<![CDATA[The Musiconomy - Blog]]>Sat, 05 Dec 2015 08:01:58 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Valentina Marino: PhiLOVEsophy]]>Sat, 05 Dec 2015 16:01:16 GMThttp://www.themusiconomy.com/blog/valentina-marino-philovesophy​I recently had the pleasure of listening to PhiLOVEsophy, the debut album by
New York based jazz vocalist, Valentina Marino. The album is a collection of jazz standards, original tunes and jazz influenced arrangements of pop tunes including the rarely covered "Space Oddity" by David Bowie and Bob Marley’s "Three Little Birds." Valentina Marino has carefully chosen songs of love such as "I Want to Prove I Love You'' and ''Love Came on Stealthy Fingers'', by vocalist and songwriter Bob Dorough.

Why PhiLOVEsophy? These are all songs about the human condition. A clear example of this is evidenced in Marino's cover of "Space Oddity," in the album beautifully re-imagined and re-arranged by Maximilian Zooi and played by a fine ensemble of jazz musicians. It tells the story of one man, lost in space, exploring new places on a metaphysical level, facing death and detaching himself from earthly situations. Marino beautifully and suspense-fully builds the song towards the climactic ending.

PhiLOVEsophy also contains tunes about the trials and tribulations, as well as the happiness and joy of LOVE: Peggy Lee’s "In the Name of Love," bemoaning feelings of disappointment and "You’re Everything," a fun and uplifting rendition portraying the opposite sides of the love experience. 

In addition to being a vocal talent, Valentina Marino is a very skilled songwriter and arranger. Her tune "YOU," gives a seemingly personal account of the tortuous twists and turns of a love affair gone wrong. A quick paced song with an addictive beat played brilliantly by world renowned bassist Cameron Brown who is also the producer of this album. The very emotional ballad ''Go through'' is an invitation to face the tough times of life and the psychological storms that they bring as the only way to get to the end of the tunnel and see the light again. 

"A Timeless Place" (The Peacocks) is easily my favorite song on the album.
In this haunting ballad about imagined love, Marino gives a stunning vocal performance
guiding us through the story with heart wrenching softness and beauty. And Maximillian Zooi’s gorgeous bass clarinet solo adds another layer of exquisiteness to this very lovely tune.

"Three Little Birds" offers a light and fun acapella version of the song and highlights
Marino’s very creative arranging skills.

Valentina Marino’s PhiLOVEsophy is a truly ambitious first effort from a passionate and dedicated artist. I'm sure she will continue to inject complex emotions through the song, and weave jazz and other musical genres in interesting ways for years to come. ]]>
<![CDATA[How I Learned to Read Books]]>Wed, 13 Jun 2012 13:23:06 GMThttp://www.themusiconomy.com/blog/how-i-learned-to-read-booksPicture
Source: Arria Belli, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Flickr
Here at The Musiconomy, I usually don't write about non-music related topics. But every now and again I will make an exception on the basis of whether it has educational value. Since The Musiconomy is about how learning an instrument affects other academic subjects in a positive way, there is room allotted for me to discuss other academic areas as well.

I've written an article about how I learned to read books. Reading is one of the most important skills a persona needs to triumph over life's challenges and reaching success. As a young student in elementary school, I absolutely hated reading. But as a junior in High School my life changed forever when I fell in love with reading. As a result, my reading comprehension skills improved greatly and I became a reader for life. Click here to read the article that I wrote about my experience. 

<![CDATA[Scales for Music: What are Musical Scales? An Explanation and Benefits for Musicians and Beginners]]>Mon, 04 Jun 2012 18:10:36 GMThttp://www.themusiconomy.com/blog/scales-for-music-what-are-musical-scales-an-explanation-and-benefits-for-musicians-and-beginnersPicture

The Building Blocks of Music

Have you ever caught yourself humming the melody to a song that you really like? Your favorite songs probably have really catchy melodies that you love listening to over and over. Well, those melodies whether catchy or not come from scales.

A musical scale is an organized group of pitches that form a particular type of sound. For example, a Major Scale usually creates a happy sound and a Minor Scale creates a kind of sad sound.

Scales are like the building blocks of music. When you look at a house, you don't see the building blocks. That's because they are hidden behind the siding, or bricks, or stones that make up the esthetic qualities of the house. Every house looks different on the outside because of the different shapes, colors, sizes, and materials. But they all have building blocks made up of cement or concrete in the foundation and the frame of the house.

