STARTING AN INSTRUMENT… What age?
GUITAR: PMA advise that children as young as six can enjoy lessons and progress at a good rate. It is recommended that a student start around the age of six/seven as they need to be able to focus and have the proper motor skills and dexterity to physically manage the guitar.
DRUM KIT: Our tuition team at PMA recommend that youngsters can learn drums from 5 years. We can adjust drum kits to suit the height/reach of younger learners. Providing a student can engage successfully over the 1/2 hour lesson, techniques and patterns can be taught.
PIANO & KEYBOARD: Generally, it is a good idea to start piano lessons when the child is ready to behave in a classroom environment and ready to learn. Our team at PMA utilise suitable teaching techniques for younger learners and recommend books such as “John Thompson’s Easiest Piano Course”.
STRINGS: Age 4 or above usually works best. In order to make violin lessons worthwhile, a child must be able to maintain his or her focus for 10 minutes or more. Also, young students require an adult to help them practice. Parents should be prepared to spend the quality, focused time each day to nurture their little musician’s talents.
WOODWIND: PMA recommends students aged 5 can start the flute and clarinet. The saxophone is a physically demanding instrument, therefore we suggest a starting age of 10 or 11.
BUYING AN INSTRUMENT… where to start?
PMA stocks a wide range of beginner classical, electric and acoustic guitars and ukuleles. The team can assist you by ensuring you have right size instrument, accessories and tuition aids.
GROUP LESSONS / SHARING… CAN I LEARN WITH A CHILD, SIBLING, FRIEND?
Lessons here at PMA can be shared at no extra cost. Proving both or all learners are of a similar standard, shared lessons can be as successful as one-to-one.
CAN I LEARN BEFORE BUYING AN INSTRUMENT?
PMA can provides students with an instrument for a taster lesson. If a learner wishes to complete X5 lessons before buying then that’s fine - normally a student is hooked after 5 lessons and keen to buy their own instrument.
DO I HAVE TO LEARN A GRADE?
Not at all - here at PMA, Students are given the choice to tailor their lessons to suit them. Tutors ensure important techniques, theory and exercises are covered - graded course do offer structure and goals, however PMA tutors can offer this and build an approach that works for each individual.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF LEARNING AN INSTRUMENT?
There are many benefits of learning an instrument. Studies have shown that kids develop neurophysiological distinction when they’re learning to play. This helps them with literacy skills, improving their academic results.
And for adults, playing music is like a workout for our brain. Scientists have watched multiple parts of the brain light up at once when people have played music while connected to scanners.
Playing music also increases the activity and volume in the brain’s Corpus Callosum. This allows messages to get across both sides of the brain faster, increasing problem-solving abilities.
Even patients recovering from strokes have seen a significant improvement after beginning to learn an instrument.
Playing an instrument builds hand-eye coordination. This is because the brain has to translate notes it see’s the act of playing them.
This exchange from the brain to fingertips has to happen fast, at tempo speed. It happens over and over with every note, which makes the brain step up to keep up.
Coordination benefits include athleticism, agility, social skills, and cognitive functioning improvements. Not to mention it will make your music sound better!
Coordination of the process of playing and reading music at the same time quickens reaction times.
When you play an instrument, the action from your hands/fingers strengthens pathways. Those sensory pathways in your brain get built up and don’t take as long to activate.
Less activation time equals faster reaction time.
Increases Brain Function in Old Age:
Thanks in part to what playing does for coordination, pathways that get strengthened while playing get re-activated each time you play.
Keeping the brain healthy is all about keeping it active. So those sensory pathways your brain uses to help you play are actually keeping it young.
Musicians who have been playing a long time or their whole life, have lower chances of memory issues. Every time they play it’s like a brain workout!
Playing music is a whole-body experience since it involves using different senses at the same time. When you engage in something with more than one sense, you engage more parts of your brain.
Depending on the type of music you play, this can help release emotions.
The less pent-up emotions someone has, the happier and less stressed they will be.
Natural Stress Relief:
Playing an instrument releases stress, though maybe not during performances. The repetitive motions and familiar notes soothe your brain.
People who play music often are found to have lower blood pressure and less risk of heart disease. Along with other stress-related diseases.
Increases Immune Functioning:
Scientists don’t know why exactly, but playing an instrument strengthens immune systems. Part of the reason could be how music lowers stress levels.
People with lower stress levels have immune systems that are stronger. When you worry, it puts your body on high alert, which stresses out your immune system.
Less stress means a better rested and ready to go immune system.
This is a combination of benefits already discussed. Lower stress levels and self-expression together lead to more normal and happy moods.
If you’re happy, you can spend more brain power thinking about other things. Being in a good mindset can assist in making smarter decisions and improves brain function.
Improves MathS Skills:
Maths and music are more similar than you’d think. The idea of a rhythm can be compared to a pattern of numbers.
Playing an instrument and doing a maths equation take different sides of the brain. But by training to hear and play rhythms, the brain recognises maths patterns more easily.
Improves Reading and Comprehension:
There are a lot of micro-decisions the brain has to make at tempo speed while playing music. Like which combination of fingers makes what note, when to play it, and how long to play it.
These decisions all happening at once help the brain understand complex information. That practice with complex information using different parts of the brain at once helps with reading.
When you read, you keep track of many different bits of information. Your brain is constantly adding and rearranging that as more gets added to the storyline.
Improves School Achievement:
This benefit is for people still in school. There are a few theories to why playing an instrument leads to higher scores and IQ’s.
Some people think that people with higher IQ’s have a higher capacity to learn music so they stick with it. Then those are the students who get studied and assessed.
Others think that the increase in intelligence and IQ comes from a more varied education. Remember that brains love activation and music give brains a chance to activate a very specific area.
Both schools of thought have found that the number of music classes and lessons matter. The more music lessons and play sessions you have, the more benefit your brain gets.
Like the benefits from coordination, there are many things to keep track of while playing. You need to think about tempo, notes, lengths of notes, harmonies, the pressure needed to make note, etc.
Keeping track of many things at once trains your brain to pay attention to each detail. Your brain does this every moment you play music.
For your concentration, that’s like doing repetitions to get stronger. That concentration strength then translates into other aspects of your life.
Many of these benefits work off of each other. Think about how similar the benefits of playing music are on reading and concentration.
Playing an instrument improves brain health, your physical health, and your academic health. Even if you never play at a professional level.
The benefits of playing an instrument don’t come from being a renowned musician. They come from the actual practice of holding the instrument and reading the sheet music.
If you want these benefits, you’ll need to stick with it over time. The effects build on each other to become more noticeable.
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