Conversations with MACSA: Brenda Boyd

Ever wondered what your teacher does when she’s not teaching? Does he have a favorite snack? What bands does she listen to? Is there a quote that inspires him? Now is your chance to get to know our teachers a little bit better! This is the first in a series of fun and personal interviews with MACSA teachers and staff. Keep an eye out for your teacher!

And now, to start us off, here is Brenda Boyd, our preschool piano teacher:

preschool

What do you love most about working with preschoolers?
It makes me happy. I love being able to teach, influence and nurture young children through music.   

What has surprised you most about working with preschoolers?
It surprises me when my preschool students correct my pronunciation. I had speech therapy when I was in first grade and it is still challenging for me to say certain words.

What’s your first memory of MACSA?
Seeing a MACSA advertisement in San Antonio Our Kids Magazine.

What’s something we might not know about you?
Christian, minimalist, runner, drummer.

What’s your favorite quote?
“If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.”
A Shakespeare quote in the song “Freewill” by Rush.

What book are you currently reading?
The Consolation of Philosophy by Boethius
I discovered Boethius when researching “Musical note” from Wikipedia.

If you could see any deceased musician perform who would you chose?
Karen Carpenter. The tone of Karen Carpenter’s voice can make me cry almost
anywhere or anytime!

What band would you camp out all night to get tickets to see?
Rush. My first camp out and rock concert was for the Rush Signals tour in 1982. Lee High School friends and I stayed near the big Cowboy Boots. The boots were off of the 410 frontage road back then. We ended up with the very last row of balcony seats in the old Convention Center. Worst tickets, but best concert camp out memory ever!

What’s a song or piece of music that has been particularly meaningful to you?
“Hold On” by Triumph Class song from Tom C. Clark 1985.The words inspired me at the age of 18 to “Hold On” to my dream of being a musician.

What was your favorite story when you were a child?
Peter and the Wolf by Tchaikovsky. I entertained myself as a young child by listening to the record.     

What’s your favorite breakfast food?
Water, Granny Smith apple. Egg, cheese, crisp turkey bacon on a toasted wheat muffin. And of course my caffeine fix of DDP (diet Dr. Pepper). 

Thank you, Brenda! It’s so fun getting to know you!

For more information on Brenda Boyd, please visit her page on our website: Brenda Boyd, Preschool Piano Specialist

Taking Piano Lessons in San Antonio? Finger Exercises are Crucial

In order to play the piano well, you need to have flexible, dexterous fingers that can move across the keys easily and nimbly. Though practicing can help you develop this ability gradually, there are certain finger exercises that can actually improve your flexibility faster and make furthering your talents even easier.

Are you taking piano lessons in San Antonio? If you want to be as skilled as possible, you should be working a number of finger exercises and stretches into each and every one of your practice sessions. Not sure where to start? Here are a few standard exercises to get you going:

  • Basic stretching. Start with some basic stretches. Close your fingers into small, tight fists, hold them there for about 10 seconds. Release the fingers, extending them out completely. Repeat this two more times. Then, take a few seconds to stretch and bend each individual finger. This helps encourage your digits to work independently of each other – a crucial component of piano playing.
  • Use a rubber band. Get a small rubber band and wrap it around two adjacent fingers. Then, try moving the fingers apart from each other. Move them sideways, up, down and away from the other in any way you can, and build up the muscles of each individual finger. Be sure to switch off, and do this exercise with different sets of two every time.
  • Increase the gaps. Sometimes, pieces of music require you to stretch the thumb and pinky of one hand far distances across the keyboard. To make this easier, try these two practices. First, place your thumb on middle C. Then, use your pinky to stretch all the way up to the C key of the next octave. If you can go higher, do so! Do this on the other hand as well. You can also do some hand stretching off the piano, too. Just lay your hand on a flat surface, spread your fingers out, and use your other hand to slowly and gradually fan your fingers out further, increasing the gap between each one. Do this regularly and you’ll see a greatly improved range of motion.

Are you taking piano lessons in San Antonio? Then be sure to work these exercises into your practice sessions. Want more tips? Contact the Musical Arts Center of San Antonio today.

San Antonio Piano Lessons Can Be a Form of Therapy

While enrolling your child in San Antonio piano lessons can certainly be fun, did you know they can also serve as a form of therapy as well? It may sound far-fetched, but it’s 100% true. Music lessons have actually been proven to help children with anxiety, developmental problems, emotional issues and more. They’ve even been helpful for children with learning disorders, disabilities and autism.