That's why scales just by themselves will not make you creative or unique just like if you took away the exterior siding of a house, there would be nothing that would differentiate one house from another in an artistic sense. You'd see just building blocks. This is how music would look like if it was physical. If you stripped away the sounds, and artistic qualities of your favorite musical artists, you'd find the scales.

The Family Analogy

I like to make an analogy between scales and families in order to understand how scales are constructed. There are different “families” of scales in music. Each family has a different sound quality to it. The names of the most common families of scales are called: Major Scale, Minor Scale, Harmonic Minor Scale, Melodic Minor Scale, Pentatonic Scale, and Blues Scale. And each scale family has 12 members!

The Major Scale Family, has 12 members and they each have their own name and spelling. In music, the members are what we call “keys.” Here is a list of all 12 keys (members of the Major Scale Family):

All 12 Major Scale Keys (Members of the Major Scale Family)

  1. A Major

  2. Bb Major (or A# Major)

  3. B Major

  4. C Major

  5. Db Major (or C# Major)

  6. D major

  7. Eb Major (or D# Major)

  1. E Major

  2. 9. F Major

  1. Gb Major (or F# Major)

  2. G Major

  3. Ab Major (or G# Major)

And just like you are a member of a family, so are the 12 members part of a scale family as well. Let's go another step further. In general, each Major Scale basically creates a happy sound.

Let's continue with the family analogy. Let's say your family member name is John Smith. Well, there is a spelling for the member name John Smith. It's J-O-H-N-S-M-I-T-H. That's how you spell the name. The same is true when “spelling” each Major Scale. For example, here is how you would spell a C Major Scale: C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C. These are the letters for how you spell the C Major Scale. Instead of letters, we use the word “notes” in music. These letters (notes), relate to each pitch in the scale.

Every scale has it's own unique spelling, just like different names have their own unique spellings.

Scale Family Chart

Family Name = Major Scale

Member of Family = C Major Scale

Spelling: C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C

Here's another example:

Family Name= Major Scale

Member of Family = A Major Scale

Spelling = A-B-C#-D-E-F#-G#-A

Another example:

Family Name = Minor Scale

Member of Family = C Minor Scale

Spelling = C-D-Eb-F-G-Ab-Bb-C
Family Name = Smith

Member of Family = Chris

Spelling = C-H-R-I-S-S-M-I-T-H

Family Name = Smith

Member of Family = Anne

Spelling = A-N-N-E-S-M-I-T-H

Family Name = Rogers

Member of Family = Chris

Spelling = C-H-R-I-S-R-O-G-E-R-S
So continuing with this analogy, the family is called Smith. But there are many members of the Smith family. There is Chis Smith, Anne Smith, Tony Smith, etc. How do you spell the name Chris Smith? How do you spell the name Anne Smith? Their family name is the same, but their first names are different, and obviously there would be different spellings for each name.

Did you notice the 3rd example? The family name was different. It was Rogers. If you notice the corresponding musical family name, it says Minor Scale. This is a totally different family of scale with it's own sound qualities.

This is the basic concept of scales. Now learning exactly how to spell all the scales is a topic for another discussion.

The Benefits of Learn Scales

Scales help you become a better musician because:

  1. You'll be able to learn new songs faster

  2. You'll be able to “hear” the music better with a newfound depth

  3. You'll understand how music “works”

  4. You'll increase your technical ability on your instrument and play with more fluency

  5. You'll no longer be overwhelmed by the complexity of your instrument

The Difference between Major and Minor Scale Sound Qualities

Take a Quiz on Scales! Just for fun :-)

<![CDATA[Is YouTube The Best Way To Learn The Guitar?]]>Tue, 24 Apr 2012 13:28:26 GMThttp://www.themusiconomy.com/blog/is-youtube-the-best-way-to-learn-the-guitarPicture
Lately, I've been interacting with people in various online forums about the best way to learn the guitar or any musical instrument for that matter. For the most part, the advice everyone gave me was to watch YouTube videos. Having taken formal guitar lessons for 11 years, I was surprised by this. When I was just starting out on the guitar, YouTube didn't exist and the Internet didn't either. So I decided to go on YouTube and watch some videos to see what was happening in the world of learning music.

