FAQ

What are the benefits of studying music?

Studying music helps build confidence and self-esteem. It increases self-awareness, and provides students with a means of self-expression. Music inspires learning, creativity, and imagination. According to Schellenberg (2004), it is proven that music lessons enhance IQ and promote intellectual development.

 

Schellenberg, E. G. (2004). Music lessons enhance IQ.

Psychological Science, 15 (8), 511-514.

 

Not only can the development of memory, cognitive and motor skills be achieved through the study of music, but students can also learn and develop numerous different life skills including:

 

  • Discipline (diligent mental and physical musical training in the form of highly repetitive concentrated technical exercises and studies help increase focus and work ethic in students)

 

  • Problem Solving (finding solutions to problematic phrasing, and knowing when to breathe is key to one’s musical development; also, trying numerous different alternate fingering patterns via the process of elimination, and making personal substitutions and adjustments will help make musical passages easier to perform)

 

  • Logical Reasoning (musical analysis provides students with a complete overview of a musical composition; not only does it provide a basis for approach, but it also allows students to make determinations and judgments based on previous musical knowledge; the application of this knowledge through recognition of musical elements such as texture, harmonic and melodic structure, musical form, rhythmic patterns, motifs and themes, scales, scale types, and chord types, all help students form their own conclusions.

 

  • Conceptualization (interpretation and music are both subjective; improvisation relies heavily upon interpretation, requires imagination, and encourages creativity; interpretation, identification, and classification, are all elements of the learning process in music and in life)

 

  • Verbal and Non-Verbal Communication (singing or playing an instrument for an audience helps actualize the performer’s feelings and thoughts and offers them the ability to respond to these thoughts in others from the audience)

 

  • Teamwork (performing in a musical ensemble or band provides students with unique opportunities to work with others and learn to be part of a large or small group)

 

Music also exposes students to other cultures, and this can increase an individualistic appreciation for the arts.  Ultimately, learning to sing or play an instrument is a great way to have fun, and relieve stress.

What are the benefits of studying music at an early age?

The most significant benefit of studying music at an early age is the positive effects it has on the brain.  It has been well documented that the most important brain development takes place during the first six years of early childhood.  Aural musical training of pitch and rhythm improves listening, memory, and concentration skills.  Motor skills are also improved when children play instruments.  Singing can improve speech development.  Playing an instrument and or singing can be extremely comforting.  According to the Mozart Effect, it is proven that early exposure to classical music improves mental and physical health (Rauscher, Shaw, & Ky, 1995).

 

Rauscher, F. H., Shaw, G. I., & Ky, K. N. (1995). Listening to Mozart enhances spatial-

and temporal reasoning: Towards a neurophysiological basis. Neuroscience

            Letters, 185, 44—47.

What are the benefits of studying music as an adult or senior?

Studying music at a later stage in life can reduce stress, anxiety, blood pressure, and feelings of loneliness.  It can also improve memory, mental processing, concentration, and reasoning skills.  Through music, seniors can reap the rewards of these positive lasting mental and physical health benefits.

What are the benefits of studying music in your home?

There are three main benefits of studying music at home:

 

  1. Comfort: Comfort is probably the most important benefit of studying music at home.  Students are more relaxed at home and this helps immensely with the learning process.  Studying music can be extremely challenging, especially in the beginning stages of development.  Some people are extremely shy or self-conscience and do not want to be heard by strangers, especially when they are just starting their musical studies.  Music schools can be extremely busy, and there are usually other students waiting to take their lesson right outside the classroom door.  This can cause a great deal of stress and anxiety for students who are trying to learn during their music lesson.

 

  1. Convenience: Convenience is another major benefit of taking music lessons at home.  For most people, time is more valuable than money.  A great deal of time can be spent traveling to and from a music school for lessons.

 

  1. Cost: Saving money is yet another benefit of staying home for music lessons. The cost of fuel or transit fare is completely eliminated.

What ages do you teach?

We teach all ages, including adults, seniors, teens, and children as young as four years of age.

What musical styles or genres do you teach?

We offer lessons in rock, pop, folk, blues, classical, jazz, and heavy metal.

Do you teach song writing?

Yes we do.  We teach basic song writing techniques such as texture, form, continuity, and development.  Students learn to write numerous different chord progressions, themes, motives, riffs and licks.  They also are taught how to compose and improvise using a wide variety of scale and scale forms, as well as diatonic, secondary, and quartal chords.

What can I do to help my child with their music lessons?

First and foremost, take the time to get involved.  Your shown interest in your child’s music lessons can provide them with much needed encouragement, especially in the early stages of their musical development.  Even if you have little or no knowledge of music you can still help your child achieve musical success by simply collaborating with your child’s music teacher, and following these helpful recommendations:

 

  • Observe your child during their music lesson.

 

  • Ask questions regarding anything that you as a parent/guardian are unsure of.

 

  • Go over in detail what your child has learned, and what they need to practice.

 

  • Create a collaborative practice schedule with your child and their music teacher.

 

  • Keep in constant contact with your child’s music teacher.

 

  • Express your concerns, needs, and your child’s needs.

 

  • Pay close attention to your child’s practice sessions and offer them assistance in the form of teacher suggestions when needed.

 

  • Encourage your child as much as you can.

What is a good age to start music lessons?

There is no exact age to begin music lessons.  It all depends upon an individual’s interest, attention span, and their ability to communicate.  Some children can begin their musical studies at an extremely young age.  Programs such as the Orff approach, and the Kodály method were created specifically for toddlers and young children, and focus on singing, dancing, acting, and playing percussion instruments.  At neighbour note we recommend starting music lessons at the age of four or five.

How long does it take to learn to sing, or play an instrument?

