Teacher Spotlight: Leeann – Voice, Guitar, and Piano Teacher in Denton

We’re thrilled to introduce Leeann, our Apprentice voice, guitar, and piano teacher in Denton, TX!

Educational Background :

Leeann has been singing since she was able to talk. She was in choir at various ages with her school and church growing up. Leeann continued her love of music with private lessons in voice, piano, and guitar.  While developing her skills, Leeann performed anywhere she was able, including local coffee shops and worship services.

In 2016, Leeann chose to further her education in music at Texas Woman’s University, where she is currently studying music therapy.

Teaching Background :

Leeann has had the opportunity to teach English classes to children, ages ranging from four to eighteen years old, across the world. She is excited to begin teaching voice, piano, and guitar to students in Texas.

Personality and Teaching Style :

Leeann is eager to share her passion for music with students. It is her goal to inspire her students by showing them that the more they learn and dig into music, the more beautiful and amazing music will be to them. Leeann does not have a one-size-fits-all approach to teaching. She sees each of her students as an individual, and her teaching style varies based on the student and what goals and desires they have for their lessons. She wants each one of her students to see progression, but feels it is important to have fun in the process. Leeann loves getting to know her students and finding out what exactly they are passionate about and how that can connect with music.

Special Skills:

Leeann has copious experience with performance and song writing. She loves helping her students discover how to incorporate their own uniqueness and creativity into what they are singing or playing, and she is passionate about teaching kids how to broaden and challenge their mind by creating and writing music.

If you are looking for voice, guitar, or piano lessons in Denton, look no further! Fill out our enrollment form and request Leeann!

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Teacher Spotlight: Sidney – Violin and Piano Teacher in Midlothian

We are so pleased to introduce Sidney, our talented violin and piano teacher in Midlothian , TX!

Educational Background:

Sidney began her musical career at the age of six when she first started learning to play the violin. In the following years, she joined various youth orchestras, participated annually in summer music camps, and learned to play the piano. She graduated from Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas, TX and studied Music Performance at Belhaven University in Jackson, Mississippi.

Teaching Background:

Although Sidney has only been teaching music lessons since early 2017, she is very passionate about working with children and is excited to combine her love of music and teaching. She has experience teaching students of all ages and abilities.

Personality/Teaching Style:

Sidney’s goal is to spread her love of music to her students. She knows that students will learn and perform best when they are actively engaged and interested in what they are learning. As a result, she strives to teach each student according to their interests, while still providing them a solid fundamental education.

Special Skills:

Sidney loves teaching music to students of all ages and abilities. She is also very successful at teaching mathematics and music theory. She is very active in her local church where she teaches children’s classes and accompanies hymns during the services.

Sidney is a wonderful teacher. If you choose to have her come to your home for violin or piano lessons, you will not be disappointed! If you are ready to enroll, click here to fill out our quick enrollment form.

Click here to contact us about scheduling a trial lesson with Sidney. If you live in another city or would like to inquire about our other teachers, let us know! We will do everything we can to match you with your ideal teacher!

The Importance of Effective Piano Practice

Is practicing a chore at your home? Developing consistent and effective piano practice habits is often the biggest struggle for those learning the instrument. Sometimes you just need a little help. If practicing is a struggle in your home, you could definitely benefit from our Practice Pals program. This program allows you or your child to have a Practice Leader actually practice with you three times each week! This is a great opportunity for beginning students as well as for those who have been playing for years.

Practice Pals can help teach a student how to practice the piano by walking with the student through his/her piano practice assignments throughout the week in a fun, engaging way. This will help lay a solid foundation for long-term musical success. It is crucial for a student to not only practice, but practice in such a way to make that time effective. If a student doesn’t know how to practice, much time will be wasted. Many students get discouraged due to ineffective practicing habits, leading to quitting private lessons. We have spoken with many adults who have had that experience themselves, only to regret their decision to quit music lessons.

We want to help! Practicing doesn’t have to be a chore! Give Practice Pals a try and see the amazing difference in your child’s progress! Don’t let your kid be the one who grows weary of the process and quits, only to regret that decision for the rest of their lives. Contact us today to get started with Practice Pals!

Repertoire List

Music lessons are most successful when you, the parent, are involved. We teachers are more than happy to help discover what will make your music lessons more successful. Sometimes a few small adjustments can make a huge difference. One thing that might be a good idea to discuss with your teacher is working on a repertoire list. In case you are unfamiliar with this term, repertoire (repə(r)ˌtwär) simply means the songs that the student has practiced and can perform well. Some students might be discouraged because they feel they can’t really perform if someone asks them to play. This can easily be remedied! Often students know many more songs than they realize, they just haven’t taken the time to write these songs down, so they simply forget what they are able to perform. Creating a repertoire list can be so beneficial!

