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To receive your very own Welcome Packet that includes material regarding Private lessons,
including the Studio Handbook with the Studio Policies and lesson and practice guidelines,
please contact Stacy: stacy@stacymarie.com 
A Passion For Music And A Passion For Teaching

A musician for over thirty years, Stacy Marie Walker not only understands music but can demonstrate superior vocal and piano technique. This is essential so the student learns first-hand what to emulate. Not only does Stacy have life-long experience and high qualifications, she is also a gifted teacher. She has been teaching professionally since 2000. Stacy cares deeply for her students' personal development and has the experience, intuition, motivation, knowledge, understanding and patience to effectively impart her passion for music to her students. Everyone thinks and learns differently and the lessons are adjusted based on the student's style of learning. Rather than "the same lesson" being taught to everyone, each lesson is customized to the individual needs, desires, and personality of the pupil. Good practice habits are taught, and the students are nurtured in an encouraging learning environment while developing noble character and self-discipline. Music is not just about playing or singing notes, and her students are instructed in how to create music, not just play the instrument. Stacy seeks to discover each student's gifts to awaken and further develop them; to see every pupil excel in their personal calling and reach their fullest potential. She is active in setting goals for every student. Stacy truly has the gift of a teacher; nurturing her students' desire to learn.

Stacy Marie Walker is trained in the Suzuki Method for piano and is a member of the Suzuki Association of the Americas. She is also a member of Music Teachers National Association, Georgia Music Teachers Association, and the Gwinnett County Music Teachers Association.
 "The best lesson of all: I learned how to learn."
Joan Oliver Goldsmith
 
Studying music is a fun, exciting, and rewarding journey! It is a spiritual art form and a universal language that can be learned at any age. Research about the effects of music study has shown that it makes children smarter and contributes to their brain development, even as early as infancy. Through the discipline of learning music there is a transfer of communicative, cognitive, and study skills that become useful in every part of life. Children who study music have higher self-esteem and greater achievement in school, as well as better success in developing their mind and intelligence, in society, and in life. For the adult beginner it is a timeless hobby that yields a lifetime of enrichment and enjoyment. Music making also makes the elderly healthier, and keeps their mind active. Music is a wonderful means of expression and release. It is physically, psychologically, emotionally and spiritually therapeutic. It is both academic and aesthetic. A student's character is developed through the discipline of studying music, and through making music they are given a channel to creatively communicate the depths of their heart. Music speaks what words cannot, and is the sound of emotion. It is a personal and unique expression of our innermost essence. After all, if you don't sing your song, if you don't play the music that is within you, then who will? All of creation is musical. Scientific studies have proven that color is sound, so on a level that we cannot yet fully perceive, all of creation is groaning with vibration unto God. Music is of eternity. The Scripture clearly teaches that music and singing is forever going forth before the Throne of God, and even the Lord Himself surrounds us with His songs and sings over us.
"Why music lessons?" The real question to ask is… "Why not?"
 "Alas for those that never sing,
but die with all their music in them."
Oliver Wendell Holmes

 

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What styles are taught?
 
Stacy specializes in the Suzuki Method. She teaches everything from Classical, Popular, and Musical Theater, to Jazz, Rock, and R&B. She believes in having a thorough understanding of the fundamentals of music and teaches Music Theory with a special emphasis on ear training, solid technique, and reading. Stacy also incorporates a Chord approach for all of her students, which is ideal in preparing to play music with chord charts or contemporary worship, and singing harmonies. Both Voice & Piano students learn to read music and some are even instructed in Songwriting and Composing so that they may write music of their own. For Voice students she guides and trains in solid technique, having good breath support, expanding their range, gaining more power and control, and having a developed ear for tonal memory, harmonies, and good intonation. They learn to be stylized and versatile; well-educated in the different approaches to singing. From her vast experience on stages worldwide, Stacy even teaches Performance; having good stage presence, using mic technique, developing good oratory skills, displaying confidence and charisma, capturing the audience, and guarding the heart and mind against the snares therein.
 "God gave us music that we might pray without words."
Author Unknown

 

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What curriculum is used?

PIANO
For piano students, Stacy's choice of instructional material is the highly acclaimed Suzuki Method Piano School. She herself studied under the Suzuki Method for 10 years when she was a child, so she knows first hand what it is like to learn from that method. The Suzuki Method encourages a wonderful, fostering relationship between the child, parent, and teacher, and especially focuses on training the ear and teaching quality musicianship. There is a CD of companion recordings that the student listens to at home, which helps the ear to develop musically. If the student is young, the parent attends all lessons and takes notes as well as practices with the child at home.  Stacy has special lessons with the parent to train them how to be coaches at home for their child. 

