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Q: Why do my kids need music education?

A:  Music education provides many benefits for everyone, but particularly in children. Music at young ages has been proven to bolster language development. Children are born with their brains geared toward deciphering the sounds around them, and through music, those instinctive abilities are honed and strengthened. In particular, studies show that music improves the language-processing center on the left side of the brain, supporting language development in young children who consistently participated in and practiced music. Since students who are practicing music are decoding the written music they are reading, using macro- and micro-motor skills to cause their bodies to make the right sound, and deciding the right emotional interpretation for what they are playing, they are simultaneously using both sides of their brain, which makes music one of the most efficient ways to enrich the entire brain! In fact, studies have shown increases in musicians’ IQs when compared to their non-musician counterparts, as well as an increased capacity for problem-solving!

The benefits of music are not all scholarly, either. Music is a great vehicle for promoting team work, work ethic, and delayed gratification from hard work, which is definitely favorable in this world of “I want it now!” Music gives students something to be proud of that they worked for and is a life skill that can bring them great joy and comfort. While you may not be an athlete when you get older, you can play and reap the benefits of music from 1 to 100 years old!

 (Reference: Brown, L. “The Benefits of Music Education.”

Q: At what age should I enroll my children in music?

A: We offer general music classes beginning at age 3! We also offer infant Baby and Me music lessons, which we will have on our website shortly! It is never too early to expose your child to music.

We think of music as a language; just like any verbal language, it is best to expose children at a young age. We would never dream of not teaching our babies and toddlers how to talk because they “aren’t old enough!” It’s the same concept with music! The younger a child is exposed, the more musical potential they have to grow.

Studies show that from infancy to 9 years old are the primary years for gaining musical potential. By the age of 2, the brain is already pruning the synapses that aren’t being used – truly a “use it or lose it” situation! This is why we, at Seed-Harvest Music Academy, specialize in various children’s classes to maximize each student’s potential as a musician!

Are we saying that you should just give up if you didn’t enroll your child before age 9? Certainly not! Every person can learn music, no matter your age. So if you have a teenager, it’s not too late! Do you want music lessons for yourself? Come on and join us! It’s never too late!

Q: What services do you offer?

A: We supply musical opportunities for all ages! We offer various preschool and elementary music classes, Junior and Senior Guitar Ensembles, Homeschool Orchestra and Jazz Band, Community Strings Ensemble, as well as private lessons in most instruments and voice. We also cater to on-the-go lifestyles with our Zoom or Skype private lessons! Check out our Services tab for more information!

Q: What is the benefit of a music class?

A: For small children, classes are (in most cases) the best place to start musically. The fun, social component of class coupled with positive peer pressure helps the students learn music without necessarily knowing that they are learning music. To them, they are just having fun! In classes, students still learn the same general music principles that they would learn in a private setting, but it is more fun and less stressful for them (and more cost-efficient on your checkbook!). Also, students must work as a team in class, which promotes social awareness, as well as musical awareness of what is happening around them.

We want music to be as fun as possible. If students are having fun, they are more likely to stick with music later in life. Why should we expect our children to practice and play in a musical vacuum? Music is a social art!

Q: Doesn’t my child already get music classes at church and school?

A: Church is an excellent place to start singing, have fun, and practice your faith through music! We totally recommend it! However, it cannot and should not replace quality music education if at all possible. While some people who work in church singing ministries are highly-qualified, certified music teachers, many are not and just volunteer to sing with the children while offering no instruction in music reading, interpretation, or skills.

As far as children who are in public schools, they generally receive high-quality music education in elementary school; there is just not enough time devoted to the arts. Students only receive approximately 20-30 minutes of music per week in most schools, with some schools only getting music every other week. The teachers are fabulous, but through no fault of their own, children can’t get the time and attention that they deserve. The amount of musical opportunities also depends on the school system in which your child is enrolled.

Bottom line, evaluate the musical experiences in which your children are participating. Are they being taught by a trained music educator? Or is it a well-meaning volunteer with no musical training? Are they receiving adequate amounts of quality musical opportunities with ample time devoted to them? Or are they just getting short amounts of time due to limited availability?

If your self-evaluation reveals that your students are not being taught by a professional or they are not receiving enough time or opportunities, contact us today and let us help you find a solution!

Q: So where do private lessons fit in with classes?

A: Private lessons are a good addition to classes and work hand-in-hand with private instruction. The classes reinforce everything that they are learning individually, increase the guided practice time with a highly-trained music teacher which expedites the learning curve, and provide more than one mode of learning to engage students. For example, a trombone student might take private lessons to work more in-depth on their instrument, but they still participate in band as an additional musical resource.

Q: If we take private lessons, do we have to join a class or ensemble?

A: No, certainly not, but we do encourage it if at all possible for the reasons listed above.

Q: Is piano the best place to start?

A: Piano is a great place to start! Nevertheless, it may or may not be the best place to start, depending on your child. It is always best to have your child in some kind of general music class, if at all possible, to introduce them to music. It is even possible to have students enrolled in general music while taking instrumental lessons, and this is always beneficial. Another factor in deciding if it is the best place to start is your child’s interest level. For example, if an 8 year-old is interested in guitar, piano might not be a good choice to start. However, if your child is ready to start an instrument, and he/she is equally interested in various instruments or is too young to start one of the other instruments, piano is a great introduction to instrumental music and provides a very visual component that helps many students understand.

Q: What is a micromotor skills test, and why does my child need one?

A: A micromotor skills test is a short evaluation to see if young students are physically ready to learn whichever instrument he/she is interested in. Certain instruments, like guitar, require certain levels of finger dexterity before beginning, in order to get the most out of instruction. This evaluation takes about 10 minutes, and we ask that the parent is present for it. At the end, we can give you an honest recommendation for the classes or instruments that your student is prepared for.

Q: Do you follow the City Schools’ Calendar?

A: No, we do not because we teach year-round. We will let you know through our Facebook page and text messaging if classes are cancelled for any reason, including inclement weather. In many cases of severe weather, we do not cancel class and just ask that the parents use their best judgement.

Q: What happens if we miss a private lesson?

A: If you need to cancel a private lesson, please provide 24 hours notice before your scheduled lesson. We understand that unforeseen events may occur the day of your lesson, so if that is the case, please provide as much notice as possible so that we can utilize that time. If you fail to provide notice, your lesson may not be made up. If you provide notice, we will work to schedule a make-up lesson that works for everyone.

Q: What happens if we miss a class?

A: In the event that a class is cancelled by the teacher, there will be a make-up class scheduled. If you have to miss a class for personal reasons, that time may not be made up.

Q: Can we prorate our tuition if we don’t come?

A: When you enroll at Seed-Harvest Music Academy, your tuition is basically a monthly membership fee, much like a gym. Outside of special extenuating circumstances, tuition will not be prorated for missing classes or lessons. We do encourage you to make up any missed time if at all possible.

Q: Where are you located?

A: We are located on Hwy 278 in Cullman in the East Point Plaza, just past St. Bernard.