I decided to do a search on YouTube for “Stairway to Heaven guitar” which is one of the most popular songs guitar students attempt to master. Countless videos appeared. I watched several of them. Each guitarist had a different way of teaching the song. Some videos had really good close-up shots of the fingerboard and others did not. Some of the guitarist played the song very well and others in my opinion played the song horribly.

One interesting insight that I gained through this was that each guitarist had a different way of explaining how to play the song. Some used just basic language like “put your 1st finger on the 5th fret of the 4th string.” Others would say “play an A minor chord in 5th position.” Depending on your level of understanding of the guitar, you may or may not understand what he's talking about, but at least you can see how he is playing it.

I would also like to add an even stronger opinion: I found that many of the guitarists in these YouTube videos were not professionals. Many of the guitarists were playing with some bad habits that they are unknowingly passing on to you because you will certainly pick up these bad habits. Part of the reason that their performances of Stairway to Heaven were so poor, was because they were not playing the guitar with proper technique. Only a professional guitar instructor will be able to teach proper playing technique and only he will know what your weaknesses are and will be able to steer you in the right direction.

Learning The Traditional Way

I learned the guitar the old-fashioned way. I took a half-hour lesson once a week. My teacher gave me books on chords, reading music, and some other personalized materials, and he sent me off to practice at home until we met again the following week. I would perform the assignments that he gave me, and he would either celebrate my successes or show me where and how I could improve my weaknesses.

YouTube videos will never be able to compete with a competent instructor. If you are seriously interested in learning the guitar, I would take private guitar lessons and use YouTube only as a supplement. YouTube should not be the central source for learning.

What You Can Expect From YouTube

If you choose to use YouTube or any other form of “free” videos, I can give you an idea as to how good you will get on the guitar. You will begin by learning some of your favorite songs by watching a bunch of guitarists on YouTube. As soon as you learn and can play your first song on guitar, you are going to be very impressed with yourself. And you should be. It's certainly an accomplishment. And it was all made possible by getting free instructions from videos on YouTube. Pretty cool.

You might even play your first song for your friends and family members to show them how quickly you are learning the guitar. Then you'll go back to YouTube and learn another song and another. You're going to be amazed at how quickly your progress is on the guitar. It's definitely going to be fun, and it should be. You might end up learning a dozen or more songs on the guitar!

But eventually, you will reach a plateau where you will not be able to improve your guitar skills. You might find a song that you really want to learn, and realize that for some reason, it's too hard. Or that it doesn't sound quite right when you play it. All of a sudden, the guitar is not so much fun anymore. Not only will you think the song is too hard, but you may also know why you can't play it. Or at least, you will think you know why it's too hard.

But if it's too hard, What steps can you take in order to make that song easier to play? That's a tough question to answer. Who is going to answer that question for you? YouTube can't help you. It doesn't know what level you are at. It doesn't know what you are doing wrong. It doesn't know if you have picked up any bad playing habits. And yes, we are all prone to learning bad habits on the guitar or any other musical instrument. Bad habits are ways of playing the guitar that prevent you from improving and being able to play that “really hard” song.

Bad Playing Habits

An example of a bad playing habit would be keeping your thumb over the top of the fingerboard will prevent you from being able to play certain things. In the beginning, it's very comfortable to play with your thumb over top of the fretboard because it doesn't feel any pressure. But the thumb is supposed to be behind the fretboard, somewhere in the middle. This can create a lot of pressure on the thumb and hand in the beginning stages of learning. But getting used to it sooner than later will allow you to improve your skills much more effectively. Once you can play the guitar with the thumb behind the fingerboard, then you can “break the rules” and place your thumb wherever you want as long as it helps you achieve what you want to play. This is one of the differences between the pros and amateurs. The pros know when and how to break the rules. But first, you must learn the rules. 

It's a lot easier to break a bad playing habit before it actually becomes a habit. Only your guitar instructor can see it before you do.

So just to reiterate for the record, I'm not against YouTube as a learning device. But, I'm strongly against YouTube as the main source of learning the guitar. Use it for fun after you've practiced the assignments given to you from your teacher.

<![CDATA[Apple And Orange: How Steve Jobs Developed His Creative Mind]]>Sun, 06 Nov 2011 16:29:26 GMThttp://www.themusiconomy.com/blog/apple-and-orange-how-steve-jobs-developed-his-creative-mindPicture
With the passing of Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, I decided to do research on how he developed such a creative mind.

