Top 10 reasons music lessons with Music for Young Children is a better choice than traditional private.

1. Learning to play a musical instrument can be a lonely venture. In MYC, parents and peers share in their musical experiences. Experiences that will be remembered forever.
2. In MYC, students are motivated to practise and move ahead at a steady pace. This is done with incentives and an age-appropriate curriculum that has been successful for over 30 years.
3. In MYC, students typically graduate with higher marks in conservatory exams, and they do this at a younger age.
4. In MYC, students don’t just learn the piano, they learn the language of music. This knowledge stays with them forever as they go on to learn other instruments.
5. In MYC, we keep learning music fun. We play games and sing songs to help us remember concepts.
6. MYC encourages students to play music with others. That is why we play scales and some songs together. This encourages the student to listen and play at the same time.
7. In MYC, lessons are very cost-effective. Lessons are one-hour long and cost about the same as a half-hour traditional private lesson.
8. In MYC, students make music friends.
9. In MYC, students learn how to chord and play by ear. This is an important element of music training. Most traditional lessons focus on sight-reading alone.
10. We all know that learning to play a musical instrument is not a easy thing to do. In MYC, the success rate of graduate students going on to private study and taking what they have learned to the next level is huge. These students are smarter. These students have learned so much. These students are your children!

What age should your child start piano lessons?

What age did you start piano lessons? I was around 7 years old. My mother would drop me off at a lady’s house and we would sit beside each other at the piano for a half an hour. I really liked it at first. I can’t exactly remember when things started to change………

She was a nice lady and I tried hard to please her. I remember asking my mother if I could quit. I think I was 9 or 10. Quitting was not an option, so I had to stick with it. Thank goodness I had my grandmother around to show me fun things like chording and singing with the piano. And, thank goodness my mother made me stick with it!

The process of learning to play an instrument is not always easy. We all want the end results, but we are not always willing to put in the work to achieve these results. This is where the Music for Young Children program can help.

The curriculum in the Music for Young Children program is set up so that your child will succeed. With your loving support, and the fun atmosphere of learning the piano with new friends in the same class, your child is well on his/her way to establishing the happy habit of practising. Your child’s musical journey can start right away with the Music for Young Children program found all over the world.

Children as young as 3 1/2 are meeting the critters who live on the keyboard. These children have no problem remembering Fireman Fred who lives at the Fire Hall. They practise finding his note by sliding down the first black pole in the Fire Hall. 

You might think these lessons are expensive, but they are absolutely not. Classes for ages 4 & up are one-hour long and cost no more than the average half-hour piano lesson in your city/town.

So, what’s holding you back. Every child should have the opportunity to learn to play the piano. There is no easier way than with the Music for Young Children program.

It’s All Child’s Play….

Learning the music language does not have to be tedious and difficult. In Music for Young Children, the language of music starts as early as 2 1/2. We use many ideas to reinforce new concepts such as singing and games and puppets. There is no memorizing required because the students are exposed to these concepts repeatedly, week after week. It simply becomes a second language.

The founder of the program, Francis Balodis, has the fundamentals and building blocks of music education laid out perfectly for each student to achieve success in music, year after year. Yes, it is a piano lesson, but it is much, much more. Children who have graduated from the Music for Young Children program go on and explore many other musical interests with ease. Their sight-reading and rhythmic skills are well developed. Their ability to play ensemble and listen with other musicians has already been engaged.  

Did I mention that this starts at age 2 1/2? These students graduate around the age of 9 with their Grade 1 piano exam and Preliminary Rudiments exam. That’s right! These kids already know intervals, their circle of 5th’s, and rest replacement. Their friends at school who take piano lessons have never heard of the circle of 5th’s. This is because the preliminary rudiments exam is not required until you reach Grade 5 piano.

The Music for Young Children program helps develop your child’s musical aptitude to the fullest. Children can enter the program at any age…there are multiple entry levels that are age-appropriate. Music for Young Children is celebrating 30 years this year. There is no better program in the world for your child to develop all the skills necessary to go on and have a full and happy musical life!

What age should my child start piano lessons?

It use to be that the recommended age for a child to start piano lessons was around 5 or 6. It needed to be an age where they were able to sit, listen attentively, and look at a music book for half an hour. Well, thanks to Music for Young Children, those days are gone. Now a child can start to learn the piano at the tender age of 3. We call these little guys “Sunshines”. Sunshines get to meet some very nice critters who live on the piano/keyboard.  They meet Dino the Dinosaur who lives in the dinosaur den, and they meet Fireman Fred who lives near the Fire Hall. These little Sunshines are making music with their friends in their very first lesson.

