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Veterans Day Weekend

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On this Veterans Day Weekend, many of us will be barbecuing and enjoying the nice weather, but let's not forget what this holiday is really about.  Let's remember and honor all the men and women around the world that selflessly gave everything and served unconditionally, so others didn't have to.  Let's also reflect on the suffering and sacrifice that all war poses to all humanity.  We encourage everyone to personally thank a veteran for his or her service this weekend and every time you have chance. 

How to Motivate Your Child to Practice

By Dr. Robert A. Cutietta

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Among the numerous challenges that parents face in handling children’s music lessons (choosing the instrument, finding a good teacher, etc.), getting kids to practice is the most daunting of all. The severity of the problem and the importance of practice make it hard to believe that there are so few articles addressing this. What’s more, parents and music teachers often resort to the failed tactics they remember from childhood in desperate attempts to motivate kids to practice.

A common example of this issue is the “practice for 30 minutes” rule, in which a music teacher will recommend that the child practice 30 minutes a day and generally increase this time as they get older. In attempts to enforce adherence to this arbitrary commitment, parents will often “pay” the child for 30 minutes of “work” with something rewarding like watching TV, playing outside or playing video games. The problem with this method is that it makes the 30 minutes of practicing something to be endured in order to do something that is valued. But what is so sacred about 30 minutes of practicing? Where did this standard unit come from? How is it better than 27 minutes or 34?

To transform practicing into a rewarding activity, parents should encourage reaching daily musical goals. For example, instead of saying that 30 minutes of practice is enough regardless of what is achieved, you might say, “Today the goal of practicing is to play the first eight measures of your piece without any mistakes.” Whether reaching this goal takes 12 minutes or 40 minutes isn’t important. What is important is that the child knows the musical goal of each daily practice session and feels motivated to be as efficient as possible while practicing in order to reach that goal and feel that sense of accomplishment. If the goal is playing the first eight measures on Monday, the logical goal for Tuesday is to play the next eight. Pretty soon, the child will acknowledge the cumulative goal of the week: to play the entire piece free of mistakes. This leads to more motivation, more effort during practice and most importantly, pride in what they have accomplished.

Although this method achieves greater success, it also requires more effort by the parents; it’s easy to look at the clock and monitor 30 minutes, but goal-related practicing means setting daily goals for your children, monitoring the ease or difficulty your child experiences with his music and setting new, more demanding goals. Don’t worry! Here are some tips to help you:

First, divide the week’s goal or teacher’s expectations into seven equal parts and make sure your child understands each one. On some days, your child might choose to work toward two days’ worth of goals, in which case, it’s wise to give them the option of skipping the next day’s practice session.

Daily goals should be attended to every day and should involve playing scales or other technique-building skills; advancement on specific pieces can be more spread out, as long as the child continues to move forward with the piece.

While it may be tempting, don’t bargain with practice time. Although in trying to skip a day, your child may really mean, “I will practice double tomorrow,” this sets the standard that practice time is negotiable.

Progress should be measured and appropriately altered each day (if needed) by analyzing the amount of effort, frustration and completion/advancement in reaching the daily goals. Yes, this is more work than monitoring 30 minutes a day, but in the end, this will be much easier than the agony of forcing children to adhere to the mandatory 30 minutes of meager, unmotivated effort. It will also make everyone’s life a little more enjoyable!

Dr. Robert A. Cutietta is the Dean of the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music. He is the author of “Raising Musical Kids” and a popular speaker whose areas of expertise include the middle-school learner, choral education, learning theories and the psychology of music. Additionally, he is a highly regarded musician and educator with extensive knowledge about the full range of musical talent nationally as well as internationally.

Facebook Halloween Post With The Most Contest

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Facebook Halloween Post With The Most Contest

Post a picture or video of you or your loved one playing her or his instrument in costume on the Elite Music Instruction Florida Facebook page. The post with the most likes, comments and shares will win one FREE month of lessons.

