Strings Things - News and Notes
The beginning students are playing music where they are transferring the bow from string to string and using their fingers in different note patterns on the strings. Memorization of the notes and where they are located on the fingerboard is very useful at this point. They are continuing to pay attention to holding their bow properly and keeping their bow on one string at a time. They are practicing spring concert music. Please encourage your budding musician to continue to practice regularly so that they may increase their skills and feel more confident in class.
The continuing students are progressing on in the book and are also learning new scale patterns that we "warm up" with in class, playing rhythms and learning new techniques such as slurring, or playing more than one note per bow stroke. Students are practicing spring concert music. Playing with a steady beat and counting are being emphasized as some of the music features rhythms that are different in one harmony line than another, and students must listen and blend their sound with their neighbor when we play in class. Students are becoming independent musicians, but still contributing to a team effort in producing beautiful music.
Mental benefits of music lessons echo years after practice ends
August 21, 2012|By Melissa Healy, Los Angeles Times | For the Booster Shots Blog
Lapsed musical instrumentalists (and their disappointed parents): Take heart! The child that gets even a few years of formal musical training before quitting those weekly lessons continues to show evidence that his or her brain has been changed in ways that improve mental function, says a new study.
The latest research found that even years after they stopped practicing, young adults who had taken as little as two or three years of instrumental music training in their elementary or middle-school years showed a more robust brain response to sounds than those who had no formal musical training. The study compared 30 former instrumental students to 15 young adults of similar age and intelligence who had had no music training.
The echo of music lessons past began to fade as adults grew more distant from their days of piano (or cello, trumpet or saxophone) lessons. But it was still there an average of seven years later, and whether the subject had taken three years of instrumental training or eight did not seem to make much difference in the strength of the effect.
The heightened neural response to sounds in a lab means something in the real world, past research suggests: Prior research has linked the kinds of brain signals seen in those with musical training to heightened auditory perception, better auditory-based communication skills and improved executive function. The last of these -- executive function -- encompasses such key learning skills as attention, organization, short-term memory and reasoning. So boosting that in enduring ways could arguably give the kid who took music lessons an academic edge for years after the lessons ended.
The study also suggests that formal musical training was not wasted, even when your budding Yo-Yo Ma or Lang-Lang gives up the lessons in favor of, say, basketball, cheerleading or socializing. It does suggest that starting early in life and quitting late may confer a more lasting mental advantage. But even "a little" formal musical training, say the authors, "goes a long way."