Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I Wish My Mom had Never Let Me Quit...

If I had a dollar for every time an adult has said this to me, I would probably be a millionaire.  After months or years of 'making' a child practice, it can wear down any parent and often, this is just what the child is trying to do.....I had a voice teacher friend once tell me that "the most talented students will try to sabotage the lesson process - because it comes so easily to them"....After thirty years of teaching experience, I would have to wholeheartedly agree.

A word of encouragement to adults, parents and grandparents who read this, it is NEVER too late to start to play, or go back to playing and studying.  In fact, in several homes that I teach in, a mom or dad is taking lessons back to back with their kids, so their is a healthy competition present and the children and prone to working harder, so they can stay ahead of mom or dad.

So music touches all of us.  Support your local private teachers....and as earlier as you can start your children, the better.  Studies have proven that a child's brains develops and absorbs the most between the ages of 1 and 3.

Art Scott

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Monday, October 27, 2008

Keeping a Child Motivated at the Piano....

Mommy, I wanna quit.
At some point every parent will hear their child say this - it could be on the second lesson, the second month or second year.

The trick is setting the stage as a parent.  My dad was very wise in that he told all of us (5 children) that we HAD to stick to piano for a minimum of one year.  After we fulfilled that, he told us that we could choose any other instrument in the band to play at school but we HAD to have a year of background so we would know HOW TO READ MUSIC, how to count, etc., and have some basic music theory under our belt.

I am so glad to this day - that I stuck with the piano for 8 years....and then went on to put myself through college by teaching piano and paid for 100% of all my school and living expenses.

Back to motivation and keep your children motivated.  After thirty years of teaching I have found their are 2 schools of thought - reward or deprivation.

We live in a different day and age today.  I often tell parents that I have trouble finding parents who are COMMITTED and willing to be firm and basically do their job as parents.  I am blessed to have over 50 families who are supportive and parents who are great parents and where the parents are in charge and not the kids.

Every time a child does their job and practices without being reminded - they can get a sticker put up on a chart - and at the end of 30 days of successfully practicing they get a reward - like going to a concert, going to a toy store, getting a new computer game or whatever is meaningful to them.  I have one mom 20 years ago go out and buy roller blades for her son when they were a hot ticket item...and put them high up on a shelf and told her son when the chart was filled out he would get them.  It worked.

For girls getting their nails done, for boys playing golf with dad.  Make it special!

Deprivation I find does not work well; in fact it cause have an opposite effect and cause children to hate music and hate the piano.  Find something that works for you kids and stick to it.  Children yearn for boundaries even though at time they may act like they hate them.

Work with your teacher closely; make sure your kids are playing interesting music.
If the music is boring it will be an uphill battle.

Funny thing I have found about kids, they often are just a reflection of the good and bad aspects / personality attributes of their parents.  So if you see your son or daughter quiting when the task gets hard, perhaps they are modeling behavior they have seen from mom and day.

When a mom and dad and even grandparents praise their kids and support them verbally and show sincere affirmation over the piano pieces they are studying, great things can and do happen.   We all need appreciation and need affirmation and in the music world which tends to be very competitive and ruthless at times, a child does develop intrinsic confidence from the praise they get at home.

Music successfully learned cast permanent memories on the psyche of children and parents.   Choose your piano teacher carefully!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A Student should ALWAYS be involved in choosing....

 For more information, see another of my 50 websites and videos:
    (949) 454-1221  Studio Phone   24/7

I loved my first piano teacher, Mrs. Johnson.  I owe her an awful lot in that after eight years of private lessons, I finally 'wore my mom down' and she let me quit....although she was a brilliant teacher, I admiringly have developed my own style of teaching children and the one primary thing I do vastly different is I do not go page and page in piano method books...rather, I turn the selection process into a game similar to Jeopardy....door number #1 - 2 - 3 and sometimes even 4.  Depending on the child, years of study and level of accomplishment, these choices may include a classical piece, a jazz piece, a Disney piece, etc.  I give them 10 seconds to make up their mind....and the look of excitement on a child's face when they get to choose the piece is worth all the gold in China....or somewhere...My standing rule though is once you have selected the piece, there is no choose carefully.

Sometimes get regret the piece they choose because "it's HARD".
I don't fight them on this - I agree with them it is hard - sometimes it's hard to even wake up in the morning....but we all grow as a result of accomplishing a 'hard' piece.

