Statistics about why music is so good for students 

1. In a 1995 study in Hamilton, Ohio, string students who participated in pullout lessons averaged higher scores than non-pullout students in all areas of the Ohio Proficiency Test. 68% of the string students achieved satisfactory ratings on all sections of the test, compared to 58% of the non-pullout students. -Michael D. Wallick, "A Comparison Study of the Ohio Proficiency Test Results Between Fourth-Grade String Pullout Students and Those of Matched Ability," Journal of Research in Music Education, 1998.

2. More music teachers are role models for minority students than teachers of any other subject. 36% of surveyed minority students identified music teachers as their role models, compared to 28% for English teachers, 11% for elementary teachers, and 7% for physical education teachers. -"Music Teachers as Role Models for African-American students," Journal of Research in Music Education, 1993.

3. Researchers at the University of California and the Niigata Brain Research Institute in Japan have found an area of the brain that is activated only when reading musical scores. -"Musical Brain - Special Brain Area Found for Reading Music Scores," NeuroReport, 1998.

4. The scores of elementary instrumental music students on standardized math tests increased with each year they participated in the instrumental . -"Music Training Helps Underachievers," Nature, May 26, 1996.

5. A 2000 Georgia Tech study indicates that a student who participates in at least one college elective music course is 4.5 times more likely to stay in college than the general student population. -Dr. Denise C. Gardner, Effects of Music Courses on Retention, Georgia Tech, 2000.

6. On the 1999 SAT, music students to outperform their non-arts peers, scoring 61 points higher on the verbal portion and 42 points higher on the math portion of the exam. -Steven M. Demorest and Steven J. Morrison, "Does Music Make You Smarter?," Music Educators Journal, September, 2000.

7. Students who participate in All-State ensembles consistently score over 200 points higher on the SAT than non-music students. This figure indicates that students can pursue excellence in music while also excelling academically. -Texas Music Educators Association, 1988-1996.

8. Students with good rhythmic ability can more easily detect and differentiate between patterns in math, music, science, and the visual arts. -"Rhythm seen as key to man's evolutionary development," TCAMS Professional resource Center, 2000.

9. College students majoring in music achieve scores higher than students of all other majors on college reading exams. -Carl Hartman, "Arts May Improve Students' Grades," The Associated Press, October, 1999.

10. Of approximately 7,500 students at a medium-sized university between 1983 and 1988, music and music education majors had the highest reading scores of any students on campus, including those majoring in English, biology, chemistry, and mathematics. -Peter H. Wood, :The Comparative Academic Abilities of Students in Education and in Other Areas of A Multi- Focused University," ERIC Document Number ED327480.

11. Music students demonstrate less test anxiety and performance anxiety than students who do not study music. -"College-Age Musicians Emotionally Healthier than Non-Musician Counterparts," Houston Chronicle, 1998.

12. The average scores achieved by music students on the 1999 SAT increased for every year of musical study. This same trend was found in SAT scores of previous years. -Steven M. Demorest and Steven J. Morrison, "Does Music Make You Smarter?," Music Educators Journal, September, 2000.

13. A majority of the engineers and technical designers in Silicon Valley are also practicing musicians. -The Case for Sequential Music Education in the Core Curriculum of the Public School, Center for the Arts in the Basic Curriculum, 1997.

14. In a 2000 survey, 73% of respondents agree that teens who play a musical instrument are less likely to have discipline problems. -Americans Love Making Music - And Value Music Education More Highly Than Ever, American Music Conference, 2000.

15. Students who can perform complex rhythms can also make faster and more precise corrections in many academic and physical situations, according to the Center for Timing, Coordination, and Motor Skills. -Rhythm as Key to Music's Evolutionary Role in Human Intellectual Development, Center for Timing, Coordination, and Motor Skills, 2000.

16. A ten-year study indicates that students who study music achieve higher test scores, regardless of socioeconomic background. -Dr. James Catterall, UCLA

17. A 1997 study of elementary students in arts-based concluded that students' math test scores rose as their time in arts education classes increased. -"Arts Exposure and Class Performance," Phi Delta Kappan, October, 1998.

