As band season starts here is the Wiregrass area, Latta Music would like to remind you that proper care of your instrument will lead to a better experience for music playing. Call us at 334.793.6011 to find out more.
Be Sure To Look After Your Musical Instrument
Having a passion for music and your instrument should ensure that you look after it properly but you may need further encouragement to look after your instrument properly. The better condition your instrument is in, the better it will sound. Also, if you fail to look after your instrument properly, it may cause damage to the instrument, which could cost you money in repairs or a replacement instrument.
Given the current cost of living and the state of the economy, spending money when you shouldn’t have to doesn’t make any sense. This is why looking after your instrument to get the best from it can really help you to have fun without spending a lot of cash.
It is a fact of life that musical instruments will wear out but proper cleaning and attention can stave off this process. Regular cleaning and handling it carefully will help to keep your instrument in better condition. It is possible to have your instrument repaired or even serviced by professionals to ensure they look and sound great but caring for your instrument will minimise how often you need these additional services.
Modern instruments will not last forever, which may be annoying when you consider how much money has been spent on them but that is part and parcel of life these days. The lifespan of an instrument can be extended with care and attention but if your child has an instrument, you should expect it to suffer some bumps and scrapes.
Common sense is important for looking after your musical instrument.When looking after your instrument, common sense is always a good guideline but the following rules will help you to take better care of your instrument:
A cloth is an extremely important tool to use when cleaning your instrument, especially after playing. If you have a wind or brass instrument, there is a need to wipe down all condensation that may have built up when you were playing. You should find that a silk cloth provides the most absorbency and can clean even the tiniest of gaps. However, any cloth is better than no cloth at all and with a hankie, you can at least put it in your washing to ensure it is clean to use the next time after your play.
Carrying out simple maintenance and cleaning work on your instrument regularly will bring about a lot of benefits. It will ensure your instrument sounds good and it will help to ensure that the instrument remains in great condition. However, every so often, it can be of benefit to have your instrument cleaned or serviced professionally. Also, if you experience any difficulties and you have little experience, make sure that it is professionally taken care of.
Dealing with professional instrument repairers can also help you to find out more about the best ways to look after your instrument. If you need any further advice for your instrument, ask the professional what products they use or what techniques they have for cleaning. Learning from the professionals will ensure that you can give your instrument the professional touch even at home.
Cleaning your own instrument doesn’t have to be a difficult or time consuming process but taking care of it regularly will help you to get a better sound and much more life from your vehicle.
Credit: Kate Gurl
Are you looking for a fun extracurricular activity for your kids to participate in? Aside from sports, consider signing your children up for music lessons with Latta Music Company in Dothan, AL. As the area’s premier music store and destination for the best music classes, Latta Music Company says music lessons for children pose several benefits, which impact their overall development.
Take a look at these top five benefits music lessons offer children:
Learning to play an instrument can help your child fine-tune her ear and enhance skills needed for education and social interaction.
By Angela Kwan
Between soccer and scouts, your school-age kid's schedule is loaded with fun activities. If you're on the fence about adding music classes to the list, take note of the benefits that come with signing your little one up for violin or piano lessons. Maybe she won't be the next Beethoven, but she may have an easier time learning math, practicing good manners(including patience!), and becoming a team player. Read on to learn more about the benefits of music education.
It improves academic skills.
Music and math are highly intertwined. By understanding beat, rhythm, and scales, children are learning how to divide, create fractions, and recognize patterns. It seems that music wires a child's brain to help him better understand other areas of math, says Lynn Kleiner, founder of Music Rhapsody in Redondo Beach, CA. As kids get older, they'll start reciting songs, calling on their short-term memory and eventually their long-term memory. Using a mnemonic device to do this is a method that can later be applied to other memory skills, says Mary Larew, Suzuki violin teacher at the Neighborhood Music School in New Haven, Connecticut. Musical instrument classes also introduce young children to basic physics. For instance, plucking the strings on a guitar or violin teaches children about harmonic and sympathetic vibrations. Even non-string instruments, such as drums and the vibraphone, give big kids the opportunity to explore these scientific principles.
It develops physical skills.
Certain instruments, such as percussion, help children develop coordination and motor skills; they require movement of the hands, arms, and feet. This type of instrument is great for high-energy kids, says Kristen Regester, Early Childhood Program Manager at Sherwood Community Music School at Columbia College Chicago. String and keyboard instruments, like the violin and piano, demand different actions from your right and left hands simultaneously. "It's like patting your head and rubbing your belly at the same time," Regester says. Instruments not only help develop ambidexterity, but they can also encourage children to become comfortable in naturally uncomfortable positions. Enhancing coordination and perfecting timing can prepare children for other hobbies, like dance and sports.
It cultivates social skills.
Group classes require peer interaction and communication, which encourage teamwork, as children must collaborate to create a crescendo or an accelerando. If a child is playing his instrument too loudly or speeding up too quickly, he'll need to adjust. It's important for children to know and understand their individual part in a larger ensemble, Regester says. Music Rhapsody offers general music education classes, in which teachers split students into groups and assign each child a task. Whether a team is responsible for choosing instruments or creating a melody, students work toward a common goal. "These are the kinds of experiences we have in society," Kleiner says. "We need more group interaction and problem solving."
It refines discipline and patience.