Technique, Notespeller, Theory, and Sightreading books are also an integral part of each piano student's curriculum. For theory with her students, floor activities and music games help to make learning fun. For bookwork, Stacy commonly uses Alfred's Basic Piano Library, or Fundanemtals of Piano Theory. One of Stacy's favorite technique books is the world renowned Hanon exercises, which with consistent study and quality application causes any piano player to acquire the skill and agility needed to become a virtuoso pianist.  Each student learns scales and chords and the corresponding theory to aquire a well-rounded education in the language of music.

VOICE
For voice students a fantastic progressive Sight-reading curriculum is used, which teaches them how to read music and "sing what they see"; understanding the rhythms, notes, intervals, time signatures, key signatures, Solfege and numbers. She also incorporates ear training through tonal memory and interval recognition. Students have weekly assigned pieces to practice, or techniques and skills to develop. There are traditional and classical books that Stacy uses that include accompaniment tracks, and some contain diction lessons and foreign language pronunciation. Jazz books are also very popular for her Voice students, which include the accompaniment CD so the students can enjoy practicing "the standards" with their very own back-up band in the comfort of their own home. Voice students are encouraged to bring a digital voice recorder on which Stacy can record different exercises, so that the students can practice those at home with her guidance. All of these recordings help the students to get the most out of their practice time between lessons.

BOTH
Every student, be they Voice or Piano, learns chords as well as scales, (and all of the theory of which those are comprised). Beyond the main curriculum, the use of flash cards and various materials help to supplement the concepts presented in the syllabus. Custom exercises and choice of music is based on the student's level and interests. Solo and recital pieces vary from student to student depending on the style they are studying and their ultimate goals. Every lesson and every assignment is customized to every student.

 

 "Use the talents you possess, for the woods would be very silent if no birds sang except the best."
Henry Van Dyke

 

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What ages do you teach?

PIANO
Piano lessons are for children of all ages, be they 4 or 104! Students of Suzuki piano may start as early as age 4 if they are ready, and there is no age limit to adult beginners. There are different variables that determine the readiness of your child. Most importantly, they need to be able to follow directions. All students are required to observe 4 lessons before they begin lessons themselves. The way a student handles themselves during these observations is a good sign as to whether or not they are ready to begin. Watching other students learn is also very inspiring, and it often makes the observers that much more eager to learn. With adequate conversation and observations, Stacy will be able to give you a first-hand professional opinion as to the learning timeline of your child. Some children are ready to start at age three, while others may need to wait until age five or six. Starting early gives your child a great advantage in learning the language of music, so it is advisable to not wait too long to begin. 

Having some basic reading and math skills is helpful, as both are required for studying music. If a child has a basic understanding of the alphabet and numbers it is easier for them to grasp the basic concepts of music. (The musical alphabet is the first seven letters of the alphabet and it identifies notes, sounds and keys. Being able to count will help the child learn note values, beats of music, and correct fingering.) Playing the piano involves both the left and right brain, therefore some basic language and math skills are very helpful. The neat thing is, however, learning the piano will actually improve your child's skills in these areas. So they do not have to be accomplished in these areas before they begin lessons.

With the little ones there is no need to be overly concerned about their hands being too "small". Although a younger child is not able to perform as many keyboard maneuvers as older children, it is just a matter of time before their hands grow larger. If their training is started while they are small, then by the time their hands are "big enough" they will already have a good foundation in the fundamentals and technique and will be ready for more advanced fingering and hand positions.

VOICE
Stacy teaches singing to students of all ages, however the serious Vocal studies are not offered until high school age or later because the techniques involved can potentially harm the voice if introduced prematurely and thus misunderstood and applied incorrectly while the voice is developing. Some techniques are best performed after the voice has matured. However, Stacy does teach singing-for-fun to the younger students by introducing general and safe concepts, and teaching basic music theory. With pre-high school students, Stacy approaches the Voice lessons more as "singing lessons" or "music lessons", where they enjoy singing fun songs while learning about music theory, experimenting with sounds, growing in music appreciation, developing their ear and good intonation, and learning to sightread and do basic tonal memory. Even though she doesn't get into the real specifics and advanced techniques of Voice until high school, she lays down the ground work so that when the students are ready for a more serious approach they will have a smooth transition. Stacy can also recommend local Choral groups to get involved with in which the students will receive many benefits from participating.

 

 "I have come to the definite conclusion that musical ability is
not an inborn talent but an ability which can be developed."
Shinichi Suzuki

 

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What if I want to study Piano and Voice?
 