It is so fascinating that one man could have made such an enormous impact on three major industries: (1) Personal Computing began with the Apple II computer, (2) Legal Digital Recordings were brought to dominance with the iPod and iTunes, (3) and mobile phones were risen to a new level that we will never return to with the iPhone.

So how did one man make such an enormous impact on these three major industries and changed our lives forever by knowing what we wanted before we wanted it? Clearly, a uniquely creative vision made this possible. But how did he develop this ability to create so brilliantly?

The simplest answer is that Steve Jobs knew how to bring together Art and Science. He knew how these seemingly different subject matters, like apples and oranges, could be used in harmony to create something great.

There are some people in this world who are experts in Science, and there are others that are experts in the Arts. Steve Jobs had an understanding of both which made him kind of a “renaissance man” like a Leonardo Da Vinci.

If the Arts signify human expression and creativity, and Science signifies the systematic knowledge of the physical world, then what do we call the coalescence of both?


Steve Jobs was able to mesh technology and art through Apple Computers, iPods, and iPhones. Let's face it, these devices changed our world forever and made a contribution to society. There is a reason why the Apple Store is always the most crowded store in the mall. His unique combination of Art and Science has created an experience that Apple consumers cannot live without.  

Developing The Left & Right Hemispheres


During my research, I discovered a few interesting things that I believe made an impact on the developing creative mind of Steve Jobs.

Jobs actually knew how to play the guitar. In fact, it's on record that during the early days of Apple, Jobs used to play Bob Dylan songs on his guitar. He used to do this during brainstorming sessions with Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple. It's on record that he used to sit in his backyard playing the guitar in sunny California, while he and Wozniak envisioned the future of Apple.

Jobs is also on record countless times talking about how Bob Dylan and The Beatles were not only his favorite musical artists, but they also influenced his creative and business philosophies. Jobs was not just a listener, and not just an amateur guitarist, he was a curious person who wanted to understand how "stuff" worked. With music, he dug deeper to understand how the creative chemistry among different musicians with different personalities functioned and coalesced in the creation of music. 

Playing music is actually a great way to get the creative juices flowing. It's a scientific fact that the right hemisphere of the brain is stimulated when doing activities such as daydreaming, imagining, imagining colors, pattern recognition, and musical perception.

The left hemisphere of the brain is used for logic, numbers, language, and analysis. The left hemisphere would have been of great use to Jobs for the Computer Science aspect of his intellect because numbers, logic, and analysis would all be essential tools for the internal design of his inventions.

Another interesting artistic influence on Jobs was when he took a Calligraphy class in college. Calligraphy is a visual art used to give form and artistic expression to the letters of the alphabet. Even though he dropped out of college, he still took classes that were of interest to him. He also studied Typography, which is the art of making language visible. It deals with fonts, size, the space between letters and groups of letters. This had a profound effect on Jobs because the Apple Computer was the first computer designed to have the most beautiful fonts, colors, and images. It still does today.  

What can we learn from Steve Jobs?

The artistic side of Steve Jobs was comprised of visual and musical arts. Studying the art of calligraphy, typography, and playing the guitar were all it took to stimulate his creative development.

I wanted to use Steve Jobs as an example that music and the arts can develop invaluable intellectual capabilities that go beyond just the arts themselves. Music and the arts should always be a part of an education for young people. Whether the study of music is in school or just as an out-of-school activity, it is all part of a well-rounded education. The next generation of innovators will need to be able to bridge the divide between art and science like Steve Jobs did, in order to advance technology further and to continue making it a human experience.

Steve Jobs is gone, but the Apple experience lives on. RIP

<![CDATA[Summer Activities For Children: The Joy Of Achievement Through Music]]>Fri, 08 Jul 2011 00:49:21 GMThttp://www.themusiconomy.com/blog/summer-activities-for-children-the-joy-of-achievement-through-musicPicture
By Tony Margiotta

In the summertime, children have about 3 months of vacation. They don't have to get up early five days a week. They don't have to do homework every day. And basically children are left with no challenges to better themselves during that time. And that's OK some say. Even kids need a break too, others would say. Actually, kids are more resilient than adults are and they can handle an organized daily regime even better than we adults can.

With that said, I'd like to propose an idea for parents who are looking for non-school activities to keep their kids busy during the summer. Even more importantly, I'd like your child to achieve a goal this summer. Have your child learn a musical instrument. I started learning the guitar many years ago during the summer and I think it was the best time of the year to have done so.