Learning an instrument teaches children about delayed gratification. The violin, for example, has a steep learning curve. Before you can make a single sound, you must first learn how to hold the violin, how to hold the bow, and where to place your feet, Larew says. Playing an instrument teaches kids to persevere through hours, months, and sometimes years of practice before they reach specific goals, such as performing with a band or memorizing a solo piece. "Private lessons and practicing at home require a very focused kind of attention for even 10 minutes at a time," Larew says. Group lessons, in which students learn to play the same instruments in an ensemble, also improve patience, as children must wait their turn to play individually. And in waiting for their turns and listening to their classmates play, kids learn to show their peers respect, to sit still and be quiet for designated periods of time, and to be attentive.
It boosts self-esteem.
Lessons offer a forum where children can learn to accept and give constructive criticism. Turning negative feedback into positive change helps build self-confidence, Regester says. Group lessons, in particular, may help children understand that nobody, including themselves or their peers, is perfect, and that everyone has room for improvement. "Presenting yourself in public is an important skill whether you become a professional musician or not," Larew says. This skill is easily transferrable to public speaking, she adds. And, of course, once a child is advanced enough, she'll possess musical skills that will help her stand out.
It introduces children to other cultures.
By learning about and playing a variety of instruments, kids can discover how music plays a critical role in other cultures. For instance, bongos and timbales may introduce children to African and Cuban styles of music. Although the modern-day violin has roots in Italy, learning to play it exposes children to classical music popularized by German and Austrian musicians. Versatile instruments, such as the violin and piano, can accompany a wide repertoire of styles, including classical and jazz (which originated in the American South). It's important to familiarize children with other cultures at a young age because this fosters open-mindedness about worlds and traditions beyond the ones they know.
What to Consider When Selecting an Instrument
Ultimately, the instrument you and your child choose should depend on a number of factors. Here's a list of questions to consider before bringing home a new music maker:
Copyright © 2013 Meredith Corporation.
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.
The acoustic piano has changed very little from the instrument of Cristofori’s day – bar some tinkering with key length, hammer felt and aesthetic changes to cabinet making. Digital pianos, however, have undergone a huge transformation thanks to weighted keys, improved timbres and inbuilt technologies to help keep playing interesting, fun and motivational.
Whether you’re an advanced player, a complete beginner or a parent investing in a piano for your child, understanding the differences between acoustic and digital can help you make an informed decision.
THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN AN ACOUSTIC PIANO AND DIGITAL PIANO
An acoustic piano produces sound with felt-covered hammers hitting steel-wire strings. A digital piano doesn’t use hammers; instead it features electronic speakers to playback high quality recordings taken from the very best acoustic pianos.
The touch of a piano is important to the player. Playing on stiff keys can be frustrating as can keys that are too light with no resistance. Digital pianos are able to simulate the weighted keys of an acoustic with seamless lifelike hammers. There is even the option on some digital pianos to adjust the touch sensitivity of the keys to suit a player’s preference. A low touch sensitivity means the player has to press the keys harder to make them louder. High touch sensitivity means you don’t have to press as hard for the same loud result.
Digital pianos have a range of sounds available so you can switch between strings, church organs or harpsichord at the touch of a button. Some digital pianos let you split the keyboard so a certain sound is played at the bottom with a different sound at the top. This can make for a more expressive and varied performance, and learners often have fun experimenting with sounds.
STORING YOUR DIGITAL OR ACOUSTIC PIANO AT HOME
When choosing a piano for your home it’s important to think about where it’s stored. An acoustic piano needs to be in a room where the temperature doesn’t fluctuate as changes in humidity can affect tuning. A digital piano, on the other hand, doesn’t need tuning or maintenance so can be accommodated in any room regardless of temperature. Its portability means you can move or relocate it without too much hassle. Acoustic pianos are usually very heavy so tend to stay put in one place.
The space available is also a consideration when choosing between acoustic and digital. Digital pianos can be compact if there isn’t much space available. An acoustic piano is usually much larger and the sound can be compromised if positioned too close to a wall, requiring even more space.
USE HEADPHONES FOR UNLIMITED PLAYING TIME DAY OR NIGHT
The headphone connection on a digital piano removes any restrictions when trying to squeeze in some early morning or late night practice sessions. Plugging in a set of headphones provides immediate and direct sound and builds confidence by playing privately. It also keeps family, flatmates and neighbours at peace too.
Some digital pianos have two headphone sockets so you can play in private with friends or alongside a tutor to analyse, praise and critique your performance.
KEEP MOTIVATED DURING PRACTICE TIME
Everyone experiences motivational slumps, whether you have been playing for years or just started learning under the guidance of a teacher. This is where a digital piano can really come into its own. Digital pianos have the ability to connect to an iPad/iPhone and use a range of apps to encourage practice. Whether it’s easy to learn note games, digital sheet music or on-screen guides to improve hand and fingering action, there is usually an app to help and improve your performance.
The inbuilt metronome on a digital piano is a blessing when learning a new piece or tackling a new time signature. It helps improve rhythmic skills and develops your inner timing. In addition, you can use the record function and listen back to your performance – which is a great way to analyse and improve.
TAKING PLAYING THE PIANO TO ANOTHER LEVEL
Whether you simply fancy a break from practice or want to be the next Andrew Lloyd Webber, the digital piano offers tools for composition and pianos with a USB port let you transport the file back to your computer for instant notation, saving hours in the process.
THE KEY DIFFERENCES BETWEEN ACOUSTIC AND DIGITAL