By Jennifer Witt, Music & Arts – School Services Marketing Manager
I’m going to let you in on a little secret: I lead a double life. For musicians, this is a completely normal thing. We’re busy people that like to be involved with lots of activities, which might include performing or directing ensembles and teaching private lessons. For me, that means balancing a career in marketing AND providing instrumental music instruction to eager flute students, which is my great privilege in life.
That said, I got my humble start as a flutist at age nine. Music became my refuge and outlet for self-expression throughout my young adulthood and a source of fulfillment and joy as an adult, working with flutists of all ages and abilities over the years. The legacy of musicianship imparted to me by passionate teachers and mentors has benefitted the next generation in positive ways I never imagined.
Statistics show that playing a musical instrument makes you smarter. It allows neural connections to form that improve brain function, boosts language and mathematics skills, and fosters teamwork and self-discipline. Further, playing an instrument is a skill that young people can learn and enjoy their entire lives and never age out. With so many benefits to a young, developing mind, it makes sense to incorporate instrumental music into well-rounded homeschool curricula, but where to begin?
If you play an instrument yourself, the answer to this question is more easily answered, especially if your student wants to play that very same one. Share your legacy of music instruction with them or enlist the help of a private teacher in your area to round out their experience. Music academies and retailers offer lessons programs that provide students the one-on-one attention and coaching that will take their playing to the next level. Most major metropolitan areas have community youth orchestra programs that offer the benefits of large ensemble playing experience and often, small chamber ensembles, both with concert performance opportunities.
Let’s look at the flipside now. What if you don’t play an instrument? Or, your student wants to play the cello, but you played the trumpet and need some guidance to find an expert instructor to get your student started on their musical journey. You’re not alone, and there are tools and resources to help guide you through the process of adding instrumental music to your homeschool curricula. Take advantage of these free online resources to get started:
Instrument Selection Process – Music & Arts
If your student isn’t sure which instrument to play and needs some help narrowing it down, visit Be Part of the Music and indicate if your student is interested in joining band or orchestra (or both!). Watch the instrument-specific videos to learn about each one and hear how they sound. This is a fun, interactive activity that families can use to explore the instrument groups and create an interest list with a few options to try in person.
Schedule an Instrument Trial Session – Music & Arts
Music & Arts makes it easy for students to try out different instruments and decide which one is the right fit. Use the Find a Store tool to find a location near you and call to schedule an appointment. Let our helpful Store Associates know the instruments your student would like to try, and they’ll guide you through the process of choosing the best option. Once an instrument is chosen, you’re ready for step three – acquiring a woodwind, brass, orchestral string, or percussion instrument.
Renting vs. Buying Beginner Instruments – Music & Arts
Growth is the number one reason renting makes more sense than buying an instrument for the first couple of years. Kids naturally grow in stature and may need a larger instrument, progress in ability, and want to upgrade their instrument from a beginner to an intermediate model, or change their minds and switch to a different instrument entirely. At Music & Arts, rental instrument exchanges or returns are free at any time, which makes things easier for families.
Visit MusicArts.com/rentals to get started online and specify your delivery preference. Already have the instrument? We also stock the must-have accessories such as music stands and books that students need to be ready from day one, with ship-to-home convenience.
Select Your Curricula or Lessons Resource – Music & Arts
Remote learning models hastened by the pandemic mirror what homeschool families have been doing for many years. If you plan to teach your student instrumental music at home, there are a wealth of online curriculum resources you can access to enrich their learning experience. Visit our Teaching Resources page for links to online classroom tools and resources, practice apps, and much more from music education partner organizations like NAfME.
Giving students the gift of music with private lessons is another way to enrich their experience. I often wonder who gets more out of the process, the teacher or the student? As an instructor, I get to witness the smiles when my students master a new piece of music and teach them the best practices for everything from instrument care and assembly to music terminology and correct posture. Students benefit from the one-on-one attention, tailored to their needs and learning styles, which leads to big gains in confidence, or vitamin C. They also get my witty puns, standing ovations, and unfaltering belief in their ability to prevail through any musical challenge they face.
With the largest lessons program nationwide, Music & Arts helps over two million students a year with in-store and online private lessons options to best fit their skills and schedules. Visit a Music & Arts store near you for a Free Trial Lesson with your rental sign-up and learn more about our program. Our Lessons Scheduler allows you to explore the available instructors in your area and select an expert teacher that will inspire your student and align with their musical goals.
Enjoy the Musical Journey – Music & Arts
What I love most about starting beginners on an instrument is the sense of wonder and pride they experience as they gain new skills and hear the applause that follows. There will be many new sounds in your home from your budding instrumentalist. My best advice is to praise their efforts and let them know that making mistakes is an important part of the learning process. Proficiency on their instrument, not perfection, is best achieved by correct and consistent practice guided by a caring, expert teacher.
Now, back to that double life that I’ve been leading. It is incredibly fulfilling to see the growth and maturity that comes with the musical accomplishments of my students. The goal setting, character development, and self-discipline developed as a musician and ensemble member transfer as applicable life skills that lead to success in their academic and extracurricular pursuits.
It’s not just about teaching them the notes or the rhythms, although that is an important and necessary benchmark of progress. Inspiring students to have courage and share their talents within their learning community, express themselves artistically, and develop into well-rounded, capable individuals is equally as important. Music educators get a front row seat to that process, and it’s inarguably the best seat in the house.
With that in mind, your student’s future doesn’t just sound amazing, it’s entirely possible. Music & Arts is poised to partner with your homeschool group to add instrumental music to your curricula and provide the tools for success. To get started, visit MusicArts.com/rentals today.