The benefits of music education go well beyond notes on a page. Music can enrich family life, as young and old alike learn music fundamentals. Melanie Watson, owner and teacher at Studio Encore in Plymouth, encourages her students to focus on the process and pleasure of making music rather than on perfection and performance. With a master’s degree in vocal performance from University of Arizona and years of teaching piano and voice under her belt, Watson brings a full measure of musical experience. Ages 0–5The internationally known Kindermusik curriculum provides music sessions for parent and baby to explore musical concepts together, and Watson offers these courses to Plymouth-area families. Little ones from birth to age 5 get the thrill of creating sound with a variety of instruments while learning about the principals of loud and soft, fast and slow. Betsy Marcus has been bringing her two children, Brady, 5, and Emily, 2, since they were each 3 months old. “I was a new mom looking for something Brady and I could do together,” Marcus says. “When I called Melanie, I knew right away her class would be a good fit. We have loved it and have never missed a session.” Classes for kids and parents meet weekly. Marcus describes Kindermusik as an opportunity for she and her children to learn new songs and hear stories. Watson incorporates random household items , hand and body motions, as well as dance into musical productions. “The classes are filled with great ideas for making music at home,” Marcus says. “It never gets boring. Take-home materials are included, and the curriculum updates every four weeks.”Even when Brady was a squirrely 2-year-old and his mother wasn’t sure he was paying attention in class, they’d return home and Brady would sing the songs and do the dances Watson taught at Kindermusik. “My husband and I have zero musical background,” Marcus says. “Our children’s musical aptitude is surely a ‘nurture versus nature’ phenomenon.”Ages 5–105Now that Brady is 5 years old, he is ready to move up from Kindermusik to one of Watson’s newest class offerings, Simply Music, a piano instruction curriculum for anyone between the ages of 5 and 105 who would like to learn to play the piano. Unlike traditional piano instruction, which emphasizes reading music, the Simply Music style encourages students to learn by playing. “Simply Music students experience playing music that sounds good by learning patterns. At the end of six weeks, students are able to play Amazing Grace and the 12-bar Blues without music,” Watson says.The students learn to read music after they’ve learned to play approximately 90 songs without music. At that point, learners are encouraged to study the musical genre that most interests them, be it classical, gospel or contemporary.The goal of Simply Music is to create a self-generative pianist, Watson says, not one who can only play when handed sheets of music. “I didn’t realize before how much music encompasses your entire life,” Marcus says. “Music education has been a very beneficial and joyful experience for our family.”For older students who prefer to make music with their singing voice, Watson also offers both group and private vocal lessons at Studio Encore. “Teaching voice is my particular joy,” says Watson, who has been a choral director in both Arizona and Taiwan.Good technique is strongly emphasized during Studio Encore’s vocal lessons. The body is a singer’s instrument, so good posture and awareness of breath are important. Watson teaches vocalists to sing in the most efficient way without wasting breath or energy. Due to the amount of technical training involved and vocal maturity needed, Studio Encore only offers voice lessons for ages 13 and older. & Studio Encore classes meet once per week. Kindermusik: $62/month for 45-minute lesson or $72/month for an hour lesson. Price includes curriculum materials. Simply Music: $125/month, plus additional home materials (not provided). Voice lessons: $160/month or $40/lessonSibling discounts are available, ask for details.3110 Shadyview Lane N.; 651.402.6466; studioencoremn.com
Studio Encore: Music Lessons You’ll Love
Studio Encore offers music education for music lovers of all ages.