At some point in our life, we have probably been impressed with someone who plays a musical instrument. Be it a concert artist at the Esplanade concert hall, a friend at a bar or even by your neighbor’s kids. Have you ever wondered what costs have these people made to acquire the skill? How much does it take to learn a musical instrument? I believe, the true cost of learning a musical instrument is not about the fee you pay every month, it’s about the time and effort you put in everyday. Music lessons are investments that last a lifetime.
Parents have a crucial role to play, in shaping the future of their children, have that, there would be no down. We have always been looking for classes that would benefit our children for a lifetime, and Music classes have been proven to be a powerful tool for a child’s development.
Music lessons offer two types of benefits. The tangible and intangible. Tangible are success stories that you can see. This is when your kids can finally play his favorite piece. You get to enjoy good music from your kids’ performance. You get to show the world that your kid can play music and even get to hang that certificate from being the best in Music class. On the other hand, Intangible benefits are inner victories that your kid will have. Such victories include good character by instilling values like discipline, hard work and perseverance. Being confident and being emotionally expressive are things that cannot be easily seen but you know in yourself that you are on a journey on being better at it. Not only does music help on instilling values but it also helps on the cognitive development of the child through concentration, problem-solving and through listening. Aside from that, it also helps on motor development through coordination in movement and building strength and stamina. Music is in everything. It is the universal language for a reason. Music encompasses everything that makes us human – physically, mentally, emotionally and even spiritually. Being a musician is a lifestyle.
There are many learning paths one can take in the journey of learning Music. First of which is choosing the instrument. But today I will be sharing with you the instrument that I am passionate about – the violin. There are different ways on how someone can learn the violin. Some of which are Suzuki, Kodaly, and Traditional method. In a nutshell, Suzuki is about learning through listening and imitating. Kodaly is about learning through singing, and visual memory perceptions and Traditional method prioritizes heavily on technical development. However, these methods are not mutually exclusive. Each has their differences and strengths and Aureus is a school that combines these strengths for a customized lesson for your kid.
In Aureus, teachers are not slaves to a curriculum. Each teacher offers the balance of what the student wants and of what they need. But a general look on how the violin lessons go can be divided into 3 different categories. First is Technique, which will be about your posture in playing, your bow technique etc. Second will be the, Fundamentals in Music, which would consist of Music Theory, ability to Sight-read, Aurals etc. And Lastly, Music as an Art, or the art of interpreting music through performance. All of these are not necessarily a prerequisite to the other; these three can be in one lesson all at the same time. Needless to say, Aureus teachers have a reputation on building the best-customized lesson plan that includes all these categories and are presented in a way that the students get to enjoy the process of learning.
A lot of parents hesitate to send their kids for music lessons because of their concern whether if their kid is ready or not. But based on my experience as a teacher, as long as your kid can read and write letters; and count numbers, you are good to go. Having this said, committing yourself to learn violin as a beginner isn’t always a bed of roses. Violin has its reputation of having the steepest learning curve among all western musical instruments. Your role as a parent is to lovingly help them understand that there is always a rainbow after the rain.
Aside from the weekly music lessons, it’s imperative that your kid practices at home to ensure a healthy progress. It’s essential that they have their own personal violin. Violin prices range from $100 to as high as $16 million. There are different sizes of violins for different age groups. The right size should be observed at all times, as it will have an effect with the growth of your kid. I believe that investing in a good quality instrument is important in their growth as a musician. But you might want to invest in a good instrument when your kid is ready for the full-size violin. On the other hand, cheap doesn’t necessarily mean that it is bad quality. When searching for the right violin, some of the factors to consider are the bridge of the violin and the sound. The bridge should never be flat or near a flat. It is advisable to try different violins to find the sound that is right for you.
To quote Willium Butler Yeats, “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire”. As a parent, we are always thinking of how we can help nurture the gifts our children have. We are thinking of ways on how we can help motivate them. How do we keep the fire burning in them? Some of the ways we use as motivators are through performances and exams. Performances can be divided into solo and
ensemble playing. Solo performances help boost confidence. It gives purpose for their practice. Solo performances are your kid’s way of sharing their talent to the world; of expressing themselves through music. This is their way of sharing a part of them, of what they feel, and of what they would want you to feel; it is one way of sharing oneself -their music, to you. Meanwhile, ensemble playing or chamber music is performing in a group setting. This is a fantastic source of motivation for kids to further improve their
craft in a way that they share with many other like-minded people the same love they have for music. Throughout the years of my career as a performer in a symphony orchestra, I can be certain that this is the magical place where new friendships are forged and great ideas are exchanged.
Extracurricular examinations are very common in the local market. Music is no exception as well. Majority of the music exams in Singapore are conducted by ABRSM and Trinity Guild Hall, both of which is an exam board from UK. Offered exams range from pre-graded, graded (grades 1-8) and diploma level. Examinations do serve a great role when students are setting a goal to strive for. It is also a convenient way of measuring your level not only in playing but also in the different aspects of being a musician, such as technique, aural awareness and musicality. However, it can turn out to be a double edge sword. As a parent, it is advisable to make sure that the pressure that comes with these examinations is healthy and realistic. If the kids are consistently being forced to feed from one exam to another, passing the exam would end up to be the only reason they practice. If this happens, it wouldn’t be surprising that they would think of playing an instrument as nothing but boredom and sadly it might be the cause of entertaining the idea of quitting. A good analogy to think of would be, examinations as dental appointments; and brushing your teeth as practicing. It is good to go for a checkup once in a while to get a report on your oral health status. But getting a good report should not be the only reason you brush your teeth everyday.
Everyone should be able to receive the gift called music. Music helps us appreciate life as an aesthetic experience. That for me is one of the best gifts you can offer your child right now. No one has ever regretted picking up an instrument and learn how to read music. In retrospect, someday when your kids grow up, they will appreciate your effort of nurturing the seed of music during their childhood and reap the benefits that last a lifetime. The journey of being a musician is tough, adventurous and fun, but it all begins with a single step. Help your kids take the first step today!