How qualified are your teachers? All of our teachers have either a music degree or many years of experience teaching their instruments. Many hold or are working toward Master’s degrees in music or related fields and some hold a doctorate degree. They are also performers on their respective instruments holding leadership positions within orchestras, participating in small ensembles, and serving as accompanists for individuals and choirs throughout the southwestern Michigan and northern Indiana area.
What if I want to sit in on my child’s lesson? The door is always open to you. With very young children you are encouraged to sit in on their lesson as you can then assist them with practice at home.
What if I want my two children to have a lesson together or I want a lesson with my child? This is possible but not encouraged. Even people from the same family learn various concepts at different rates. One may master a skill very quickly while another needs more time. If you are looking for convenience we suggest that you try to schedule both lessons with two different teachers at the same time or schedule back to back lessons with the same teacher.
What if I want lessons every other week instead of every week?Again, this is possible but not encouraged. It is extremely important that your teacher checks your progress every week. If every-other week lessons are necessary, you will likely be scheduled as the first or last lesson of the day to avoid creating a hole in your teacher’s schedule on the weeks you are not present.
What if I want just one month of lessons? In one month there is really not enough time to give your lessons a fair chance. Most rental companies require a three month minimum and we encourage taking lessons for at least three months before deciding to discontinue.
How long will it take my child to play a song and for me to recognize it? This varies from student to student and really depends on the individual and how much practicing is done at home. Playing a musical instrument is a physical skill that takes time to develop. Typically, if your child begins instruction in September, s/he should be able to play a recognizable holiday song by December.
What if my child starts on an instrument and genuinely hates the instrument? They can try another instrument pending the availability of a teacher of that instrument.
What if the personalities of the student and teacher do not mesh well or the student is dissatisfied? This is one of the advantages of taking your lessons at our academy. If personalities do not mesh, after giving it a fair try, we can assign you to a different teacher.
Do I need a real piano at home to take piano lessons? Although a real (acoustic) piano is preferred, it is not essential to starting lessons. Many students start with keyboards and then look at purchasing an acoustic piano. The most important things to know when renting or purchasing a keyboard is that it must have full sized keys (each individual key should be the same size as an individual piano key) and it should be touch sensitive (if you hit the key hard, it makes a loud sound; if you touch it softly, it makes a soft sound). It is best to get a keyboard with 60 or more keys so that you will not outgrow it too quickly.
I notice that recitals are scheduled once a month. Must my child play in every recital? It is not mandatory that your child play in every recital. We schedule recitals in this way so that when the student has perfected a piece of music, they do not have to wait until a huge recital at the end of the year to perform. Some of our teachers have studio recitals and this also works well. Of course, if your child wishes to play in every recital and has a polished piece to play and your schedule allows them to do so, they are welcome to perform.
What if I know someone who wants to accompany my child in a recital? If you have a family member or friend that wishes to accompany your child and you feel comfortable with that arrangement, let the teacher know so that person can be recognized in the program. However, our on-site accompanist is one of the perks of taking lessons at Crescendo. Your annual fee helps pay for his/her services during the rehearsal and at the recital.
Do you offer Suzuki instruction? No, but many of our teachers began study of their instruments as Suzuki students and now use the Suzuki materials as a basis for their teaching.
Do you offer any standardized instruction? No. Our teachers are encouraged to find the best way to reach and teach each individual person, and we have found that one single method may not work for every student.
Is a half hour lesson long enough for my child? If your child is a beginner, the answer is yes. In the beginning, a half hour gives the student plenty to practice at home (and if it does not, please talk to your child’s teacher). They could perhaps mentally cope with a longer lesson, but as stated earlier, playing an instrument requires physical as well as mental development. In a half hour your child will get the material necessary to develop at his/her individual rate. When the teacher has determined that your child has reached a level where longer lessons would be a benefit, s/he will let you know.
How much should my child practice each week? The recommendation is a minimum of every week day, although Shinichi Suzuki admonished his students to “Practice only on the days that you eat!” Consistency is the key—our muscles must memorize the actions and patterns involved in playing an instrument. So, fifteen minutes every day is more productive than two hours once a week. Because younger students find counting repetitions easier, some teachers will assign repetitions instead of a set amount of practice time (play this scale three times each day; practice this line five times each day; play this passage ten times every day, etc.) As your child progresses, longer practice sessions will become a necessity.
Should I reward my child for practicing? All of us like to be rewarded for a job well done. Rewarding younger children with stickers works well and some of our teachers use them. And there is no replacement for a hug, a pat on the back or an encouraging word or phrase after a successful practice session or lesson. If there is an occasional week with little practice, you can always look forward to next week!
What age can my child begin lessons? General guidelines are presented below, and we are always happy to assist you in determining if your child is ready. Readiness to start lessons depends on the instrument and the individual child’s physical development. For children younger than 5, we recommend our Music Together program.
Violin/piano: 4 1/2 or 5
Cello: 6 or 7
Wind instruments: 9
Voice lessons: 13
For more information or to talk to an instructor, contact the office.