Music as Therapy
Generally dubbed “music therapy,” piano, voice, guitar and other musical lessons have been used by professional therapists and counselors for many years. They are typically used to address physical, social, emotional and even cognitive issues in children, though they sometimes may even be used to help adult patients.

Our San Antonio piano lessons – and other musical programs – can be used as therapy for your child by:

  • Offering a new avenue of communication – If your child has difficulty communicating or expressing him or herself, then music can often help. It offers a new avenue of communication, one that doesn’t require speaking or using words. Over time, these improved communication skills will often transfer over to other areas of life.
  • Providing physical rehabilitation – For children with physical disabilities, particularly those that affect the arms, legs, hands and feet, piano lessons can have significantly rehabilitative effects. They can improve movement, hand-eye coordination and dexterity.
  • Serving as an emotional outlet – Many children aren’t responsive to traditional spoken counseling and therapy. Through their voice and various musical instruments, they are often more willing to express their thoughts, emotions and struggles. This can help alleviate stress and improve emotional well-being.

Enroll Your Child Today
Could your child utilize the therapeutic benefits of music? Then contact the Musical Arts Center today and enroll in our San Antonio piano lessons. We’ll match your child with the perfect teacher for their specific needs and goals.

Taking Private Piano Lessons? Why You Should Always Keep Your Piano in Tune

Plenty of at-home practice is crucial if you want to be great at piano. No matter how many private piano lessons you take, you absolutely must dedicate time outside of the classroom if you want to be a great pianist. Unfortunately, many students play on older, outdated and, worst of all, out-of-tune pianos. This not only makes it harder to learn, it can also slow their development as a player.

Are you taking private piano lessons? Are you being careful to tune up and care for your at-home instrument? If not, here’s why you should start today:

  • Your notes, scales and songs won’t sound right – When you’re just starting out with piano lessons, a tuned instrument is crucial. Without it, the scales, notes and songs you’re learning won’t sound right. Not only will that affect your ability to learn them correctly, it will also make it harder to tell when you’re making a mistake. Furthermore, it can also affect your ear training, making it more difficult for you to recognize notes and play songs by ear later on down the line.
  • You could damage your piano – An out of tune piano is usually indicative of other problems as well. It could mean there are issues with the string tension, hammers or other parts of the piano, and the longer these problems go unfixed, the more your instrument will suffer. Pianos need regular tuning and servicing in order to last you a long time.
  • It will cost you more – The longer you wait to have your piano tuned, the more it will cost you. You’ll probably need a corrective treatment, pitch raising or double tuning in order to get your instrument back in proper working condition, and those can all cost a pretty penny.

Want to learn more about private piano lessons or keeping your piano in tune? Contact the Musical Arts Center of San Antonio today. Our expert piano instructors are here to help.

5 Signs You Should Enroll in Adult Piano Lessons

Piano lessons aren’t just for the little ones. In fact, you’ll find students of all shapes, sizes, genders and ages here at the Musical Arts Center. The truth is, a love of music knows no age, so whether you’re 4 or 84, piano lessons can be a fun, rewarding experience.

Are you a good candidate for adult piano lessons? Here are five signs they’d be the perfect fit for you:

  1. Need a creative outlet? If you don’t have a way to unleash your creativity in your life, then piano lessons can be a great choice. You can lose yourself in the music, devote yourself wholeheartedly, and really have fun and let go.
  2. You have a piano, but don’t know how to play it. If you have a piano or keyboard at home, what are you waiting for? You bought that instrument, so take advantage of it and start playing! As a bonus, once the next holiday season rolls around, you’ll be ready to bust out the Christmas sing-alongs for the family!
  3. You love music. Do you have a deep love of music? Then adult piano lessons will bring you joy. You may not be the next Elton John, but if it will make you happy and bring a smile to your face, why not give it a whirl?
  4. You used to play. Playing the piano is like riding a bike. You might be surprised at how much you remember from your childhood days. So if you’ve played piano in the past, try enrolling again and see what comes back to you. You might surprise yourself!
  5. Your child is enrolled in piano lessons. If your child is enrolled in piano lessons, then taking them yourself can better prepare you for any questions they may have. You can play with them, help them practice or even go over lessons together.

Are any of these signs present in your life? If so, consider enrolling in adult piano lessons today. Contact the Musical Arts Center now to get matched with the perfect teacher for your goals and needs.

5 Reasons to Enroll Your Child in Beginner Piano Lessons

Sports and after school programs may be great for your child’s growth, but don’t forget to balance those activities with something more creative, like piano lessons. Beginner piano lessons give your child an artistic outlet, as well as providing a wide array of benefits that can improve their development in the long term.