Click the link to post: https://www.facebook.com/elitemusic.instruction.3

Click link to read contest RULES: http://www.elitemusicinstruction.com/halloween-post-with-the-most-rules

Have a fun, safe, and happy Halloween

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50 stars is an amazing accomplishment. You know what else has 50 stars? Elite Music instruction now has 50 five star reviews on Facebook. Thank you for all your kind words. We have worked very hard over the last 22 years for each and every one of our stars and we will continue to work towards providing the best quality music education and customer service the industry has to offer.  

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How Music Unlocked My Son's ADHD Brain

Traditional learning programs helped my son, who has ADHD and other special needs, concentrate and focus — but nothing helped him as much as music. Whether he was learning an instrument, listening to a classical concerto, or just clapping along to a beat, Brandon found himself and his strengths in the power of sound. BY SHARLENE HABERMEYER Children do not come in tidy packages — they come with spontaneity, energy, and delicious individuality. Some have learning challenges that affect them physically, cognitively, emotionally, and/or behaviorally. The good news is that music can help with most of them. In 1982, my third son, Brandon, suffered a traumatic birth that left him with pre-frontal cortex damage. He was a fussy baby, cried all the time, and had constant ear infections, speech and language delays, and severe separation anxiety. At six, he was diagnosed with ADHD, auditory processing, auditory discrimination, visual-motor, visual perception, and sensory motor problems. The difference between his oral and written IQ was 38 points, indicating severe learning disabilities. A team of school and professional experts concluded that he would have a hard time learning, focusing, and concentrating. They said he may not graduate from high school; college was out of the question. I decided to take the experts’ conclusions as one possibility, and not get too discouraged. I researched ADHD and learning disabilities — asking questions and aggressively networking. I learned that it takes time to solve such challenges. I learned that all learning disabilities start with auditory processing — the child can hear, but has difficulty processing what he hears. This can affect his ability to concentrate and focus. I enrolled Brandon in learning programs, many of which helped. But music — and particularly musical instruments — were the real keys to unlocking his ability to learn. Rhythm of Change Music strengthens the areas of the brain that, in the child with ADHD, are weak. Music builds and strengthens the auditory, visual/spatial, and motor cortices of the brain. These areas are tied to speech and language, reading, reading comprehension, math, problem solving, brain organization, focusing, concentration, and attention issues. Studies indicate that when children with ADHD or learning disabilities learn a musical instrument, attention, concentration, impulse control, social functioning, self-esteem, self-expression, motivation, and memory improve. Some studies show that children who have difficulty focusing when there is background noise are particularly helped by music lessons. Starting from birth, Brandon listened to classical music and, by age three, he was taking group music lessons. By five, I was teaching him piano by color-coding the keyboard. By eight, he was taking private lessons. To support Brandon in school, I created musical games. For instance, I made up musical jingles to teach him spelling. We clapped out rhythms while learning addition, subtraction, and multiplication facts. I created songs, jingles, and rhyming couplets for material he was learning in social studies, science, and language arts. Coupled with formal music lessons, concepts became easier for him to grasp and understand. His ability to concentrate and focus for longer periods increased each year. After a long, hard climb, Brandon was accepted to a four-year university, and he eventually graduated with straight A’s in film and philosophy. Here are the sound strategies I used with Brandon. I have no doubt that they will work with your child as well. > Start group music lessons. When he is about 18 months old, find a group music program for your child. > Get into the rhythm. Our biological systems work on precise rhythms (think heartbeat). If these rhythms are out of sync, it is hard for anyone to focus and stay on task. Using rhythm instruments is a powerful way to sync the natural biorhythms of the body, allowing the child to feel “in tune” with his environment. So put on music with a strong beat — the “Baby Dance” CD is good — and beat out, bang out, or clang out the rhythm of the music with your child. > Dance to the music. Movement for a child with ADHD is a must! In fact, movement is an indispensable part of learning, thinking, and focusing. As a child moves to different cadences and rhythms, his physical coordination and ability to concentrate improve. > Draw what you hear. Many children with ADHD are creative and in search of creative outlets. Drawing or doodling engages motor skills, organizes the brain, and stimulates artistic juices. After a busy day at school, and before your child jumps into homework, give her paper and crayons, put on some classical music, and let her draw. I used to play a game with Brandon called “Draw What You Hear.” I put on classical music and Brandon drew or doodled to the music. Later, when he was in high school, these exercises helped him shut out outside noise, and relaxed his mind. > Read music books. I’m a strong advocate of reading to your children every day. Reading builds focus, concentration, vocabulary, speech and language, and writing skills. I read many books to our sons, some of which were associated with music: Swine Lake, by James Marshall (a great book to introduce your kids to the ballet Swan Lake), and Lentil by Robert McCloskey. > Start private music lessons between the ages of five and seven. If you are a parent with ADHD, take music lessons along with your child. > Find an ADHD-friendly instrument. The string bass, woodwinds, and percussion instruments are good choices, because a child can stand and move while playing them. Let your child choose his own instrument. If he decides on drums, buy earplugs! > March in the morning. Children with ADHD usually have a hard time attending to tasks during the busy morning hours. Every morning, play marching music (John Philip Sousa tunes are great) and march from activity to activity — getting dressed, making beds, eating breakfast, brushing teeth — with feet moving and arms swaying. > Sing your way to school. Teachers want students to be ready to learn when they come to class. So, on your way to school, sing in the car or play classical music. Singing demands total focus. “The Alphabet Operetta,” by Mindy Manley Little, is perfect. > Orchestrate homework. Some classical music changes the way the brain processes information by changing its electromagnetic frequencies. As a result of listening, children and adults are able to absorb, retain, and retrieve information better. When doing homework, try listening to George Frederic Handel’s Water Music or Johann Sebastian Bach’s Brandenburg Concerti. > Combine music and nature. Studies show that listening to music while walking in nature has a beneficial effect on the brain. The combination re-sets the brain — increasing its focus and priming it for learning. How is Brandon doing today? He is married, works in the film industry, and writes blogs on philosophy. Music is still an important part of his life. He listens to classical music while traveling to work each day and plays the piano weekly. Brandon has the tools and understanding to make ADHD his “friend.” He will always be somewhat of a round peg expected to fit in a square hole, but he is a happy, successful adult who embraces the differences in people. Article taken from:  ADDitude: Strategies and Support for ADHD and LD / ADDitudemag.com

