Why is Music Education Important?
Music education has been scientifically proven to be beneficial in numerous ways. It fosters confidence, resilience, and problem-solving. It also has proven health benefits, such as reducing stress, anxiety, blood pressure and improving mental-health. Lastly, music is a form of art that promotes creativity, flexible thinking, and the ability to be innovative. All these benefits make music an important part of development, learning and physical health.
Music Is for All ages!
You are never too old to learn to read and play music! We teach everyone from ages six to eighty-six and beyond. We recommend students younger than 6 yrs of age join a kinder-music class or check out our friends at Cultivate Music for programs ages 2 to 5 years of age.
How Long Does it Take to Learn to Read Music?
If you are new to reading music, and starting from the beginning, it takes about a year to become fluent, and a few years to read it as quickly as you can read your own language. This is also dependent on how much you practice sight reading. Just like memorizing your times tables or learning to read, everyone progresses at their own pace.
How Long Does it Take to Learn How to Play the Harp?
Although you can start making music from your very first lesson, most students will begin to feel more comfortable on their instrument after one year. They begin to feel less like a beginner after three years. The harp has such an angelic ethereal sound, many parents of students say it can never sound bad! This makes harp a peaceful instrument in the home, rather than other string, brass or wind instruments.
When Can I Play My Favorite Piece?
Depending on your favorite piece, it can take between one and five years to work up to those well-known compositions. Students who want to play a piece like I See The Light usually learn to play it within the first year. Students who want to play Canon In D can play it during Levels 3 through 5 - which takes up to five years of lessons. Students who want to play Clair De Lune can learn it once they reach Harp Level 7 or higher - this can take up to seven years. These time estimates also vary on how much music sight reading and practice your student decides to dedicate to learning the harp.
Music Learning Pathways - Academic Music Path or Love of Music Path?
Once you have become proficient with sight reading music, we offer two pathways of learning music. One pathway is academic and technical, and the second is for relaxation, joy and healing.
The Academic Music Pathway focuses on music levels, theory, performing, certification, competitions & recitals, and other trackable achievements. This pathway is recommended for students wanting to pursue music academically, perform, major or minor in music, or perhaps make it a future career.
The Love of Music Pathway is for students wanting to learn and play music for healing, music therapy, as a hobby, or just for fun. The goals of these lessons are to feed the spirit, mind and soul with the joy that comes from learning and playing an instrument. The students that take this pathway want to play music for the love of music and do not desire an academic end or specific goal. These students - young or old - want music for the sake of music; to bring more beauty to their lives and the lives of others.
Can I Change My Music Pathway?
At any point in your training, you are welcome to switch pathways. Some students begin with the Academic Path and then realize they want to play music “just for fun”, and others begin with the Love of Music Path, and then realize they want more of a challenge. We support both paths and hope you can find the perfect path for you!
How Do I Get Started If I Have No Prior Experience?
Both Music Lesson Pathways start out with the same instructional process:
- Begin with the Exploration Group Class - This is to first dip your toes in the water and find out if playing the harp is the right choice for you.
- Primary Level Group Lessons for Children or Adults - We recommend group lessons for learning basic skills in playing the harp.
- Join Music Fluency A, B or C - Music fluency is key to any musical instrument you wish to play. Without this fundamental knowledge, you will not get far. Imagine trying to read before learning the alphabet and phonics!
- Enroll in Private Lessons and choose the Academic Path or the Love of Music Path - Once you have passed the beginning music fluency classes and taken full advantage of group lessons, it is time to move up to Private Lessons. Private Lessons are the last step in the “Love of Music Path''. Your private instruction time will give you that consistent enjoyment of playing the harp, much like attending your beloved yoga class and perfecting your favorite poses class after class.
What If I Choose the Academic Path?
The Academic Path starts with Steps 1 - 4, but then continues below:
- Private Lessons - Starting at Harp Level 1, you will work on songs to test your progress. Harp is rated Level 1 - 10, 10 being the top tier of harpists. Levels 1 - 5 are beginner levels.
- Complete Certification Programs (ASTACAP or MTAC) - Once you start private lessons, we will work on playing a few songs that you can perform to test for ASTACAP or MTAC certification. Each year, you will have the opportunity to test and level up.
- Introduction to Ensembles - There are many opportunities to join harp ensembles to practice outside of your lesson time. The SJYS Harp Ensemble is a great way to improve your group playing and performance skills.
- Advanced Levels are Levels 5 -10. Once you reach Level 5, you will be proficient enough to play for a non-profit church or event, perform solo harp work, or step in as a teacher volunteer.
- Senior Recital and Graduation - Senior recitals are the creme de la creme of a harpist journey to learning and mastering the harp. At this level, you will be able to audition for orchestras, play independently, major in music or teach harp. Senior recital participants memorize 4 pieces, level 5 or higher, from different genres of music, and perform in a 20-30 min solo recital.