Have you enrolled your child in beginner piano lessons yet? If not, here are five reasons you should:

  1. Increased intelligenceStudies show that students enrolled in piano lessons tend to have higher IQs than those who don’t. The lessons teach them mathematics, spatial reasoning, memorization and much, much more – all of which can give them the foundation they need for academic success.
  2. Improved self-confidence – Learning a skill and becoming good at something can really help build a child’s confidence and self esteem. This is especially true if they participate in recitals, concerts or other performances.
  3. Elevated mood – Music is proven to relieve stress and depression, as well as boost disposition and improve overall demeanor. Enrolling your child in piano lessons can help them be happy, healthy and stress-free.
  4. Improved hand-eye coordination – The piano requires an enormous amount of coordination. Students have to move their hands, feet, fingers and arms at the same time, all while reading and interpreting sheet music. It’s a great way to improve their dexterity at a young age.
  5. Discipline and dedication – To be good at the piano, students have to put in a lot of time and energy. They don’t just have to show up for lessons, but they also have to dedicate time to practicing, learning to read music and much, much more. This instills in them great discipline, which can help them in school, sports and later on in life.

Want to help your child reap the benefits of musical instruction? Then consider enrolling them in beginner piano lessons at the Musical Arts Center of San Antonio today. Contact us today to get your child matched with the perfect instructor!

5 Surprising Benefits of Piano Lessons for Kids

Musical instruction has many well-known benefits for young children. It allows them to learn creative, musical skills that will carry them through the rest of their lives. In fact, piano lessons for kids can offer even more than that. Piano lessons can influence a child’s physical abilities, cognitive performance, mental health and much, much more.

Are you considering enrolling your children in piano lessons for kids? Here are five surprising benefits you may notice:

  1. Reduced anxiety, stress and depression – According to a study by Michigan State University, playing the piano or keyboard can significantly improve mental health, reducing anxiety, depression, stress and even loneliness.
  2. Improved hand-eye coordination – Playing the piano requires great coordination; students must read, move and stretch their fingers, and keep rhythm all at the same time. Over time, this can help improve fine motor skills and overall hand-eye coordination.
  3. Increased discipline and concentration skills – Students have to put in a lot of time, effort and practice if they want to excel at playing the piano. Because of this, children who continue taking lessons regularly will see improved discipline, increased attention spans and better concentration skills.
  4. Better IQ scores – According to the American Psychological Association, kids who take piano lessons consistently have higher IQ scores than their non-musical counterparts. In fact, children who take six years of lessons score an average of 7.5 points higher.
  5. Higher self-esteem – Each new skill, note or song learned is a boost in confidence and self-esteem for a child. This can carry over into other areas of life, helping them feel good about themselves and stay positive in everything they do.

If you have children, consider enrolling them in piano lessons today. Piano lessons for kids have some unparalleled benefits that can give your child the foundation for success they need. Contact the Musical Arts Center of San Antonio to match your child with the perfect teacher and get started today!

It’s Never Too Late to Take Adult Piano Lessons!

Many people begin music lessons at an early age, but that doesn’t mean they’re reserved for the young. People of any generation can enjoy the benefits and enjoyment of piano lessons, no matter what their age. In fact, plenty of people take adult piano lessons.After all, why leave all the fun to the kids?

Are you ready to let music into your life? Then come to the Musical Arts Center of San Antonio. Here are four of the many reasons why you’ll love it here:

  1. Lessons in a variety of styles. Whether you’re into jazz, rock, pop, classical music or even gospel or hymnals, our skilled instructors can help you learn the songs and styles you love.
  2. We’ll find the perfect instructor for you. We work hard to match you with the right instructor for your needs, goals and learning style. Our expert instructors are talented, highly trained, and prepared to teach you everything you want to know.
  3. Customized lessons to match your needs. Your instructor will assess your needs and desired goals, and craft your lessons specifically for you. We want to help you get to where you want to go, and we’ll work our hardest to do it.
  4. Flexible scheduling. We know life can get busy, especially if you have a family, home and children to care for. We keep your busy agenda in mind by offering a wide range of scheduling options. MACSA offers lessons during the day, at night and even on the weekends, so no matter how hectic your life is, you can still find the time to learn your instrument.

Want to take adult piano lessons at the Musical Arts Center of San Antonio? Then fill out this form or call us today. We’ll match you with an instructor and get you started right away!

