Q: At what age should I start my child in music lessons?

A: There are studies that show children as young as 3 years old having benefited by engaging in musical studies. The results of these studies indicate that music lessons at this young age are a proven method of boosting the child's brainpower. Our many years of experience in providing music lessons to the community show that children differ in attention spans, desire to actually commit to learning an instrument, and temperament. When a parent comes to us with this question, we suggest trying one or two lessons on the instrument of their choice (provided that there isn't any size constraints or other issues preventing the child from handling the instrument properly) . On completion of the first lesson, we then consult the instructor as to how the student conducted themselves during the lesson. The instructor will then inform us if student was attentive and able follow instruction, and if the student was able to comprehend the information provided by the teacher. We also encourage the parent to ask their child if they enjoyed the lesson experience. Only at the approval of both parent and teacher, do we proceed to the next lesson which is then evaluated in the same way. At this point, the parent usually has enough information to decide if they should continue the lessons or wait until the child is older.
Q: My child is taking a weekly group saxophone lesson at his school but feels that he is falling behind in class. What can be done to enhance his progress?

A: School lesson programs are a great way of introducing a child to a musical instrument, however, due to time constraints, the finer points of playing a musical instrument can be overlooked. Group lessons can move too slow or, in many cases, too fast resulting in the student falling behind and losing interest. The reason for this is, in a group setting, teachers are required to divide their attention among the entire class preventing them from offering their full attention to an individual requiring additional help. Musicians Corner offers assistance to many students from area schools who are seeking private, individualized instruction. We provide students with an instructor that will focus on their weaknesses and help discover and develop their strong points. The result usually leads to a dramatic improvement and renewed enthusiasm for their instrument.
Q: My child recently began music lessons and is experiencing difficultly with committing to a 20 - 30 minute per day practice routine as suggested by his teacher. How can I encourage my child to focus on his practice?

A: We recommend that instead of approaching the issue from a "practice time" standpoint, that you consider outlining the lesson assigned and urge the student to play each part of the lesson outline multiple times. For example, if the student is required to learn a particular song or exercise, they should commit to playing that piece a designated number of times per day (3 or 4 times is usually sufficient especially for a younger child). This method will allow the student to concentrate more on the assignment and focus on completing the task successfully as opposed to constantly watching the clock in anticipation for the practice period to end.