HELPFUL PARENT GUIDES:
5 THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW WHEN CHOOSING
5 WAYS TO GET THE MOST OUT OF MUSIC LESSONS
5 THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW WHEN CHOOSING
A DANCE STUDIO
Since most dance studios seem to have qualified, friendly teachers
with experienced teaching skills, and a big show every year, aren’t
they all pretty much the same? Does it really matter which school at which you choose to enroll? ABSOLUTELY ! ! !
Here are a few important factors that can make a huge difference in
the quality of instruction either you or your child will receive. Considering
these four basic guidelines when choosing a dance studio will help you
achieve the overall satisfaction and enjoyment found within a dance
1. WHAT TYPE OF DANCE FLOOR IS USED?
Dance is a very physical activity that requires a lot of jumping, which
can put stress on bones and joints. Most dance footwear does not provide
any cushioning or support, so the shock of dance movement can place
a lot of pressure on the knees and back of a dancer. The best way to
prevent against potential injury is by choosing a studio with a professional
“floating floor”. A floating floor is a dance floor that
rests on a system of high-density foam, to absorb the shock of jumping.
A high-density foam base is superior to a sprung floor, which usually
consists of a wood structure built on the regular floor.
The top layer of the dance floor is also an important factor. A vinyl
composite “marley” floor is accepted worldwide as the best
surface layer for recreational to professional dance.
2. WHAT IS THE SIZE OF THE CLASS?
If the dance class has fewer students in it each child will receive
more personalized attention, learn more and have more fun. With younger
students it is easier for a teacher to maintain control over the class
and make sure each student understands the concepts and instructions
presented. You will commonly find that most studios do not limit the
number of students per class.
Our smaller class sizes make sure that no fundamental concepts are being
missed. A smaller class size also allows our teachers to ensure that
students are not developing bad habits or improper technique. Our studio
limits all of our classes (ages 7 and up) to a maximum of just 13 students
per class. With our younger aged classes (4-6yrs) held at a maximum
of 10 and ages 2-3 held at a maximum of 6 students.
3. WHAT ARE THE EXTRAS FOR THE YEAR-END SHOW?
Most studios put on a year-end show in a professional auditorium. Parents
can be affected with extra work and expenses for making or altering
the costumes. Our studio has a fixed rate for the year end costumes
so you know from day 1 how much your costume will be. We also sew and
alter our professional dance costumes with a complimentary tailor provided
for free before year end show. This makes the year end costume hassle-free
for the parents who are busy or cant sew.
4. IS THERE A WELL-DESIGNED CURRICULUM IN PLACE?
Dance is a very technical form of art. A well-designed curriculum should
both challenge and inspire the beginner to the most seasoned dancer.
This balance between a challenging yet inspiring program must contain
proper technique, sequence and terminology at all levels. The mixture
of fun, creativity, energy, and the proper music are also big factors
when determining if a program has been designed for optimal learning
Our class schedule offers a broad range of popular and traditional
dance forms for all ages (2 & up) and all levels. Our school has
a specific curriculum designed to create and capture a student’s
enthusiasm while emphasizing proper technique, sequence and terminology.
We also provide the opportunity for our dancers to excel beyond recreational
level. Our ‘Hermosa Stars’ Dance Team is a vehicle through
which a dancer can participate in performances and competitions throughout
5. CAN I GET IMMEDIATE ASSISTANCE AND CUSTOMER SERVICE?
In many studios the teacher conducts classes and does the administration.
By trying to do two jobs at once, the class may suffer as the teacher
has to use class time for customer service issues, or the studio may
have no customer service available if the teacher is in a class. To
have a good experience it is important to choose a studio that can assist
you with details like costumes or schedules, even if a teacher is occupied
in a class. Our studio has office staff on hand during all regular class
times, so you can get immediate assistance.
These guidelines will help you have a successful, rewarding experience
learning an instrument. These are some practical tips that have been discovered
through our staff’s cumulative years of musical experience and instruction.
1. HOW YOUNG IS TOO YOUNG - STARTING AT THE RIGHT AGE
Adults can start any instrument at any time. Their success is based on
how willing an adult is to commit to practicing.
For children, starting at the right age is a key element to the success
of their lessons. Some people will tell you “the sooner the better”
but this attitude can actually backfire and be a negative. If a child
is put into lessons too soon they may feel overwhelmed and frustrated
and want to stop lessons. The last thing you want to do is turn a child
off music just because they had one unpleasant experience that could have
been prevented. Sometimes if the child waits a year to start lessons their
progress can be much faster. Children who are older than the suggested
earliest starting age usually do very well. The following are guidelines
we have found to be successful in determining how young a child can start
taking music lessons.