Great! Suzuki Piano students sing frequently on lessons as part of their ear training, so if you study piano with Stacy you will get some vocal practice as well. Voice students are actually highly encouraged to take Piano lessons in order to supplement their studies, because the Piano is the foundational instrument of music. Once a student has a good foundation in Piano, gaining skills in other instruments is more easily acquired. The singer pianist will find themselves developing much faster in all areas of musicianship than if they were only studying Voice. Plus they can enjoy the benefits of being their own accompanist. Stacy can incorporate both Piano and Vocal training into one lesson, at no additional charge, based on the student's desires and ability. The only thing that you ever pay for is her time, whether you are studying Voice, Piano, or both.

 

 "Without music, life would be an error.
The German imagines even God singing songs."
Friedrich Nietzsche

"The Lord your God will rejoice over you with singing."
Zephaniah 3:17

 

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How long are the lessons and what is the cost?
 
Private lessons are offered as a half an hour or 45 minutes for younger students and beginners. Hour lessons are offered for older or more experienced students, and for those who are desiring to learn more quickly. Longer
classes are also available, depending on the student's level and course of study. Tuition is based upon 2 semesters per academic year of 15 weeks each [September through December, and January through April]. Tuition includes a weekly private lesson, a monthly group class, and a semester studio recital. Tuition is due on the first lesson of each month.

MONTHLY TUITION (ACADEMIC YEAR)
 
                                           Weekly Private Lesson        8 Monthly Payments
                                                     30 minutes                            $125.00
                                                     45 minutes                            $187.50
                                                     60 minutes                            $250.00
                            

SUMMER TUITION

Stacy Marie Music observes a summer break May through August. There are no group classes or recitals during this time, and students are not required to attend lessons every week. However students are encouraged to continue weekly private lessons as their schedule allows. Consistency in lessons is crucial for students to continue their progress and maintain their abilities, so private lessons are offered on a flexible basis. Tuition must be paid in advance when scheduling and there is a 24 Hour Cancellation Policy. 
Private Lesson (Flexible Scheduling)

                                            30 min = $35.00

                                          45 min = $52.50

                                          60 min = $70.00

                                          90 min = $105.00 

 


SCHOLARSHIP THROUGH REFERRALS

Word of mouth is always the best form of advertising and is greatly appreciated.  Stacy hopes that you will tell others about her teaching studio.  All active students of Stacy Marie Music are eligible to receive a client appreciation gift for referring others.  If someone they refer starts taking lessons with Stacy, then they receive a $100 credit toward their next month's tuition!  It is Stacy's way of saying thank you for the encouragement and the good word!


 "If you can walk you can dance. If you can talk you can sing."
Zimbabwe Proverb
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Where and when are the classes?
 
Stacy teaches out of her home music studio located near the Mall of Georgia in the Lawrenceville/Buford area. Lessons may be scheduled 12 noon to 9 pm Monday—Friday. Please contact Stacy to find out what openings she has in her schedule so that an appointment time may be reserved that is most convenient for you. Once you become a student, your Private lessons are scheduled once a week as a standing appointment, so you will have the same time on the same day reserved for you every week.

Skype lessons are also offered for students who live out of town, state, or country. Contact Stacy for more information.

 "Take a music bath once or twice a week for a few seasons, and you will find that it is to the soul what the water-bath is to the body."
Oliver Wendell Holmes
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How is ear training incorporated?
 
The material used is part of the worldwide Suzuki Method of teaching, an approach that especially emphasizes playing by ear. It is particularly effective when young children learn this method, although Stacy has had much success teaching the Suzuki curriculum to older children and adults as well. At home the student listens to companion recordings, CDs that are demonstrations of the songs that the student will learn in the Suzuki books. The students also imitate the teacher on the lessons. The student develops a good ear, thus facilitating their ability to imitate the masters!
Shinichi Suzuki, the founder of the method states, "Through the experience I have gained by conducting experiments in teaching young children for over thirty years, I have come to the definite conclusion that musical ability is not an inborn talent but an ability which can be developed. Any child, properly trained, can develop musical ability just as all children in the world have developed the ability to speak their mother tongue. Children learn the nuances of their mother tongue through repeated listening, and the same process should be followed in the development of an ear for music. Every day children should listen to the recordings of the music which they are studying or about to study. This listening helps them to make rapid progress. The children will begin to try their best to play as well as the performer on the recording. By this method the child will grow into a person with fine musical sense. It is the most important training of musical ability."

 

 "Music is what feelings sound like."
Author Unknown

 

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Am I taught to be an expressive musician?
 
