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Student of the Month Award Recipients

Huntington Store

Mission Store

Karrie Doong

Mr. Cameron, Karrie's piano instructor, writes "For the past two years, Karrie has been a wonderful student to teach. She consistently shows up to her piano lesson prepared from the previous week's class and excited for to receive new material in for the current week's class. Karrie has progressed amazingly in her piano playing due to her consistent attendance to lessons and routine practice habits. It has been a joy to see her develop into a well rounded musician at such a young age."

Congratulations from all of us at San Marino Music Center!

Arthur Paing

Mr. Dylan, Arthur's piano instructor, writes "Arthur has been a great student to teach. Despite our short time together he has progressed tremendously and shown his dedication each week. Not only has he taken on difficult classical pieces with great success, he has also begun to compose original music and train his ear through dictation and interval recognition. He takes on new challenges with a good attitude and attention to detail that shows each week in his playing."

Congratulations from all of us at San Marino Music Center!


Music Lessons Aren't Just For Kids

Here at the Center, parents ask numerous questions about how to approach music lessons with their child. Questions like:

“How often/long should a student practice?”
“Is it okay to learn more than one instrument at a time?”
“I want to put my child in music lessons, but what instrument should I start with?”

are all very commonplace in our line of work. Often, these questions lead to conversations about the parents own musical experiences growing up. In these conversations, a reoccurring theme tends to surface.  Time and again, the parent will often regretfully divulge: “I should have stuck with it.” (the second most common being “I wish I’d had the opportunity to learn an instrument”)

Nearly as prevalent is the dogmatic belief that after you reach a certain age, you’ve “missed the boat” on learning an instrument. Well, we are here to inform you that’s not the case. In our years of experience, we have found that yes-you CAN “teach an old dog new tricks”! Music boasts a great deal of benefits for any student at any age! Amongst those benefits are:

From a more practical standpoint, learning an instrument will bring an element of fun into anyone’s busy life.  With the daily responsibilities of work & family, it’s important to sprinkle in fun activities like music to keep our minds and hearts engaged. And, if you are learning the same instrument as your child, it will better equip you to be able to help them practice at home.  But, don’t take our word for it.  Here is what some of our own adult students have to say about their experiences:

Violin student, Ericka Schindele:

“I grew up taking piano lessons and still play to this day (far less than I wish I did!)  I have always loved the violin and wanted to play and truly just decided one day to start lessons.  I knew it was a much different instrument than the piano and would take persistence, but I’m so glad I had the courage to just make the call and set up some lessons.  As a professional actor I think it is very important to be versatile. Already being a singer and having played the piano, I wanted to find a way to be even more diverse.

The most challenging aspect has been making the time, both for my weekly lesson and practicing at home.  As an adult, I have jobs, inconsistent schedules, or “life” that pops up and I have to deal with on the day I’m supposed to take my lesson (or practice at home). I try to make my lessons a priority and I even try to set a practice schedule at home.  Even if it’s just 15 mins a day.

If you’re considering lessons for yourself, JUST GO FOR IT.  There is no time like the present and no one but you can take that step.  I’m so glad I did.  Don’t make it something bigger than just trying it out. If it’s not for you, then you tried it! Great! If you find out it IS for you - how wonderful!”

A parent shares his thoughts on guitar lessons:

“I used to play piano as a kid and have missed being able to play an instrument.  Since my kids are in lessons back to back to back, it was easy to schedule lessons for myself while I wait for them.  I started taking guitar lessons because I’d always been curious about guitar and wanted to see if I had a knack for it.  I don't, but I really enjoy playing. The most challenging aspect has been taking the 10-15 minutes a day to practice.  Although, it has been a good excuse to carve out some time for myself, which is difficult when you're a parent.  All in all, I think picking up a new instrument is a great way for adults to shake things up in a healthy way.  Taking class at the same time as your kids makes it easy to fit in to a busy schedule.”

Piano student, Karl Curran:

“I had previously taken lessons for a few years.  I remember it was so much fun and intellectually challenging. One day I thought to myself that if I didn’t take up music again, I would regret it.  So, I decided to return to piano. For me, music is a way of reducing stress and there is nothing like expanding the education which incurs mental stimulation and growth. I am 51 and music lessons have given me a certain amount of self-confidence as I am achieving at each lesson. It’s incredible.

Finding time to practice can be challenging when you have a busy life. But I find its mind over matter. Instead of watching TV, later in the evening, I sit at the piano for a while. But the challenge is when you are tired or have something on your mind. To anyone who wants to start, I’d say that if you can make the time, the rest will fall into place!”

A ukulele student shares her story:

“I’m not sure when I first heard a Ukulele being played, but I knew instantly that I loved the sound. I got a ukulele as a gift, but it still took me about 3 years to take ukulele lessons. For some reason, taking the first step to learn an instrument was daunting to me, perhaps it was because I was an adult.  In retrospect, I realized learning something new as an adult requires some sort of courage: most adults use the set of skills they have already learned and practiced, rather than acquire new ones.

One day, out of the blue, I decided it was time to take the first step toward learning to play the Ukulele. I contacted San Marino Music Center to take lessons. I wanted to take lessons from professionals rather than learning it from a YouTube video because I wanted to learn it systemically, plus I learn better from a teacher in person.

It’s been only a few months since I started learning to play the ukulele, but I really enjoy the practice that it takes. Practicing daily is challenging, however, I also realized that the time I practice the ukulele is a rare opportunity for me to shut down everything else in my life and only focus on the present. It relaxes me. I’m sure that it is a type of self-care: for me, a great one.

Because I have experienced such positive aspects while learning my instrument, I have greatly encouraged my friends and family to take up an instrument of their choice and learn it. The only difficulty is taking the first step. However, what follows is joy and appreciation of music.

Angela Marino:

“My daughter takes guitar lessons at San Marino Music Center.  I would play solitaire on my phone while I waited for her during the lesson.  It finally dawned on me that taking lessons for myself would be more fun than solitaire.  I played piano for about two years when I was in Middle School, so piano was the instrument that I was drawn to.

I used to regret that I did not continue lessons as a child.  I felt I missed my opportunity.  Now I realize that it's not too late and I enjoy playing now more than I did when I was younger.  In addition to that, another reason I started music lessons is I was starting to feel the effects of an aging brain: memory loss, inability to focus, etc.  I have definitely felt an improvement in my brain health since I’ve started with the lessons. That, and the fact that it's just lots of fun, keeps me motivated to continue.

One of the challenges I’ve experienced is getting my hands to work together.  I remember it being much easier when I was younger.  Esteban (my piano teacher) has given me lots of different practice techniques to get my hands working together.  Also, finding the time during the week to practice is the most challenging things.  I simply accept the fact that the progress is slow, however, I appreciate my time at the piano in a way I wasn't capable of when I was younger.

To any adult considering to start or resume music lessons, I would encourage them to start at any age.  It's a great way to unplug, exercise the brain and restore the spirit!"

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