No longer does your child need to be able to read left to right before starting piano lessons. Instead, Music for Young Children teaches them to read left to right, and helps them get ready for kindergarten. No longer does you child need to sit on a piano bench for a half-hour. Instead, Music for Young Children lets your child explore the wonderful world of learning music with creative movement, rhythm instruments and singing.

The Music for Young Children program is celebrating 30 years this year. MYC  is taught all over the world. You can find a teacher near you at

Learning how to do improvisation

I’m a huge supporter of mimicing what you hear. It’s a fabulous way to learn to play music and grow. With traditional music lessons, sometimes I think the act of sight-reading is over-emphasized. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s very important. However, teachers are going to teach what they know, and they know sight-reading. They know Bach, Beethoven, Haydn, etc.

The path to becoming a well-rounded musician is multi-faceted. There is theory, sight-reading, and ear training. There is history, and learning how to playing with other musicians.

Another very important element is improvisation. The freedom to express oneself is such an important element of becoming a full rounded musician. Here are a few ways I encourage my students to do this. Some will do this freely and others will struggle to play without music.

First, I get them to play a simple rhythm left hand pattern in C major, and have the student do C major triads in the right hand.  Giving the student the rhythmic pattern to copy gives them a headstart.  As the student gets more advanced I give them common chord pattern progressions like ii, V7 and I with a left hand rhythmic pattern. I show them how to embellish these chords with 2nds, 6ths and 7 major and dominants. We do these patterns in various inversions and make little songs of these chord progressions.

Second, we listen to a simple song of choice, not a classical song….a song of repetitive chord structures. Students are amazed once they realize they can play harmony with a song of their choice. This usually inspires them for more challenges.

Thirdly, I use Pattern Play by Akiko & Forrest Kinney. This is geared to teachers to help them show their students how to improv. In turn it shows the teacher how to improv as well.  I also recommend for the moderate to advanced piano player wanting to challenge themselves with rhythmic patterns and improvization.

I hope this helps you reach beyond and try something new. Your comments are welcome!

It takes all kinds to make the world go round…

You’ve heard the saying before…it takes all kinds to make the world go round. Well, the same goes for musicians and how they play their music. Some musicians can read music as easy as reading the newspaper. Others can play music without reading anything. They make it look sooo easy. Who is to say which is better? Frankly, I think having both abilities is the best of both worlds.

In Music for Young Children, the students learn to sight read music as well as learn to “listen” to musical structures. These are two very important building blocks for success in the lifetime of music understanding. Students learn how to “improv” or play around within a musical key. They even compose songs yearly.

There is no better time to start your child off on the right musical path than right now. There are entry levels into the program for ages 2 and up. Even teenagers can benefit from The Music for Young Children Best Choice program.  For information just visit their website at and look up a teacher near you!

Celebrating 30 years…early childhood music education at its’ best.

Wow, what a day! Just finished a marathon birthday party celebrating Music for Young Children’s 30th birthday party. There were approximately 100 kids with their parents and teachers from London, Ontario and surrounding areas. We spent an hour and a half together of drumming, singing, keyboard playing and music concept games. I don’t know about you, but my music lessons as a kid were never like this!

Music for Young Children (MYC) is a music educational program for young children. How young? Well, the keyboard level starts at 3 1/2 to 4.  The founder of the program is Frances Belodis. In the last 30 years her program has blossomed all over the world with over 900 teachers.

The MYC way is intent on teaching the elements of music at the introductory level that will build a solid music foundation for an entire lifetime. I’ve listed below some of the many building blocks built into the program.

*note reading – The MYC way is not to memorize a phrase like “every good boy deserves fudge” or “FACE”. Students learn note reading with stories, songs, and games that are a fundamental part of the program.

*sight reading – Sight reading is an extremely important, yet challenging part, of being a good musician. Students at MYC learn patterning to help with note reading from the very beginning. Patterns are reinforced weekly when analyzing songs. Patterns are reinforced with games and sight-reading exercises.

*singing – Singing is used to reinforce concepts and rhythms. Most children love to sing, so it’s an easy and enjoyable way to learn about music.

*solfege – Solfege is built right into the program. For those of you who don’t know what solfege is, it is hand signs that match the major scale….just think of The Sound of Music movie, and the famous song Do-Re-Mi by Julie Andrews. This song is all about solfege. MYC has terrific solfege songs for all levels. Children do actions mixed with solfege to build skills necessary for playing music by ear (without music).

*rhythm – There is an entire section in the MYC music books at each level geared to rhythm ensembles. Children learn how to play music together in mulitple parts.

*composition – Children at all ages write music in MYC. MYC teaches writing techniques that help the students put songs together for submission to a yearly worldwide composition festival.

