Freeway Music — Columbia, SC’s Premier Music School

Enrolling kids in summer music programs can have a multitude of benefits that extend far beyond just learning to play an instrument. At Freeway Music, these programs offer a unique opportunity for children to explore their creativity, develop discipline, and enhance their cognitive abilities. Here are some key reasons why summer music programs are important for kids:

  1. Creativity and self-expression: Music is a powerful form of self-expression, allowing children to convey emotions, thoughts, and feelings in a creative way. By enrolling in a music program, kids can tap into their creative potential and explore different genres and styles of music.
  2. Cognitive development: Learning music has been shown to have a positive impact on cognitive development. It can improve memory, enhance mathematical skills, and increase spatial-temporal skills. Music also helps children develop critical thinking and problem-solving abilities.
  3. Discipline and perseverance: Mastering a musical instrument requires dedication, practice, and perseverance. By enrolling in a summer music program, kids learn the value of hard work, discipline, and patience. These qualities can transfer to other areas of their lives, helping them excel academically and professionally.
  4. Social skills and teamwork: Many summer music programs involve group activities, such as playing in a band or orchestra. These experiences teach children valuable social skills, such as collaboration, communication, and teamwork. Kids learn to listen to each other, compromise, and work together towards a common goal.
  5. Confidence and self-esteem: As children develop their musical skills and see their progress over the course of a music program, their confidence and self-esteem grow. Performing in front of an audience, whether it’s a small group of parents or a larger concert hall, can help kids overcome stage fright and build confidence in themselves.
  6. Cultural appreciation: Music is a universal language that transcends cultural boundaries. By enrolling in a music program, kids have the opportunity to explore music from different cultures and time periods. This can broaden their perspectives, foster appreciation for diversity, and spark a lifelong love of music.

Overall, enrolling kids in music programs, especially starting in the summer, when they have less on their plate, can have a lasting impact on their personal, social, and academic development. Whether they continue to pursue music as a career or simply enjoy it as a hobby, the benefits of music education are undeniable. If you have the chance to enroll your child in a summer music program, seize the opportunity to help them unlock their full potential and foster a lifelong passion for music.

Music education has long been touted as a valuable tool for children’s cognitive, social, and emotional development. But just how impactful is it? In this article, we’ll explore the numerous benefits of music education for children, backed by credible studies and research.

Cognitive Benefits:

* Improved memory and spatial-temporal skills (Rauscher et al., 1998)

* Enhanced language development and literacy skills (Forgeard et al., 2008)

* Better math and reading skills (Hetland & Winner, 2001)

Social-Emotional Benefits:

* Improved social skills and teamwork (Hallam, 2010)

* Reduced stress and anxiety (Kruger & Schechter, 2017)

* Enhanced creativity and self-expression (Boden & Mayer, 2009)

Brain Development:

* Increased grey matter volume in auditory and motor areas (Schlaug et al., 2005)

* Stronger neural connections and plasticity (Kraus & Chandrasekaran, 2010)

Conclusion:

The evidence is clear: music education gives children a significant jumpstart in life. By introducing music education early on, parents and educators can help shape young minds, foster creativity, and set the stage for future success. At times, when you’re in the moment- it may feel as though progress is slower than you would expect, but it’s important to remember, music education like anything else, takes time to understand, master and produce results. If we allow ourselves opportunity to enjoy the process, the results will surprise you in such an amazing way.

Sources:

Boden, M. A., & Mayer, R. E. (2009). Music and the Mind. Scientific American, 300(6), 72-77.

Forgeard, M., Winner, E., & Schlaug, G. (2008). From singing to speaking: Facilitating recovery from non-fluent aphasia using melodic intonation therapy. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1145, 243-254.

Hallam, S. (2010). The impact of music education on cognitive development in children. Journal of Research in Music Education, 58(3), 270-282.

Hetland, L., & Winner, E. (2001). The arts and academic achievement: What the research shows. Arts Education Policy Review, 102(5), 3-6.

