Please stop by Latta Music to sign up for music lessons at 3332 West Main Street Dothan, AL 36305.
As smart consumers, many of us shop around relentlessly for the best prices on everything from our groceries to our wardrobes. Saving money on things we are going to buy anyway is a great feeling. The largest retailers tend to have some leeway to cut their prices, which can sometimes hurt smaller shops. Despite the higher prices, however, sometimes it is important to support local small businesses. Here are five reasons why:
1. Helping dreams come true
Becoming a small business owner is a dream for many people, but it can also be stressful, especially when competing with larger businesses that have national recognition and large marketing budgets behind them. Frequenting local small businesses helps your neighbors realize their dream of owning a business and potentially leaving something behind for their children. While becoming a customer to local businesses may not be your cup of tea, supporting them now and then can mean a lot to someone who lives and breathes their dream.
2. Building your neighborhood
The busier we become, the more we fail to make local neighborhood connections. We can change that by shopping at local businesses. For example, go to a local coffee shop or diner that is owned by a small business owner to make connections that you might otherwise not have. It is also an opportunity to network with your local neighbors and even make friends.
3. Quality vs. quantity
Even though it is easy to shop at large retailers, shopping at small businesses can sometimes mean better quality products and even better customer service. You get a chance to know small business owners and they get a chance to know you. Building personal relationships can be great for your attitude and quality of life.
4. Keeping dollars local
When you support local small businesses, the money they earn typically stays local. Many small businesses are also supported by local banks who also spend their dollars at other small businesses. This makes cities and towns, and even neighborhoods, stronger and helps generate local jobs.
5. Inspiring others
When you support small business owners, it helps to bolster entrepreneurship in others. They see that people actually care about small businesses instead of relying solely on large national retailers. If you have children, it is a great lesson to teach them that they, too, can become entrepreneurs if they want, and if they do a fantastic job, people will support them as well.
Small businesses can be the backbone of local economies, help foster lasting relationships and build vibrant neighborhoods. It is easy to shop where you may find lower prices, but making friends with people in your city and supporting hardworking small business owners is priceless.
Credit: Jennifer James
New Research Proves the Value of Childhood Music Education
Piano Training In Early Childhood Has Lasting Rewards
There is an undeniably strong correlation between music education and the development of skills that children need to become successful in life. Self-discipline, patience, sensitivity, coordination, and the ability to memorize and concentrate are all enhanced in the study of music. These skills will follow your child on whatever path he or she chooses in life. You have the chance now to introduce a formative influence that may be second only to the love you give your child. If you’re looking for a way to provide your child with a source of life-long joy, satisfaction, and accomplishment, childhood music education is an excellent first step.
And the piano is an excellent first instrument. No other single instrument matches the piano for its broad application of musical concepts. Even if later your child chooses to play another instrument, the melody, rhythm and sense of harmony acquired with piano education will pay off handsomely.
Better Sooner Than LaterNew evidence exists that there are actual physiological benefits to early childhood music education. A study released in February, 1997 presents findings that music education — specifically, piano instruction in pre schoolers produces changes in the brain which enhance children’s abstract reasoning skills. These skills are necessary for learning math and science, to play chess, and to master many concepts of engineering.
Dr. Frances Rauscher of the University of Wisconsin and Dr. Gordon Shaw of the University of California had previously linked piano/keyboard and singing lessons to enhanced spacial-temporal ability in pre schoolers. The new study documents that early piano training also has a direct effect on the development of the brain’s neural circuitry, actually improving intellectual development. In other words, this research points out that early piano training helps to create and maintain certain “connections” in children’s brains that may not otherwise form.
It has long been known that musically educated children develop skills they carry into adulthood Now it appears that piano training can actually make children more intelligent. Can you think of any more precious gift to give the children in your life?
Here's How The Study Was Conducted
Thirty four children received private piano keyboard instruction, 20 children were given private computer lessons, and 24 children provided other controls. Four standard, age-calibrated spatial reasoning tests were given before and after training. One tested spatial temporal reasoning; three tested spatial recognition. Significant improvement on the spatial temporal test was found for the keyboard group only. None of the groups improved significantly on the spatial recognition tests. This led the researchers to conclude that music training produces long-term modifications in underlying neural circuitry in regions of the brain not primarily concerned with music. The magnitude of the improvement suggests that learning of standard curricula is also enhanced.
