration.
We recommend potential students wait until they are least 6 years old to play most instruments. This is mainly because students need a certain amount of attention span, self-awareness, and maturity that usually isn’t quite there until 6 years of age. For families of younger students, it is a good idea to schedule just a few lessons, so the student can ease into the lessons and see if it is a good fit yet. If not, we recommend waiting and letting the student come back to music, because forcing students into lessons will often turn them off to the idea entirely.
No! We have students from 6 to 85. Although younger brains tend to be more “pliable,” older students have several advantages. They tend to know how they learn best, usually have more discipline in practicing, and a much longer attention span.
Lessons are scheduled by the calender month. You can schedule for once a week or every other week or what ever schedule works for you. If you are on a regular schedule then then next month is automatically scheduled unless we hear differently from you.
Lesson payments are paid on the 1st of every month, for that month, by automatic withdrawal from your credit or debit card. Advance Music requires that a credit card be on file. We will send you a receipt every month after your payment has been processed. Student accounts will be billed for lessons that will occur that month, taking into consideration forthcoming holidays and scheduled teacher vacations. For new students, payment is due upon scheduling. There will be a $15 Late Fee for payments made after the 10th.
Students should be ready and on-time for their scheduled lessons. Students who arrive late do not receive the benefits of a full lesson.
Students are required to bring all assigned music, music books, picks, drumsticks, etc., to each lesson.
Enjoy making music. Stay positive, work hard, and share your talents with friends and family.
Above all have fun!
Depending on your goals, it could be a few months or the rest of your life. The truth is, you never really stop learning, and you never stop wanting to be better. If your idea of playing an instrument is strumming some chords around a campfire while everyone sings traditional songs, then you'll be able to play in just a few months (with a little practice). If you want to master the instrument, you will be working at it for the rest of your life. Just remember that making music is not a competition, it is a gift to be enjoyed.
Developing good practice habits is very important in developing skill, and is a discipline that you will need to work at. The main objective is to be consistent. Practicing a little each day is better than skipping a few days and then practicing several hours trying to catch up. We suggest that for students who are small children to practice at least 30 minutes per day but teens and adults should try to practice an hour per day. Today there are so many distractions that compete for our time, with TV and the Internet being two of the worst offenders. Always remember that time is the most precious asset we have and none of us knows how much of it we have.
Parents, I can only say, don't worry! They’re kids, let them try, they may like it or they may hate it, and it's OK! So, don’t consider it as money thrown away if they quit, investing in your child's education to any extent is never a loss. Not to mention, it always amazing what kids learn, even when you feel they have not invested a lot of time or energy.
Encourage your child to stick with it! Often students want to quit after the first couple of months because they are not seeing the progress that they wanted or were hoping for. Playing an instrument takes practice and perseverance. Only a very select few are instant prodigies.
The parents' attitude and involvement is vital to a child's success in music. It is important that your children practice, without interruption, and attend their lessons on a regular basis. Good habits encourage success, and well placed praise helps them continue.
While learning to play an instrument, children learn valuable lessons in perseverance, self-discipline and time management. If your child encounters difficulties in learning or practicing, please let your instructor know. Communication is very important, and the instructors want to help their students and parents.
Encourage your child to participate in the general music classes, choir, band, or orchestra at school. This is a wonderful opportunity to sharpen their musical skills and learn to work musically with others. Expand your child's interest in music by attending quality musical events with your family and listen to recordings at home. Encourage your child to perform often and to make music with others whenever possible. Give them sincere and frequent praise.
Above all, be supportive, patient and help your child find ways to make practicing fun!
Find a quiet room without distractions. Keep your accessories such as picks, drum sticks, a tuner, a metronome, a boom box, a music stand, books, and CDs within arms reach. Be goal oriented and stay focused on your goals. Set short term and long term goals and make them reasonably attainable. Always work on expanding your repertoire. It should be a balance between working on songs and excersizes. After you work on your sight reading and or songs, you can work on scales and fingerings, rudiments, chord exercises, improvising, or any subject of interest. Everyone has different interests and will cater his or her practice to their personal taste. It helps to keep a journal. This can be important as you'd be surprised how much you forget if you don't take notes for later reference. Write down the things that you want to learn and keep track of how much time you spend on each topic.
Use a metronome or a drum machine when practicing. A drum machine usually has many different styles programmed in the presets that cane be excellent for practicing your rhythm. When practicing, start by playing at a slow tempo until you feel you can move to a faster tempo. Playing too fast is the most common mistake that student makes. Always practice your exercises slowly using a metronome. Focus on playing notes and chords "cleanly" and perfectly in time. Once you have mastered playing an exercise or song passage slow, start speeding it up in small increments until the desired tempo is reached.
A metronome is a device used to mark time by means of regularly recurring ticks or flashes at adjustable intervals. This device is very important for developing the student's rhythm. Good rhythm (or playing in time) is usually the biggest challenge for any student. Using a metronome trains the student to play in time. We can't over emphasize how important a metronome is. Metronomes are available at Advance Music.
You should experiment with different styles of picks and find one the feels right for you. For beginning players we reccomend that you start with a medium to heavy gauge with the traditional shape. As you progress, you can experiment with different thicknesses and types of pick material until you find the one that feels right for you. Thin picks may not be the best choice for beginners as they tend to be floppy and hard to control, and can tend to be noisy when you are strumming chords. Nylon picks can have an advantage over plastic because they don't break and they have a texture that is easy to grip. Come into Advance and ask one of our helpful staff about the wide range of picks that we carry.
A chord progression is a combination of chords that sound good together. Almost every piece of music ever written works by organizing chords into groups called chord progressions. As a chord is any group of three or more tones played simultaneously, a chord progression is any group of two or more chords played in some order. A simple song may have one chord progression cnsiting of three different chords that repeats itself throughout the entire song.
An electronic tuner is a device used for tuning the guitar or bass. It is the easiest and most convenient way to tune. Advance Music carries a range of electronic tuners to fit most needs.
There could be several reasons:
- You may not be pressing your strings hard enough against the fret board.
- Your fingers may not be on their tips.
- Your fingers may be barely touching an adjacent string.
- Your finger should be placed directly behind the fret.
- You may need to have your guitar inspected by a guitar technician.
This is strictly a matter of personal preference. If your favorite entertainers play acoustic guitars and you love the sound, then you probably would want an acoustic guitar. An electric guitar is easier to play but your endurance and finger strength is improved with the acoustic. Electrics generally are more expensive at the beginner level but when you get into pro-line guitars the cost is about the same.