I sometimes will even role play with the kids and pretend to be them and wine and complain so they can see how silly the look when they behave this way.

Someone once told me that to be a good piano teacher you are not just a musician who is teaching, but over the years you become an arm chair psychologist of sorts.

Send me your questions and concerns, I am happy to interact with anyone on the subject of piano teaching, children, musician education, etc.

Come back tomorrow....and tell your friends to visit our new, exciting site.

 For more information, see another of my 50 websites and videos:
    (949) 454-1221  Studio Phone   24/7

Friday, October 24, 2008

Topics for the next few days...from Music by Art Scott

Over the next fews days I will be covering several topics that most parents will enjoy reading; this includes

-How to keep my child motivated

-When should a parent let a music teacher go and how to handle the transition

-How to support your child daily and keep them motivated and practicing

-What to expect from piano recitals and how to prepare you child for them

......send me your suggestions for other topics you would like to see discussed

 For more information, see another of my 50 websites and videos:
    (949) 454-1221  Studio Phone   24/7

Welcome to Music By Art Scott

Welcome to my new music blog.  The sole intention of this blog is to provide daily information to parents about Music Education and the joy of bring piano music to your home - and keep it going - year after year.

Part of this process involves two things; choosing the right instrument and choosing the right teacher.

 For more information, see another of my 50 websites and videos:
    (949) 454-1221  Studio Phone   24/7

If you already have a piano or keyboard in your house, you need to make sure if it's a digital instrument that it is touch sensitive; that way your child can begin to express themself correctly right from the start when they take lessons.  Touch sensitive simply means that when someone is playing softly that they can play soft; when they excert more pressure into the key(s) it responds louder, thus emulating a real piano.

Having a piano in tune is also essential for a child's ear to develop fully.  If it's been twenty years since you had your piano tuned, send me an email at and I can refer you to a good tuner, anywhere in the world!
My resources are endless and it would be a privilege to help you.  Depending on where you live you can spend from $80 - 120 currently on having a piano tuned.

The wave of the future I predict is in digital pianos - you can find a huge selection of prices, major name brands of keyboards that are touch sensitive starting as low as $130 for a 5 octave unit made by Casio.  I fully support digital pianos as a veteran piano teacher with over 30 years teaching experience.  Families today generally do not have the room or budget to spend on an acoustical piano - one with strings and hammers.

If you choose to go the route of a real piano - you can rent them or purchase them new or used.  If you are the type of consumer who likes to research before you make a purchase, you can buy the book "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Buying a Piano by Marty and Jennifer Flinn - you can get this easily on  I noticed used copies for around $6....

Once you secure an instrument for you child to practice daily on, now comes the task of finding the right teacher.  Whenever a parent calls me, which is almost daily about piano lessons, I also encourage them to have a mutual 'audition' time of a lesson or two with several teachers to find the right personality mix.

If the personality jive well together - then this should be a positive relationship that lasts for many years.

Unfortunately many parents have had negative experiences in their own life experience and strictly out of their own fears of the past, they refuse to even try the process of giving their children private piano lessons.   In my opinion this is both wrong and selfish.  The old catholic nuns who taught piano and would strike children with rulers - is - a thing of the PAST.  Thank God!!

For further information on how to choose a teacher, how to choose an instrument, please avail yourself of my two websites; and

Should you have specific questions and concerns and want some free advice you can either post here on my blog or email me directly at

I am and will always be a firm believer that "Every Child Deserves a Music Education" and also that "Music Changes Lives Forever!

Feel free to look at my blog daily for new information.  If there are subjects that you as parents want to see covered, please feel free to suggest your concerns here - as this BLOG is for you.

Have a great day.  Art Scott, Owner / Operator

 For more information, see another of my 50 websites and videos:
    (949) 454-1221  Studio Phone   24/7

PS - if your wanting to shop for sheet music, music books of all types of music and want to give some music as a gift for a birthday, special occasion, Holiday, at the top of my site, click on the sheet music banner and you will find thousands of selection for piano, vocal, instrumental there.

Also, if you are in the market of guitars, drums, keyboards and much more, go to the bottom of my site and click on the keyboard banner.
There you will find over 125,000 instruments at great prices.