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March 2023 Music Notes Newsletter

Looking Forward to Spring Recitals!

Spring recitals will take place Saturday, May 20th at the Church of the Master United Methodist at 24 N. Grove on the Otterbein University campus in Westerville. We will have 5 or 6 45-minute recitals beginning at 10:00 am. When registering, all will be able to select the times that work best for them. Everyone has been great about working with us so no one has been precluded from coming due to scheduling hours on recital day.

These are wonderful opportunities to showcase the practice and dedication of teachers and students and to share with each other our gifts and talents! We hope as many as are interested and a few who need to be brave will join in the Encore spring celebration. It is a chance to dress up and come together in community and the students will develop more quickly as musicians. There will be group photos and refreshments after each recital, and for the first time since 2019 they will be FREE for participants! We will begin registration in mid-March.

Encore Student Accolades!

We would like to acknowledge just a few of our amazing students this month of March.

Amelia Moore and Jessica Wise who study with Laura Headstrom have both practiced diligently and shown great progress during their recent studies! Amelia has studied here at Encore Music Studios since 2017 and Jessica has studied with us for a little over a year. We look forward to hearing them both during the Spring Recitals!

Trent Morris, Julie Snyder, and Mari Sferra from Fitz St. Louis' voice studio all deserve a mention. Julie is always punctual and prepared, clearly spending quality time going over the music so that valuable lesson time is spent in the most productive way. Mari has an incredible work ethic for a high schooler and is always prepared. Trent has been extremely consistent and has continually been willing to push himself out of his comfort zone to improve.

Also, congratulations to my voice student senior Simon Davis for earning the role of Harold Hill in Bexley High School's spring musical The Music Man !

Encore Improvements

The Studio Room #4 in our Westerville location has received sound-proofing treatment for the door which has cut down on the instrument sound leakage coming through the door particularly for the drums, voice, and brass instruments. Thanks to my sons William and Graham and my daughter Hannah for their help in making this happen! I will continue to evaluate what the next steps should be that will provide valuable and cost-effective solutions moving forward.

The Benefits of Music Lessons

Music lessons are about more than music. Though music itself is inherently valuable, a universal human experience, and both a visceral and emotional expression, the study of music yields a plethora of benefits to the dedicated student.

Music lessons promote self-discipline. In order to receive the full reward of music study, a student must learn to adhere to a practice schedule. Good time management is essential to its implementation. A young pupil may spend 10 minutes a day on the average reinforcing what was learned in the week's lesson. 10 minutes is 1/6 of an hour, the amount of time it takes to get to the grocery store, or the amount of time it takes to bake cookies from pre-made store-bought dough. It may be the amount of time for 1 phone call, or the amount of time it takes to pack lunch. But it is 1/3 as long as time spent on homework, 1/6 the amount of time at a sport practice, and significantly less than the average amount of time in front of a TV, minutes on a phone, or playing video games. The amount of time needed comparatively for music is rarely the main obstacle to good, fundamental practice habits. If we set a consistent, designated time in the day for practice it becomes easier for a child to adhere to it. If the child hears an alarm and knows that means time to practice, it will become easier to train the young student and eliminate a mini battle.

Music lessons teach learning strategies. Not everyone learns in the same way. But many students do not know how to learn most efficiently. One of our responsibilities as music teachers is to train the young student to learn in an ordered, repeatable manner. When learning a new piece of music there are details provided on the page that if absorbed before putting hands to the instrument, will properly prepare the mind for a successful sight-reading experience. The more successful the 1st read through is, the fewer mistakes will need to be corrected. The confidence of the student will grow which will in turn make the student feel positively toward practicing (and the more quickly the student will progress through method book levels building even more momentum toward mastery). Simply making sure that all of the information on a page is covered will aid in the tendency of the student to scan the page upon sight. Asking the student questions in a consistent, ordered manner generally from left to right trains them to do this themselves when alone or at home. Drawing the student's attention to every detail- Key signature, time signature, starting notes, starting hand position, counting in, tempo, dynamics, accidentals, changes in hand position etc. . . will help them feel more aware of the music as a whole and to not just remain looking at the note on the staff with tunnel vision.

Music lessons give a student a sense of accomplishment. In competitive games or past-times, there is a winner and loser. In music there does not have to be a loser, and in order to win, one must desire excellence and commit to the goal of playing or singing a piece of music as close to perfection as possible. It is important for the student to achieve some of these successes early on to turn them on to it. It is the responsibility of our teachers to aid in that feeling and to recognize, early on, the victories however small they might be. The parent can aid in this supportive effort by celebrating the little victories. Imagine playing catch football with a 5-year old. Our natural tendency is to say "Yes!" or "Good Job!" when the child catches it or when the child makes a good throw. Let's view music lessons as a participatory 2-person sport like this, but in this case, the parent is observing the child playing a correct finger number on the piano, a correct hand position on the violin, a steady tone on a trumpet. Let's be liberal celebrating our children( and ourselves if we are an adult)!

Picture Days

Once again, my Dad will be coming in to the Westerville studio to take pictures of teachers and students during lessons. Everyone during registration was able to specify how we may use or not use these photos and we will only take pictures of those who gave us permission. These two days are Tuesday, March 14th and Wednesday, March 15th and we will take photos from approx. 4:00-7:00pm. If your lesson falls within that window, you may want to choose some favorite clothes or spend a little more time grooming to present the best representation of yourself. We are looking forward to seeing the results from these sessions!

Thank you to parents.

Sometimes it can be a thankless job to bring your children to music lessons every week with consistency with so many activities drawing your attention and resources. I want to encourage you that your devotion to the welfare for and support of your children WILL pay dividends in the present and future. Children are not often able to express their appreciation for all you do for them. Just wait. When they are older, maybe when they have their own children, they will be able to fully grasp your efforts, sweat, and tears. Then, those will be sweet words to hear!

Brad Allen, Director

Encore Music Studios

The Westerville Academy of Music

The Columbus Academy of Music

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1 Comment

Really appreciating these comments, Brad. I especially liked when you spoke about creating an atmosphere where the “little victories” are celebrated and then have some examples. Learning music does increase the ability to pay attention to life, in my experience, which in turn enriches one’s musical expression.

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