"Which class is best for my child?"
This is a question I get a lot, maybe more than any other! And I always appreciate parents asking - after all, this is a possibly-years-long commitment and investment of time and effort, and you want to make sure you're making the right choice for both you and your child. I hope the following information will help you find your answer, but as always if you have further questions, please don't hesitate to contact me!
Sound Beginnings - Ages 0-5 + Adult
Sound Beginnings is a 30 minute once a week class for a parent with children preschool age and under. All children can attend together for a family rate. We study kindergarten skills (ABCs, colors, shapes, days of the week, etc) as well as music skills (solfege, major scales, pitch matching, steady beat, etc.). It's a delightful class and I highly recommend it before starting Let's Play Music, though it is by no means a prerequisite. Registration is per semester and semesters can be taken in any order. Read more about Sound Beginnings here!
Spring 2023 Sound Beginnings (Silver Buttons) - Starting January 10th
Tuesdays @ 9, 11, 12:30, and 6:30pm
Wednesdays @ 11am
*Tuition is $200 per semester. Each additional sibling is $40 per semester.
*Materials are $35 per semester (see full list of materials here ). Students will need to make a one-time purchase of a Sound Beginnings tote bag ($8) the first semester they register.
***Parents of 4 or 5-year-olds: Please scroll to the bottom of this page to read about the differences between Sound Beginnings & Let's Play Music. I am hoping that the information that I provide will help you decide where your child will fit best next year!
Let's Play Music - Ages 4-6 (starting age)
Let's Play Music Let’s Play Music is a fun music education and theory course for your child. Students begin at age 4-6 and graduate three years later. This three year program solves the problem that a child is most ready to learn music at an early age, but their fingers and letter skills are not yet ready. We take full advantage of the brain’s ability to absorb musical concepts and teach skills in an age appropriate way. Solfege hand signs, folk songs, games, imagination and creativity are important components of each lesson. Read more about Let's Play Music and see a brief 3-year overview of the program here!
1st Year: Red Balloons & Blue Bugs: Preparation for the keyboard (ages 4-6)
Skills Taught: Students are introduced to the 5 lines and spaces of the staff, sing the major scale on solfege syllables with hand signs, learn to keep a steady beat, match pitch using a minor 3rd, play melodies, and ostinati on tone bells, learn the three primary chords on the autoharp, learn to divide and subdivide beats, read rhythmic notation patterns, distinguish major and minor tonalities, play steps and skips from the staff onto tone bells, and much more!
Classes run from August 2022 to May 2023
Tuesdays @ 10am, 3:30pm, and 4:30pm
*Classes are 45 minutes long; tuition is $300/semester or $600/year (including $100 nonrefundable tuition deposit upon enrollment).
*Parents attend class every other week (no siblings not enrolled in the class, please).
*Materials are $88 (see full list of materials here ).
2nd Year: Green Turtle Shells & Yellow Arrows: Introduction to the Keyboard (ages 5-7)
*Pre-Requisite: Students must complete the first year of Let's Play Music to enroll in a 2nd Year class.
Skills Taught: Students are introduced to the keyboard, learn C position, middle C, identify and play intervals of 2nd, 3rd, and 4th, play primary cadences on keyboard, accompany themselves on the keyboard, play keyboard in contrary motion, learn the major scale, sing in harmony, learn more complex rhythmic notations, learn more names on the staff, learn the names of the white keys on the keyboard, and much more!
Green Turtle Shells & Yellow Arrows will be held:
Wednesdays @ 3:30pm and 5pm
*Classes are 50 minutes long, tuition remains the same across all three years including $100 nonrefundable tuition deposit upon enrollment every year. Students will need to have at least a 61-key keyboard to practice on at home. Full-size keyboards and acoustic pianos are even better - let me know if you would like guidance on that.
*Parents attend class five times per semester (roughly once a month).
*Materials are $64 (see full list of materials here).
Is my child ready to move on to the next level of LPM?