Absolutely! With each new piece of music that a pupil is introduced to, Stacy teaches how to create beautiful music. Playing music is more than just playing the instrument or the notes; it is making the music come alive through effectively expressing emotion. Stacy's students are instructed in how to create music, not just play the instrument. This is not only taught through the Suzuki Method, but by any true music teacher. The Suzuki Method is known, however, for a focused approach in what Mr. Suzuki defines as tonalization.
"Tonalization is the instruction given the pupil, as he learns each new piece of music, to help him produce a beautiful tone and to use meaningful musical expression. We must train the pupil to develop a musical ear that is able to recognize a beautiful tone. He must then be taught how to reproduce the beautiful tone and fine musical expression of the piano artists of the past and present." Music is a discipline that builds upon itself. Students must not simply learn the music material, they must master it. And learning each piece of music comes in stages. Mr. Suzuki continues, "When a pupil gets to the stage where he can play a piece without a mistake in notes or fingering, the time is ripe for cultivating his musicianship… then I would proceed to teach a beautiful tone, fine phrasing, and musical sensitivity."
Concerning personal expression and creativity, Stacy even encourages students to write songs themselves, and guides them in how to do so.

 

 "Play the music, not the instrument."
Author Unknown

 

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What is the parent's role in a child's music studies?
 
Parents are an integral part of the Suzuki approach. They attend the lessons with their child, and help to reinforce the concepts at home during the week. They are secretaries on the lesson, taking detailed notes of what the teacher is doing with their child. And they are loving encouragers and coaches, at home as the student practices the weekly goals. As the students advance, parental involvement will be less, but the parent will always be needed as a supporter and encourager.

Just like learning to speak, a child learns to play piano through listening, imitation, repetition and a rich motivational environment created by the parents. The parents playing the companion CDs on a daily basis for their child will help them to learn faster and strengthen their ear. Lessons are fun when you understand what you are learning. Listening to the songs ahead of time gives the students a vital advantage when it comes time to learn the song on their instrument.
Dr. Shinichi Suzuki, founder of the Suzuki Method states, "If in addition to daily practice at home, the pupil listens to the recordings of the piece he is learning, every day and as often as possible, progress will be rapid. Six days a week of practice and listening at home will be more decisive in determining the child's rate of advancement than one or two lessons a week." You will be amazed at how, over time, your child will develop an ear for music just by spending time listening to the demonstration tracks.

The teacher teaches, but the parent helps the child walk it out on a daily basis. Celebrate even the smallest of successes! It is important that your child know that you are pleased when they practice and when they succeed. This will encourage them to practice more and try their best. But also let them know that it is their best that you expect from them, not perfection. Good effort needs to be acknowledged and rewarded just as much as a "perfect" performance. However, when they do it correctly, let them know that it is correct and that it is noticed. This establishes what they should continue to strive for and makes them feel validated.

The parent's role does not end inside the home. When you bring your child to lessons on time, you are demonstrating the importance of their studies and ensuring that your child receives the full value of them. When you arrive at the lesson unhurried and prepared, you are setting a tone for success through peaceful preparation. You also have the opportunity to attend their recitals and special performances to be their fan club, and invite friends and family to do the same. You set the example, and if it is important to you, it will be important to your child.

Once parents see firsthand how music helps their children grow, they often become strong supporters of music programs. You can become involved with and make donations to national music educational organizations, district school programs, community arts societies, and even private studios and music educators. You can invest in a real piano and support a local music store, while giving your child an amazing instrument on which to learn.
With the parent's gentle guidance, loving attention, consistent support, and continuous encouragement, the child will undoubtedly blossom in the musical adventure their whole life through!

FOR MORE INFO ON YOUR ROLE AS A PARENT IN YOUR CHILD'S MUSIC STUDIES,
CLICK BELOW TO READ THE ARTICLE "Note To Parents Concerning The Suzuki Method":
http://www.stacymarie.net/index.php?page=research&id=29#article

 

 "There is nothing more notable in Socrates than that he found time, when he was an old man, to learn music and dancing,
and thought it time well spent."
Michel de Montaigne

 

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Do I have to have a real piano to learn to play the piano?
 
Although ideal and highly recommended, a real piano is not an absolute requirement initially. For many people in Western cultures, having music in their lives does mean having a piano in their homes. However, there are many keyboards to choose from nowadays that are less of an investment than an acoustic piano. If you are in the market for keyboards, be sure to purchase one that has regular sized keys (not the mini-version for toddlers), is full-sized (88 total keys), has weighted action (keys are heavy to the touch), and is touch sensitive (plays loud or soft depending on how hard you press the keys). Many keyboards have a variety of sounds in them, some even with the ability to record your playing. However, no matter how expensive of a keyboard you buy, none compare to the action and reaction that a real piano gives the player.
If you are serious about learning in the ideal way, then you need to invest in a real piano. The rewards far outweigh the monetary cost. You will reap great benefits from practicing on an acoustic piano. The feel and sound of what a student learns on dramatically affects their perspective of that instrument. If they learn on something that is synthetic and not authentic, then their perspective could be askew and even detrimental to their ability to perform well on a real piano. Any piano connoisseur will tell you that a good piano is an amazing piece of art furniture that portrays character and culture, while adding beauty to your home, joy to your entertaining, and a lasting investment in your life that will appreciate in value over time. There is nothing like playing on the "real thing".
 "What I have in my heart and soul must find a way out. That's the reason for music."
Ludwig van Beethoven
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Do you have recitals?
Absolutely! There is a studio recital each semester; one in the Fall semester and one in the Spring semester. These recitals take place in a lovely facility that has a recital hall with a beautiful grand piano and fantastic acoustics. Everyone dresses up and enjoys beautifully prepared music from both Piano and Voice students. Door prizes are sometimes given away and special professional guest performers are often a part of the afternoon program. Students receive certificates and plaques based on their accomplishments in the past 6 months. Following the performances, refreshments are available for everyone to enjoy as we celebrate the day and have fellowship together. The bi-annual studio recitals are always fun!