18. In a Scottish study, one group of elementary students received musical training, while another group received an equal amount of discussion skills training. After 6 months, the students in the music group achieved a significant increase in reading test scores, while the reading test scores of the discussion skills group did not change. -Sheila Douglas and Peter Willatts, Journal of Research in Reading, 1994.

Why music lessons are important for children  

Music lessons allow children to be creative and explore new parts of their mind. Music is an art form, and much like drawing and painting, it can be used as a way for children to express themselves and gain self-confidence. Music Lessons are shown to stimulate the brain on many levels and enhance children?s learning abilities.

 

Music is an academic. Learning to read music helps children in school because they are developing the skills necessary to recognize patterns and enhance reading comprehension. A study done by E. Glenn Schellenberg of the University of Toronto at Mississauga found that 6-year olds that learned to play piano scored an average of 2.6 points higher on IQ tests than those who did not learn to play an instrument (many other studies have been done on children and music and show similar results). Playing the piano helped these children to learn to think three-dimensionally which helps in problem solving and mathematics.

Many parents encourage their children to draw and be creative, and music lessons are another outlet for children to channel their creativity. Along with creativity and self-expression, learning to play an instrument can help with a childs confidence level. There are many different instruments out there and odds are your child will excel with one of them.? Playing an instrument well will greatly improve your childs confidence level. Kids and adults alike love to rise to a new challenge and overcome it and learning to play an instrument well may be the challenge that your child needs.

Learning to play an instrument improves hand-eye coordination and other motor skills necessary for everyday life. Music lessons also force kids to concentrate, which is another skill they will use all the time.

Although your child may never become a concert pianist or a rockstar, they will carry their knowledge of an instrument and music with them for life. Most of our grandparents may not be able to throw a football across the yard, but they can still sing and play the piano. Music is a gift that will stay will your child forever and eventually they will thank you for giving it to them. Childrens guitar lessons!

In-home lessons or take lessons at a music studio or store? 

I personally have taught both in-home lessons (at the students home) and lessons at a store or lesson studio and I can say without a doubt that I and the student  get much better results and more serious lessons in the teachers studio environment whether they are children's guitar lessons or adult guitar lessons!

It can be a tough choice for some students when it comes to deciding where to take music lessons. The biggest advantage of taking lessons at home (the students home) is convenience. In most cases there is little or no travel needed for music lessons. Trustworthiness can also be a factor since many teachers who teach at homes have a good reputation in the area. The downside of in-home lessons is the lack of structure and a too relaxed environment. Consistency of lessons can be an issue and usually the learning environment is far from ideal, such as distractions from the surroundings, ringing phones, siblings, pets, etc. 

I believe that 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 learning studio setting, lessons are given in a rich learning environment and students can not be distracted by other things. With only 30 mins to one hour of lesson time per week, a professional studio environment can produce better results since the only focus at that time is learning music.
Students in a studio environment are also motivated by hearing peers at different levels and by being exposed to a variety of musical instruments. Also, keep in mind that in a well run music studio or  store, teachers are chosen very carefully and their progress monitored regularly to ensure each student receives the best quality teaching. In my music studios and stores, the lessons are not just a hobby or side-line for our faculty, but rather represent a responsibility that is taken very seriously by the entire staff. 

Better Practice Skills 

Now think about this:
 
The truth is, ‘bad’ practice routines are a sideway move! However, efficient, effective and flexible ones have the power to totally transform your guitar playing, musicianship and your creativity in a shorter period of time. Imagine how much better your guitar playing life will be like after you fully reached all of your musical goals!

Good practice regimens won’t hurt your creativity, the opposite is true because you are gaining the
tools to become more creative… AND your schedule can include ‘creative time’ to work on writing new songs, improvising, etc.

It’s not boring to practice that which directly relates to the very things you want to achieve as a guitar player and musician. Yes practicing the same exercise for 30 minutes ‘is’ boring, which is why you shouldn’t design a guitar practice schedule in such a way. We want to create a structure that works, not one that will drive you crazy.

You do NOT need to spend all your guitar practice time with a fixed schedule. If you have 90 minutes to practice, invest 45-60 minutes working from your planned guitar practicing regimen. Use the rest of time to freely do whatever you feel like playing that day.

The best routines are NOT the same each day. A good guitar practice workout schedule should be effective, efficient and flexible.
 