  1. Writing down a list of songs that the student worked hard on and can play well works as a visual reminder of the students’ continuing progress.  
  2. Having a repertoire list makes it possible to have impromptu performances/recitals. Personal story: I was raised in a very musical family, and every type of gathering involved musical performances. As a kid I dreaded this because I never felt prepared. Oh, I had practiced plenty and had perfected many songs, but as I continued gaining new songs to work on, I easily forgot about the old ones. I didn’t know off the top of my head what I was able to play or sing. Once I sat down and made a list of all the songs I knew well, I felt much more prepared in the event someone asked me to play or sing something. And all the effort I had put toward my musical development finally started paying off.
  3. Adding songs to one’s repertoire can work as a great motivator. Maybe a student has 5 songs in his repertoire. Well, set a goal! Encourage him to get 10 songs on the list! Reward him for doing so! (This reward may or may not cost money, depending on what you prefer.) Adding songs to a students’ repertoire list can be such a feeling of accomplishment.

Don’t be afraid to set goals with your child! Was practicing a struggle last year? What can be done to turn that around? Of course Starlight has an incredible Practice Pals program that you can take advantage of. Practicing is non-negotiable when it comes to developing a skill, especially music. Have you ever met an amazing athlete who only participates in games? No, great athletes practice, practice, practice! What about spelling? What child wins a spelling bee without practice? What child learns to read well without lots of practice? Do you know a computer programmer, writer, dancer, gymnast, public speaker, actor, etc? These people don’t become great without much practice. Music is no different.

 

Not only will practice help the student progress musically, but the diligence that must be learned in order to commit and practice regularly will absolutely transfer to other parts of life.

So go ahead, have the courage, commitment, confidence, and persistence to make this year a better year! Make that repertoire list and start adding to it! Happy performing!

Piano Recital

So, what’s so great about recitals, you may ask?

Well, first of all, a piano recital is a great way for students to showcase what they have accomplished musically. Learning an instrument is tough! Becoming skilled on an instrument takes much dedication, hard work, and often goes un-rewarded. When a student has the opportunity to walk on stage to show off what he or she has learned, the sense of pride and accomplishment the musician feels is unmatched. Seeing the smiling faces and hearing the applause from loved ones and complete strangers reignites the passion and determination it takes to become a skilled musician.

Piano recitals also play a big role in building a musician’s confidence in performing. It is so disappointing to a musician to put so much work into learning an instrument, yet be unable to share that skill with others simply because he or she is too afraid to perform for others. Starlight Music Lessons’ recitals provide a safe and supportive environment to help build a musician’s confidence in performing as he learns his instrument. She doesn’t have to worry about people laughing at her mistakes or judging her nervousness. We all understand that performing is difficult, and becoming a great performer takes practice, just like anything else. So Starlight students can feel confident to walk up on stage and do their best. Once they realize how great  it feels to perform and see the fruit of their labors, they will have more confidence in their own performing abilities. Even if a student does not aspire to be a professional musician, participating in recitals helps the student develop the confidence required to simply share music with others in small ways: playing for relatives at a reunion, singing for residents at a nursing home, bringing a smile to someone’s face by sharing a beautiful musical piece.

Piano recitals are rewarding for parents. You have spent good money on your child’s lessons. Nothing beats watching your pride and joy walk up on stage and perform. It is such a great moment when you are able to see the fruit of your own labor: paying for lessons, encouraging your child to practice, making time for the lessons. When you see your young musician on stage nailing a piece, the value of what you have been providing for your child is suddenly clear.

Along those same lines, recitals also become benchmarks for measuring the student’s progress. As a parent listening to the lessons week by week, it is easy to miss the subtle progress being made. But when you compare videos and songs from recitals, you will be amazed by the noticeable improvement in your child’s abilities from one recital to the next!

And finally, a piano recital is such a blessing to teachers. Your teacher puts so much effort and care into molding your child into a skilled musician. When we, as teachers, are able to see our students pull off those songs we and the students have been working so hard on, as teachers, our hearts swell with pride for our students! We love them dearly, and it means the world to see our students become skilled musicians.

Recitals have even more benefits, but we’ll stop there for now. We sincerely hope you will make time for a piano recital this year!

Overcoming Performance Anxiety

Performance anxiety is a natural response to having to get up in front of others to showcase a skill. If you have a child preparing to perform? Are YOU nervous for your child? We’re going to share some tips with you regarding overcoming performance anxiety.

