|J Oscar School of Music vs. the Competition|
College degreed instructors
Private lessons provided to ensure students learn in the manner that is best suited for them
Students are able to choose from Jazz, Gospel, Pop, Classical and other styles of instruction
Incredible Christian based environment for learning
Choice of more than 1 instructor for each instrument to fit your personality and learning style
Instruction available for children as young as 4 - adult
Ability to schedule private lessons for 2 or more family members at the same time to avoid hours of waiting and driving to different lesson providers each month
Optional low pressure recitals offered at least twice a year free of charge
Desk staff available to help you during all teaching hours
Five Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Music Lessons
These guidelines will help you have a successful, rewarding experience learning an instrument. These are practical tips we have discovered through years of teaching, and our experience with many students each year.
1. How Young Is Too Young - Starting at the Right Age:
Adults can start at any time. Their success is based on how wiling an adult is to commit to practicing. We teach many adult beginner students. For Children, finding a program that is tailored to their specific needs is extremely important.
Piano/Drum Lessons - We accept students as young as 5 years old. At this age we have found that some students tend to do well with 15 min sessions. As their attention span develops, they can easily move up to full 30 minute sessions.
Guitar Lessons - 7 years old is the earliest we recommend. Guitar playing requires a fair amount of pressure on the fingertips from pressing on the strings. Children under 7 generally have small hands and may find playing uncomfortable.
Voice Lessons - 9 years old is recommended as the youngest age for private vocal lessons. Due to the physical nature of voice lessons (proper breathing techniques, development of vocal chords and lung capacity), the younger body is generally not yet ready for the rigors of vocal technique.
Woodwinds - Due to lung capacity and sometimes size of the instrument, we recommend that most woodwind beginners are age 9 and older.
Violin - We accept violin students from the age of 5. Experience has shown us the most productive learning occurs 5 and older with this instrument.
Brass - We recommend starting beginners at the age of 8.
2. Insist on Private Lessons When Learning a Specific Instrument
Group lessons work well to give an introduction to music. However, when actually learning how to play an instrument, private lessons are far superior since in private lessons it is hard to miss anything, and each student can learn at their own pace. This means the teacher does not have to teach the class at a middle of the road level, but has the time and focus to work on the individual student's strengths and weaknesses. For that lesson period, the student is the primary focus of the teacher. The teachers also enjoy this as they do not have to divide their attention between 5-10 students at a time and can help the student be the best they can be.
3. Take Lessons in a Professional Teaching Environment
Learning music is not just a matter of having a qualified teacher, but also having an environment that is focused on music education. In a professional school environment a student cannot be distracted by t.v., pets, ringing telephones, siblings or anything else. With only 1/2 to one hour of lesson time per week, a professional school environment can produce better results since the only focus at that time is learning music. Students is a school environment are also motivated by hearing peers who are at different levels and by being exposed to a variety of musical instruments. In a music school, the lessons are not just a hobby or side-line for the teacher but a responsibility taken very seriously.
4. Make Practicing Easier
As with anything, improving in music takes practice. One of the main problems with music lessons is the drudgery of practicing and the fight between parents and students to practice every day. Here are some ways to make practicing easier:
Time - Set aside the same time every day to practice so it becomes part of a routine or habit. This works particularly well for children. Generally the earlier in the day the practicing can occur, the less reminding is required by parents to get the child to practice.
Repetition - We use this method quite often when setting practice schedules for beginners. For a young child 20 or 30 minutes seems like an eternity. Instead of setting a time frame, we use repetition. For example, practice this piece 4 times every day, and this scale 5 times a day. The child then does not pay attention to the amount of time they are practicing the instrument, but knows if they are on repetition number 3 they are almost finished.
Rewards - This works very well for both children and adult students. Some adults reward themselves with a fun coffee drink after a successful week of practicing. Parents can encourage children to practice by granting them occasional rewards for successful practicing. In our school we reward young children for a successful week of practicing with stars and stickers for their work. Praise tends to be the most coveted award - there's just no substitute for a pat on the back for a job well done.
5. Use Recognized Teaching Materials
There are some excellent materials developed by professional educators that are made for students in a variety of situations. For example in piano, there are books for very young beginners, and books for adult students that have never played before. There are books that can start you at a level you are comfortable with. These materials have been researched and are continually upgraded and improved to make learning easier. These materials ensure that no important part of learning the instrument can inadvertently be left out. If you ever have to move to a different part of the country, qualified teachers and institutions will recognize the materials and be able to smoothly continue from where the previous teacher left off.
HAVE FUN! Music should be something you enjoy for a lifetime. So, try not to put unrealistic expectations on yourself or your children to learn too quickly. Everyone learns at a different pace and the key is to enjoy the journey.
Q & A
Q: How long does it take to learn how to play an instrument?
A: There is no set answer of how long it takes to learn an instrument. However with daily practice a basic level of playing can be accomplished in a few months. Most students take lessons on a long term basis because they want to be constantly improving and they find the lessons enjoyable.
Q: Do I need a piano at home before I can take piano lessons?
A: It is ideal if you do have a piano at home, but many students start lessons on some type of digital piano or keyboard. We recommend a keyboard that has regular sized keys and preferably weighted. A weighted keyboard means if you press a key harder it will play louder and if you press a key softer it will play quieter.
Q: Do I need a full drum set to take drum lessons?
A: No you do not need a full drum set to start drum lessons. Students can start lessons by using a practice pad or just a snare drum. Practice pads cost $20-$30 and are used for practicing basic drum rhythms. The school also sells good condition used drum sets for $150-$300.
Q: I have never played an instrument before; Will you still teach me?
A: Yes most of our students are total beginners. All students are started at the level they come in at. You will start at the beginning and will progress from there.
Q: I don't have any musical background or ability; can I still help my child practice?
A: Yes. Even if you don't have a musical background you can ask the teacher for advice on how to help your child practice. By simply monitoring that they are doing exercises a certain number of times per day the student will progress. Many parents occasionally sit in on their child's music lesson to get an idea of the proper way a song should sound or how the student should be positioning their hands.
Q: Does the School of Music rent instruments? If not what should I do?
A: We do not rent instruments, but we do sell used instruments. We also will help you with finding other affordable options for renting or buying.