How to Help Your Child Practice Music: Key #3

  Now we know that good music practice comes from being consistent and valuing the incredible power of music practice. Last in our series is… Music practice key #3 You need to come to practicing with the mentality of being a co-learner, not a policeman. We want them to use their natural curiosity about the world to their benefit. We want to nourish their ability to make discoveries and ask questions. Sit with them in a calm and quiet attitude and help them to become self-propelled learners. When they make a discovery or breakthrough, they’re naturally motivated to continue—without threats, bribes or coercion! And you need to celebrate every accomplishment! Give hugs, high fives, high praise when they overcome a hard spot in their music, or perfect a beautiful melodic phrase. Brag about them in front of other adults – not just about their ability to play, but about their drive to work hard and how they persevered through a challenge. Use your teacher as a resource to break up their assignments into small, achievable goals for you to work on for the week and guide your child lovingly and gently toward taking more and more personal responsibility for their practice time. Then sit back and watch your precious children grow and thrive through challenges, self-correct and gain confidence in everything they do the rest of their lives. Watch yourself become a better parent and a better person as you set an example for them. Can we afford not to approach practice music this way? Want to learn more about practice techniques that will help your family? Get more...

How to Help Your Child Practice: Key #2

We learned last week that consistency is the first key to making practice time easier and more effective at your house. Now let’s go a step farther! The second key to successful music practice You, as a parent, need to understand exactly what practicing is, and its value for your child, or you won’t value it yourself. You’ll compromise practice days and slip into the habit of barking at your child to get out their violin and practice, or threaten to quit lessons if they don’t shape up. Music practice time is PRICELESS for your child’s personal growth. They’re not just learning an instrument, they are shaping their problem-solving skills, focus, self-discipline and regulation, time management, math skills, verbal skills, foreign languages, fine and gross motor skills, intellect, ability to accept constructive criticism, delayed gratification, performing under pressure, and emotional expression. Is there any other activity you can think of that addresses all those areas of personal development? Besides that, they’re learning to play an instrument they can enjoy through their entire life.  Stay tuned for Key #3 next week! Want to learn more about practice techniques that will help your family? Get more out of music lessons and end the fighting at home! Mattix Music Studio is offering a parents-only workshop about how you can revolutionize music practice at your house and help your children (of all ages) develop the incredible life skills they need to thrive. Ask questions and get specific ideas for your family. Click on the event below for registration and more information. Information will be presented by studio owners Dan and Katie Mattix, with...

Performing Matters–Here are 4 Reasons Why!

As we get close to recital season, you may be wondering why performing matters at all. Some parents are afraid their kids might crumble under the pressure, some adult students are wondering why they got themselves into this, and most students are just plain excited. So what’s it all about, anyway? Regularly performing the music we learn is extremely valuable, for musical reasons and for personal growth. Here’s why performing matters. 1. Performing matters because students learn life skills. Students who perform regularly have the opportunity to practice performing under pressure. As adults, we are often called upon to perform a skill under pressure. The more we practice, the better we get. The skill of performing music can be applied to job interviews, presentations, test taking, or public speaking. We don’t teach students how to ignore pressure or pretend they’re not nervous. We teach them to be familiar with that feeling, focus and push through for a successful outcome. In short, we practice being courageous! “But what if my child really messes up?!” Guess what? Mistakes during performances are not failures. The skill of making a mistake and recovering from it is invaluable to leading a successful life. We all have to learn to move on from mistakes and refocus. In fact, it takes as much skill to recover from an error during a performance as it does to play it perfectly. Obviously, no one wants to make mistakes, but life is full of imperfection. The sooner we learn how to get past that, the more mature people we can be. If you or your child make a mistake during...

Music Together | Mattix Music Studio

Music Together— We are very excited to offer early childhood music classes at Mattix Music Studio in Sycamore and Western Springs. Music Together training graduates! Ashley, Christine, founder Lily Levinowitz, and Katie Katie, Christine, and Ashley have all gone through training and are registered Music Together teachers. What is Music Together? Music Together is a music program for infants to age five and their families. Children get to experience musical, personal and scholastic growth while bonding with their caregivers. Who could ask for more? The classes are taught by highly trained, highly qualified individuals who are not only outstanding musicians, but also very caring people. Their highest priority is your childrens’ enjoyment of music and to encourage their personal growth. Music Together classes are also extremely fun for children, grown-ups, and teachers alike! Why Music Together? There are lots of different programs out there, so why did we choose Music Together? Music Together is an extraordinary program. The music is award-winning and the curriculum is based on 25 years of intensive research on neurological, musical and familial growth for children and their caregivers. Also, the music is very rich and diverse. Each class offers original pieces, folk songs from around the world, different modes and meters, and even elements of contemporary music that we adults might not be familiar with. And you may be surprised to hear it, but, unlike some other programs, even adults don’t get tired of listening to the music! It’s so much fun and so varied, with award-winning recordings of original pieces and arrangements, you won’t get sick of it! Families who sign up receive: two CDs (soon to be...

I Admit It… I’m a Lazy Violinist!

“Try to be a lazy violinist!” Yesterday I told my student Adam that what he really needs to play his piece well is to be a lazy violinist. His eyes bugged out and he definitely could not believe what I just said. Yep, he needs to be more “lazy.” So here’s a big secret that nobody knows: Musicians are jocks. We’re all athletes who are working out very specific parts of our muscles everyday. The stigma of the nerdy musician who is as pale as a vampire because she never sees the sun, wearing glasses while squinting at small music notes, and whose backside is shaped like the practice chair may have some legitimacy… But we’re actually pretty amazing athletes. I dare you to challenge me to a thumb war! Injured Violinist When I was in college I practiced violin for six to eight hours a day, which is pretty standard for string and piano majors. By my junior year I developed severe tendonitis and carpal tunnel syndrome in both of my hands due to overuse and bad technique. I literally couldn’t hold a fork for a while, or even turn a door handle. The doctors told me I couldn’t play violin again. They said that I should just quit and do something else with my life. Well, tell that to someone who is in their junior year of college, only has one legitimate skill and 3/4 of their music credits done, and watch them dissolve into a puddle of despair. I stopped playing for about nine months and slowly worked myself back up to practicing as much as I could. Not eight hours...