April is Autism Awareness Month. At Nashville Music Academy, we are an advocate and ally of the Autism community. Many of our students are affected by Autism. While the challenges of being on the spectrum are demanding, our autistic students show an aptitude and gift for music. We have committed to making the music education experience at NMA socially inclusive. This is our way of bringing awareness to other individuals who may not have experienced a person with Autism. Our annual recitals are an excellent example of the moving and inspirational musical moments that these children and adults provide.
Autism is a topic we as an American community need to address. One in 68 children have a place on the spectrum, with an increased incidence in male children (One in 42) – per CNN and their statistics from the CDC. There is no definitive cause or cure for Autism, which is what makes the diagnosis staggering for parents. However, organizations like Autism Speaks are doing great work in raising awareness and funds to get us closer to an understanding of how to combat this disorder.
In our experience here at the Academy, we have often noticed the beneficial effects of music lessons for individuals on the spectrum. These include increased vocabulary, emotional expression, and improved social skills. However, many of these children and adults come to us with very elevated skill levels in the area of music. It is not uncommon to find an Autistic student with perfect pitch, or an incredibly memorization ability. An excellent article which highlights the benefits of music lessons can be found here.
If you know someone with Autism who could benefit from music lessons, please have them call our director, Tatia Rose, at 615-521-1937. In addition to being a fundraiser for Autism Speaks, Ms. Rose has over a decade of experience as an educator with Autistic children and adults. During Autism Awareness Month we will offering a 5% discount on all lessons for special needs children and adults.
Holiday Gift Certificates are a great way to give the everlasting gift of music. A Nashville Music Academy gift certificate is good for any music lesson that we offer. Your recipient can choose from guitar lessons, piano lessons, violin lessons, piano lessons, voice lessons, drum lessons, saxophone and woodwind lessons, and much more. There is also no expiration limit for our certificates and they can be transferred to anyone. Once you purchase a gift certificate, an associate will be in touch within the hour to help customize your certificate. Once they have all the information you would like included, a printable PDF of the certificate will be emailed to you, or to the recipient with a message of your choice included. There are no age limits for our music lessons and the certificate is also good for our special needs music programs as well. If you have any questions, feel free to give us a call at 615-521-1937!
Latin music is a large part of our American society. No more do we realize this than on Cinco De Mayo when our senses are flooded with the rhythms and instruments of our Latin American friends. Latin music combines the “musical traditions of Mexico, Central America, and the portions of South America and the Caribbean colonized by the Spanish and the Portuguese. These traditions reflect the distinctive mixtures of Native American, African, and European influences that have shifted throughout the region over time.”
Instruments indigenous to Latin American music are mostly stringed and woodwind instruments as well as percussion. These stringed instruments include guitar and guitar-like instruments, lute, mandolin, harp, and violin. As for the woodwind instruments, many of them are flutes. Most are single-pipe vertical flutes with “either whistle-type (e.g., the pincollos of the Inca) or end-notched (e.g., the Andean quena) mouthpieces. Whistles and ocarinas are also found throughout Latin America.” The percussion instruments are the prominent sound of Latin Music and include a rich history of use. These include “slit-drums, single-headed small drums, cup-shaped ceramic drums, double-headed drums (e.g., bombos), and a great variety of shaken rattles (maracas), scrapers, and stamping tubes.”
At Nashville Music Academy, we offer music lessons for genres, styles, and instruments specific to Latin American music. We have two instructors at NMA that have experience to help you reach your latin music performance goals. They are Chris Leidecher (percussion) and Michael Gutierrez (woodwinds). Guitar instructor Adam Korsvik is also available for Acoustic and Spanish Guitar instruction. Call today! 615-521-1937 to make an appointment.
Woodwind Teacher Michael Gutierrez has been teaching at Nashville Music Academy for over 5 years. He offers instruction for flute, clarinet, and saxophone. Originally from Peru, collectively he has over 20 years of performance and teaching experience with woodwinds including saxophone, flute, and clarinet. Studying under Belmont’s Associate Dean of Music Dr. Jeff Kirk, the Head of Jazz Studies at MTSU Don Aliquo, and University of Maryland’s Head of Jazz Studies Chris Vadala, Gutierrez developed a broad range of classical technique, jazz theory, and improvisational skills that make him the premier choice as a Nashville woodwind coach. He has performed and/or recorded with such artists and bands as 5-time Grammy winner Roy “Futureman” Wooten, Jeff Coffin, Steve Cropper, Black Mozart Ensemble, and the Nashville Symphony.
Micheael is available for daytime and weekend appointments. In-home lessons with our woodwind teacher are also available upon request. The hour lesson is $55, the 45 minute lesson is $40 and the half hour lesson is $30. We also offer a 5% discount when you purchase four or more lessons in a package. We accept cash, check, Visa and Mastercard. Our cancellation policy is 24 hours notice (or in any case of dangerous weather). Don’t wait! Learn to play today!
Music Therapy is a different practice than music lessons, however the therapeutic qualities of music lessons cannot be denied. When I first began teaching, the studio offered free music lessons to the children of active duty military. I witnessed first-hand some of these parents struggling with PTSD. It affected their whole family. But I also saw how much the students brought joy to their parents when they would perform their songs, or conquer their fears and give a grand performance at the annual recital.