There are four big reasons why I think your child should get started in learning a musical instrument this summer:

More Free Time

Your child will have plenty of time to concentrate on an instrument in the summer. It only takes an hour a day to practice. And the beginning stages can be a little bit frustrating, so your child will have more energy to get past this phase while not being overwhelmed in any other school subjects.

Learning Discipline

Having your children practice their instrument one hour a day will teach them discipline. If you plan on taking a family vacation then, that would be the only time that children can skip practice time. However, family vacations or sports activities should not be excuses to avoid getting your child started in music this summer. Don't cheat your child out of learning the invaluable skill of discipline. Disciplined children work harder and achieve more than their lazy peers.

Brain Development

Three months without any academic learning is a big mistake for a child whose brain only has a short time to develop and build the intelligence needed to succeed in this world. Learning a musical instrument actually stimulates brain development in both the left and right hemispheres of the brain. In short, this means your child will be getting better grades in Math, Reading, and Science.

The Joy Of Achievement

Probably the most important benefit of learning a musical instrument is actually being able to play music! When children achieve a goal like learning to play music, their confidence goes up, they enjoy their new-found skill, they want to show their friends, and they look forward to achieving new goals.

If your child achieves only one goal this summer, and it's learning how to play a musical instrument, then you as a parent will have achieved something as well, which is putting your child on the path of success and future prosperity.

<![CDATA[My Childhood Story: Planting The Seed Of Music]]>Wed, 08 Jun 2011 15:12:19 GMThttp://www.themusiconomy.com/blog/my-childhood-story-planting-the-seed-of-musicPicture
I grew up in the 1980's. For as long as I can remember, music had always been around me. Everything from watching movies on TV, to listening to the radio in the car, listening to the radio at home, and of course, there was MTV which at the time, was 99% music videos only.

From an early age, I was exposed to music that came before my time such as The Beach Boys, The Beatles, and even Steppenwolf. My mom had those albums on vinyl and she had a big stereo with a record player. You know, it was one of those stereos from the 80's with those big bulky speakers that were about 4 feet tall. They were so cool. I used to look at the art work in her record collection while I listened, explored, and discovered new sounds.  

So by the time I was 8-years-old, growing up in the 1980's, I had already been exposed to the popular music of the 50's, 60's, and 70's. Then for the majority of my childhood, I was constantly surrounded by 80's music which I still love more than any other decade. I think that's how it works. Your favorite music comes from whatever you were most exposed to as a child. I'm not sure if I listened any more or any less than any other kid, but I know I spent a great deal of time sitting in front of my mom's stereo in total fascination.

When one of my older teenaged cousins found out that I listened to music a lot, she gave me 2 vinyl records of Def Leopard. Once I heard that band, I knew I had found something special. I was 9-years-old and hooked on Def Leopard. I already knew that I was a music addict.  

Since my mom knew I loved to listen to music so much, she encouraged it by giving me a “boombox” for Christmas. Since my boombox ran on batteries, I used to bring it in the bathroom with me when I had to take a shower. I think all kids hate taking showers, so I used to make it more tolerable by listening to music while I washed myself.

That's when we had moved on to listening to “tapes.” Remember those things? I think the first tape I got was Michael Jackson's “Thriller” which I think every human on the planet owned at that time. I listened to that album over and over. I also got more into 80's rock, continuing with my Def Leopard obsession, Bon Jovi, and moving on to “harder” rock bands like Guns 'N' Roses. At the time, people argued whether some of these rock bands were even playing real music. My theory is if a band is playing real instruments such as a guitar, bass, drums, and you hear a melody, harmony, and rhythm, you're listening to music.  

Then when I was around 11, I discovered Metallica and I just knew that I had to learn the guitar. They wrote this song “Enter Sandman,” and I thought it had the coolest guitar riffs I had ever heard. It would take me 2 more years before I would actually get a guitar and make a commitment to learning a musical instrument, but in the meantime, music was at the center of my leisure time.

Once I got my first guitar, there was no turning back. I took formal lessons for 5 years and then went off to college and got a bachelor's degree in music and then a master's degree in music in jazz performance. As I got older, I fell in love with classical and jazz music. It's amazing how I went from one genre of music to another and today, I still love all of the music that I've mentioned in this article.