Kraus, N., & Chandrasekaran, B. (2010). Music training for the development of auditory skills. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 11(8), 623-630.

Kruger, J., & Schechter, J. (2017). The impact of music education on stress and anxiety in children. Journal of Music Therapy, 54(2), 147-162.

Rauscher, F. H., Shaw, G. L., & Ky, K. N. (1998). Music, cognition, and emotion: A review of the research. Psychology of Music, 26(1), 73-92.

Schlaug, G., Marchina, S., & Norton, A. (2005). From singing to speaking: Facilitating recovery from non-fluent aphasia using melodic intonation therapy. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1060, 243-254.

Learning to play a musical instrument is a journey filled with excitement, challenges, and, most importantly, patience. For children embarking on this adventure, the concept of patience might seem elusive amidst their eagerness to master the instrument quickly. However, understanding the importance of patience in this process is essential for both parents and educators alike.

Patience serves as the cornerstone of a child’s musical development, fostering a positive and enriching learning experience. Rather than focusing solely on achieving immediate results, cultivating patience allows children to embrace the journey of learning an instrument, nurturing their creativity, and building a lifelong passion for music.

One of the key aspects of fostering patience in children learning a new instrument is encouraging them to “play” rather than “practice.” This subtle shift in language can have a profound impact on a child’s perception of the learning process. By framing their musical exploration as play, children are invited to approach the instrument with curiosity, imagination, and a sense of freedom. This mindset shift empowers children to explore the instrument at their own pace, experiment with different sounds, and express themselves creatively without the pressure of perfection.

Here are some practical tips for suggesting children to “play” rather than “practice” when learning a new instrument:

  1. Create a Playful Environment: Set the stage for musical exploration by creating a playful and supportive environment. Encourage children to view their instrument as a tool for creative expression rather than a daunting challenge.
  2. Embrace Mistakes as Learning Opportunities: Help children understand that making mistakes is an integral part of the learning process. Encourage them to embrace their mistakes, learn from them, and use them as opportunities for growth and improvement.
  3. Encourage Creativity: Foster a spirit of creativity by encouraging children to experiment with the sounds and techniques of their instrument. Provide them with opportunities to improvise, compose their own melodies, and explore different genres of music.
  4. Celebrate Progress, Not Perfection: Shift the focus from achieving perfection to celebrating progress. Recognize and celebrate each small milestone along the way, whether it’s mastering a new chord, playing a simple melody, or improvising a short tune.
  5. Be Patient and Supportive: Above all, be patient and supportive throughout the learning process. Encourage children to enjoy the journey of learning an instrument and reassure them that progress takes time.

By encouraging children to “play” rather than “practice,” we empower them to take ownership of their musical journey, make it their own, and develop a lifelong love for music. Through patience, encouragement, and a playful approach, we can nurture the next generation of musicians and inspire them to unlock their full potential.

Introduction:

In the symphony of a child’s development, music education plays a pivotal role, harmonizing cognitive, emotional, and social growth. As we delve into the orchestration of academic studies, it becomes evident that the influence of music on young minds goes far beyond the notes on a page. Let’s explore the symphonic journey of why music education is not merely a supplemental class but an essential element in the composition of a child’s holistic learning experience.

The Cognitive Crescendo:

Research from renowned institutions such as Harvard and Johns Hopkins has been tuning into the cognitive benefits of music education for years. The brain, akin to a musical instrument, undergoes a transformative tune-up when exposed to the intricacies of music. Studies suggest that children engaged in music education demonstrate enhanced cognitive skills, including improved memory, attention span, and problem-solving abilities.

One notable study, conducted at the University of California, found that children involved in music education showed accelerated development in the areas of language processing and mathematical reasoning. The rhythm and patterns inherent in music seem to create a neural symphony, fine-tuning the brain for more efficient cognitive processing.