Every student benefits from the preparation it takes to get ready for a performance. It adds a boost to their learning. Recitals give students the opportunity they need to play or sing in front of others. After all, music is even more fun when you can share it with people! The recitals are a wonderful reinforcement to what the students have learned throughout the year and recitals help to build desire. When students hear music played well by other students, their desire to be better increases. They may even hear a piece of music performed that they decide they would like to learn. They become inspired! Quite often their desire to practice increases as well because of this added motivation.

Students are heartily encouraged to take advantage of every performance opportunity, where they gain more confidence by being in front of an audience and achieving goals set before them. Special events give students the opportunity to have objectives and to develop the skills necessary for successful performance. In conjunction with these skills, attending recitals helps to develop the complementary skills of being an attentive, experienced, and evaluative audience member.  Appreciating music is an important part of being a good musician.

At the recitals, all of the students receive recognition and admiration for their accomplishments and progress in their music studies. The performers have their names printed in a lovely keepsake program. Progress awards are given; completion Certificates are awarded upon the graduation of each level; and plaques are awarded upon the completion of an entire curriculum and/or Suzuki level! It is a day when each student personally benefits from experiencing acknowledgement and great appreciation. It is a day you definitely don't want to miss!

 

 "The aim and final end of all music should be none other than
the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul."
Johann Sebastian Bach

 

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What are the benefits received from studying piano?
 
Music instruction is just as important (if not more so) as any other hobby or creative activity. For every age student, it is an enjoyable means of expression and a wonderful stress-relief; stimulating both the heart and the mind. Simply learning to play an instrument alone is rewarding in and of itself, but music students enjoy further rewards in many different areas of their lives. Below is a non-exhaustive list of 10 benefits that students of piano have enjoyed for three hundred years. These are qualities we all should, and need to, acquire in order to reach our dreams and live a full life. So do not hesitate to give yourself or your children the gift of music! It is a gift that will continue giving for a lifetime.

Click on a specific link below to be taken directly to the benefit of your choosing, or simply scroll down at your own pace to read all of the benefits described in detail.

 

  1. Piano Lessons Develop The Brain & Make Children Smarter
  2. Piano Lessons Help Children In School
  3. Piano Lessons Keep The Mind Active And The Body Healthy
  4. Piano Lessons Teach Students To Set and Achieve Goals
  5. Piano Lessons Help To Build Character
  6. Piano Lessons Improve Concentration, Reasoning & Coordination
  7. Piano Lessons Boost Self-Esteem And Confidence
  8. Piano Lessons Help Students Be Well-Rounded
  9. Piano Lessons Foster Creativity
  10. Piano Lessons Help Students Overcome Fears


1. Piano Lessons Develop The Brain & Make Children Smarter
There is a definite correlation between music and intelligence. Specialists from the fields of music, neuroscience, psychology, and neurology have done many studies about this intricate relationship and have come to the definite conclusion that music positively affects many parts of the brain. Research now shows that children who study music develop neural links that would not have otherwise been formed. Piano lessons stimulate neural development which contributes to increased intelligence.

University of California at Irvine physics professor emeritus Gordon Shaw said, "Piano instruction is thought to enhance the brain's ‘hard-wiring' for spatial-temporal reasoning, or the ability to visualize and transform objects in space and time." (Music involves ratios, fractions, and proportions, in relation to space and time.) "Proportional math is usually introduced during the sixth grade, and has proved to be enormously difficult to teach to most children using the usual language-analytic methods," Shaw stated. "Not only is proportional math crucial for all college-level science, but it is the first academic hurdle that requires the children to grasp underlying concepts before they can master the material. Rote learning simply does not work."
This new insight into mental development reveals that music is capable of stimulating second graders to grasp sixth grade critical reasoning concepts! It is true! Musical training has been linked to the development of higher brain functions!


2. Piano Lessons Help Children In School
It has been proven that learning to play the piano will improve your child's overall educational achievement in school. In fact, children who play an instrument score higher on both standard and spatial cognitive development tests than children who do not study music. Some studies revealed that kids who played the piano scored higher in math and science.

Learning to read music also helps students to become better readers in language. In her article "How Piano Lessons Benefit Young Children" Cynthia VanLandingham states, "In piano, students learn how to follow directions, scan written materials, think critically, create solutions and translate writing into action. For example, students must look at each note, measure, and phrase, and decide how to play each note to make the music come to life. Many children (including my own sons) have become much better readers after starting piano lessons."

A common fallacy is categorizing music as only a "right-brained" activity, when in fact playing music requires both critical and creative thinking. It therefore involves interplay between both the right and left brain; an all-encompassing mental exercise. Studies have shown that listening to classical music expands listening skills, develops music appreciation, and improves the intellectual development of the child. How much more having the hands-on experience of studying music and actually playing an instrument besides merely listening to it?

In the initial lessons, young children learn to distinguish up and down, high tones and low tones, long tones and short tones, loud tones and soft tones. Learning these opposites give necessary perspective to important musical concepts as well as strengthen comparison learning. Children acquire new methods of reasoning which carry over into every facet of their lives. Leaning piano also improves students' study habits, because it requires focus on a regular basis and teaches them how to practice effectively. Learning good study habits is an invaluable life-skill and helps anyone to be more successful in their academic pursuits.


3. Piano Lessons Keep The Mind Active And The Body Healthy
As people grow older, the mind tends to slow down. Studies have shown that learning music is therapeutic and helps keep the elderly healthier through mental stimulation. In his book "Music With The Brain In Mind" Eric Jensen noted, "Music enhances cognition, emotional intelligence, boosts performance, and heightens motivation. Reading, perception, motor skills, hearing, behavior and muscle strength are all influenced by music. Music also affects the immune system, stress, relaxation, blood flow, and memory systems." People of all ages benefit from these factors.

One way piano lessons aid in memory development is students learn new pieces and memorize musical facts, phrasing, as well as notes in the song. As Shinichi Suzuki, the founder of the Suzuki Method of piano instruction, states, "It must not be forgotten that reading music is taught in order to be able to play without it." Playing without the sheet music causes students to not depend on what is written on paper, but what is written on their minds. To successfully perform a memorized piece the student must rely on their mental recollection, the muscle memory of their fingers, and even the emotions of their heart to make it musically expressive. This pushes them to a new level of musical absorption, which enlarges their capacity to retain all other kinds of information. When students learn new musical concepts, they are exercising their minds to not only see the ideas, but to understand them and to be able to apply them.

Stacy says, "I foster this type of growth in my pupils when I teach them new concepts. For example, I explain the material thoroughly, anticipating the questions that they might have as they go through their thought processes. I am careful to not merely throw facts at them, but to make sure they are truly absorbing the information. Thus, I ask the students questions so that they have to in turn use their newly acquired knowledge to explain the concepts back to me. By doing this, their mind is stimulated and stretched, causing them to dig deeply to apply what they just learned. I also encourage my students to ask questions because it is evidence that they are thinking and reasoning, and it keeps their minds active and growing. An inquisitive mind is often a sign of a gifted mind so I try to develop that in all of my students."


4. Piano Lessons Teach Students To Set and Achieve Goals
Learning the piano teaches students how to practice effectively, which over time, if applied, enables them to achieve their musical dreams. Every time the student learns a new piece of music or material, they "graduate" to a new level in their understanding, for everything new that they learn requires a specific set of skills and playing habits. Success is "built right in" to every piano lesson. Students discover that they can accomplish big goals by taking small steps. Through the structure and consistency that lessons provide there is an obvious process of setting and achieving goals that carries over into life.

First, the teacher and student will set specific goals in the student's learning. It could be mastering a technique, mastering a scale, mastering the musicality of a section, or mastering a song. A sensitive teacher will set goals that are realistic and that appeal to the student's interests. The student is then given the assignment (on a large scale or a small scale). Next, the student works towards those goals on a daily basis. During this stage they learn to stay focused at home by practicing daily with consistence, diligence, and precision. One saying that Stacy teaches every student and encourages them to apply is something that her father taught her, "Practice doesn't make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect." The student can practice hours a day, but if they are not practicing correctly then it is of no benefit toward improving. Having this perspective and mindset stretches the student and causes them to grow by becoming their own motivators and evaluators. After that, they will begin to see skills developed that lead to positive results. All the while, the teacher is molding and guiding them during their weekly lessons together. And finally, the student will see the product of their efforts when their goals are at last realized! They will experience the overwhelming joys and satisfaction of personal accomplishment! They will see how much fun it is to really learn! They will grow in self-confidence and determination! They will ultimately learn first-hand the eternal truth that the rewards in the end are far greater than the costs paid and the sacrifices made to arrive at the destination.


