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Ultimate Guide: Summer Practice Success

The summer slump, or summer slide, is definitely a real occurrence. According to a New York Times article, the average American student loses about a month’s worth of learning each summer. The good news: This waste is preventable. According to the RAND report, good summer programs with individualized instruction, parental involvement and small classes can keep children from falling behind and reduce the achievement gap. While learning is ongoing through the summer at our studio, there’s no doubt the lesson schedule can be sporadic.

So, how can you as a parent help your child avoid this dreaded summer slump? Take a look at the following practice routine tips for some guidance on how to keep your child’s mind active and encourage ongoing musical learning over the summer break. The benefits extend past music learning and retention and even benefit keeping learned knowledge in science, math and reading!

We can’t wait to hear how it goes 🙂

Announcing MJS Summer Music Project!

In the Summer Music Project, we will present our students with the chance to experience the making of a robust Music Project from beginning to end. 

CLICK HERE to sign up

In this project, students ages 8+ will learn how to: 

  • Play an instrument in a band of their peers
  • Create and record a song
  • Write skits
  • Edit audio and video like the pro’s
  • Collaborate to create a music video

We will be using computers not as a replacement for in person contact, but as a creative, educational tool we can use to learn FUN and valuable skills!  

The MJS Summer Music Project IS FOR YOU IF:

  • You want your student(s) to maintain healthy, ongoing interaction with their peers through our current difficult social climate.
  • You are looking for a fun, creative, educational experience for your student this summer that isn’t your typical (boring) online learning experience.
  • You are looking to support a creative arts small business that’s determined to serve up the absolute best in Music Education – no matter what.
  • You want your kid to have fun while learning valuable music technology skills.

It’s NOT for you if:

  • Your student is under the age of 8 or unable to navigate basic computer operations with limited hands-on guidance. (Remote guidance will be provided, but students should be skilled readers, familiar with how to open a program, navigate between windows, operate volume, etc.)
  • Your student can’t commit to a set schedule of 1.5 hours daily for one entire week. 
  • Your student is not a good team player. Our student collaborators will be working together all week to create a Music Project that depends on the reliability and positivity of its members.

We will start with a piece of music written by the students, then record it to our liking as a band! Our students will learn and participate in the exact same process the pro’s use to record and edit their audio. We will complete the concept of the piece by creating a matching video- a true chance to use our imagination for abstract ideas and a commitment to seeing a project through with other student collaborators.  

MJS Summer Music Project begins MONDAY, JUNE 22 and runs from 10:30am-12pm each day. It’s possible we’ll add a PM session from 2pm-3:30pm, given the need with # of signups.

Pricing

  • $197 per student
  • $295 per household *MJS Member & Early Bird discounts do not apply to this option*

Includes

  • 1.5 hours of live online instruction each day (40 min audio collaboration time, 10 min social time, 40 min video collaboration time)
  • A single 1 on 1 half-hour lesson per student on their instrument
  • You’ll receive the complete, finalized, edited music video file to KEEP

CLICK HERE to sign up

*bonus* when you Sign up before end of the day Wednesday, June 10 you can use coupon code> EARLYBIRD <to unlock special savings!!

Teaching music is not enough

We learn to sing and play instruments through gradual development, habituation, and integration of a sophisticated collection of skills. I truly believe that the mark of a great teacher is not how quickly they “deliver the concepts,” but how elegantly they help each student lay the groundwork for a stellar, balanced technique and then continue to expand their abilities. This requires not only pedagogical knowledge and skill, but also a deep appreciation for each student’s learning process and the ability to empathize with their experiences throughout their development.

Just like with any experience, with private music study, you’ll get the same amount of value out of it as effort and passion you put into it. It’s an experience that we create together, but the INSTRUCTORS are the ones responsible for setting the tone.

When deciding exactly what that tone would be at Music Junkie Studios, I started by deciding and remembering what it feels like to be on the receiving end of really, reaaally good instruction. 

I feel seen. The teacher gets me and understands my aspirations, my learning style, and my concerns and anxieties.

I feel heard. They understand my instrument, what I can and can’t do with it, and what I’d like to be able to do better.

I feel encouraged. They genuinely care that I achieve my desires and they believe that I can. They hang in there with me when challenges arise.

I feel safe. I have the freedom to make ugly noises, make mistakes, and expose my weaknesses- because I can trust the teacher to respond with empathy rather than judgment. The teacher has earned my trust, so I am willing to try whatever they suggest even when it feels risky or doesn’t make sense to me at first.

I feel supported. The teacher is the one steering the session, but they’re responsive to my priorities and questions and are really interested in my observations.

It begins in the studio. Our studio. When we are intentional about showing our students kindness and help them to feel supported and seen, we send a message that their voice, what they have to say, who they fundamentally are, matters. Whether or not they go on to pursue or have a career in music, that is perhaps the most important lesson any of us can learn.

Benefits of Singing to Young Children

Lets be honest, we all sing to our babies, whether we can carry a tune or not. Lullabies, anthem’s, love songs, and tunes we seem surprised that we remember. I fondly remember singing Sweet Child O Mine by Guns n Roses soft and sweet in my babies ear. I asked students in the studio if they remember certain tunes hummed or sang sweetly to them when they were young. I also asked parents what they would sing to their babies. I got some great answers on both sides of that fence. From parents, I received such answers as “I sang Lyle Lovett”, or “Anything by Bob Marley”. Students could recall songs from The Beatles, Michael Jackson, Prince, and other songs far from lullabies.