Traditional learning programs helped my son, who has ADHD and other special needs, concentrate and focus — but nothing helped him as much as music. Whether he was learning an instrument, listening to a classical concerto, or just clapping along to a beat, Brandon found himself and his strengths in the power of sound.

BY SHARLENE HABERMEYER

Children do not come in tidy packages — they come with spontaneity, energy, and delicious individuality. Some have learning challenges that affect them physically, cognitively, emotionally, and/or behaviorally. The good news is that music can help with most of them.

In 1982, my third son, Brandon, suffered a traumatic birth that left him with pre-frontal cortex damage. He was a fussy baby, cried all the time, and had constant ear infections, speech and language delays, and severe separation anxiety. At six, he was diagnosed with ADHD, auditory processing, auditory discrimination, visual-motor, visual perception, and sensory motor problems. The difference between his oral and written IQ was 38 points, indicating severe learning disabilities. A team of school and professional experts concluded that he would have a hard time learning, focusing, and concentrating. They said he may not graduate from high school; college was out of the question.

I decided to take the experts’ conclusions as one possibility, and not get too discouraged. I researched ADHD and learning disabilities — asking questions and aggressively networking. I learned that it takes time to solve such challenges. I learned that all learning disabilities start with auditory processing — the child can hear, but has difficulty processing what he hears. This can affect his ability to concentrate and focus. I enrolled Brandon in learning programs, many of which helped. But music — and particularly musical instruments — were the real keys to unlocking his ability to learn.

Rhythm of Change

Music strengthens the areas of the brain that, in the child with ADHD, are weak. Music builds and strengthens the auditory, visual/spatial, and motor cortices of the brain. These areas are tied to speech and language, reading, reading comprehension, math, problem solving, brain organization, focusing, concentration, and attention issues. Studies indicate that when children with ADHD or learning disabilities learn a musical instrument, attention, concentration, impulse control, social functioning, self-esteem, self-expression, motivation, and memory improve. Some studies show that children who have difficulty focusing when there is background noise are particularly helped by music lessons.