The Emotional Overture:

Beyond the realms of academia, music education orchestrates a powerful emotional overture in the lives of children. It serves as a melodic refuge, providing an outlet for self-expression and emotional regulation. Music becomes the soundtrack to a child’s emotional journey, helping them navigate the complex tapestry of feelings.

A study published in the Journal of Research in Music Education discovered that children engaged in music education exhibited higher levels of empathy and emotional intelligence. The collaborative nature of playing in an ensemble cultivates a sense of camaraderie, teaching children the art of listening and responding to the emotions conveyed through music.

The Social Symphony:

In the grand performance of life, the ability to collaborate and communicate is key. Music education, with its emphasis on ensemble playing and group dynamics, becomes the rehearsal ground for these essential social skills. You will find resonance in the transformative power of music education to tip the scales in favor of positive social development.

Research from the National Association for Music Education highlights the social benefits of music education, noting that children engaged in musical activities develop a strong sense of teamwork, discipline, and leadership. The shared pursuit of musical excellence cultivates a sense of belonging, transforming classrooms into harmonious communities.

Conclusion:

In the symphony of a child’s education, music is not merely an optional chord but a fundamental note that resonates across the cognitive, emotional, and social dimensions. Let us acknowledge that the true crescendo of a child’s potential is orchestrated by the transformative power of music education. It’s not just about creating musicians; it is about sculpting minds that resonate with the harmonies of lifelong learning and emotional intelligence. The importance of music education, when understood in this comprehensive light, becomes a powerful testament to the enduring melody that shapes the future of our young minds.

As the holiday season approaches, finding the perfect gift for your young guitar player can be challenging. To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of the top 5 holiday gifts based on consumer and expert reviews.

1. Music lessons:

Music lessons provide a unique and lasting experience that fosters creativity, skill-building, and personal growth. Lessons can ignite, or re-ignite passion and help beginners start their creative musical journey. Additionally, music lessons offer a chance to connect to a mentor and join a community, making a thoughtful and engaging gift!

www.freewaymusic.net

2. PRS Headstock Tuner:

Stay in tune easily and in style with the PRS Clip-On Tuner.

https://www.simsmusic.com/prs-headstock-tuner.html

3. Ernie Ball Musician’s Tool Kit – Best Tool Kit:

Ernie Ball’s all in one tool kit is perfect for cleaning, maintaining and keeping your instrument in perfect playing condition. Change strings, set intonation, adjust the action, check string height and more. Tool kit includes Microfiber Polish Cloth, Wonder Wipes, Heavy Duty String Cutter, Peg Winder, 6-in-1 Screwdriver, Ruler, and durable Hex Wrench Set.

https://www.ernieball.com/guitar-accessories/guitar-instrument-care/tools

4. Caroline Guitar Co. Hawaiian Pizza pedal:

A bespoke artisanal blockchain of handcrafted tone, the sonic equivalent of a forbidden delicacy, all from just three knobs and the truth.

https://carolineguitar.com/product/hawaiian-pizza/

5. A new guitar from Sims Music

What young guitarist wouldn’t love a new guitar? Our partners at Sims Music have an incredible selection for every style and budget with an extremely friendly and knowledgable staff, there to help you make the best decision that will absolutely put a smile on your young guitar player’s face!

https://www.simsmusic.com/products/guitars/electric/

These gifts cater to different needs and skill levels, offering a well-rounded approach to learning and enjoying guitar playing. Whether it’s lessons, accessories, or a new guitar, your young guitarist is sure to be delighted with any of these thoughtful gifts.

Every musician loves overcoming a challenge, and with drumming, a challenge is more than a sore throat or blisters from plucking strings. It takes a toll on your entire body—legs for the kick and hi hat, arms for the snare, cymbals, and toms, neck for headbanging—which means a challenge is as broad as music genres. 

Here are five songs to challenge your skills and push your limits as a drummer in a fun, exciting way. 

