Lessons at The Music Box
A music school provides an environment where students study with professionally trained instructors. Often there is more than one instructor for each instrument, so students and parents can choose a teacher that best fits their child's personality and learning style.
Students will often 'move-up' to the next teacher or increase lesson time, especially if they are on a path towards making a career in music. Our instructors teach the fundamentals, including artistry and writing music, while exposing them to many music styles.
A child's experience includes special enrichment programs that build discipline and confidence. Students are recognized when they obtain their goals by receiving praise and rewards.
Students in a school environment are motivated by hearing peers at different levels and being exposed to various musical instruments. An opportunity to learn in small bands or ensembles is also beneficial and fun. Performance in an ensemble or master class teaches kids to work together toward a goal.
The Music Box encourages all students to participate in a yearly recital to demonstrate their growing talents to family and friends. Throughout the year, there are other performing opportunities offered to students.
Practicing at Home
How to Make Music Fun for the Whole Family
All parents want their children to enjoy and excel at music, but no one wants to scream (or be screamed at) to practice every day. Although ideal, students (adults included) rarely practice every day. Everyone’s learning style is different. Often people will play for an hour or two one day and then not again for 3 days. Some will play for 5 minutes several times a day. Try to establish a routine, but don’t worry if it doesn’t work out as planned.
Be sure the instrument is in good playing condition, and the student can practice anytime they can. A piano should be in tune and won’t interfere with other family members’ television viewing or studying. For example, a clarinet should be checked out professionally and the student provided with plenty of reeds.
Wherever the student is practicing, be sure to have a stand for the music and a chair/bench that promotes proper posture while playing. Try to make practicing an assumed part of the student’s day, like homework, showering, etc. The house rule can be no television, computer games, internet, etc., until homework, practicing, etc.
Rewarding practicing is always best. For young students, parent involvement is often necessary during practice time. When the child can practice independently, it’s good for the parent to make positive comments. (Leave corrections for the teacher.) Perhaps have a home ‘concert’ once a month if the child is willing. A positive reward system, like putting a sticker on the calendar for each day of practice without being reminded, then a special reward for every ten or so stickers, works well.
Lessons are usually scheduled once a week at either 30, 45, or 60 minutes in length. (See individual registration form for current prices.) Young students and beginning instrumentalists and singers usually choose the 30-minute lesson. Beginning students often need to build up certain muscle groups, and young children often have shorter attention spans. Adults, teenagers, intermediate and advanced students often benefit more from the 45 or 60-minute lessons.
There are ways to determine if a longer lesson is needed. The student and teacher will generally spend the first part of the lesson going over material practiced during the previous week. (See "How To Get The Most Out Of Lessons")
After improvements, technique development, etc., new material will be introduced. If the student finds that s/he has either mastered or had trouble with the new material after a few days of practice, s/he will likely need a longer lesson to have time to get either more material to play, or more repetition during the lesson to facilitate easier practice. On occasion the teacher will suggest to the student/parent that a longer lesson is needed, but the parent should listen when the student practices to gauge when and if the student is mastering the material.
The Music Box is open Tuesdays through Fridays, early afternoon through evenings, and Saturdays. Please call for current hours and session dates. Lessons are generally scheduled each week, although arrangements can be made for students or parents with changing work schedules. Many of our teachers work multiple days, so it is easy to schedule make-up lessons. Some teachers teach only one or two days per week. We do all that we can to accommodate busy families and families with multiple students who want lessons simultaneously. Lessons can start any time of the year. Efforts are made to schedule families with multiple students or limited availability. multiple students or limited availability
Because registering for lessons is multi-faceted, we do not offer online registration at this time. You can send a non-time-sensitive note to us on the Contact Us page, but registration is best done by phone. Calls are taken on a first-come, first-served basis. This is especially important at new registration periods. Although calls will be returned in the order they are received, if we leave a message or need time to decide, the opening(s) will be offered to subsequent callers. There is currently no fee for registration.
Please call (845) 724-5867. You can leave a message at any time. Leave specific information: i.e., the student's age, the instrument or voice, phone number, and times your call can be returned.
We know that people get sick, issues come up, accidents happen, etc. Because The Music Box has a comparatively liberal cancellation policy, the cancellation times below are absolute. It is always preferred to make up a lesson. If you know of another obligation on a lesson day, contact us early in the week, and we will do our best to reschedule the lesson. If the cancellation is due to illness, we can try to reschedule to when the student is no longer contagious, or if available, a longer lesson on another date. Teachers expect payment for late cancellations or for when the student doesn't show up.
If you need to cancel or reschedule a lesson, call (845) 724-5867. Please do not use email. Leave a message if we are closed.
End of June: Recital week
November: MB closed for Thanksgiving, Thursday & Friday
December: MB closed for Christmas thru New Year. Happy Holidays!
These general guidelines will help you to have a successful, rewarding experience learning an instrument. These are practical tips that we have discovered from years of teaching and our experiences working with hundreds of students each year.