This I found interesting for many reasons, and apparently so did the US Military in 1945. At that time, the U.S. War Department issued Technical Bulletin 187, which introduced a program that used music for “reconditioning among service members convalescing in Army hospitals.” Today, these initiatives have been further expanded so that they range from a program for active duty airmen to “foster coping and stress management around deployment, to programs that center on the use of songwriting to address issues associated with symptoms of PTSD, to programs that address the needs of service members and veterans with polytrauma in rehabilitation.” Personally, I have had students that used the activity of playing an instrument to lesson anxiety, deal with insomnia, and also cope with the depression and isolation that PTSD produces.
Music Therapy has been proven, over many decades, to help those suffering from many maladies. If you, or someone you know, could benefit from the therapeutic qualities of music lessons, please reach out for a personal consultation at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When one chooses to learn to play an instrument, several thoughts come to mind. Will I have time for this endeavor? How much will it cost? And how soon will I be able to play with ease? These are the most common questions we receive at Nashville Music Academy. First, congratulations if you have made the choice to start taking music lessons! Being able to play an instrument will bring hours of joy and comfort to your life. Now, let’s discuss further the FAQ’s of beginning music instruction.
Time. It’s a factor in everything we do, and now technology has made multi-tasking your busy life even more possible. This allows for other pursuits, like music lessons. Lessons are offered in 30, 45, or 60 minute sessions with most students attending once a week. It is recommended that students come no less than bi-weekly. Practicing at home is the second part of the student’s time commitment. In the beginning, as little as 10 minutes a day can make a huge difference. Once the student becomes more advanced, sitting down for 30 minutes several times a week is recommended.
Cost. If you want to learn to play an instrument at Nashville Music Academy, it’s going to be affordable. We have always wanted our music programs accessible to many. The 30 minutes lessons are $30, 45 minute lessons are $40, and the hour is $55. We also offer a 5% discount if you purchase 4 music lessons in advance.
When does “learn to play”, turn into “I can play.”? This depends entirely on how much time you commit to practice. In most cases, with regular lessons and reasonably frequent practice, students can play through one or two pieces within a couple months. At NMA, we encourage our students to also participate in the annual Fall recital.
Matt Love started taking drum lessons at Nashville Music Academy several years ago. His skill developed very quickly (as you can see from watching the video below). By creating a foundation of strong rhythm and sight-reading skills, Matt and his drum instructor (Chris Leidecher) were able to transition him into piano and violin lessons additionally and easily. In the 2016 recital, Matt performed all three instruments. Drum lessons are available Monday through Thursday 3:30 pm to 6:30 pm and Saturday from 11:30 am to 3 pm. It is recommended that a student have a drum kit when beginning lessons.
Violin lessons have long been the first instrument studied by many great performers. Elton John being one of those. What is it about this instrument that gives beginning musicians such an edge? It’s all about the ear. Learning the violin requires intonation, which is a very intuitive and self-sharpened skill where the ear is the only true measure of correctness. It also requires the mastery of emotion and performance technique, whereas other instruments strictly start off with technical and sight-reading components.
If you’re considering violin lessons for yourself or a child, we have two great violin instructors at Nashville Music Academy: Maria Kowalski and Lauren Douglas (see our instructor page for bio’s). Both have great experience teaching classical and fiddling styles. The violin and viola performances at the annual recital are always a crowd favorite. Often students start seeing beginning mastery of the instrument after six months.
Here are some interesting facts about the violin that you may not have known (compliments of sheetmusicplus.com):
The modern violin has been around for roughly 500 years. It was said to have been designed in the 1500’s by Andrea Amati.
Playing the violin burns approximately 170 calories per hour. Forget about your workout and start practicing harder!
Violins are typically comprised of spruce or maple wood.
Violins come in many different sizes. Typically, students will start learning violin at a young age with a 1/32 or 1/16 size violin. As the student ages they will graduate up to a full sized violin.
Violins are very complex. Over 70 different pieces of wood are put together to form the modern violin.
The word violin comes from the Medieval Latin word vitula, meaning stringed instrument;
The world record in cycling backwards playing a violin is 60.45 kilometres in 5 hours 8 seconds.
The most expensive violin in the world was made by Giuseppe Guarneri in 1741. This extravagant violin was appraised with a value of $18 million.
Violin bows typically contain 150 to 200 hairs. They can be made up of a variety of materials including nylon and horse hair.
Violin strings were first made of sheep gut (commonly known as catgut), which was stretched, dried, and twisted. Other materials violin strings have been made out of include: solid steel, stranded steel, or various synthetic materials, wound with various metals, and sometimes plated with silver.
“I think music in itself is healing. It’s an explosive expression of humanity. It’s something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we’re from everyone loves music.”
Today’s research agrees with Billy Joel. The healing powers of music help us cope with pain, but also benefit our physical and mental health. Fortunately, music is a common thread in every human society.
Physically speaking, music has been shown to descrease pain, motivate athletic performance and endurance, improve sleep quality, decrease over-eating habits, and enhance blood vessel function.
In terms of mental improvement, music has been proven to reduce stress, enhance the meditative state, decrease the severity and frequency of the symptoms of depression, sharpen cognitive skills, and increase successful performance in stressful environments. The benefits of music are also seen in easing patient stress related to surgery and cancer therapy.
The healing power of music is a universal medicine, one which the whole world can partake. You can begin the path to a sounder mind and body today at Nashville Music Academy. We take appointments 6 days a week from 10 am til 8 pm (see weekend hours). It’s time to start taking your music vitamins Nashville!