J Michael Pope is a Master Teacher and Musician, and has been teaching private music lessons for children for over 40 years. From his Durham, NC studio he teaches guitar, banjo, mandolin, piano, bass, harp, violin, hammered dulcimer, fretted dulcimer, Native American flute, voice and sight reading, music theory, songwriting and composition.
Music Lessons for Kids: The Honor and the Privilege
When a child expresses an interest in a musical instrument, they are saying something profound and powerful: “I would like to open myself to the opportunity to express my beautiful nature for others to experience as I do.” Granted, it may sound something like, “I want to play the piano,” or “I want to start a band with my friends and play rock guitar.” Sometimes as parents we might hear, “The banjo makes the coolest sound and I want to be able to do that.” Or “So and so gets to play the violin, why can’t I?”
Sometimes our children express no real interest in playing an instrument. As parents, we know that the work and focus and discipline and joy of playing a musical instrument provides such a powerful advantage to our children that we are prepared to create the time, resources, and scheduling necessary to create an unprecedented opportunity that most of our school systems fail to provide.
Whatever has brought you to J Michael Pope and Beautiful Music Studios — be it your child’s wonderful voice or your own powerful inner thoughts — I want to assure you that teaching music lessons to your child is an honor and a privilege.
Music Lessons for Kids: Joy and Practice
The lessons that I teach are private 30-minute lessons. A parent is present for the lesson until the child is ten or eleven years old or has been taking lessons with me for about two years. The key to success for children when learning an instrument is the contribution of the parent. During daily practice at home, parents provide the “adult sensibility” component that is necessary for successful practice.
“Michael has been teaching our two kids for over seven years. He adapts his teaching style for each, as they both learn differently. Not only do the kids learn about music but Michael also provides feedback based on his experience and life lessons. He shows an interest not only in building their musical abilities, but also in developing their overall character.” – Debbie C., mother of 2 students: guitar and piano
In the beginning, practice time at home is a 5 to 8 minute daily ritual. Practice time then expands to 15 minutes each day after a 2 to 3 week period. Scales, technique and exercises are all about creating a ritual that provides your child with the opportunity to grow into the capacity of mastery of his or her own actions — as a musician and as a person. This is accomplished in many different ways and varies depending on your child’s personality and learning experience when individual lessons begin. My experience allows me to guide you, the parent, in your child’s development.
All students do rote memory work, usually employing flash cards and memory lists. The reason for this is simple: rote memory is resident in the right-side of the brain — the creative side. When the fact-based information is placed at the point of creativity, the creativity becomes powerful.
Song For The Oldest Child: Good Morning
My philosophy for teaching the expression of music to children is simple: “First, teach them to weave their own beautiful nature into their musical expression; second, teach them to master their own musical expression through method and process; and third, this day begins their mastery and development of that musical expression.”