Posted on 1 Comment

Should a Parent “Force” Music Lessons

I wrote a blog previously on the subject of “forcing” a child to take piano (or any instrument) lessons. The conclusion I made was a resounding…YES! Today’s blog is an interview from an adult that was forced to take piano lessons as a child. Her name is Emily. She called me a while back to sign up HER daughter for piano and violin lessons. She told me her story and I asked if I could interview her. Here are my questions and the answers she gave me.

Kathi: “How old were you when you started piano lessons and how long did you take them?”

Emily: “I started at age 5. I took through junior or senior year of high school.”

Kathi: “Do you remember if you had shows signs of interest in piano before your mom set it up?”

Emily: “No, I do not recall having an interest in playing. I think she just saw me banging around on the piano and the notion came to her that either I could possibly be interested or I just needed to learn to play. Music/singing has always run in our family, so I think she hoped to continue the tradition. Which is why I also want to encourage my daughters as well.”

Kathi: “Did your piano teacher make it fun to learn?”

Emily: “I had two teachers, a beginning teacher and once I advanced I was taught by a different person. In both cases, although my teachers were very nice, I do not recall it being ‘fun’. I actually found the process of learning music to be less than exciting. I think, for me, the thrill was once the accomplishment of learning a complicated piece of music came.”

Kathi: “Did your piano teacher offer you a clear, easy to follow, step by step approach?”

Emily: “I think both teachers offered great teaching styles. I always trained with both music theory books and sheet music together, and the approach used was useful.”

Kathi: “Did you feel you understood everything taught to you?”

Emily: “No, I didn’t truly understand music theory the way I wish I could have. I am big on the ‘why’ piece to anything and understanding that better would have greatly increased my skills. However, I think most children wouldn’t necessarily find theory and fundamentals that interesting, so it was mostly my age that played a role.”

Kathi: “If you did have questions, did you feel comfortable asking your teacher?”

Emily: “Yes, I did.”

Kathi “If you DID ask questions, did she answer in a clear way that you understood?”

Emily: “Yes, they would answer them clearly.”

Kathi: “You mentioned hating the lessons. As an adult looking back, can you describe exactly why you hated it?”

Emily: “I felt it was boring. I didn’t have the appreciation and maturity that I have now. In the same way most kids do not find school work fun. But I understand as an adult why the lessons they learned in school were so important.”

Kathi: “Are you happy now that you took lessons all through the years, so you can play for enjoyment now?”

Emily: “I cannot tell you how grateful I am that I continued to learn music. I am over the moon about sticking with and having that skill set as an adult. I can’t explain why I stuck through the agonizing lessons for all those years, maybe because subconsciously I knew it was beneficial for me and that one day it would pay off. I give the credit to my mom for never giving up on me even though I know it was sometimes such a hardship on her. I think just knowing your child helps. Knowing that music ran in our family and that each generation has a choice to continue it or not plays a role in my case. Also knowing that if you come from a family that isn’t musically inclined, the legacy can always being somewhere.” 🙂

I’m happy that Emily stuck with the lessons and is now paying off for her. She has a richer life as an adult because of it. At Melody Music Studios, we offer fun yet professional music and voice lessons. We offer tailored lessons with an easy to follow approach, so the student fully understands. And if the student understands what is being taught, he or she will enjoy learning music! Sign up you and your child today and experience the joy of making beautiful music for a lifetime!

Posted on 8 Comments

Meet Laura, our newest piano instructor in Nashville TN!

Laura at the piano
Laura piano instructor in Nashville TN
Laura piano instructor in Nashville TN
Laura as a child
Laura as a child

Laura was born in a suburb of Chicago Illinois on December 23, 1976. This Christmas baby was the youngest of five children and named after the song “Laura.”  Before Laura was even born, music was destined to be in her life.  Her father bought a Baldwin console piano for her Mother when Laura was very young and Laura was instantly drawn to the piano.  Her Mother purposely waited until Laura could read at the age of six to pursue lessons and recalls never having to force her to practice.  She did it for the pure joy of it.  

Although Laura was Classically trained,  she wanted to play what she heard on the radio. She would set up her cassette player next to the piano and sound out the notes. Around the age of eight, she began composing original compositions.  Laura attended High School at Mother McAuley, a private college prep school.  She joined the choir and was the piano accompanist for three years. When she was fifteen, she released her first album with the little bit of money her Grandmother left her.  While in High School, Laura also pursued acting and modeling.  She was placed in multiple TV and print ads. 

Laura Left the security of her home and family in Chicago when she was eighteen to attend Arizona State University.  While at ASU she composed the music for two theatre productions.  She was also the keyboardist in the band Surrender Dorothy, which was chosen to open for the 1999 Phoenix Lilith Fair with Sarah McLaughlin, Sheryl Crow and Martina McBride.  She then composed the original score for the independent film, An Intimate Friendship, by Filling The Gap Productions which also featured music by Melissa Etheridge. 

Throughout Laura’s relationship with music, there was always one thing missing.  Since as far back as she could remember she had an inability to project her voice.  Beyond a normal speaking volume, a scream would turn into a whisper of sorts.  She always yearned to put vocals to her compositions but was physically unable to.  In college she met with Doctors that diagnosed her with right vocal cord paralysis.  She was happy to finally have an answer to her limitations, but was saddened by the prognosis. Surgery was an option where they could move the paralyzed vocal cord closer to the functioning one to create sound, but Doctors stressed that although she would be able to project her voice, she would never be able to sing.  Laura wasn’t discouraged and proceeded with the surgery.  With her new voice she began to teach herself to sing and play guitar based on her knowledge of the piano.  