Experiencing music is a joyful activity for a child. The best time to encourage a child’s musical development is when s/he begins to show an interest in instruments or in singing. For very young children, listening to quality, age-appropriate music is essential. Songs with repetitive choruses and recordings with identifiable instruments are a great way to stimulate rote learning and conversation. Caregivers should sing along whenever possible (no matter what they think of their voice!). A young voice takes years to produce good pitch, so take care not to pass judgment on the child’s singing quality.
Most children will sing in proper rhythm quite naturally. Hand-clapping, tapping, and instruments like egg shakers, woodblocks, tambourines, and drums are great fun and reinforce steady beat and rhythmic patterns. Children develop better learning skills by listening to and creating music. Listening skills, patterning, memory, attention span, creativity, etc., are greatly increased by early musical exposure.
Group music classes are an excellent start for young children. Classes, where the caregiver (s) are involved and provide materials to be reinforced at home are ideal. Taking children to age-appropriate concerts will stimulate their visual curiosity by seeing the instruments/people that create the sounds. Bring children to local school concerts: they are usually free, and it is an excellent way to teach proper audience etiquette, such as talking, entering, and exiting the room only during the applause.
The three most important signs of readiness for individual music instruction are interest, attention span, and tonal memory.
Starting at the right age is a key element to the success of a child’s musical experience. If children are put into lessons too soon, they may feel overwhelmed and frustrated and want to stop lessons. Sometimes by waiting to start lessons, the student will progress much faster. However, if the child shows readiness signs (see above), it’s best not to wait too long. The following are general guidelines we have found to determine how young a child should start taking music lessons.
Although research has shown a link between reading words and musical readiness, a child doesn't have to be reading well to be successful musically. Many people learn by hearing and then by reading the printed music. We have found the combination of hearing the song and reading the notes simultaneously works best.
5 years old is about the youngest age we start children in private lessons. At this age, they have begun to develop longer attention spans and can retain material with ease. (See Suzuki method)
(Piano and Violin) 4 years old is the youngest age we start children using this well-known approach. There are many facets to the suzuki method, but one key element is the parent's role as a mentor to the student. Parents sit in on lessons and assist the student at home during practice. No musical experience is required of the parent. The teacher will let you know how best to function in this role.
7 years old is generally a good age to start lessons. Guitar et al. playing require 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. Bass guitar students are typically 10 years and older, although many start on a regular guitar.
Eleven or twelve is a good starting age for private vocal lessons. However, if children younger than 12 are already performing, it is good to take lessons to ensure correct singing habits.
Six to seven years is the youngest age we start children in this lesson format where non-strenuous, age-appropriate singing is explored in combination with basic keyboard skills, note reading, and other musical concepts.
Five is about the youngest recommended age. We have a full-size drum set, a child-sized set for the lessons, and practice pads and bells.
Due to lung capacity (and in the case of the saxophone, trombone, and tuba, the instrument's size), we recommended that most woodwind and brass beginners be 9 and older.
Since these instruments are sized to fit, string students can begin around age 5 or 6 when the most productive learning occurs. (See also Suzuki method)
It is never too late to learn a musical instrument! School orchestra and band programs usually start in the fourth or fifth grade. Occasionally students move to a new school district that started their program earlier or may want to switch to a different instrument. Private lessons are a great way to ‘catch up’ with peers. Motivated students can often make up a year of school lessons in 2-3 months of individual instruction.
Many adults find music lessons to be wonderfully creative ‘therapy’. The complexities and challenges of learning an instrument bring a renewed sense of accomplishment that a child can’t always appreciate how an adult can.
Choosing an instrument for an older student takes into consideration possible physical limitations. Arthritic hands may have difficulty with the guitar or violin, for example, but may find piano playing beneficial. Breathing difficulties may pose a problem for a wind or brass instrument or singer; however, many people, especially asthmatics, find these instruments helpful in regulating and supporting the breathing mechanisms. The recorder takes minimal breath yet can produce the most beautiful of sounds.
Often people want to start an instrument or resume their studies as an adult. Most commonly, they wonder if they are too old, etc. The answer is a resounding ‘NO’! Commonly, people think that children learn faster. The truth is that adults learn and progress faster as long as they can put into the instrument. The biggest obstacle to the adult beginner is that they know how the song should go, for example, and get frustrated when it doesn’t sound that way. On the other hand, children will repeat a song or passage repeatedly until it is mastered without judging themselves or being self-conscious.
Adults often have a more discriminating ear when it comes to tone. Children often don’t master the right tone for many years. Adults can play/sing artistically much sooner than children because they have the life experiences that give music emotion.
The adult student will be successful if s/he makes a conscious effort to learn without judging him/herself and to find pride in his/her progress.
The Music Box offers group lessons from time to time. Some of our newest classes are Ukulele for beginners, songwriting, pop singing, and guitar ensemble. Group classes can be a 2 or 3 hour Saturday workshop or a class that meets for 45 minutes to an hour every week for 6-8 weeks. The advantages of a group class are: