Every Monday I pack the boys up in the van and we head to Ms Cindy’s house. Wes has been taking music lessons on and off with Ms Cindy since he was 2 or 3 years old. But we didn’t start piano lessons with her till about 3 years ago.
Wesley’s first exposure to music was when I signed him up for a class through our city’s leisure guide call “Fun with Music 2s & 3s”. It was a lot of fun, but there was not much is the learning music department. It was more of a music appreciation style class.
I decided I wanted to find something a little more organized, that focused on the early music skills and consisted of smaller classes. That’s when I saw a sign on the side of the road for “Music for Young Children.” I called the number and registered Wes for his first sunshine class.
We did 3-4 sessions of the Music for Young Children’s Sunshine program. It was a nice small group, of 3 or 4 other kids. Wes loved it. Each term had a different character that thought he kids different bits of music. Buzzy the fly, Mellow Yellow the dog and so on. But then we came to a cross road. We had completed the program but maturity wise were not ready to join a group piano lesson. Since we were moving across the city we took a little break from music lessons.
When we were settled in and ready to start looking into music lessons again we can across Suzuki. Wes did two years of Suzuki violin. He had two teachers, as his first one moved away. Suzuki focuses on playing the music by ear, they didn’t introduce reading music or anything. We just said the note name while we played.
But then I got pregnant with Little Z and I realized I needed to reevaluate. Violins are very delicate. Wes was a typical little boy who could sometimes be careless. I was about to have a baby and have less hands on time to practice with him. I needed to find something that Wes could play, but practice more independently. So a few months before Z arrived we quit violin.
A few months after Z was born and we were settled in with our new family member, I decided we needed to get Wesley back to music lessons. The last few violin lessons we had attended, his teacher was spending the last few minutes spending some time with him on the piano. She was impressed he already knew where Middle C was, and several other notes. I thank Suzie Piano Primer and BrillKids Little Musician. Because of these programs his new private piano teacher was able to skip the first music book and move on to the second. It was great to have Wes back in music. We stayed with this teacher for about 7 months until we bought our first home. At that point this instructor was too far away from our home to continue lessons with winter coming.
At this point I decided to give Ms Cindy a call. I was not very familiar with music teachers in our new neighbourhood. Since our old piano teacher was relatively new to Winnipeg, she did not know anyone in the area. But she suggested we call Ms Cindy, even if she didn’t offer private lessons herself, perhaps she could direct us to someone who did. Turns out Ms Cindy was happy to pick Wes up as a student again! We landed up skipping one more level and Wes has been her student for 2.5 years now.
I believe music benefits Wes in so many ways.
It requires him to sit still and focus. This can be difficult at times for Wes, but piano lessons have taught him he can do it if he really puts his mind to it.
Studies show it’s great for brain development.
I believe music is a second language.
It’s something for him to work hard at and showcase his talent 2 times a year.
His biannual recitals are a good way to learn to get up in front of a crowd.
Wes also loves to try and do things his way. Which can be good, but he also need to learn how to follow direction. Piano allows him to be creative, as well as learn to follow the notes and play a piece the way the person who composed it intended it be played.
Wes has just finished up another year of piano. To prevent the summer slide, I have him signed up for summer lessons at a local piano cafe. I have found it is better money spent to continue lessons through the summer months, then pay Ms. Cindy to reteach him concepts he has lost for the first month or two in the fall. He will be at the level she left him in the spring at the very least. But most times he is further ahead.
Check out Wes at his Christmas recital:
As while, here is Wes a few weeks ago at his year end, piano recital:
Do your children play and instrument? What benefits have you noticed?