5. Piano Lessons Help To Build Character
A key to accomplishing anything of worth is to not give up easily; indeed, to not give up at all. Learning the piano requires diligence and hard work, but is very rewarding. Students learn to deal with stress and uncertainty by being patient with their learning, while striving to be the best that they can be. As mentioned in the previous paragraph, Stacy teaches her students, "Perfect practice makes perfect." This exhorts them to work smart and be productive by practicing correctly and holding themselves to higher standards, thus getting better faster.

Studying privately also provides situations where the student must choose to walk in integrity. When the teacher asks, "Did you listen to your CD every day this week?" or "Did you practice the way that we discussed?", if the student did not, they have the choice as to whether or not they are going to reply with honesty. On another hand, when a student does all that is required of them and they find themselves excelling musically and shining in their gifting, they have the choice to grow and walk in humility and graciousness.

Every time a student is in front of the piano they are given the opportunity to choose to have a positive perspective and attitude, despite being faced with challenging tasks. Heart attitudes are quickly revealed when put in the fire of difficulties! Students quickly discover that being persistent in their lessons requires discipline. But they likewise realize that hard work pays off and they take responsibility for their own success. When students learn that mastering a skill is a process that requires endurance and is not attained overnight, they begin to approach it with confidence and joy, without false expectations held over themselves that lead to discouragement, frustration and failure. Anyone can learn, but they must be willing to learn and willing to pay the price that it takes to learn: be it patience, diligence, humility, courage, or simply believing in themselves; being able to laugh at their mistakes while learning from them.

Students also are given opportunities to sincerely support and compliment other students at events such as seasonal recitals and home performances. Unpleasant competitiveness and jealousy is always discouraged.  Rejoicing in the accomplishments of others as well as realizing what it took for those people to achieve their ability is a wonderful character response for students to learn and apply in all areas of their life.

Bottom line, playing the piano is fun.  No matter the challenges one might face along the way, even the ride is rewarding which makes it all worthwhile. 


6. Piano Lessons Improve Concentration, Reasoning & Coordination
Anyone who has studied music can vouch that it takes a lot of focus to read a piece of music. Not only do you have to understand it (which is demanding in and of itself: interpreting notes, rhythms, key signatures, time signatures, tempo and dynamic markings, etc.), but you have to be able to, in turn, translate it for the hands to play the music, and interpret it quickly enough so that you are playing in time and on beat, all the while making it musically interesting and expressive! "Music is not just notes. It is patterns of notes and relationships between notes that you see as you play," says UCI neurologist Gordon Shaw. "And like in a chess game, you have to be able to see quite a bit ahead to play." Students who played the piano during Shaw's studies demonstrated a heightened ability to think and reason in advance. He commented, "They were able to leap ahead several steps on problems in their heads."

People who learn to play the piano have increased hand-eye coordination as well. In a report, Bryce Casselman stated, "Kids who play the piano have improved fine motor skills and, unlike other instruments, the piano requires both hands to work independently of each other, one moving fast while the other may be moving at a slower rate. All of these things help to increase a child's overall dexterity and complex thought processes." Using both hands simultaneously (both often performing completely different tasks), learning and applying the rhythms of music so that all ten fingers are moving in time accordingly, using your ears to listen while tapping your feet to keep time or to press the pedals, are all ways that playing the piano help to improve coordination.


7. Piano Lessons Boost Self-Esteem And Confidence
Piano lessons provide an invaluable sense of achievement and accomplishment. Each time a student completes a level in the curriculum, each time they learn something new, every time they master a song, or even when they simply come to the lesson with their home assignments completed, then success is experienced. With every accomplishment, large or small, the students' view of themselves begins becoming a positive one. They begin believing in themselves and gaining confidence in their ability to learn. Being showcased at semi-annual recitals also raises self-esteem. Students demonstrate their newly acquired talents in front of an encouraging audience of parents and peers, where they receive certificates of recognition and admiration from many.


8. Piano Lessons Help Students Be Well-Rounded
Regardless of whether a student plays the piano for a short period of time or a lifetime, the long-term affects of those studies are apparent. Through the exposure to different styles of music one begins to gain music appreciation. Students learn of famous composers such as Mozart, Bach, and Beethoven, or Glenn Miller, Rodgers & Hammerstein, and Quincy Jones. They become educated about the arts and aware of the value of studying music. They see that there are both creative and cognitive aspects to a musical education. They also learn through studying the history and the styles of music that music is worldwide, and every culture and every nation in every era expresses it differently. Music making is an integral and significant part of mankind's existence and his expression of that existence. Such a vital part of culture and civilization suddenly becomes tangible and attainable for students as they begin experiencing the timelessness of music; some even dreaming of leaving their mark in the world of music one day. The role that music plays in developing a person's perspective of the world around them is quite significant.

