Aren't private lessons better than group lessons?

 

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We believe that taking private lessons is the most ideal form of learning for older children and adults. Though there are exceptions, our years of experience have shown us that private lessons are not necessarily appropriate for very young children. 

Private lessons for beginners typically concentrate on working through the primers and learning to read notation. Technique and repertoire are the main ingredients. (Gibb, 1993).

Although the emphasis on technical work and notation during instrumental lessons are absolutely necessary, if too much of it is introduced to a young piano student from the onset, it can stifle his/her creativity and musicianship.  In terms of brain usage, technical skills and note reading are based largely in the left hemisphere. Students who are taught this way from an early age never learn to listen properly to themselves and are unable to play with feeling. Once these students learn to rely on notation for their music, it becomes increasingly difficult to explore musical avenues that do not have a notational basis. (Evans, 1985, Priest, 1989.) Most teachers surveyed rated the following components as low priority: only 63% covered playing-by-ear; only 54% included improvisation; only 49% taught composition. (Odam, 1195, Gibbs, 1993, Thompson, 1984 and Jorgenson, 1986)

Before 1850 pianists routinely learned not only to interpret but also to improvise and compose on the piano. After this date, piano performance was gradually transformed into a reproductive art.  The accomplishments of all round musicians were lost as interpretation and technical prowess took priority. (Gellrich and Parncutt,1998).

The dominance of notation in verbally oriented and teacher-led lessons leads to hours of practicing where the body is fully occupied but the brain is not engaged at all.  Traditional method books encourage students to listen "a note at a time"; their physical movements and coordination are shaped for life by that kind of listening.  Most traditional instrument lessons are teacher-centered rather than student-centered.  Telling children to do their best to please their teacher causes nervousness and anxiety which leads to muscular and emotional tension.  The focus on technique has also been shown to be responsible for unnecessary physical tension leading to injuries. Tension also results when children have no clear mental perception of the music in and of itself. (Chappell, 2001)

 

What is the Harmony Road Music Course?

 

Harmony Road 2 student Abigail's (age 6) composition 

Harmony Road 2 student Abigail's (age 6) composition 

Harmony Road program was developed by Jan Keyser thirty five years.  The curriculum has grown and been continually refined to ensure student success. Harmony Road classes provide ideal groundwork for more advanced musical training as well as a lifetime of music enjoyment.

Lessons include:

  • Keyboard discovery and playing
  • Solfege singing and ear training
  • Rhythm activities and movement
  • Creative activities and composing.


In the Harmony Road Course, the focus is in helping young musicians to become complete and creative musicians by introducing them to the lost art of improvising and composing as an important component in addition to notation and technical exercises.  Students who aspire to be concert artists will learn the necessary skills to succeed with their chosen instrument.  All students develop insights and skills to have music and music-making be an important part of their lives. In fact, many take up a second instrument while studying piano and musicianship in the Harmony Road Music Course.

Currently there are 120 Harmony Road locations in the United States as well as Britain, New Zealand, Holland, Canada, and China.

 

How is Harmony Road Music Course different?

 

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Kinder programs are European music and movement programs based on the belief that every child is musical.  From birth to age seven children can participate without pressure to perform, as they are encouraged to explore, express and discover.  The curriculum is based on child development and age appropriate learning through music.  90% of the program is based on folk music and dance.

In an attempt to teach music to children from a developmental perspective, many group music appreciation programs have proliferated.  Some provide music interpretation, dancing and singing to folk tunes, or playing simple percussion instruments in kindergarten style rhythm bands.

All group music lessons are not created equally:

  • Pre-school music play programs do not teach your child to play a musical instrument.
  • They do not include parents as key teaching resources after the age of three or four.
  • They do not continue beyond the ages of six or seven.
  • They do not focus on teaching solfege singing (naming notes using do-re-mi) as the musical foundation for developing inner hearing, listening, feeling and music reading.
  • Some of them are activities to pass time, and not investments in the child's academic or musical future.

Harmony Road students learn to play piano, compose and improvise.  They have their own books, CD's to reinforce their studies at home each week.  In Harmony Road classes, parents participate fully in each lesson and coach their children at home throughout the week.  Harmony Road incorporates the rhythm and movement of Orff and Dalcroze, the solfege singing of Kodaly and the child centered learning approach of Montessori. Our classes are based on the time tested Harmony Road triangle parent/caregiver, child and trained Harmony Road teacher.

The incredible musicianship and technical skill that results from this combination results in young musicians who are truly gifted repertory performers and creative composers. Harmony Road is rooted in the old European teaching model of comprehensive musicianship, which produced Mozart, Beethoven and Bach. Remember the great composers did not only play the classics, they wrote them!

Do I need to buy a piano to start Harmony Road Music Program?


Although digital or acoustic piano with weighted keys is our first choice, a touch sensitive keyboard can be purchased for teaching the very young and fortunately can be purchased quite affordably. As the child learns to understand the geography of the keyboard and develops a sense of musicianship and timing (in the second year normally), we recommend that you purchase a digital piano with hammer action or an acoustic piano.

How does the tuition work?


You pay by 18 week semester. Installment payment is available. Please feel free to inquire.

 

Want to Enroll...Now What?

 

  • To register online, complete this enrollment form. You can pay online using your credit card.
  • To register by phone or onsite, You can give us a call or come into our office during our office hours.