I started the cello at 9 ½ years old when it was offered as a choice in 5th grade at school. I remember picking it rather quickly after going in the music room and seeing the string instruments out on a table (I don’t remember seeing any wind instruments, as I think they were in a different room that I never went into!). I knew that my younger sister would be starting violin soon, and I didn’t know what the “other” instrument was. It was a viola, but I had never heard of that, and I must have liked how the cello looked. Luckily for me, I loved playing it almost immediately, learning twice a week at school and carrying my cello home through the alleyways to practice in my 2nd floor apartment in St. Louis. I remember that by the time my first performance came of “Ode to Joy”, I was smitten with cello and had no plans to ever stop playing!
Our Ready, Set, Play! classes have always been for young children to have time to work with multiple instruments before going on to choose one to study when they are older and ready, along with their parents, to work individually with a teacher and practice at home. We are now excited to be bringing this class opportunity to older kids, ages 6-10 years, or 1st-5th grade. Choosing an instrument is a very personal decision, so we give students a chance to take their time exploring multiple instruments to see what “fits” them. How does it feel to play? What are the beginning pieces and how long does it usually take until you can play them? What is the more advanced repertoire, and what types of music can you play (classical, jazz, rock, folk, etc)? How soon until you can play in a group with other kids? And the practical question of how you will get your own instrument to practice with and how you will carry it around New York City! (If I only had a dollar for how many times my dad asked me why I couldn’t have chosen the flute, as he rearranged the back of the car to fit in my cello!)
Why should you encourage your child to explore playing an instrument? Learning to play an instrument promotes social and emotional development and gives kids the chance to develop a skill that will enhance their lives through increased self-confidence and opportunities for self-expression and connection with others. Playing and practicing also helps kids to develop focused attention, a stronger memory, increased patience, and delayed gratification, which is so important in the life of immediacy that we all experience today. The unique relationship of a student and his/her teacher is also a wonderful benefit to studying an instrument. This close connection over many years, along with learning to constantly self-evaluate, react to constructive criticism while receiving support from an adult mentor outside of school is priceless and one of the hidden benefits of music study for kids of all ages.
We hope your children can join us this Winter for our NEW RSP! Classes!
Ready, Set, Play! for 6-7 year olds will be offered on Wednesdays, 5:45-6:30pm. Learn beginning piano, recorder/flute, viola, cello, and guitar!
Ready, Set, Play! for 8-10 year olds will be offered on Mondays, 6:00-6:45pm. Learn beginning piano, recorder/flute, viola, cello, and guitar!