 

Before we get into tips for your child, lets talk about you for a moment. As your child prepares for a music recital, if you are experiencing performance anxiety on your child’s behalf, that’s perfectly normal, but what you decide to do with that anxiety can have an impact on how your child is able to handle his/her own nervousness. If you are stressed about your child performing, try to relax, at least in front of your child. Your stress is contagious, and if your child is already nervous, your stress will make it worse for him. She will pick up on your anxious cues and become anxious herself, even if she wasn’t really that nervous to begin with. And just remember: playing in a recital is a wonderful growth opportunity for your child, and even if he/she does make a mistake it’s not the end of the world. So try to enjoy the process.

 

Okay, so how can your child deal with his performance anxiety? Well, the first thing is to recognize that feeling nervous is not a bad thing! Most performers (even professional) get jitters before they go on stage. These jitters are from adrenalin rushing through our bodies. Musicians need to learn how to harness this adrenalin and use it to their advantage to power their performance with confidence, passion, and power. This adrenalin is a signal to the brain that it needs to “turn on” and work with excellence.

Here are a few tips to gain control over performance anxiety:

  1. Think positively. Don’t focus on what you might do wrong. Set goals for yourself, and repeat these goals to yourself. For example the student can say to himself, “I am going to play wonderfully.” Or “I will be calm and confident and give a fantastic performance.”
    • Don’t focus on negatives or timid thinking such as, “I hope I don’t mess up.” Or “I won’t forget my songs.” Make sure the thoughts stay positive, focusing on what you WILL do as opposed to what you WON’T do or HOPE you will or won’t do.
  2. Breathe! When we are scared we start breathing quickly. Focusing on taking deep breaths and slowing down the breathing will effectively help relax the body and mind.
  3. Rehearse. Obviously we all know practicing the songs is very important, but also important is actually rehearsing. Make sure to run through the performance routine many times in the weeks leading up to the recital. If the student goes through the motions enough times it will become second nature to her. Stress often comes from the fear of the unknown, or unanswered questions. As I was developing my music abilities, much of my stress before performances came from not knowing how things would play out. When do I bow? When will I walk on stage? Will I be in the audience or backstage, etc. I knew the music very well, but not being confident in all the other little things can shake a person’s confidence. So, rehearse many times so you don’t have to worry about the little extras. Click here to read Starlight’s Recital Preparation Tips.
  4. Visualize. Imagine (with a positive attitude) what it will be like to walk on stage. Imagine yourself playing the song perfectly. Visualize how pleased the audience will be. Hear the applause in your head. Smile! See yourself stand up and take a bow. Imagine the satisfaction and victory you will feel by working so hard and performing well.  
  5. On the day of the recital, relax. Get a good night’s sleep the day before, eat nutritiously, and relax. Try to allow extra time to get ready so you’re not rushing around. If the performer is stressed about other things, that will carry over into their feelings about performing.
    • Note on nutrition: parents, be mindful of the food you’re feeding your children on the day of the recital. It might sound fun to make a special breakfast or lunch loaded with white flour and sugar, but be mindful that sugar, white flour, caffeine, etc. will make the child feel more anxious leading up to the performance. It will truly help them if you feed them proteins, vegetables, and good fats.

Well, there you have it, hopefully some of these tips will help your child harness the adrenalin rush that comes from getting up on stage instead of experiencing performance anxiety. At the end of the day, focus as much as possible on making the performance fun and enjoyable!

It’s Your Turn to Shine! Music Lessons for Adults

You know, we don’t only offer music lessons for kids; we also offer music lessons for adults. Many adults take music lessons, and so can you! If you have children taking music lessons, you already have a teacher coming to your home, so why not go ahead and take lessons yourself?

Music teachers repeatedly hear people reminiscing about their musical experiences:

    “I always wanted to play an instrument when I was a child, and I never got to.”

    “My parents made me take piano lessons when I was a kid, but I never practiced so they let me quit. Now I really regret that.”

    “I’d love to have a grand piano in my house, but I don’t know how to play.”

    “I used to play the clarinet in high school and I really loved it.”

 

Do you find yourself wishing you could express yourself through music? Maybe you would like to be able to enjoy playing music as a family. How about giving back to the community musically? Playing at nursing homes, joining the church worship team… Or maybe you would simply love to be able to sit down and play something beautiful for yourself. Did you once know how to play but have let your skills fall by the wayside in the busyness of life? You don’t have to let musical skill simply be a dream or a thing of the past! You can learn as an adult!

 

As a matter of fact, learning music might even be easier for you now that you are older!

 

If you would like to learn more about some of the benefits of learning an instrument as an adult, as well as some of the pitfalls to avoid, you can read more here. If you would simply like to talk to someone about possibly starting music lessons for adults, click here to contact Starlight Music Lessons.

 

We would be so thrilled to help you do something for yourself. Maybe it’s time for you to take a risk! If you’ve been toying with the idea of learning an instrument, give it a shot! We would love to work with you to help your dream become a reality! Give music lessons for adults a shot!