The average student at The Music School studies with us between 5 and 10 years before leaving for college. When they leave it is like losing a part of the family. We go through some of the same feelings the parents do when the children leave the nest.
Students travel to us from all over the Portland Metropolitan area including: West Linn, Lake Oswego, Tualatin, Sherwood, Beaver Creek, Molalla, Oregon City, Canby, Clackamas, Vancouver, Gresham, Beaverton, Portland, McMinville, Woodburn, St. Helens, as far south at Salem and as far west as Lincoln City on the Oregon Coast.
Optimum Ages for Beginning Instruments
(All of these estimates vary depending on maturity, intelligence, focus, and desire)
All Piano students must have a rudimentary reading ability to study piano at The Music School, so their ages usually start around 5 or 6 years old. Piano wires the brain for playing all other instruments, so it is ideal to start with piano for a couple of years and then move on to other instruments if desired.
Violin and Viola students may start as young as age 4 as long as a parent or guardian will observe the lesson and practice with the child at home. Otherwise, 7 to 9 years old is the optimum age to start without parental supervision (depending on the maturity of the student).
Cello is more physically demanding and we usually start them by 9 or 10 years old.
Contra-Bass is even more demanding, and we often need to start them after 11 or 12 years depending on physical strength.
Recorder has almost the same fingering and note-reading as the Flute, Clarinet and Saxophone (without the embouchure problems) so it can be started much younger and is a great precursor.
Flute, Piccolo, Clarinet and Saxophone students have embouchure (mouth muscles) issues which require physical development not usually possible before 6th grade (around 11 years old).
Acoustic Guitar instruction can start at 8 or 9 years old as long as you acquire an appropriate sized nylon-stringed classical guitar and are patient with progress. At this age, hand-strength can take awhile to develop and that is what most greatly influences progress.
Electric-Bass and Electric-Guitar: It is optimal but not necessary to start with nylon-stringed classical guitar before moving to Electric Bass or Electric Guitar.
Banjo & Mandolin instruction, like guitar, can start at 8 or 9 years old as long as you acquire an appropriate sized instrument and are patient with progress. At this age, hand-strength can take awhile to develop and that is what most greatly influences progress. Banjo technic focuses primarily on the right hand.
Drums: It is optimal but not necessary to start with at least two years of piano lessons before moving to Drums. The student must be tall enough to reach the pedals and cymbals.
Voice: Learn how to sing the way the Grammy Award winners do: in the "mix" combining head and chest voice into a powerful vocal presence. Optimal: 2 years of piano starting at age 6 to wire the brain, then add voice at age 8.
Adult Extension Program
We usually teach adults before or after the regular school day.
After attending several lessons in a row to get started, adults registered for our Extension Program may switch to coming every other week for one hour.
Adult students often use their lesson time as an "escape" from the real world, and an expansion of their "inner" world. It is designed to be fun and enlightening.
Many of our adult students come about as a result of parents sitting in the waiting room and hearing how rewarding it is for their children to create music. It does not take long for them to decide to "sign up" for some musical input of their own!
Veteran music teachers study here to refine and update their teaching and technology techniques. Lake Oswego, Wilsonville, and Oregon City Public and Private Schools and Music Stores have hired our students as their teachers.
We teach the "Master Teacher" Profile to Music Instructors from all over the Portland Metropolitan area. This profile was first observed and recorded by Robert Culver at the University of Michigan (who taught it to Jerome Couture). A Master Teacher utilizes the "ear to hand" method of instruction and achieves superior results, whereas the average Music Teacher uses the "eye to hand" method and achieves modest results (at best).
An individualized plan of learning is adopted for each teacher depending on their background and goals. This involves a basic Sociogram consisting of an energy profile along with a time-line for a typical class session. We then focus on three main areas:
STUDENT: Self-directed, or Directed and Prioritization of Posture, Format, Sound, Intonation, Rhythm, and Speed/Style.
TEACHER/STUDENT LOOP: Initiation, Response, Monitor, Remediation, and Closure.
ACCESS: Facial Range, Envelope, Posture, Vocal, Pacing, and Proxemics.