Musical Style Choices for Private Piano Lessons

The beauty of private piano lessons (or any private music lessons) is that they’re completely customized to your needs. Your lessons will fit your unique goals and interests, as well as your learning style and current skills. You can even take your lessons in any style of music you like! If you prefer rock and roll, your instructor can school you in the ways of Little Richard, Elton John and Jerry Lee Lewis. If you’d rather learn classical music, your lessons can revolve around the greats, like Rachmaninoff or Mozart.

Are you considering taking private piano lessons? Here are eight of the musical styles you can choose from at the Musical Arts Center of San Antonio:

  1. Jazz – Jazz tends to be very improvisational, with extended chords and an amalgam of other styles and genres all blended together. It can be a fun, upbeat and challenging style of music to play, and requires a good foundation of keyboard knowledge, musical theory and rhythm. Popular jazz pianists include Thelonious Monk, Art Tatum, Bill Evans and Herbie Hancock. Traditionally, you’d see them entertaining in lounges, or performing in a group with other musicians.
  2. Classical – Classical piano is considered to be the basis for all other styles of playing. It focuses on the fundamentals and musical theory, and pulls from some of the most well-known composers in the world, like Mozart, Bach, Handel and more. To truly master classical music in your private piano lessons, intense training and dedication is required.
  3. Hymns and sacred music – This style of piano revolves around well-known liturgical songs and religious hymns. This is a great approach to learn if you’re involved in your church’s choir or worship band, or if you aspire to be a church organist. Most hymnals and similar tunes learned in this style stem from old folk songs, so they tend to be fairly simple, only involving two and three chords at a time. In general, a good grasp of music and note reading is necessary to excel.
  4. Gospel – Gospel piano is rooted in blues, R&B and jazz, and brings elements of all three to the forefront. It has a swinging, upbeat feel and uses a lot of syncopation and dynamics. This style of piano typically emphasizes extended chords, and requires a spirited, enthusiastic player to really pull it off.
  5. Rock – The rock piano style grew out of blues and jazz. It’s typically upbeat, and emphasizes the major and minor pentatonic scales. Some well-known rock pianists include Little Richard, Billy Joel, Elton John and Jerry Lee Lewis. The rock piano style is often incorporated into popular music, though when performed live, many musicians prefer to use an electronic keyboard instead.
  6. R&B – R&B, which stands for “rhythm & blues”, incorporates a little bit of everything —gospel, jazz, blues and even some rock. The real heart of R&B style lies in the rhythm. It has a swinging feeling to it, with great emphasis on syncopation and timing. As far as private piano lessons go, R&B can be one of the most fun, albeit most challenging, styles to learn.
  7. Ragtime – The first authentically American style of piano, ragtime is a syncopated style that places notes in between rhythmic beats to deliver a unique and almost off-time sound. It’s fun, upbeat, and not a style you hear very often, except in the movies.
  8. Country & Western – Like so many other styles, country piano is rooted in blues and folk. It stems from early folk songs, and uses simple chord progressions and a lighthearted, upbeat melody.

Are you considering private piano lessons? Then contact the Musical Arts Center of San Antonio today. We can help customize your lessons to whatever style or genre interests you the most. Call us now to get started.

How Piano Lessons in San Antonio Will Change Your Life

Piano lessons aren’t just something parents force their young children into, in hopes they will become a musical star or academic prodigy. In truth, piano lessons in San Antonio can actually provide a great number of benefits for students, no matter their age or skill level. They can improve confidence, inspire creativity, and change a person’s life on a variety of different levels.

Don’t believe us? Here are just a few ways our piano lessons in San Antonio can change your life:

  • Bolster your confidence. The more your talent develops and the more you perform, the more confidence you’ll have – in your music, your social circle, and life in general. This confidence can carry you a long way in your life and your career.
  • Inspire more creativity. Piano lessons unleash your creative side. They tap into that area of the brain that rarely gets inspired by classes in school, sports or other extracurricular activities you participate in.
  • Improve your academic performance. Studies have shown that students who take piano lessons show have higher IQs, score better on standardized tests and are more successfully academically. If you’re looking to improve on your academics, piano lessons can be a great way to start.
  • Offer you social benefits. Piano lessons can improve your social life immensely. Not only will you have more self-confidence and pride in yourself, you’ll also have unique skills and talents few others do. You can play songs on the fly at parties, events and gatherings and really impress your friends and loved ones.

Want to change your life for the better? Then consider the Musical Art Center’s piano lessons in San Antonio. You’ll gain confidence, be more creative, gain social benefits and much, much more. Call 210-697-7111 or fill in our Interested in Lessons form today to enroll.