The great thing about music is you can spend an entire lifetime learning to play an instrument or sing; however, not everyone wants to become a life-long musician.  The good news is you can still become quite adept at music in a fairly short time.  Ultimately, musical progress depends on the level of commitment and the ability to know how to practice efficiently and effectively.

Do you offer student recitals?

Yes!  There are a minimum of four student recitals per year.

What are the benefits of starting music lessons with an electric guitar?

There is something to be said about starting lessons with an electric guitar.  Many students only want to learn rock, and or heavy metal.  Since the electric guitar tends to dominate these musical genres or styles, then in this case it makes perfect sense to begin lessons with an electric guitar.  If a student is excited about an instrument they will be much more likely to practice, especially in the early stages of their musical development.  Many students admire certain artists and want to emulate them.  Buying an electric guitar that their favorite artist plays and or endorses will also spark their interest and keep them motivated long term.  Electric guitars are physically the easiest guitars to play since they have lighter gauge strings, lower action height, and generally have thinner necks than any acoustic guitar.

In terms of guitar lessons, should I start with an acoustic, classic, or electric guitar?

This all depends upon which genre or style of music a student would like to learn.  If you are unsure of what style or genre you would like to learn, or have eclectic musical tastes, then based on our experience as teachers we recommend starting with either an acoustic or hybrid classic guitar for the following reasons:

 

  • Both types of acoustic guitars are fairly inexpensive at the entry level since they do not require amplification, and are therefore slightly cheaper than entry level electric guitars.

 

  • Acoustic guitars are more convenient than electric guitars since they do not require the use of a patch chord, or the constant adjusting of amplifier tone and volume settings.

 

  • Students will build and develop hand strength faster by starting to play an acoustic guitar. The action is stiffer on an acoustic guitar and therefore offers more hand resistance than an electric guitar.  The strings are generally a heavier gauge, and therefore require more pressure from the hand, wrist, and fingers when playing fretted notes.

 

  • Starting music lessons on a type of acoustic guitar can help students with goal setting, and provide motivation to practice. Many children dream of being rock stars. Since the electric guitar is the instrument of choice for rockers it can be a great incentive for parents/guardians, and students to make a future purchase at the local music store.

 

At Neighbour Note we recommend hybrid classic guitars for students four to six years of age.  Hybrid classic guitars have lower tension strings made out of nylon and plastic, making them easier to play than steel string acoustics since they require less application of pressure to the fret-board.  They also have a narrower neck than a standard classic guitar.

Can I use a borrowed instrument for music lessons?

It all depends on the size of the instrument in relation to the age and size of the student, as well as its condition.  An instrument should feel as comfortable as possible, especially when you are beginning your musical studies.  Oversized instruments can be extremely awkward, cause frustration and even physical pain.  It is also very important that the sound of the instrument is adequate.  Some beginner instruments sound horrible and are nothing more than toys.  Determinations as to whether or not an instrument is playable will be made by the student’s teacher upon inspection, prior to the first lesson.  Neighbour Note will clean and fix older instruments to the best of our knowledge free of charge.

Do you offer advice and assistance on buying or renting a musical instrument?

Neighbour Note helps students, parents/guardians, and relatives with their search for acquiring a musical instrument and this includes where to buy or rent, and what to look and listen for when making a purchase.

What is the difference between a classic and a hybrid classic guitar?

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What size and shape of guitar should I purchase for music lessons?

This can be tricky since not all guitar manufacturers are the same. A student’s age and size are probably the most important factors when choosing a guitar.  In terms of guitar sizes, here are some general guidelines for both flat top acoustic and electric guitar bodies:

 

Acoustic, Hybrid Classic, and Classic Guitars
Age Height Guitar Size
4-6 3’3” to 3’9″ ¼
5-8 3’10” to 4’5″ Half
8-11 4’6″ to 4’11” ¾
12 and up 5′ or taller Full

 

Electric Guitars
Age Height Guitar Size
4-6 3’3” to 3’9″ ¼ Junior
5-8 3’10” to 4’5″ Half
8-11 4’6″ to 4’11” ¾ Mini
12 and up 5′ or taller Full

 

As for guitar shapes, here are some general dimensions of a few different styles to help give you an idea for comparison:

 

Acoustic and Classic Flat Top Guitar Body Dimensions
Style Depth Upper Width Lower Width
Concert 4 ¼” 10” 13 ½”
Grand Concert 4 1/8” 10 7/8” 14 5/16”
Auditorium 4 1/8” 11 1/4” 15”
Grand Auditorium 4 1/8” 11 11/16” 16”
Dreadnaught 4 7/8” 11 ½” 15
R.S. Dreadnaught 4 7/8” 11 ½” 16”
Jumbo 4 7/8” over 11 11/16” over 16”
Classic over 4 1/8” 11” 14 ½”

 

Electric guitars seem to have a little more variety in terms of style and shape.  Here are just a few honorable mentions:

 

  • Stratocaster
  • Telecaster
  • Les Paul
  • SG
  • Explorer
  • Flying V
  • Super Stratocaster
  • Razorback

 

Check out guitar buying guides online from websites like Sweet Water, Essential Guitar, or Musician’s Friend.

What is the difference between a classic, acoustic, and electric guitar?

Both guitars look very similar and this can be confusing for first time buyers.  The biggest difference between a classic guitar (also known as classical, flamenco, or Spanish) and classic hybrid is neck size.  The classic guitar has a smaller neck diameter than the hybrid classic.

What are the benefits of using extra light gauge strings?

Extra light gauge strings are thinner in diameter than any other string gauge.  For this reason, they offer less resistance and therefore require less pressure than heavier gauge strings, making playing the guitar physically easier.

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