Have you ever wondered if your baby could respond, what would they say? Hey, I remember that song or my mom always sings the same thing!

Well, believe it or not, lots of research has gone into this very subject. Does your baby respond to music? Or more specifically, can your baby remember the tune being sung to them, and by whom?

Dr. Samuel Mehr (when asked what song he sang his child was Paul Simon’s American Tune),  is a research associate in the Dept. of Psychology at Harvard where he directs the music lab. He has done extensive research into the effects of music on babies.

A study he conducted with five-month-old babies and parents who sing the same song to them for a week or two show that those babies can remember that melody eight months later. Even if the same tune and rhythm are presented by someone other than the parent, the baby can still recognize the melody.

In a different study, where he tested babies from seven to ten months old, studies showed that the infants will listen to recorded singing for up to nine minutes. That is twice as long as the infants would listen to recorded speech.

He has also shown that music used in repetition has proven to soothe babies. It has also shown that babies will relate to those same melodies and in turn, start to comfort and self-soothe.

One of Dr. Mehr’s theories is singing communicates to the infant that a familiar grown-up, like a parent or grandparent, is paying attention to them. So when the baby hears the familiar tune being presented by a familiar voice, brings comfort, especially to new babies.

Singing to children, as everyone in the world, in every culture seems to do, is one of the most meaningful activities we share with our little ones. So it doesn’t matter if you cannot carry a tune, or are a perfect tenor. Babies relate singing and music to familiar, loving, comfort, and someone is there for them.

Teach Yourself Apps VS One-on-One Lessons

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Technology is booming. Especially in the area of “teach yourself” apps. From music composition, to how to play an instrument, the market is full of self-help apps. But do these apps truly teach you properly to learn? We are firm believers in the one-on-one lessons approach. As we do live in the modern world, we do realize that there are apps out there that are great tools for teaching and learning, but there are also so many ways to make honest mistakes without an instructor looking on.

So let’s weigh the pros and cons. This blog will touch on some of the top apps on the market today. It will also explain some teacher’s opinions on why the one-on-one lesson experience is a better way to go.

Music Composition Apps.

  1. Noteflight. With Noteflight, you can compose and record audio into scores, which makes this app useful for teachers in the classroom. It is easy for beginners and high-end enough for professional use. Noteflight Premium offers a private website for communication and collaboration, activity templates, perform mode for listening and play along. Noteflight can be utilized for desktops, laptops, and tablets. Also live recording for Mac, PC, and Chromebooks. It has optional content for libraries for a band, guitar, choir, orchestra, piano, and pop ensemble.
  2. Scorecloud is a software service and web app for creating, storing, and sharing music notation for Mac OS, Microsoft Windows, iPhone, and iPad.  This app comes in two varieties Scorecloud Studio and Scorecloud Express. The software is available for free, but adds a watermark when printing. It also does not allow saving or exporting without subscribing to the pro level. Scorecloud is being marketed as “the only service that offers the capability to record, transcribe, transform it into sheet music, and share online”. Scorecloud free allows you to create sheet music from playing. It can also sync across all devices.

Teach Yourself Musical Instrument Apps.

  1. Uberchord is a “teach yourself guitar” app designed for Apple. Uberchord offers personal progress statistics, listens to you play and can adapt to your skill level. It can teach strumming and rhythm patterns with a built-in interactive trainer. It is also equipped with a song trainer that teaches a tune step by step. Also offers reward points that can be used to select more music. Think guitar hero type instruction.
  2. Simply Piano was chosen as one of the best iPhone apps in 2016. It works with any piano or keyboard and is suitable for all ages. If you do not own a piano, they offer Touch Courses with a 3D touch that turns your device into an on-screen keyboard.

With teach yourself apps, it is completely at your disposal. What is designed as a matter of convenience, constructed for use when you want it. Having something made so simple, can also be a downfall. Learning to play an instrument, or write and read music does not come easy. Dedication, repetition, and steady practice, just to name a few are a necessity. Having something simplified isn’t always in your best interest. For example, on-screen keyboards are convenient, but nowhere near the actual size or sensation of playing a real keyboard or piano. This can disturb the entire process of learning specific coordination and dexterity necessary for intermediate playing. On the other hand, with one-on-one lessons, you have a REAL INSTRUMENT AND an instructor- a human being, not an app teaching you tools that are vital to any musician.  Discipline, technique, by someone who takes a personal interest in you and your musical goals and your willingness to learn.

With one-on-one lessons, you have an instructor. A professionally trained teacher who can show and teach things an app never could. Personal contact with an educated individual who takes his or her profession seriously. They also take seriously the fact that you are getting the most and learning all sides and aspects of your lessons. I approached two of our instructors to get their perspective. The consensus that music is a human emotion, a personal relationship between you and that emotion. It was also noted that apps cannot teach fundamental basics or how to interact with other musicians. Instructors and teachers are not solely there to offer information and knowledge, and they do not promote insularity and lack of social interaction. Simply put, lessons provide the personal touch that any app does not have. There are however a few apps that are a benefit to their profession.

Instrument tuner apps and metronome apps are low priced, user-friendly apps that aid in a lesson plan. The Tonal Energy Tuner is $3.99 on The App Store and Google. Supports Android apps 4.3 and above. They do have new features not available on Android yet. Tunable is a chromatic tuner and metronome that is equipped with tuning history display. Compatible with most apple and iPhones 5 and up. $3.99 in Apple, Google, and Amazon App stores.

Check out a more complete list of instructor-approved learning aids here.