Brianstorm by Arctic Monkeys

Brianstorm is a powerful opener to Arctic Monkey’s album Favourite Worst Nightmare with a quick and heavy drum beat in the beginning that flies around the kit, transitioning swiftly into the first verse with a rapidfire hi hat that is dizzying to follow. This 2:50 minute song never never slows down, so it can be a great way to test out your arm and wrist strength. Although it seems like a simple enough beat, it’s the speed that truly makes it a fun challenge to tackle. 

Hot for Teacher by Van Halen

Starting strong with some double pedal action, this Van Halen song takes funky, offbeat rhythms and meshes them into a high energy classic that is sure to rile up any crowd. Hot for Teacher takes a lot of energy, physically and mentally, in order to power through. Although it might take some time to adjust to two pedals, once you’ve memorized all the stops and pattern changes, it’ll be smooth sailing for you there. 

Moby Dick by Led Zeppelin

Moby Dick is misleadingly easy at first, with a simple, jazzy tone at the beginning, but its simplicity is what makes it so challenging. It consists almost entirely of drumming, which means you get the spotlight. With sudden, fast movements that are sure to make you trip up during every listen, this Led Zeppelin song gives plenty of breathing room to be creative with your own fills—which in and of itself is a challenge—but also grants you bragging rights if you manage to memorize it. 

Goliath by The Mars Volta

This Mars Voltas song is bound to make any intermediate drummer have a heart attack out of pure intimidation. A loud, eccentric banger with lots of stops, it becomes simpler in the verse, but maintains that fast-faced energy all the way through. Not to mention Goliath is also over seven minutes long, no doubt testing any experienced drummer’s energy levels with just one playthrough, but is also a satisfying beast to tame. 

Ticks & Leeches by Tool

Another song that leans less on speed and more on disorienting beats that are hard to keep up with, Ticks & Leeches is 8 minutes of rock and metal ups and downs, giving pauses in between verses to grant you a break every now and then before diving straight into another fast, harsh chorus. If you’re a huge Tool fan with enough time to dedicate to learning every second of this, it’s a great song to push yourself to your drumming limits. 

Drumming takes many skills. Not only do you use both hands and feet on a kit, but they’re all most likely going to be doing different things at once. It takes practice to build the skill of rhythmic multitasking, which most drummers won’t have developed when they decide to pick up sticks for the first time.

Here’s five songs for beginning drummers that will help them build up the skills needed for harder songs. 

1: Do I Wanna Know by Arctic Monkeys

AM by Arctic Monkeys is full of songs with interesting and tricky drumming patterns that challenge a drummer to use their entire body. The exception, of course, is Do I Wanna Know, which has an easy to follow beat on the kick drum and snare during the verse. While the chorus does add some flare, with a different kick pattern and some high hat, the beat is steady and slow enough for starters to keep up with. 

2: Seven Nation Army by The White Stripes

Ah, the dreaded beginner’s song. While every instructor on the face of the earth may be sick and tired of hearing this song, that doesn’t change its simplicity that any new drummer can easily pick up without any prior experience. Sure, your teacher might lose their mind, hearing this song for the thousandth time, but it’s good practice to work up your leg muscle on the kick and teach your hands to do two different things at once. 

3: Dreams by Fleetwood Mac

Dreams, among many other Fleetwood Mac classics, is a great song for any beginner to try out. It has a sweet and mellow vibe that’s easy to keep up with on the kit. Although it’s slightly faster than the other songs on this list, it’s a great way to build up that high hat speed and have fun with new drumming patterns that don’t become too complex. This song also allows you to have some fun with fills and adding ghost notes to the pattern if you feel up to it.

4: Buddy Holly by Weezer

A loud, heart-thumping banger, Buddy Holly by Weezer is the perfect dip-your-toes song for any young rockers eager and ready to go all out without the struggle of a difficult drum beat. It has an easy tone to keep in time with, a slower pace so you don’t lose the tempo, and enough leeway to use the space and play any funky little drum fill that your heart desires. 