Studying music gives students a personal sense of identity, which helps those who tend to be overly shy to be more extroverted, or to simply grow in confidence. It helps them to discover themselves and develop a positive self-image. Over time, people find music to be a safe haven where they have a real sense of belonging. Music is a place that they can escape to during the difficult times of life and find solace and comfort and even healing. If a music student is involved in groups like chorus, orchestra, and band, they make connections in a musical community while learning how to be a team-player and how they personally affect the entire group. Attending music events and participating in musical gatherings is a lot of fun where they build new friendships and socialize with others who enjoy the same hobby and share similar giftings. This aids in their social development and in how they view themselves in relation to the world around them.

The piano also helps to prepare students for learning other instruments because it is the foundational instrument in all music studies. If a child desires to learn another instrument, studying the piano will only strengthen their understanding of music overall. It will make it easier for them to pick up other instruments later on, or supplement their current studies in other instruments.


9. Piano Lessons Foster Creativity
There is no denying that music is a creative outlet. Studying music develops creative abilities and draws forth the giftings that lie within us. It stirs passion that may otherwise lie dormant. The gift of music awakens our soul and moves us with inspiration. It is a hobby that provides personal fulfillment and lifetime enjoyment. Many musicians are perfectly content to sit alone at their instrument and simply play. It yields hours of enrichment and entertainment. Studying piano gives you the tools that you need to be able to sit down at your instrument and, with every note that you touch, express your heart. You can write your own music, or take pleasure in playing songs that others have written. Either way, it is a means of being artistic. Music is a language, and when you have learned its vocabulary then you can convey thoughts and emotions that words cannot always fully communicate. Who wouldn't like to be fluent in a language of passionate dynamics and pulsating rhythm, of creative sound and celestial melody; a language that is both universal and of eternity?


10. Piano Lessons Help Students Overcome Fears
Probably every new student is nervous about their first lesson. They have to spend private time with someone that they have usually never met before, and they have this idea that their teacher's job is pretty much just to find their faults and tell them what they are doing wrong! Once they get to know the teacher, it is usually a lot more comfortable for them, but even still the student wants the teacher to be pleased with their progress and they want to gain their teacher's approval. This can be healthy for promoting improvement, but it can sure be nerve-wracking!

It takes courage for a student to acknowledge their need of instruction and to face the challenges that acquiring an education in any instrument brings. Even learning a new song is like an obstacle that must be overcome; a mountain that must be climbed. It is an adventure! Students are stretched to try new styles and techniques, and not all of those approaches are easy or comfortable. Students face these fears (of learning something new) head-on on a daily basis, and they realize over time that they can succeed! Learning to do anything worthwhile is very rewarding, yet it often comes with a cost like time, money, meekness, diligence, and a willingness to face our fears head on! Studying music provides this opportunity.

Performance is another aspect of studying music, and this is fearful to some. Those who are afraid to perform in front of others deal with what is referred to as "stage-fright". There are many facets to overcoming this fear, but the surest way is for the student to step out of their comfort zone and do exactly what they are afraid of: perform in front of others. This can start in small stages, like performing at home for family, and then progress to larger stages (literally) of performing in front of entire audiences of strangers in an auditorium.  A good teacher will only advise what is best for their students' learning, so a student can rest in their teachers' recommendations which are always based on the teacher's professional experience. Once a student performs pieces in front of others (like at recitals with teachers, family, and friends) they soon realize how rewarding it is to know something so well that they can demonstrate it for people. Afterwards, they often cannot believe that they actually did what they were afraid of, and this is a huge boost to their self-esteem! There is a great joy that comes when someone can say they faced their fears head-on and survived! Regardless of what level they are at, performing enables students to learn more quickly and grow in confidence exponentially. Every time they perform, their courage increases and eventually they are able to perform without as much hesitancy. Someone may always be nervous when they perform, but they learn to deal with those nerves and to perform in spite of them.  The student learns to channel that nervous energy to help give a better performance. 

Stacy has given a speech to her students before recitals in the past to help give them the perspective that they need. She has basically shared, "How many of you are nervous right now? I know that I am! It is perfectly normal to be nervous when you are in front of other people. I want everyone to just take a deep breath and let it all out. I want you to know that the goal today is not to be perfect. The goal is for you to do your best and have fun with it. And you know what? If you make some mistakes, that is okay. Just keep going. This room is filled with people who love you. We are not here to find your faults, but to celebrate your accomplishments! I am already proud of you! You all have come so far. You've worked hard for this, so get up there and have some fun!"

Stacy believes wholeheartedly that true freedom from the fear of man comes when we realize: of all of the people that we could perform in front of, there is only One who really counts— the Lord. When you perform for that Audience, no other audience in the world matters. 

"I perform for an audience of One."
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