There may be times when a student may need to repeat a year in order to understand all the concepts and have the skill set to thrive at the next level. This is a decision that I leave up to the discretion of parents. However, if you are questioning whether or not your child should move on, please talk to me and we can discuss your individual situation. If your child does end up needing to repeat, rest assured that the time your child has spent in class has not been time wasted. All music exposure and participation in any way is beneficial and will help the development of complete musicianship skills.
Here are some guidelines to follow when deciding if your child should advance on to 2nd year.
· They can sing and sign solfege at the same time.
· They know the solfege signs.
· They understand the concepts of step, skip, and leap.
· They conceptualize that their handclaps match the syllables of the bug names.
· They understand most concepts and skills when presented to them.
· They are able to focus and pay attention during most activities.
· They are they are physically, socially, and academically mature enough to start playing the piano in the fall.
If you can answer “yes” to 5 out of 7 of the requirements listed above, your child is ready to move on to 2nd year. Please talk to me if you are unsure - we can figure this out together!
If your child is 4 years old or will be before September 1st, they are old enough to begin the amazing Let’s Play Music program, which makes learning piano fun! If your child is already 5 years old, then they are definitely ready. You may be wondering whether to enroll in Sound Beginnings or Let’s Play Music, since I accept 4-year-olds in both programs. Here are some things to keep in mind:
1. Whichever program you choose, all music exposure and participation in any way is beneficial and will help develop inner musicianship, so you can’t go wrong!
2. Finger Dexterity - Can your child hold a pencil correctly, “3” on their fingers the right way, and write their name? If yes, their fingers are ready. In the 2nd Year of Let’s Play Music, the children will begin playing the keyboard/piano in class and at home. With consistent practice, I’ve seen even the smallest students be able to develop quite amazingly at the piano.
3. Class Length - Let’s Play Music is 45 minutes and Sound Beginnings is 30 minutes.
4. Parent Attendance - In Let’s Play Music a parent/caregiver attends every other week. In Sound Beginnings a parent/caregiver attends every week.
5. Parent Involvement - In addition to attending class, participating with your child, and listening to the digital music tracks together, both programs have activities to do with your child at home to enhance learning. In Sound Beginnings these activities are optional. In Let’s Play Music, at-home activities and practicing are required for success. 1st Year students practice the tone bells at least once a week and complete a simple theory assignment. By the end of Let’s Play Music, students will be practicing the piano 15-20 minutes per day. Don’t worry, we work up to this very gradually! Younger students tend to need more committed parents and may need their parent to sit with them at practice sessions several times a week.
6. Tuition - 1st Year Let’s Play Music tuition is $300 per semester. Sound Beginnings is $200 per semester (each additional siblings is $40 per semester). In Let's Play Music, siblings must be the right age for the class and must pay full tuition. I cannot offer family-rate pricing for Let's Play Music classes.
7. Commitment - In LPM, it is anticipated your child will remain enrolled in the studio throughout the full three years of Let's Play Music. Sound Beginnings is a commitment for one semester only.
8. Student Age - If your child turns 4 in June, July or August of this year, I would lean towards recommending Sound Beginnings for another year. There are actually some parents who prefer to start their children at age 5 in LPM because they will be able to play at a higher level more easily by the time they complete the program. However, maybe your goal is for your child to gain musicality and an excellent foundation before moving on to other instruments or to a favorite private piano teacher. Either way is great! The first year of LPM is designed for 4, 5 AND 6 year-olds!
9. Kindergarten Readiness - I like for my 2nd year Let's play Music Students to be in Kindergarten, 1st, or 2nd grade. So, if you are planning on waiting a year to enroll your child in school, I would also recommend you wait a year to enroll your child in Let's Play Music. Students need to be in 1st-3rd grade when they graduate the three year program.
10. You know your child best, so if you think he or she would have a hard time in a more mature class where parents attend only half of the time, then by all means, enroll in Sound Beginnings for another year! If your child is excited about playing the piano and learning at a higher level, then Let’s Play Music may be the best choice.
I hope this has been helpful. If you still have questions about your individual child, please let me know. I'm so excited to continue to teach your child music, whichever program you choose! I truly love all my students, and I appreciate your trust in me to teach them.