5: Psycho Killer by Talking Heads

This classic by the Talking Heads is one that everyone should learn purely for its funky bass, catchy guitar stings, and of course, the heart of the song: the drum beat. Although it’s nothing too difficult for a beginner, Psycho Killer leaves plenty of room to experiment with patterns, drum fills, and anything else your heart desires. And, if you’re feeling particularly experimental, try and play Cage the Elephant’s cover of this iconic song. 

Through teaching and running Freeway, I’ve had many opportunities to hold and attend a lot of great songwriter clinics. So, I want to share some of the best advice I’ve learned about songwriting.

“A song is a snapshot of time” ~Tom Conlon

 

This is such an inspiring statement and so very true! Music is an amazing art form. Most people attach sound to music, but seldom visual art. Words and lyrics create settings and paint pictures in listeners’ heads. The music evokes certain moods. Certain lyrics will reflect the culture of the time period in which they are written. Various music styles move with time as well. Since culture will always continue to change and evolve, lyrics can be fresh forever. Just look Sam Cooke’s “Change Gonna Come”. It’s clearly about the civil rights movement. Songs are a “snapshot in time” and it’s almost our civic duty as writers to capture these moments.

Check Out Tom Conlon’s Music Here.

“Make songwriting a Ritual.” ~ Danielle Howle

 

To master writing, you have to maintain the attitude you would with anything you would master. You have to stay the course and practice writing. One of the toughest parts about working out is getting yourself in a routine. You have to be intentional and set aside time to write everyday. Get into the ritual of songwriting. If you are prolific, you are bound to have some gems in there. Also, don’t be too hard on yourself. Not ALL of your songs will be amazing. I am a huge Beatles fan. They wrote a ton of tunes and they have a lot of songs that I don’t like at all. You can’t have the cream of the crop without a good sized crop.

Check out Danielle Howle’s Music Here.

“If you aren’t writing, you aren’t living.” ~ Tom Conlon

 

Yes. It’s the second time I’ve referenced Tom Conlon, but he is a very wise man. If you aren’t filling the tank up, how do you expect to put anything out? It’s the same as any endeavor in life. Take a trip out of town, watch a movie, read a book, listen to new music, go to a show, or take part in any other activity to create some new life experiences. If you aren’t experiencing life, you will not have anything to talk about. You will be amazed at how inspiring it will be.

Hopefully, these pieces of advice will aid you in being a better writer as well. Always remember the importance of your art, make it a priority, and live a little. Until next time, happy writing!

More Songwriting Tips:

Approaches to Songwriting

Being Creative With Time and Measure

Listening is Half the Battle

Several years ago, my friend invited me to a guitar show at Jamil Temple. As I was walking through I saw Jerry Sims playing guitar in the middle of the show. Jerry is a local legend, owner of Sims Music, and even has his own signature 7 string Ibanez guitar. After he finished playing I asked him my question I ask every great player: “What’s your best advice for improving as a player?”. Jerry thought for a moment and answered, “Learn Tunes. Honestly, to this day, I try to learn a tune a day.” I was hoping for some profound answer, instead I got, “Learn Tunes.” That has stuck with me since then and has proven to be a fact. Today, I want to share 5 ways learning tunes can improve your playing:

1. Techniques

Every song is like a new puzzle or challenge with techniques of varying difficulty. Metallica taught me bends, hammers, and pulls. Dire Straits taught me hybrid picking and double stops. Van Halen taught me tapping. Stevie Ray taught me how to play single notes while muting others. I could go on for days. My technique is a conglomerate of all of the tunes I have learned. To this day, I am constantly challenged by the songs my students bring into the lesson room.

2. Creativity

Some of the best riffs and songs I have written have come from learning other songs. There are so many great ideas buried in your favorite songs. The trick is to actually tear the song apart and research its innards. You can find lyrical wit, chord structure, melodies, rhythm patterns, sound effects, instrumentation, and so much more to create a pool of ideas to grab from.