*movement – In MYC we move! Students learn by moving!

*ear training – The ear is an important building block in the MYC family. An entire “listening” section is included in each MYC music book at each level. There is a weekly listening exercise.

*fingerplay techniques – Piano playing is about great fingers and hands. MYC knows this. From early on, fingerplay components help to build strong piano players.

*history – Yes, MYC teaches history! Children learn all about Beethoven and Bach and other famous composers! We play their songs and we learn about their lives!

*theory – This is probably the most phenomenal part of MYC in my opinion! I still can’t believe it when my 9-y-o students accomplish their Preliminary Rudiments exam with top honours. Students learn about major and minor intervals, rest replacement, circle of 5th’s, scale writing and terminology. Most piano teachers do not touch the elements of theory with their students until they reach the equivalent of Grade 5 piano.

*harmonizing a melody line – Last, but certainly not least, the children learn how to use left hand chord structures to harmonize with a melody line. As early as the first level, students start to learn “bridges” and “snowman chords” in I, IV and V7 degrees of most scales including C+, G+, D+, F+, a-, e- and in the higher levels B flat+, d- and g-. This goes hand-in-hand with ear training and solfege to show the children how to play familiar songs and engage them in the exploration of playing songs without the use of sheet music.

Well, I could go on and on…. If you want to learn about an MYC teacher in your area visit If you are a music teacher and think this is the way you would like teach, then check out the teacher section at the same address!

Bye for now, would love to hear your comments!!

Kids and music go together like peanut butter and jam!

My son is 9 and he has been complaining more and more about his music lessons lately. Just last week he said to me that he wished his mother wasn’t a music teacher!  The comment wasn’t really a surprise to me. It’s not uncommon for kids to complain about the focus, discipline, and energy that is needed to stick at learning a musical instrument. So, I did some rearranging in his practise schedule and tried to come up with some interesting ways to get his mind back in the reading music mode. One thing that seemed to work was chocolate-covered peanuts, his favourite!  He played two measures of a new song, hands separate, three times on each hand. He could eat a chocolate covered peanut after he played the RH three times. Then he switched to the left hand and played the two measures three times. I just popped the chocolate peanuts right into his mouth so he didn’t get chocolate on his hands.  If I thought it was done well enough we moved on to the next two measures hands separate, and so on. It worked very well and he consumed an entire box of Glosettes!

This was well worth the effort because he could now actually play the song quite well hands separate, and it made him want to go back to the piano and review it regularly. The investment made early in the week of practising took a lot of pressure off as the week progressed. He was able to start putting the song hands together, two measures at a time, easily on his own. He was motivated to do it. He had learned the parts separate and now he wanted to put it all together….to finish what he started.

How far did you go with your piano lessons?

Boy, times have changed! I don’t recall a lot of exciting times at my music lessons while I was growing up.  How about you? Did you take music lessons? Did you continue? Did you enjoy them?

A very high percentage of people are going to say they took music lessons for a few years and then quit. Why did you quit? The majority will say the process was difficult and boring. It continued to get more challenging and you didn’t have the motivation to keep at it.

Today children can learn music in a very different way. This CBC news video of a Music for Young Children class in Summerside, PEI, Canada, is a good example of how kids are learning today.

OK, so get this. This video is level 1 students as young as 3 and 4 years old learning music and piano. Each year these kids move up the ranks of the MYC curriculum and around age 8 and 9 they reach the top level and graduate with Grade 1 piano and Preliminary Rudiments! This is highly unusual unless you are a Music for Young Children student!  Visit for more information.

Your comments are welcome. Let me know what you think!  Susan

We all want smart kids…

My kids are almost 9 and 12 now. I wanted them to have many experiences as a baby and toddler that would stimulate their brains and help make them smarter. You know, that “window of opportunity”. Research has proven that exposure to music in the first years of life has a very positive effect on the brain. Here are a few ways to encourage stimulation through music.

1. Singing with sounds…not words. For instance, ba, ba, ba or do do do, bup bup bup…….sounds like these that a baby can imitate. Do them high, do them low.

2. Touching to the beat or rhythm of a song.

3. Smiling and moving while they watch you sing.

4. Using an instrument such as an egg shaker or bell. Drumming with a kitchen utensil.

5. Creative movement to the beat….swinging, crawling, jumping.

A highly-acclaimed music program for babies and todders originates in Atlanta, Georgia called “The Music Class”. They have teachers who are qualified to teach early childhood music education all over the world, and the curriculum is superb. Sessions run for 8 to 10 weeks at a time, and the parent and child meet with other parents and children in a circle setting.

In this video watch Roy Sayer of  The Music Class with one of his classes.