Live music lessons with qualified teachers via Zoom?
Many of us take this for granted, but we forget that Skype is less than two decades old, and hardly anyone outside select workplaces had heard of Zoom a few months ago. Thankfully modern technology has changed our world and made the convenience of in-home tuition via video a reality.
This is good news for The Music Partnership, who deliver music programs for schools, bands, and private one-on-one instrument music tuition for children. Kidsbook caught up with founder, and classically trained trumpet player Alex Bieri, for an insight into her passion for music – and how she pivoted the business.
- Learning an instrument engages a child’s brain and motor skills
- Online music lessons can help add variety to your child’s day, as well as being fun, challenging and inspiring
- Get in touch with Alex to sign up your kids for an online music lesson
Tell us about the activities you offer for kids?
The Music Partnership offers live music lessons with specialist tutors via video conferencing. We have been using the Zoom platform with great success.
We offer lessons on a huge variety of instruments for students of all ages and levels.
Woodwind, brass, piano, drums, guitar and strings are the basic outline of what instruments we offer lessons on, though we’re of course looking to develop and expand the repertoire. These are fun and engaging tutorials that bring life to music from home. We stick to our usual teaching criteria but have adapted to the video medium to ensure that education and fun continue hand-in-hand.
How can you help parents during lockdown?
During such a difficult period of time, music lessons are an excellent way to punctuate your child’s day with a fun, challenging and inspiring activity. This is a way for parents to not only reclaim some downtime, but to stimulate their child. It is also an excellent way of providing structure in a day or week, and a one of the best ways to engage a child’s brain and motor skills. Of course lessons take place on the child’s chosen instrument, with some of Sydney’s finest instrumental tutors.
Whilst there is a screen involved in the communication side of the lesson, the activity is not screen focused. Students are working hard at reading music and navigating the many aspects of playing an instrument. There are few things more stimulating for a person’s brain than to be reading music and playing a musical instrument.
Is an online lesson a substitute for a face-to-face class?
Face to face music lessons are what we are used to. Being in the same room as your tutor is a wonderful thing but online learning is perhaps the way of the future. This evolution to online education allows for greater flexibility while also providing structure in a child’s week.
Via online platforms such as ours, parents and students have access to the finest tutors with the click of a button. There is no travel time and great flexibility with lesson scheduling that will really help busy families.
The Zoom video platform allows teachers to share music and videos during the lesson. There is a white board function and teachers can make notes on a students part while they are playing. The whole lesson can also be recorded and sent to the student after the lesson with feedback. Engaging available technology is an exciting addition to music tuition.
There are lots of positives for both mediums.
Tell us about The Music Partnership and your background?
I am a classically trained trumpet player. I attended the Sydney Conservatorium High School and did my Bachelors Degree at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.
For the last 15 years I have been playing professionally with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra, Australian Chamber Orchestra and the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra. I also perform with many other period music ensembles where I play my baroque (valveless) trumpet.
I founded The Music Partnership in 2004 when I was doing a lot of trumpet teaching and conducting concert bands in schools.
I wanted to find new ways to deliver outstanding music programs with the best teachers in Sydney. Our teachers are sourced for their higher level teaching and performance skills, and because they are great with music education. We have been running band, strings and private instrument music lessons in Sydney with great success since then. We organise over 800 music lessons per week, 25 ensemble rehearsals and the Music Partnership continues to employ around 75 contractors each term to deliver the lessons. I also have a 4 year old daughter, so life is busy!
What is so special about music, and what it can do for children?
Music is the one medium that we gravitate towards no matter what is going on in our lives. It lifts our spirits and provides comfort, calm and stimulation. Practising and performing on an instrument is one of the greatest skill assets and a wonderful way to spend time, let alone enhance brain and hand-eye-coordination.
Learning a musical instrument can have many benefits for children that they will continue to take with them throughout their lives – such as practice, discipline and patience.
Self-Confidence: Overcoming musical challenges, performing on stage, and taking pride in learning achievements can increase self-confidence.
Cognition: Reading music and counting complex rhythms also has many benefits, with studies showing improvements in memory, mathematics, planning and strategising skills and understanding of cognitive and emotional aspects of information.
Playing a musical instrument engages practically every area of the brain at once, especially the visual, auditory and motor cortices. Structured practise in playing music strengthens those brain functions allowing us to apply that strength to other activitiesEducator Anita Collins (TED-Ed: How Playing An Instrument Benefits Your Brain)
What age is the optimum time to get kids involved in music?
I highly recommend exposing your child to music from an early age.
I started playing the trumpet when I was nine years old because the school we moved to had a band! I would have started earlier if given the chance. The age you start depends on the instrument you chose, and also the student. Children can start learning the piano and violin from as early as 4 years old. In my experience, guitar lessons are best to start from age 6 and up. Woodwind, brass and percussion are best suited to students aged 8 and above.
We always have music playing in our house, and not always kids music! I play lots of classical music and my husband has been known to play a lot of punk rock, funk, hip hop, electro-ambient and heavy metal for our daughter…
If you can attend an early childhood group music/movement class that is also a great option. Get your child listening and learning from an early age. I also take my daughter to lots of live concerts especially at the Sydney Opera House. Many of our local orchestras also offer kids concert series where they introduce the orchestra to young listeners.
Are there ‘easy’ and ‘difficult’ instruments – how do you choose?
I always find this question hard to answer, but my answer is always the same. In my experience and the advice that I pass on is that it takes around 15 years to get to a very high level of proficiency on an instrument. This involves regular and lengthy practise involving committed exercises and repetition. Importantly, this involves private lessons with an inspiring teacher.
To maintain and enhance your skill, muscular strength and stamina a musician needs to continue to practise regularly.
An additional insight from me is that some instruments can initially be easier to produce a sound on but each instrument comes with its own challenges. The most important thing is to play the instrument that you are most passionate about! Set up a fun and structured practise routine at home and have a regular lesson with a teacher that inspires and motivates you. For students starting out, practise for at least 10 minutes per day. For more advanced students, 45-60 minutes per day is where you should be aiming.
Listening to lots of YouTube videos, and of course going to concerts to see performers in action on their instruments is a wonderful inspiration and a great way to decide what instrument to choose.
Who will tutor my child?
The Music Partnership has a large team of tutors mostly based in Sydney.
The majority of our tutors are working towards tertiary qualifications in music or have achieved many degrees from institutions nationally and internationally. If you are attending a concert at the Sydney Opera House, chances are one of our tutors will be on stage with our local orchestras. We also have tutors that are members of bands that gig regularly around Sydney and Australia, performing with leading musicians at a variety of venues.
Most of our tutors teach as their main job and they love it! They are passionate about music education and offering the best experience possible for each and every one of their students.
Our tutors are hand selected by myself using my industry contacts and our reputation as a leading music school. All tutors are interviewed and screened for various proficiencies and requirements.
What do kids love most about your activity?
I think that learning an instrument is a very unique and special activity for your child to be involved in. Being part of a band or string group is fun and a great team pursuit. When our face to face programs are running, our ensembles perform regularly at school and also at external events. It’s really exciting for students to perform for their family and friends.
Students also form strong connections with their tutors that provide a great sense of support and momentum. Most importantly our music programs are fun! Kids love to learn and be part of all the benefits music can offer them.
About The Music Partnership
The Music Partnership offers private music lessons and group music lessons on all concert band instruments, strings and guitar. They also offer live music lessons with specialist tutors via video conferencing, and have been using the Zoom platform with great success.