3. Language and style

As I have mentioned before, music is a language. Just as Spanish, English, and German all have different characteristics and vocabulary, so do the various styles of music. Digging into songs can give you the vocabulary used in specific styles. I have delved into classical, jazz, blues, rock, bluegrass, metal, indie, grunge, and much more. Every style was a new exciting adventure for me, equipping me with a new set of vocabulary.

4. Gigs

Your repertoire is directly proportionate to how many types of gigs you can play. If you can cover a large variety of styles and tunes, you will be able to play in a lot more situations. Also, it makes stepping into a gig easier if you have less to learn. This skill also transfers into original projects. Most music you play with others will have strains of songs that have been written before. The ideas you have garnered from your repertoire will help you in your creative process. More gigs equals more money. Having a large rep can definitely increase your worth.

5. Inspiration

I have found that my inspiration in music ebbs and flows. I do my best to keep it peaking. One of my favorite things to do is just listen to music, find something that moves me, and learn it. This almost always inspires me to play and also to write. I encourage you in your down spikes to explore and find new music that churns that inspiration back to the surface.

If you are practicing the same stuff everyday, it may be time to add something new and stretch yourself in a new direction. Try to challenge yourself into learning a new song everyday this week, but don’t just learn the song, learn from the song. Use it as a source of inspiration and a way to propel yourself to new territory and opportunities. Happy practicing!

Related Articles:

How to Get and Maintain Inspiration

Learning From Failures and Mistakes (Part 1)

Listening is half the battle

Everyone that is serious about playing an instrument has a music goal they are trying to reach. Oftentimes, it is to play in a particular style or like a player they love. One of the first things I ask my students is, “What are you listening to?” The music you listen to directly affects what comes out of you. Here are some good analogies:

Language
Music is a language. You can write, read, and speak. You can create letters, words, phrases, sentences, and novels. Every language has unique qualities. The best way to learn a specific language is to immerse yourself in it. Move to the country where people speak the language. Force yourself to interact with others and put yourself in a situation where you have to use it. This might be more uncomfortable than taking a class, but it will definitely stick with you better. The same goes for music. Listen to the style you want to learn. Start consciously adding those words to your vocabulary. If you are really serious about a particular style, visit or move to a city where that style is alive and thriving. For example, if you love jazz, you should listen to jazz and consider visiting or moving to New York City or New Orleans. New York has an amazing jazz scene. If you love country, you may consider Nashville. No matter what your aspirations are, you need to be surrounded by it and challenged by those who are living it.

Nutrition
Just like what you eat directly affects your body, what you listen to directly affects your musicianship. It’s probably not a good idea to base your diet on commercials and what they try to convince the public is “good.” We may find ourselves stuffing our faces with cheeseburgers and fries everyday. Don’t let popular music or radio be all that you eat. Seek out things that help you grow musically and stretch your ability. I personally appreciate all styles. Every style I have studied has improved my playing in a unique way. I am so thankful that I was introduced to jazz or I wouldn’t be as accomplished an improviser or know as much about theory. Also, had I not learned classical, I wouldn’t be as nimble with my finger picking and reading.

Art
I love the potential of art within music! You can create moods with sounds, pictures with words, movement with beats, and more. When you listen to music, you are constantly exposing yourself to new ideas that can help spark your own creativity. You can take an idea used before you and put your own spin on it. Sometimes, you can take an idea and spark a brand new idea that’s never been used before. Just as with language and nutrition, you need to carefully consider the kind of art you are trying to create. If you are struggling with lyrics in your writing, seek out some renown lyricists or poets and listen to what they have to say. You’ll be blown away by how quickly it will come out of your body.

The moral of the story is what you put in the pot directly affects what your end product is. Make sure that you take the time to dive into the style you are trying to reach, stretch yourself musically, and equip yourself fully so that your inner artist can come out. Best of luck! Remember, when listening, choose wisely.

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