Other important developmental benefits to childhood music educationResearchers at the University of Konstanz in Germany found that exposure to music rewires neural circuits. For instance, they used magnetic resonance imaging to examine the brains of nine string players. They found that the amount of somato-sensory cortex dedicated to the fingering hand was far larger than in non-players. Additionally, the earlier the player took up the instrument, the more cortex was devoted to playing it. Most concert-level performers begin playing earlier than ten years of age.
Scientists at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston found that the brains of 30 musicians with perfect pitch — the ability to identify isolated musical notes they hear — had greatly enlarged structures on the left side of their brains. All the musicians with perfect pitch said they were exposed to music prior to age seven. The likelihood of developing perfect pitch is extremely low if exposure comes after age ten.
Another German study, at Heinrich Heine University in Dusseldorf, reported that exposure to music activates and enhances cognitive processes involved in language and reasoning.
Other studies show that all children are born with musical ability. For example, two month old infants can match the pitch, intensity, and melodies for songs their mothers sing, and at four months infants can match rhythm as well. But the older children get without exercising their musical aptitude, the more will be lost and never regained. The reason is neurological — by approximately age 11, the neuron circuits that permit all kinds of perceptual and sensory discrimination, such as identifying pitch and rhythm, become closed off.
Finally, students with coursework and experience in musical performance scored 51 points higher on the verbal portion of the SAT and 39 points higher on the SAT math portion than students with no coursework or experience with music — from data compiled by the Music Educators National Conference from The College Board.
One gift that really does keep giving
As your child’s musical education continues and extends to playing in groups, in recitals, or in competitions, one reward is the special camaraderie that often blooms between young musicians. This can often lead to friendships that last for years to come. The piano can also be a source of stability in the turbulent teenage years. And as an adult, the poise and self-assurance developed by playing and performing at the piano has very tangible value in social and business worlds. There is also the chance that your child has an exceptional musical talent, in which case a whole world of possibilities — both personal and professional — can be recognized and nurtured.
With such clear evidence of the benefits of childhood piano education, the choice as to which piano to purchase still remains. It is highly advisable to buy the best piano you can afford. It stands to reason that the higher the quality of the piano, the better it will sound. And that’s certainly encouragement to get your budding young pianist to play, play more often, and play longer!
Credit: Steinway and Sons
Latta Music offers piano, voice, violin, and guitar lessons.
Dr. Nina Kraus, professor of communication sciences, neurobiology, and physiology, and the director of the Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory at Northwestern University, has been studying the impact of music training on a child's cognitive development for almost a decade. Her extensive research has been published in more than 200 journals and media publications.
Defining a musician as someone who plays music twice a week for 20 minutes, she and her team compare how the brains of musicians and non-musicians respond to sound and the impact music playing has on the musician's attention, language, memory and reading abilities.
"The same biological ingredients that are important for reading are those that are strengthened through playing a musical instrument," said Kraus. "The ability to categorize sounds, to pull out important sounds from background noise, to respond consistently to the sounds in one's environment ... these are all ingredients that are important for learning, for auditory learning, for reading, (and) for listening in classrooms."
Her findings, she said, have a clear message for policymakers and parents.
"It's not just about your child becoming a violinist," said Kraus, a mother of three whose children all played an instrument growing up. "It's about setting up your child to be a more effective learner for all kinds of things."
And the benefits continue even after a child stops playing, says Kraus.
"The brain continues to profit long after the music lessons have stopped," she said.
If my girls weren't already signed up for music lessons this fall (we're starting with piano!), I'd be signing them up today.
Playing piano is one of the great joys of music and life. It’s important to find the right one for you out of the many pianos out there. Latta Music Company, is known for its extensive selection. The beloved musical instrument store caters to all types of music lovers, from beginners to experts. After you find a piano that suits you, you can even take music lessons from the knowledgeable and friendly staff.
