Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Ten Ways to Encourage Creativity

10 Ways to Encourage Creativity in Children

As parents, many of us constantly search for new ways to inspire and encourage our children’s curiosity, creativity, and interest in the world around them, and help them grow up successful, innovative and productive members of our society.

Ways to boost creativity:

  1. Role Playing. “Mom, can you play with me?”Creative ChildrenHow often do we hear those words? And what kind of games do our kids want to play most? The most exciting and creative play is a role playing- making up new games, songs and stories, coming up with outfits, characters’ voices, taking turns, drawing new ideas, etc. Such games can go on for hours and even days, bonding us with our children tighter and creating a more satisfying relationship.
  2. Building Things. I didn’t have Legos as a child, but I recall building Child plays with legomany working cars (school buses, taxis, dump trucks) using a cartoon, round cups for wheels, pencils, and a toy motor. When I went to the 1st grade, I signed up to the class of the young technician and was fascinated with ways to produce elementary electricity. To date, and being a mom, I can fix minor electrical problems around the house and enjoy doing it.
  3. Telling Stories. All kids love telling stories. Writing those stories down, drawing scenes and characters, and publishing them online on the kid-friendly websites, make the projects fun, memorable and gift-appropriate.
  4. Sharing Photos. A number of internet-based image publishing companies help create the original projects about your recent trip, school event, or a holiday with ease and then even share and collaborate with friends and family.
  5. Learning to play an instrument. Growing up in the musically-inclined family of the engineers, Child plays pianoI began taking piano and voice lessons at age 5. Even though I did not like practicing scales as a young child, I vividly remember exciting daily activities with my childhood friend, during which we composed musical duets on the piano and then played them for our parents in four hands!
  6. Taking singing lessons. Running a music teaching business, I often tell parents how fun voice lessons are! Personally, I have never met a child who would not like singing. Having taking voice lessons and participating in a choir as a child, and then conducting a children’s choir as an adult, I have seen children transform during the lessons, forgetting the thoughts of daily troubles and diving into the world of music, beauty and dreams.
  7. Staging a Theatrical Show. When I was growing up, my parents’ friends’
    Kids music performanceand our families were Toddler theatrical performance in Los Angelesmeeting weekly for cheerful sport, art or simple fun activities. One of those gatherings was the theatrical shows, which we were staging in someone’s living room and recording on the video. We created names for our shows, plots, actors, roles, and ridiculous and hilarious outfits. The shows were frequently interrupted by our laughter during each performance, and then there were even more laughter during video viewing times.
  8. Performing in a Music Show. Singing together,Music show making up songs and performing as a group is an incredible, relaxing and enjoyable activity for a whole family.
  9. Making Art. I love a local Costco wholesale store. Besides the items I enjoy buying there, this is the place where I pick up the very large cartoon papers art project- garage, train station, parking Art project with children- making carsand being thanked by the personnel for recycling them. Those huge cartoon papers along with the paints (from oil to water-based), brushes, stickers, cut-out stamps made of potatoes, bell peppers, and such unable my kids and I create roads, cities, holiday arts, music instruments (see some of our projects here: Music DIY for Kids) and great mood any time!
  10. Learning a new language. I feel joy watching many local children switching with ease between two or more languages. Being a bilingual parent, I learned two new languages as an adult and benefited from it not only by enjoying the process of learning and improving my memory, but also by freely using them in different companies, at work, and by reading some of the world literature in the original language.
About the author: Olesya MacNeil is the founder and CEO of Music Teacher LA – Los Angeles and South Bay’s provider of quality private Music Lessons for Ages 4-up and Piano Tuning Services.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

What is the best age to start Piano Lessons for your child?

Best age to start piano lessons
Parents who enroll their children in music lessons early on inevitable provide a powerful boost for their youngsters’ overall development. A number of studies suggest that formal music lessons increase children’s brain growth and neurological processes. Early music education helps develop hand-eye coordination, improves language skills, teaches to use both left and right side of the brain simultaneously, develops discipline, patience and music appreciation, and instills confidence. Additionally, studies show that adults who played music instruments in their childhood processes the sound better, which in turn helps them to keep their hearing sharp in old age.
Piano is the best and easy first instrument to learn
1.     The child just needs to press the key to produce a sound
2.     The concept of positioning both hands on the keys is easily understood
3.     Kids who start taking piano lessons at age 4-5 naturally curve their fingers
4.     A comprehensive knowledge acquired in piano lessons can later be applied to any other instrument.

 So, what is the best age to begin taking piano lessons?

 My personal experience teaching private piano lessons since 1991, backed by the results of research both here and abroad, shows that children greatly benefit from starting formal piano training as early as age 4, when brain circuits for learning music mature. However, since every child is individual in his abilities and development, it is important to evaluate their emotional, mental and physical readiness before engaging them in piano lessons. Your parental readiness and support are also essential.

 Emotional Readiness

Los Angeles piano lessons
I long have noticed that it is easier to teach a 4-year old student to play the piano when he shows an interest in learning an instrument from the start. Those students concentrate on learning the material and look forward to studying a new song. Focus is an important part of learning process, as well as the ability to listen to the teacher and follow directions. The student who does not want to learn the piano, but gets enrolled into the lessons by his convinced parents will perform poorly, despite the entertaining and engaging music material and fun music games offered by the skilled piano teacher during lessons.

 Mental Readiness

To begin formal piano lessons, a student needs to have a basic understanding of the counting. Young children learn to number their fingers, 1 through 5 and position the correct finger number on the keys. Additionally, the kids learn to count music beats and rhythm.
Music is made up of notes and each note has a letter name. The young music students need to understand the alphabet concepts and know at least the letters of the music alphabet, A through G.

 Physical Readiness

Students should have a basic motor and hand-eye skills to coordinate the note reading with the key pressing.
Additionally, students will need to be able to move each finger independently in order to translate the note reading to the finger movements.

Parental Readiness

Parental support and willingness to help children develop a daily practice routine will help them to progress faster, take lessons more seriously, and stay motivated.

Music education at an early age is very important in children’s overall development. All of our music instructors are experienced working with very young children and keeping the lessons fun and engaging.

Olesya MacNeil has been a private piano teacher since 1991 and is the founder of Music Teacher LA, a provider of in-home and in-studio Music Lessons on all instruments for ages 4-adult and Piano Tuning services in L.A. and the South Bay. Learn more about their piano programs at or call (310) 220-0405.