Laura graduated with honors from ASU with a Degree in Broadcasting and a Minor in Music.  After graduating, Laura worked at Steinway Hall in Accounts Payable Receivable.  She took the job with the stipulation that she could play the Steinway pianos on her lunch break and they happily obliged.  Soon a friend asked her to teach her niece how to play piano which led to the start of her teaching career.  She loved teaching beginners where she had a clean slate to form good habits and assist in training their ear.  Teaching group lessons through a local company soon followed while she pursued her singer/songwriting career.  

The drive inside Laura to sing her own songs surpassed the limitations once set by Doctors.  She later went onto release four albums under her indie label Lolo Records in which she not only played the piano and guitar, but sang her original compositions.  As a member of Chicks With Picks she had the opportunity to open for Country artist Sarah Buxton.  She later had the privilege to open for another one of her mentors, Edwin McCain, on the Cayamo music cruise.  

You may have also seen Laura on NBC’s #1 rated show, Fear Factor. In a brave attempt to win $50,000 to assist her career, she had the rare opportunity to ride a bull and eat cow brains.  Although she did not win, it only proves how fearless Laura is in life and as an artist.

In 2010 Laura packed up her belongings and musical instruments into her car and drove from Arizona to Nashville TN.  She no longer wanted to get paid to perform cover songs at local venues where there was a glass ceiling to her songwriting career.  She quickly became affiliated with NSAI and ASCAP.  Songwriting venues enforced a quiet atmosphere and she knew she was in the right place to be heard.  She has performed at the famous Bluebird Cafe, The Listening Room, Douglas corner, Bobby’s Idle Hour and numerous other writers rounds.  Publishers and mentors have recognized Laura for her melodic storytelling with a poetic undertone.  

Laura is grateful for the gift of music and desires to give that gift to others through teaching and volunteer work.  She is currently a music volunteer at Alive Hospice where she plays piano and guitar for the residents.  She is also affiliated with Melody Music Studios which enables her to reach out to more students.  It is a company which shares her same joy of music and parallels her tenacity with similar values and unwavering excellence.  

At this point in her life and career Laura desires to get back to basics and simply enjoy music.  Beyond the limitations of the Nashville format based on financial gain, she believes the song itself exists in its’ purest form.  She is now in the studio working on songs for her fifth album. 

The best way to describe Laura’s musical journey is through the lyrics to her well received song, The Songwriters.  “When we stand in front of Jesus and he asks us what we did our pockets will be empty but we’ll say we used our gift.  And when we play for all the angels and they ask us who are we…… we’ll tell them we are the songwriters of Nashville Tennessee. I’m just one of the songwriters of Nashville Tennessee.”

To view Laura’s full bio, click here for her location, rates, schedule, and to sign up today!

Posted on Leave a comment

Gift Certificates for Music Lessons!

Gift certificate music lessons

The Gift That Keeps on Giving

What kind of gift keeps on giving and lasts a life time?  The gift of music lessons, of course!  Gift certificates for music lessons say you care about your special someone in your life.  With every lesson,  practice session, or performance, he or she will be reminded of the person who cared enough to buy a gift certificate to sing or play their favorite instrument.  At Melody Music Studios, we offer gift certificates for all instruments, from piano, voice, guitar, drums, to all kinds of stringed instruments (banjo, violin, viola, cello, bass, mandolin, and ukulele), as well as band instruments (trumpet, trombone, saxophone, clarinet, and flute). 

Buy a Gift Certificate

For piano, singing, guitar, drums, stringed, and band instruments!

There are so many gifts that are quickly forgotten.  Candy gets eaten, flowers die, things get broken or lost, BUT, a gift of music lessons can never be lost, broken, or forgotten.  It literally lasts a lifetime!  The great thing about buying a gift certificate for music lessons at Melody Music Studios, is that we have a large network of instructors and guaranteed we’ll have the right instructor for that special someone.   Our gift certificate NEVER expire, and the recipient can choose the instructor right from our website at MelodyMusicStudios.com by clicking or taping their state, city, and any instructor’s bio on the list.  The instructor’s bio includes their background, performance recordings, and what we call the “meet the instructor” video.  It’s like a meet a greet with the instructor, so the recipient will feel like he or she knows the instructor personally before even starting the lessons.  

And, it’s so easy to purchase, by phone or on our website.  Simply go to our Gift Certificates page to enter your information, the recipient’s information, as well as the instrument and number of months you wish to purchase.  It automatically calculates the total before entering your credit card information.  If you would like to purchase by the lesson instead of by the month(s), simply call us at 800-Melody 1 (800-635-6391) to purchase just the right amount of lessons.  We’re happy to work within your budget and what works best for you and the recipient.  

We also offer on line lessons (skype, facetime, etc),  so no matter where the student may live or the instrument you choose, we have an instructor available.  For students that may live outside our area, or in a remote area where a music teacher is not available, this is the perfect solution!  Skype lessons are fast becoming a fun and easy way to take lessons, and it’s conveniently at home for both student and teacher.  Skype lessons are live, interactive lessons with an instructor (not a video), and is much the same as in-person lessons, except the interaction is through a computer, laptop, or tablet.  We have a large network of instructors that offer skype for all instruments to choose from.  At Melody Music Studios, only the very best instructors are chosen to be on our skype list, so you can be assured your special someone will receive the very best instruction possible.  

So instead of that old boring traditional gift, why not do something special and buy a gift certificate for piano, voice, guitar, drums, violin, viola, cello, trumpet, trombone, saxophone, clarinet, flute, or any instrument you can think of!  Not only is the gift of learning to sing or play an instrument a lifetime gift, he or she will remember YOU for a lifetime!