When browsing the range of pianos at Latta Music Company, you’ll be surrounded by the top brands in the industry. At this elite piano store, you can expect to find brands such as Yamaha, Yamaha Clavinova, Roland, Baldwin and Kawai, among many others. With these high-quality pianos, you’ll be able to achieve new heights in your piano playing.
Latta Music Company carries a diverse assortment of pianos, which are able to fulfill different needs. If you’re looking for a more economical alternative or a piano that can squeeze into a smaller space, one of the store’s digital pianos would be a perfect fit. You’ll also be able to find a classic acoustic piano in both new and restored varieties. If you’re not exactly sure of which piano might be best for you, there is a helpful staff on hand to guide your search.
Bring wonderful music into your home with a piano from Latta Music Company. To start a conversation about pianos, call the staff at (334) 793-6011.
We’ve all heard the stories of famed musical prodigies, from Mozart writing his first symphony at the age of eight to Stevie Wonder signing with Motown at 11. Even if your child isn’t performing with the New York Philharmonic or the Chicago Symphony by age 11 (like violinist Midori and Herbie Hancock, respectively), your family is undoubtedly exposed to talented children in the neighborhood. Whether it’s the church preschool choir or an elementary school band concert, it seems as if parents must immerse their children in music lessons from birth if they want them to succeed, and in a way, they’re right.
That being said, parents often hear complaints from other parents that influence them to postpone music lessons until their child is older, such as “My parents forced me to play an instrument when I was young. … I hated it then and still hate it now.” In order to avoid this negative attitude, parents opt to delay music lessons until their child is older and can choose their own instrument or make the decision that they even want to play an instrument. They too are right.
These statements may seem contradictory. In reality, the issue is how you define music lessons. To better understand this, it’s important to look at the underlying reasons a parent might want their child to take music lessons.
There is a growing (and convincing) body of research that indicates a “window of opportunity” from birth to age nine for developing a musical sensibility within children. During this time, the mental structures and mechanisms associated with processing and understanding music are in the prime stages of development, making it of utmost importance to expose children in this age range to music.
The important question then is not when to start lessons, but what is the goal of music lessons for young children? For instance, very young children are not exposed to instruments in order to master them, but to gain experience and learn to develop meaningful relationships with music at a young age. If this is your goal, then the “lessons” can and should start soon after birth and certainly within the child’s first year.
These “lessons” do not have to be—in fact, at first probably shouldn’t be—very formal. A parent can serve as guide by immersing the child in a musical environment. You should help your child focus on the music with simple movement activities such as musical games, swaying or dancing while holding the baby, or singing or playing an instrument for the child.
Once the child is around age three, it may be time for more formalized “lessons.” Again, the goal is not to learn to play an instrument but to further develop skills like identifying a beat in music, identifying melody, or identifying instruments. These parent-child lessons might be any number of preschool classes run by private individuals, universities, or community centers. To decide whether or not a class is suitable for your child, make sure your goals and expectations coincide with the teacher’s.
By age five, most children have built a foundation that has prepared them for formalized music lessons. Even now, the goal of the lessons is not to become a great performer on the instrument but to further the understanding of music. Piano and violin are the two most common instruments played at this age, but others have tried the recorder, guitar, or ukulele with success.
By age 10, the child will have a variety of skills associated with their instrument of choice. They’ll also have the physical strength to try a different, bigger instrument, such as a brass or large string instrument that requires a higher level of strength and stamina. Around this time, the goal of lessons appropriately transitions from gaining experience with music to improving performance ability.
In summary, there are three answers to the question, “What age should children begin music lessons?” Informal activities with music should start soon after birth, followed by more systematic classes around age three, and lessons with the goal of learning the instrument should start between six and nine. Keep in mind that these are only guidelines; exceptions will undoubtedly occur based on the child and/or teacher. Musical experience at an early age is extremely important in a child’s developmental process. Like riding a bike or learning a language, these skills can be learned later in life, but they will never be “natural” in the way that is so important for fluid musical performance.
Dr. Robert A. Cutietta is the Dean of the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music. He is the author of “Raising Musical Kids” and a popular speaker whose areas of expertise include the middle-school learner, choral education, learning theories and the psychology of music. Additionally, he is a highly regarded musician and educator with extensive knowledge about the full range of musical talent nationally as well as internationally.