A practice schedule is a roadmap to freedom of being able to play whatever you want! But this doesn’t mean that you don’t have any room to have fun, be creative, and enjoy playing guitar in the process.  The only difference is that now you will be enjoying the process more WHILE you get better, and avoid mindlessly playing around on the guitar with no direction or sense of purpose. As a result, it will take you much less time to become the exact kind of excellent guitar player you want to be.

The best way to think about an efficient practice schedule is with an analogy of a map.  When you prepare to travel somewhere, you first analyze where you are (Point A), and then prepare the most direct and time efficient route of arriving to your destination (Point B).

 
8 Steps to Creating Your Own Guitar Practice Routine

Step 1. Get very clear on what your LONG TERM guitar playing / musical goals are. Beware of distractions… there is a big difference between ‘short term goals’ and ‘distractions’.  True short-term goals should be consistent with your long-term goals. If they aren’t, then you might be simply distracting yourself from what you really want to achieve as a guitar player and musician. When creating your practice routine, focus mainly on long-term goals.

Step 2. Balance your existing strengths and RELEVANT weaknesses. Seek to turn your strengths into super strengths and ‘only’ work on weaknesses that are truly ‘relevant’ to your goals (see step 4 below).

Step 3. Be realistic about how much time you can practice each day. As mentioned above, you can and should allow ‘free time’ in your schedule to learn, practice, or do other things with your guitar outside of your written guitar practice regimen.

Step 4. You must be 100% sure you really know all the musical elements which are needed to reach your long term goals, AND you need to be clear about which of these elements are the ‘primary’ and ‘secondary’ priorities for you to focus on right now in order to reach your specific goals.

Step 5. Contrary to popular belief, creativity CAN be taught, learned and practiced. Always include creativity development into your practice schedule (or work on it at least in your free time).
 
Step 6. Application is key! Be sure to add time each day to work on applying your skills even if you have not mastered them yet! It's a big mistake to work only on mastering something before seeking to apply it.

Step 7. Don’t create the same schedule for each day of the week, your schedule should be based on larger period of time (I use an 8-day practice and learning schedule for my students – works much better compared to a routine that repeats itself each day). Maybe 2, or 3 of the days are the same, but the other days are a little different (yet still based on the above steps mentioned).

Step 8. Create 3-5 different 8-day practice regimens. Use each one twice (16 days) before working with the next one. Be sure that when you create them that each are based on the first 7 steps above.
 

The Beginner: Why should I take Guitar Lessons? 

Having spent a large part of my life taking lessons and learning guitar and then also making part of my living as a guitar teacher, I personally feel that taking guitar lessons on and off as you continue on your musical path is very important.

I will say for beginners it is very important to take guitar lessons so you are sure you are building off of a foundation that is solid with the basics so you dont have to "fill in the holes" later on. Guitar lessons are much different then learning from the internet or watching a video, not to say you cannot learn from these other avenues but it is very important to have someone you can ask questions to. How many times have you watched a video or seen something on the internet you want to learn and there is just not enough info given and no one to ask for the real answer. Taking guitar lessons and having a teacher will do nothing but move you forward quicker on your musical journey and it is also more fun and you will see results as long as you have a good teacher and above all else you as a student practice consistently.

Buying the Right Guitar 

The following key issues are critical in selecting your guitar and even more so if you’re selecting it for your child. As a parent, grandparent or caregiver, you fulfill many important roles in your child’s life. Your gift and provision of music, encouragement and confidence can last a lifetime. Having an appropriately sized and adjusted instrument is the best way to start. Each item below will give you new insight and help guarantee your success in accomplishing your musical desires.

Most importantly, only select a guitar you know is fully inspected and adjusted for easy playability, accuracy in tuning, intonation and tone production.

Many important issues rest on the quality and playability of your instrument. Always get the facts. Ask what has been done to make the instrument easy to play. There is no greater impedance to progress, developing proper technique and the enjoyment of learning to play than a poorly constructed instrument or one that is not correctly set up.


Choose the kind of guitar that interests you the most.