Starting from birth, Brandon listened to classical music and, by age three, he was taking group music lessons. By five, I was teaching him piano by color-coding the keyboard. By eight, he was taking private lessons.

To support Brandon in school, I created musical games. For instance, I made up musical jingles to teach him spelling. We clapped out rhythms while learning addition, subtraction, and multiplication facts. I created songs, jingles, and rhyming couplets for material he was learning in social studies, science, and language arts. Coupled with formal music lessons, concepts became easier for him to grasp and understand. His ability to concentrate and focus for longer periods increased each year. After a long, hard climb, Brandon was accepted to a four-year university, and he eventually graduated with straight A’s in film and philosophy.

Here are the sound strategies I used with Brandon. I have no doubt that they will work with your child as well.

> Start group music lessons. When he is about 18 months old, find a group music program for your child.

> Get into the rhythm. Our biological systems work on precise rhythms (think heartbeat). If these rhythms are out of sync, it is hard for anyone to focus and stay on task. Using rhythm instruments is a powerful way to sync the natural biorhythms of the body, allowing the child to feel “in tune” with his environment. So put on music with a strong beat — the “Baby Dance” CD is good — and beat out, bang out, or clang out the rhythm of the music with your child.

> Dance to the music. Movement for a child with ADHD is a must! In fact, movement is an indispensable part of learning, thinking, and focusing. As a child moves to different cadences and rhythms, his physical coordination and ability to concentrate improve.

> Draw what you hear. Many children with ADHD are creative and in search of creative outlets. Drawing or doodling engages motor skills, organizes the brain, and stimulates artistic juices. After a busy day at school, and before your child jumps into homework, give her paper and crayons, put on some classical music, and let her draw.

I used to play a game with Brandon called “Draw What You Hear.” I put on classical music and Brandon drew or doodled to the music. Later, when he was in high school, these exercises helped him shut out outside noise, and relaxed his mind.

> Read music books. I’m a strong advocate of reading to your children every day. Reading builds focus, concentration, vocabulary, speech and language, and writing skills. I read many books to our sons, some of which were associated with music: Swine Lake, by James Marshall (a great book to introduce your kids to the ballet Swan Lake), and Lentil by Robert McCloskey.

> Start private music lessons between the ages of five and seven. If you are a parent with ADHD, take music lessons along with your child.

> Find an ADHD-friendly instrument. The string bass, woodwinds, and percussion instruments are good choices, because a child can stand and move while playing them. Let your child choose his own instrument. If he decides on drums, buy earplugs!

> March in the morning. Children with ADHD usually have a hard time attending to tasks during the busy morning hours. Every morning, play marching music (John Philip Sousa tunes are great) and march from activity to activity — getting dressed, making beds, eating breakfast, brushing teeth — with feet moving and arms swaying.

> Sing your way to school. Teachers want students to be ready to learn when they come to class. So, on your way to school, sing in the car or play classical music. Singing demands total focus. “The Alphabet Operetta,” by Mindy Manley Little, is perfect.

> Orchestrate homework. Some classical music changes the way the brain processes information by changing its electromagnetic frequencies. As a result of listening, children and adults are able to absorb, retain, and retrieve information better. When doing homework, try listening to George Frederic Handel’s Water Music or Johann Sebastian Bach’s Brandenburg Concerti.

> Combine music and nature. Studies show that listening to music while walking in nature has a beneficial effect on the brain. The combination re-sets the brain — increasing its focus and priming it for learning.

How is Brandon doing today? He is married, works in the film industry, and writes blogs on philosophy. Music is still an important part of his life. He listens to classical music while traveling to work each day and plays the piano weekly. Brandon has the tools and understanding to make ADHD his “friend.” He will always be somewhat of a round peg expected to fit in a square hole, but he is a happy, successful adult who embraces the differences in people.

Article taken from:  ADDitude: Strategies and Support for ADHD and LD / ADDitudemag.com