At our school 5 years old is the youngest age that we start children in
private piano lessons. At this age
they start to develop longer attention spans, have better physical hand
abilities, and can retain
material with ease.
(But if you’d like to start you 4½ year old on their musical journey, call to set up a single lesson to see if your child is ready for private lessons.)
Guitar - Acoustic, Electric and Bass
8 years old is the earliest we recommend for guitar lessons. Guitar playing
requires a fair amount of
pressure on the fingertips from pressing on the strings. Children under
8 generally have small hands and
may find playing uncomfortable. Bass guitar students are generally at
least 10 years old.
7 years old is recommended as the youngest age for private vocal lessons.
Due to the physical nature of
voice lessons (proper breathing techniques, development of the vocal chords
and lung capacity), the
younger body is generally not yet ready for the rigors of vocal technique.
For children younger than 7, we
recommend a children’s choir or a preschool singing program that
teaches them how to use their voices
properly, in a fun, relaxed environment.
The minimum age for our drum students is age 7. This varies greatly depending
on the size of the child.
They have to be able to reach both the pedals and the cymbals.
We accept violin students from the age of 5. Some teachers will start
children as young as 3, but
experience has shown that the most productive learning occurs when the
beginner is 5 or older.
2. INSIST ON PRIVATE LESSONS WHEN LEARNING A SPECIFIC INSTRUMENT
Group classes work well for preschool music programs, and theory lessons.
However, when actually learning how to play an instrument, private lessons
are far superior to a group lessons since privates give the student the
opportunity to learn at their own pace so they don’t miss key points.
This also means that the teacher does not have to teach a class at a middle-of–the-road
level, but has the time and focus to work on the individual student’s
strengths and weaknesses. For that lesson period, the student is the primary
focus of the teacher. The teachers also enjoy this as they do not have
to divide their attention between 5 - 10 students at a time and can help
the student be the best they can be.
3. TAKE LESSONS IN A PROFESSIONAL TEACHING ENVIRONMENT
Learning music is not just a matter of having a qualified teacher, but
also having an environment that is focused on music education. In a professional
school environment a student cannot be distracted by TV., pets, ringing
phones, siblings or anything else. With only 1/2 to one hour of lesson
time per week, a professional school environment can produce better results
since the only focus at that time is learning music. Students in a school
environment are also motivated by hearing peers who are at different levels
and by being exposed to a variety of musical instruments. In a music school,
the lessons are not just a hobby or sideline for the teacher but a responsibility,
which is taken very seriously.
4. MAKE PRACTICING EASIER
As with anything, improving in music takes practice. One of the main
problems with music lessons is the drudgery of practicing and the fight
between parents and students to practice every day. Here are some ways
to make practicing easier:
Set the same time every day to practice so it becomes part of a routine
or habit. This works particularly
well for children. Generally the earlier in the day the practicing can
occur, the less reminding is required
by parents to get the child to practice.
We use this method quite often when setting practice schedules for beginners.
For a young child 20 or 30
minutes seems like an eternity. Instead of setting a time frame, we use
repetition. For example, practice
this piece 4 times every day, and this scale 5 times a day. The child
then does not pay attention to the amount of time they are practicing their instrument, but knows if they
are on repetition number 3 they are
This works very well for both children and adult students. Some adults
reward themselves with a
cappuccino after a successful week of practicing. Parents can encourage
children to practice by granting
them occasional rewards for successful practicing. Praise tends to be
the most coveted award - there just
is no substitute for a pat on the back for a job well done. Sometimes
we all have a week with little
practicing, in that case there is always next week.
HAVE FUN !
Music should be something that you enjoy for a lifetime. So, try not
to put unrealistic expectations on yourself or your children to learn
too quickly. Everyone learns at a different pace and the key is to be
able to enjoy the journey.
5. USE RECOGNIZED TEACHING MATERIALS
There are some excellent materials developed by professional music educators that are made for students in a variety of situations. For example in piano, there are books for very young beginners, and books for adult students that have never played before. There are books that can start you at a level you are comfortable with. These materials have been researched and are continually upgraded and improved to make learning easier. These materials ensure that no important part of learning the instrument can inadvertently be left out. If you ever have to move to a different part of the country, qualified teachers and institutions will recognize the materials and be able to smoothly continue from where the previous teacher left off.
Most Importantly... HAVE FUN!
Music should be something that you enjoy for a lifetime. So, try not to put unrealistic expectations on yourself or your children to learn too quickly. Everyone learns at a different pace and the key is to be able to enjoy the journey.