The point of my story is that the “seed of music” was planted at an early age. If you're a parent reading this, and you would like your child to learn a musical instrument, then you need to create an environment early on that is filled with music. All types of music: rock, pop, funk, folk, 50's, 60's, 70's, 80's, 90's, jazz, and classical. Always have music on in the car. Try to turn the TV off and put on a streaming radio station on your computer while you wash the dishes, while you are cooking, or while you're relaxing outside on a summer day. Your kid will get exposed to it. That's how you plant the seed.

Your child doesn't necessarily need to learn an instrument so that he/she will go off to college as a music major. That's not the goal of learning an instrument. The goal is to have a well-rounded education and musical training provides enormous benefits in other academic areas like Math, Reading, and Science.

From my own experience, I discovered in my junior year of high school that not only did I enjoy learning, but my GPA really took off from that point on. I am convinced that it was my musical training that contributed to my new-found appreciation for learning in school and improving my grades. If I had started learning an instrument sooner, I would have seen an improvement in my grades much sooner as well. It takes time before the benefits of music training show themselves through test scores and grades in Math, Reading, and Science.

So plant the seed now, get your child started in music, and watch the grades and test scores fly sky high.

<![CDATA[Making A Child Famous: What's The Meaning Of Prosperity Through Music?]]>Mon, 23 May 2011 14:56:32 GMThttp://www.themusiconomy.com/blog/making-a-child-famous-whats-the-meaning-of-prosperity-through-musicPicture
Brittany Spears
Will My Child Become A Famous Musician?

As a parent, you have high hopes and expectations for you child. That's perfectly natural. You want your kid to do better and to achieve more than you did. Basically, you want what's best for them.

I talk a lot about how music education can bring prosperity to your child's future. I would like to clarify what I mean by prosperity.

What I mean by prosperity is that music education will develop the skills necessary to succeed in life, regardless of what career your child chooses.

I don't want anyone to be confused here. What I don't want people to think is that music education will bring your child prosperity in the form of becoming a famous singer or musical artist. This is not the goal of music education. For me, prosperity is NOT becoming a celebrity.

Justin Bieber
The Meaning Of Prosperity Through Music

Prosperity is an advantageous situation where your child will get the most out of his/her education, and enter the working world with the skills that will be required in the future global economy.

It has been scientifically proven that music education increase test scores in Math, Science, and Reading. But besides test scores and grades, your child would actually develop an understanding of those subjects that noticeably surpasses their non-musical peers. I can tell one thing with the utmost certainty: there will be jobs for people that have skills in those areas.

Beyond those three subjects, music education develops social and emotional intelligences, which are highly important in the working world. We all know what it's like in the work place. It can be a tough social environment. It's tough to get along with co-workers from time to time. It's tough to convince your boss that you deserve a raise. It's tough to convince your manager of your ideas and how they can benefit the company. There are a million scenarios where social skills will really be useful in achieving your goals. Developing these skills give a person an advantage to succeed in the work place, not to mention building relationships and friendships.

Michael Jackson
What Kind Of Mind Will Be Valuable In The Future Economy?

Another huge bi-product of music education is developing the creative side of the brain. Creative minds are needed in today's technology-driven, globally-connected economy, and they will surely be needed in the future. One of the biggest drivers of an advancing economy is innovation. Without creativity and new ideas, an economy would completely stagnate. That means less jobs for everyone. Those who can create will have a place in the future economy.

Your Child Will Succeed In Life

The most important idea that I want you to walk away with from this article is that music education will develop a portfolio of skills necessary for your child to prosper and succeed in life. The goal of music education is not to become a big star or famous musical artist, or even a singer. That's not the prosperity I'm talking about. The skills that music education teaches can be used in any profession that your children chooses when they grow up.

Economic prosperity in the future will be for the people with the most skill sets. Take action in getting your child started in learning a musical instrument. Your child's education will be enriched and he/she will be on a path towards that end goal of economic prosperity that begins with developing a bright mind. Download a free Ebook on "How Music Can Lead Your Child To Prosperity Through Music."

<![CDATA[Musical Instruments For Kids - 10 Things That Parents Get Wrong (Part 2)]]>Sat, 14 May 2011 18:24:50 GMThttp://www.themusiconomy.com/blog/musical-instruments-for-kids-10-things-that-parents-get-wrong-part-2Picture
Learning a musical instrument is arguably one of the most important aspects of your child's education. In getting them started in music, parents need to do more than merely provide the financing and car rides to music lessons. This article will discuss 5 more mistakes that parents can make when getting their child started in music.

