Program Development

By Jamey Mann Last week a promising young student came in for his lesson somewhat down and despondent. A sophomore in high school, we are beginning to talk about his options for college and subjects he may want to study. Naturally, being a talented student I suggested studying music as an option and we discussed several different majors and other possibilities. The student was intrigued so...

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By Wayne Estes My interpretation of the dictionary’s definition of tone is that: tone is the quality that a musician uses to create their personal sound that will influence their audience. I thought I could easily write a quick blog on tone and be done. But after thinking acutely for three minutes and looking back on my 35+ years of musical experience in searching for the...

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If you look at my almost 4-year-old son you would agree that he is a happy and healthy little boy. He is almost always smiling, has an incredible memory, and is almost as tall as his 6-year-old big sister.

If you observed him at his preschool or in a swimming lesson, you might jump to the conclusion that he is a brat or that I am a terrible mother who must let my child do whatever he wants.

You see, my son has an array of diagnoses and special needs that aren’t visible to the typical eye.  His special needs are the result of early trauma that have affected his brain deeply. His needs manifest themselves in his behavior, his struggle to focus, his ability to transition from one activity to the next, his ability to keep his body in check and many other ways that make nearly every moment a struggle because his brain has difficulty processing all the information and stimuli around him.

We haven’t been able to just sign him up for any activity we think he might enjoy, and we often don’t attend group events, Sunday School or story times at the library. We have to be very thoughtful about what will allow him to be successful, and discuss with the teachers and group leaders whether or not they are equipped and open to learning about how to deal with a child that has special needs.

You might say that having a son with some extra challenges has created a soft spot in my heart for working with kids who have developmental delays or need a little bit of “outside the box” thinking to work with them. In my years of teaching piano lessons, I have worked with kids on the Autism Spectrum, children who struggle with Sensory Processing Disorder, ADHD and even one who had vision difficulties. Often times, these kids have tried piano lessons before and had a negative experience.  They have a teacher who is not willing to adjust expectations, or perhaps one who has labeled them a “bad kid” instead of understanding that the child’s brain might just be wired differently.

By Sarah Haughton Nothing says New Year’s resolution like doing something you dislike (e.g. eating green leafy things, elevating your heartbeat past its resting rate, etc.). So why not stretch your taste in music? Here is my challenge to music teachers, students, and enthusiasts in the year 2016… Listen to a composer you have never heard of before.   Here are a few composers that you should get to...

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By Jamey Mann Around Christmas time every year guitar instructors are inundated with questions about buying new guitars. In addition many instructors use the holiday season to push their advancing students into better instruments. As a teacher I try to get my students into the best instrument possible. Here are a few suggestions to help guide you when looking for an instrument: Don’t make it a surprise-...

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