Hudson Valley Parent

HVP - September 2014

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20 Hudson Valley Parent ■ September 2014 ments before it's time to choose — by attending concerts or watching clips of musicians on YouTube — will help him to make an informed decision. However, keep in mind that not every instrument matches every child's abilities. Most schools per- form physical evaluations and ap- titude tests before assigning instru- ments. Trust your music teacher to know that a child with a great ear for pitches and long arms might be very successful on trombone. Do your research "The quality of your musical in- strument will either enable or deter you from truly expressing yourself both in sound and performance," says Mark Mikolajeski of D&M Music in Pleasant Valley. Mia Chong, an Arlington band di- rector, agrees: "Just as you wouldn't purchase a car without doing your research or taking it for a test drive, you should consult an expert like a music teacher or professional musician before making a major purchase." Voice as instrument There is one instrument every child possesses that doesn't cost a thing and is fun to use: her voice! However, even if your child doesn't have a natural singing voice, don't assume he's not musical. Children who can't carry a tune can still have remarkable rhythmic or auditory abilities. Practicing is a life skill There is some debate over whether music actually makes you 'smarter,' but there's no question that practicing music is an excellent work habit. Developing the habit of practicing helps children with their ability to self-regulate, notes willpower re- searcher Todd Heatherton in his book "The Power of Habit." Help your child stick to a set practice schedule, build on the previous day's learning, and focus on the problem-solving aspect of music, and he will be able to tackle further challenges later in her education. Music is like a sport Music and sports are often pitted against each other, but they're remarkably similar. They both need to be practiced individually, but per- formed in groups. They both build camaraderie, teamwork and social skills. And they both provide a pow- erful feeling of belonging that can do wonders for a child's confi dence. Concerts are like championship games. Most kids only get to play in a handful of concerts a year, and spend weeks or months preparing for them. Therefore, they are ex- tremely important. When you're attending a concert, remember how much work went into it, and how excited the kids are. Give the per- formers your full attention and keep nurturing your family's musical gifts. Leanne Sowul lives with her fami- ly in Poughkeepsie. MUSICAL CHILD (Continued from Page 18) Leanne Sowul is a music teacher in the Hudson Valley. "We do this job because at some point when we were growing up, a music educator touched our lives and changed us for the better," she says. "We hope to do the same for your children." Start early Children still too young for school? Make singing, dancing and playing toy instruments part of your daily activities. Listen to children's music in the car, make up silly songs, have a "dance party," and sing lullabies as part of a bedtime routine. Early childhood music pro- grams are also a great local op- tion. "Children are born musical people," says Elizabeth Clifton, a teacher with Mid-Hudson Music Together. "Early childhood music classes give children and parents the experience of making music together in a playful environ- ment, so they can take the fun home into their daily lives."

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