6.  You might enroll your child into a group music lesson when you should have enrolled him/her into private lessons, or vice versa
 This really depends on the age of your child. If your child is very young, around 3-5 years-old, I would enroll him/her into a group lesson like a Suzuki class. I like group lessons, especially during the early childhood stages because it teaches social skills that will enrich development. And this is not too young to start because the Suzuki Method teaches how to play the instrument first and learning to read music later.

If the child is between 6 and 12-years-old, I would enroll her in private instruction. She will get the most out of the one-on-one attention. If you have it in your budget, you could enroll your child in the Suzuki class for a year, which meets once a week, and then also enroll her in private instruction once a week. This would give your kid the best of both worlds because the teaching methods are different. After a year of the Suzuki Method, I would just keep your kid in private lessons going forward.

7.  You may have forced your child into taking lessons before they were ready, or you piqued her interest 
 It's very important to begin culturing your child into enjoying music. You can never force someone to like music. But there is evidence that suggests that young children who are exposed to music on a regular basis during the very early years will develop an inclination to the pleasures of music. You can have classical, jazz, or even pop music on all the time! The developing mind loves music.

I would also add that it's never too late to start having music on in the house and car regularly. If your child is above 6-years-old, you can still do the same thing. The difference will be that you should engage with your child in a conversation about the music you're listening to together. It will not only develop an appreciation for music but also a bond between you and your kid.

8.  You may have chosen an instrument for your child that he/she is not interested in learning
You can't choose an instrument that you always wanted to learn or that you may already know how to play. Also, please don't choose an instrument for your child because you like it. Even though kids don't always no yet what they like and don't like, you should let them choose. This will give them a chance to make a commitment and take responsibility for their decision. You will have to stress to them they will be practicing on that instrument every day so they understand their new responsibility.

9.  Your child might quit and you don't know the real reason why
There could be many reasons why your child has decided to quit learning their musical instrument. But one reason that you should consider first is the teacher. If your child is enrolled in group lessons, sit in the back of the classroom and observe. Don't go out to run errands. Stay there and see how the teacher is instructing the class. Is she teaching in a way that you would find fun and interesting? If the answer is no, then your kid probably doesn't think so either.

If your child is taking private lessons, it would be wise to observe as well. Many private teaching studios have a window on the door so that you can watch the lesson without your child knowing. This is one way to investigate how the teacher is instructing your child, and also to see if your child is either misbehaving or not paying attention. If your child is misbehaving in the lesson, you are going to have to put a stop to this. It's the parent's job to put a little pressure on the child for this problem.

I would also have a conversation with the teacher to find out the reason why your child doesn't want to learn the instrument any more and if possible, how the lesson plan can be modified to pique interest again.

If you find that the teacher is not very good, not engaging, and not doing everything he/she can to motivate your kid, then you may want to consider changing teachers. But before you do that, send your child to a new teacher for one lesson to see if she likes it better. Just make sure you are present at that lesson. Even if you have to be in the room with them. Grab a magazine, sit behind your kid and out of view if possible. Just pretend to read your magazine, but pay attention to what's going on in the lesson.

10.  Your child may have a lack of motivation to practice and you don't know how to deal with it correctly
Lack of motivation to practice doesn't mean the your child wants to quit altogether. It could mean that the material is very difficult. Or it could be just laziness. Your child needs support from her teacher and you to achieve. Learning a musical instrument will be one of the most challenging subjects that your kid faces in education. But the value of musical achievement will make everything else in your child's life much easier.

You could also create a “rewards program” at home. Offer your child a reward for practicing 30 minutes a day. Try your best to not make it bribery. You know what your kid likes. Use these things to entice her to practice and to take it seriously. When your kid learns a new song, you need to applaud her for the accomplishment and to encourage her to keep practicing and learning new songs.

Parent's: Keep Up The Good Work!

If you follow my instructions to avoid the mistakes above, I want you to know that you are doing a great job in getting your child past the challenging early stages of music education. The main point is to get involved and stay engaged in your child's music education and development. By doing this, you'll find comfort in knowing that you're doing all you can in helping your child. Read more about why your child should learn a musical instrument here.

