Wednesday, June 7, 2017

The art of teaching kids to play piano and Zagaria Music Academy review

Girl playing piano {Willem Haenraets}

Studies have found that learning to play a musical instrument strengthens the brain--with the biggest benefits found in those who began lessons while still very young. All instruments from the piano to the accordion help equally. Music is made up of math, history, and language and it taps into pretty much every academic area and developmental area. 

Parents who give their children the gift of a musical education start them out on a path that will enrich their lives in so many ways. 

Studying music develops discipline, hand-eye coordination, and intelligence. From birth to age nine is the best window of opportunity to develop musical sensibility within children. During this time, the mental structures and mechanisms associated with processing and understanding music are in the prime stages of development, making it of up most importance to expose children in this range to music. 

It's important to expose your baby to music, and rhythm, but for formal lessons most teachers prefer to start children on the piano when they can write their name legibly and can sit still for at least 15 minutes. Some people start their children as young as three though. A child who is taking piano lessons should be comfortable placing five fingers on five adjacent white keys. 

The key to learning to play music is practice. 

Create a positive atmosphere with plenty of reinforcement with practices daily, but keep them short so that the kids stay focused and attentive, feel a sense of achievement but don't get worn out. According to the Suzuki method, the stage at which the child begins to learn reading music varies according to age and general development. However, it will always be after basic playing skills have been mastered to maintain the focus on beautiful tone, accurate intonation and musical phrasing.

I have a history with music and I've already begun to teach Layla (6) and Mariam (4), but I'll touch more on that another day. Serena who is now 14 has been exposed to music at a young age much like myself. I started introducing the keyboard to Serena as a baby, and as a toddler she loved it, but once in elementary, she didn't play all that much. I really should have worked more with her on it, but at the time, I worked full time outside of the home and life just happened, and other activities were introduced. Once she was in middle school I discovered she could sing and she started getting back into the piano, up to the point where she was playing every day. She plays by ear, but the problem is she is not up to par with note reading. 

I started to look into formal piano lessons a couple months ago for Serena to get her at the level she wants to be and discovered Zagaria Music Academy. The founder Jeffrey Zagaria has been performing music since his childhood and has been teaching forms and levels of music for over twenty years based out of metropolitan Boston and South Florida. Aside from teaching music and voice full time, Mr. Zagaria has performed with many famous artists including: Celine Dion, Reba McEntire, gospel's award winning Richard Smallwood, and many others! He has also performed in many church events nationally and internationally. 

Jeffrey Zagaria music method takes piano methodology to a whole new level. Time-tested lesson structures taken from piano methods going back to many centuries are honored and become a founding pillar in the ZMM for piano. Whether it's jazz, rock, classical, country, gospel, praise and worship, pop, punk, or blues, the Zagaria music academy can teach you or your child how to play any style and genre you like. 

It's really important to find a teacher that you or your child connects with and Jeffrey has been great. He has a state of the art music studio in Boca Raton, Florida and he's charasmatic and down to earth. It's been easy to schedule a music lesson around Serena's busy school activities, and she has enjoyed her lessons. He's meticulous and precise in his teachings, but in a way that Serena benefits and even gets a few laughs in during her lesson. If you're looking for a true professional to get your child to the next level in music, I highly recommend Zagaria Music Academy. 

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