This way you will be more motivated to play. Many people mistakenly purchase an inexpensive acoustic guitar when they may really want an electric guitar. Often they are afraid they or their child will not stick with it. This is almost like buying a guarantee for failure. A cheaply made acoustic guitar will certainly lead you to quit because it is physically just too hard to play and coupled with the fact its not what you really wanted in the first place. Also, the technical approach for the electric, acoustic or classical guitar is different. In other words, if you master the acoustic guitar it will not necessarily translate well to the electric guitar. The next time you go to a concert or watch videos of your favorite bands and performers, notice the technical and musical way the instruments are being played is not the same when an acoustic guitar is being played and when a electric guitar is being played. The chords, notes and scales may look the same but the approach to playing the chords, notes and scales is different. Choose the kind of guitar you are most interested in playing.

Select the right size guitar.

This is especially true for children. A guitar that is too large will make it difficult for your child to make the proper reach with both the right and left hands. Having their arm as high as their shoulder to reach over the guitar can become uncomfortable and at worst painful. Over reaching for the first fret puts them at a great technical disadvantage because their muscles are already stretched out making it difficult to properly move their fingers on the fingerboard. Generally, adults are comfortable with full size guitars.

Do not buy the cheapest guitar..

 This may seem a little difficult without giving you numbers but the old adage is almost always true, “You get what you pay for”. Sometimes you even get less. As a general rule, cheaply made guitars are not really playable or adjustable. They are not worth your time or money.

Avoid guitars and packages that promise to be a tremendous value for an amazingly low price.

The old saying,“ If it sounds to good to be true, it probably is”, is a good guide. You should see red flags when presented with guitar packages valued at $800.00 and selling for only $199.00. The difference between the value and the selling price is too great. If it sells for $199.00 then that’s about what it may be worth but not worth buying. The “$800.00 value package” would have to contain cheaply made products to only sell for $199.00. A $289.00 package at $199.00 is a much more realistic price.

Do not fall into the so-called major "Brand Name" trap.

Most major brand name companies compete with minor brand name companies for the entry and intermediate level player. Smaller brand name companies rely less on media advertising and more on dealer support and knowledge. These companies may even specialize in the entry and intermediate entry levels where as the major brands specialty is higher priced professional instruments. Obviously the cost of media advertising is included in the overall cost of the instrument. You may end up paying more for the brand name while the quality is the same or paying a competitive price for an instrument of less quality. A brand name guitar does not guarantee it to be a better guitar. As a side note, many major brand guitar makers provide free guitars to recording artist to use in concert, which is a very effective marketing tool. The fans that play guitar or want to begin playing the guitar associate the name brand with their favorite performers, not realizing that the expensive instruments they use share very little (except the name) with the entry level models.

Select a guitar with a finish and color you enjoy.

Having a guitar that not only plays and sounds well but also appeals to you visually can greatly contribute to your motivation to play and practice. Be sure to include an electronic tuner when you select your guitar.

A tuner is about as important as having picks and strings. Keeping your guitar tuned to standard pitch is important for several reasons. First, guitars are manufactured and set-up to withstand the tension of standard pitch, which produces the best musical tone. Second, guitars are initially set-up and adjusted for standard pitch and third, standard pitch is the musical standard for most instruments. If your guitar is tuned too high above standard pitch the excessive tension can damage your instrument and at the very least break your strings. As opposed to excessively high tension, allowing your guitar to fall too far below standard pitch can cause the neck to move backward resulting in unacceptable string buzz against the frets. This can usually be remedied by tuning back to standard pitch and if necessary, by re-adjusting the truss rod.

A guitar tuner contributes to ear training.

But perhaps most importantly, a guitar tuner actually helps you develop your musical ear much more quickly than learning to tune by ear alone. A guitar tuner saves valuable time and frustration so you can stay focused on your music. Learning to tune your guitar by ear is a trial and error method largely due to the fact the ear has not been trained to selectively detect slight pitch changes between matching tones during the tuning process. Often your guitar will seem reasonably tuned when in fact it may not be. You may not even tune your guitar as often because it seems OK. The problem is your ear becomes accustomed to less than adequate tuning which prolongs your ear training development. When you use a tuner daily your ear quickly becomes accustomed to accurate tuning and you are more apt to notice when your guitar is even slightly out of tune. As a result your ears develop much more quickly.