<![CDATA[Musical Instruments For Kids - 10 Things That Parents Get Wrong (Part 1)]]>Tue, 03 May 2011 19:59:40 GMThttp://www.themusiconomy.com/blog/musical-instruments-for-kids-10-things-that-parents-get-wrongBy Tony Margiotta Picture
Getting your child started in music is an exciting and momentous occasion. Your child is entering the wonderful world of music. I want to begin by saying thank you for encouraging your child to learn a musical instrument. You are not only enriching and culturing your child's education and development, but you are also placing your child on a path towards prosperity in whichever profession he/she chooses. The point is that if your child can learn a musical instrument, anything can be accomplished.

Music is not a simple matter to get your child started in. There are many things to think about. You wouldn't buy a car without proper research or even a computer for that matter. Proper research ensures that you make the best investment for your own personal set of circumstances and preferences. Buying a musical instrument is not the only thing that you will have to research to make the right choice. There are many other purchases and issues worth considering. We'll discuss the first 5 out of 10 most commons mistakes in this article.

In order to ensure that your child gets started on the right foot in music education, I have listed ten mistakes that any parent could make.

            1. You could buy the wrong size instrument

Depending on the age and height of your child, you will have to buy a musical instrument that is appropriate in size. Certain instruments come in many different sizes like a violin, and others may only come in 2 or 3 sizes like a guitar. Another important point is that you want to buy the size that is appropriate for your kid's height now, not how tall you think she will be one year from now. In other words, a musical instrument is not like a coat. Don't buy the next size up because you think she'll “grow into it.” The reason is because your kid will not be able to learn effectively because it will be too difficult physically to play the instrument.

            2. You could choose the wrong teacher
 Choosing a teacher is a big decision. In essence, the teacher can have a great impact on the destiny of your child's musical development. There are many attributes to look for in a good teacher, but one that is a must, is that he/she must have at least a bachelor's degree in music. It's also possible that you may not know that you chose the wrong teacher for you kid until down the road a little. And that's OK. Once you learn that the teacher could be the reason for your child's progress slowing down or vanishing completely, you can switch teachers. You want a teacher that can customize their approach to teaching your child. Every kid learns differently. The main point is to stay involved in your child's music education so that you can make changes when necessary.

  •      3. You could be overcharged for the instrument purchase

 Whether you decide to purchase your child's first musical instrument on the internet or at a local music shop, you will have to do some research to understand what the appropriate price range would be for the instrument. Not all musical instruments are created equal. It's important to understand which brands make better quality instruments and which ones are so cheap that they may have no value in a few months. Musical instruments are just like cars, there are chevy's, Lamborghini’s, and everything in between. There is no need for the most expensive and highest quality instrument for a first-time purchase. My advice is to find a good quality instrument, that is reliable in quality, and is in the low to medium price range.

            4.  A salesperson may talk you into buying some accessories that your child doesn't need
 If you buy your child's first instrument at a local music store, the salesperson will most certainly offer you some accessories. The truth is that some you will need right away and there are others you may need several months down the road. Again, you will need to do a little research to understand which accessories your kid needs right away in order to get started with no delay.

For example, every student will need a music stand to place their music books and sheet music onto in order to learn to read music properly. If your kid has to learn reading music with the books placed on the bed, she won't learn to read music quickly and efficiently. Other accessories like a metronome for example, will not be needed til several months later or more. The music instructor will determine when it's a good time.

          5.  You might not buy the right book that is best for your child's age

In my opinion, the first instructional book is a crucial part of early success in your child's music education. If the book is blasé, boring, and not engaging, your kid is going to lose motivation to practice. No matter what, the child must learn discipline in order to practice daily and consistently. But, an engaging book will go a long way in achieving a consistent practicing regimen.

You want to get a book that is also appropriate for your kid's age. There are many beginner books out there and they are directed towards a certain age group. For example, a 12-year-old can concentrate much more than a 5-year-old could with a book that is in black-and-white. That 5-year-old is going to need a book full of lots of colors and drawings. Perhaps even a section for the student to draw in.

In Part 2, I will discuss the next 5 mistakes that parents can make when getting their child started in music. I hope this has been helpful so far, and please feel free to contact me for any questions. info@themusiconomy.com

If you're interested in getting your child started in music, you may want to consider trying my parent's guide. Click here to learn more about it. 

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