Archives for March 2015

5 Magical Things That Would Happen If Every Student Studied a Musical Instrument in School

n-8Vf7ukwpqAI-V6j2JftSclyqa9Se8lOX_hg4ZlMX4,B0X9pNORZ6etTNun5rzox1Wev7bmCS3_ayL62VctAzk,1Qap3Lyj1r8hORfKlOkYgtQZdt7AJQtBL9xBIZT28z8,y0Rebp1jR-SCU6osRqVbOYajClD_4Xitx7iUbIA4xQwIn the next few weeks, schools all across our nation will have assemblies for their young students in order to introduce band and orchestra instruments available for them to study.  Music shops will be coordinating visits, demos, and instrument “petting zoos”;  teachers are writing letters home in anticipation of their new young ensembles that need to hit the ground running right after summer.  Hundreds of thousands of parents are about to be introduced to a world of instrumental music education that they may know nothing about.

Meanwhile, music vendors will be receiving thousands of instruments back from families of students who have chosen not play any longer.  The children in these families may be frustrated, bored or even worse: disenchanted with music.  It’s an interesting dichotomy to these students’ younger counterparts, who can’t wait to open their instrument case for the first time soon.

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Music Education’s Role in a Culture of “College Preparedness”

Wharton School of Music-129While the United States used to pride itself on the percentage of its young people who successfully passed through the higher education system, things have changed drastically over the last decade.  Now, education policymakers are focusing all their energies and monies on preparing K-12 students for “college readiness” — and the best way they can come up with a quantifiable way to assess “readiness” is…

…wait for it…

…more high stakes testing!  Testing that begins as early as second grade.

But the US has a bigger problem than limited college access; it has an issue with college completion.

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How to Create the Perfect Practice Session for your Child

Wharton School of Music-39I’ve been a professional musician, a music teacher or a college music professor most of my life, and I didn’t learn how to practice efficiently until a few years ago.

Therefore, it is safe for me to conclude that there are also many teachers out there who don’t know how to effectively practice or teach how to do so properly.  This obviously trickles down to students, who then struggle to improve and don’t know why they are not getting better — and then to parents, who have no idea how to help their child.

Luckily, it is easy for anyone to craft a great practice session.  You don’t need a musical background to succeed at this.  If parents spend a minimal amount of time helping their child out in the beginning stages of their musical instruction, there is a great chance that the child will continue playing throughout their school life and reap all the amazing benefits music education has to offer.

Here’s how parents can help create a perfect practice session for their child:

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4 Ways Every Parent Can Help Music Education Thrive in Our Schools

169778_1868475596522_6342651_o-2Parents often feel helpless when it comes to advocating for their school music program.  Usually this is due to lack of knowledge of the subject and not enough time in their lives to attend PTA and Board of Ed meetings. Because a large amount of students quit between their first and second year of study, there is often not the same critical mass of parents involved in the program in order to advocate properly, as well.

Meanwhile — on the “inside” of the system — school leadership is so consumed with outside accountability measures, educational fads, and high stakes tests that they quickly lose sight of aspects of education that are truly important to our kids’ growth as human beings — namely the arts.

But we the parents need to remind school leadership what is important.

You don’t need to be a “helicopter parent” who attends every single PTA and Board of Ed meeting in order to help ensure music programs thrive in your schools.  All it takes is 5 to 10 minutes a day of being mindful of what children need to be great at a musical instrument — and therefore at life — for parents to realize how much collective power they really have.

Here are four ways parents can help keep music education thriving:

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3 Things Parents Must Tell Their Children When They Begin a Musical Instrument

UiNggsZlPv-QmhNRT3wjKlJYms9Jb1Iq87-xlWHx6FI,fuXJTwPaPI7WoDFIoKVQ7VD0yVUsg8QF0_4kRyGxL1E,iTs_g9T27ri3bGsXZMwtdopMRCbJbWUfGdesJsy8V2U,5tzagymB8cg88v3XEzFKUhbrP_zyoZpYeIElHFSRYi4Hopefully your child will begin a musical instrument through their school music program.  If so, when they bring home their instrument for the first time, it is more than just an exciting day…

...It is an opportunity...

…Perhaps one of the greatest opportunities in your child’s life thus far.

If you are like me, you want your kid(s) to complete their K-12 education with far more than factual knowledge and an ability to score well on tests.  You don’t believe that your child’s success in life depends primarily on cognitive skills — the type of intelligence that is measured on IQ tests and such.  You don’t believe that school should be primarily focused on stuffing kids’ brains with as much factual knowledge as possible, but instead is focused on growing skills and mindsets that will last a lifetime.  Psychological traits that include

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7 Easy Things Parents Can Do Right Now to Extend Their Child’s Musical Life

JySIR_3Py2gmbs3GeU_fe8vBD-Tu0g0EN-Rf5HkoCds,b7_wOLS_1e61ufCyN48OCx4pxljeNciVw0qHXzz1sfc,pOUHXOyNN5VKlyOrCLxMauE9_P66MbkzUR9dCvTKe9s,gL_YtQk_kVeub_qTRCL_zWQ0j2BB9Ih_OIigzEPbIAM,v9apTRn60r4Sbl9vkznqag5BU7FmxmzTP6gnyhZGQ5wMany parents find small ways to help their children with school homework each day.  They also may know the basics of how to help their children with things like swinging a baseball bat, throwing a football or swimming.  But when it comes time to playing a musical instrument, many students quit too early because their parents have no idea how to help even the slightest bit.  Whether your child has just come home with their instrument for the first time or they have been playing for a while, there are a few things you can do right now in order to ensure your child continues their successful study of music for years to come.

Here are seven things you can do today to help your child continue to succeed in music:

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