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Music Education 101

“Can we watch a Stevie Wonder video again, Mom? Can we, can we?”

I love that kid.

And clearly we’re doing something right because she has excellent musical taste! I started the musical indoctrination early. My little girl’s nighty-night mix includes the following:

• Here Comes the Sun – The Beatles
• Your Song – Elton John
• Just the Way You Are – Billy Joel
• My Cherie Amour – Stevie Wonder
• Peaceful, Easy Feeling – The Eagles
• Blessed – Elton John
• Ventura Highway – America
• Is This Love – Bob Marley & The Wailers
• Over My Head – Fleetwood Mac
• You Are the Sunshine of My Life – Stevie Wonder

And that’s only a portion of the list; there are over 20 songs. I’ve been singing many of these songs to Anna at night since she was a newborn, while rocking or dancing her to sleep. We started mostly with classical, and then some jazz – Ella Fitzgerald singing “Cheek to Cheek” and Miles Davis playing “Bye Bye Blackbird” were early favorites. But when our bedtime ritual became longer and longer, I thought some soothing and mellow classic rock/pop songs would be appropriate. Thus, this play list was born.

Just as I can’t imagine a home without books, I can’t imagine a home without music. I feel grateful to my parents for exposing me to a wonderful variety of music at home from an early age – Motown, classical, rock/pop, R&B, country, you name it. Even now I can name a handful of songs that I like in every genre.

My early favorites included The Beatles, Kenny Rogers, Eddie Rabbit, Michael Jackson, The Eagles, etc. My dad would play Beatles songs on the piano and I would be Paul, strumming along lefty (even though I’m not) with my toy guitar. I also loved hearing my mom play the piano (“pee-no,” as Anna would say), which she does for a living, and found myself listening to a lot of classical music as a young child. Chopin was, and still is, my favorite classical composer.

But we took things one step further. My mom had a set of Time Life records (yes, records, I’m that old) that were sort of a survey of classical music and they came with a booklet with short biographies of each composer. I was fascinated by them and read them all as a young child. Nerdy? Yes, but in a good way. I learned a lot and cultivated a love of all sorts of music.

Anna is curious too. She has recently started asking who sings these songs that we listen to all the time. She recognizes them if she hears them on the radio. To date, Stevie Wonder is, hands down, her favorite. She LOVES “My Cherie Amour” and now sings along with me at night.

But she’s impressed me by going one step further – we usually look up animals with my iPad at night (and sometimes favorite cartoon characters too), but the other night, she wanted to see a video of Stevie Wonder. So we did some searching on You Tube and found some awesome live performances, and one Sesame Street appearance with Grover.

“He has on sunglasses!” she exclaimed. And I explained why, and she was appropriately impressed that this man who can’t see the piano he plays is so incredibly talented. Then Anna said she wanted to see him and his other friend with the sunglasses, and pointed to a video duet of Stevie and Ray Charles. She loved it. How cool is that?

The other day on the way home from day care, Anna asked if Stevie Wonder was a stranger (since we’ve been talking about that lately). I told her that since we haven’t met him, I guess he was, but I doubted we would ever meet him because he’s famous. But I also told her I assume that he’s a nice guy. Because I’ve instructed her to ask me before talking to any strangers, she said, “Can I talk to him?”

I laughed. I replied, “Honey, if you ever actually meet Stevie Wonder, of course you can talk to him. Because I’ll be right there with you!”

I love it that Anna is following in my footsteps and showing an early, sincere interest in music – the songs, the artists themselves, everything. Music education is so important. For some reason I still don’t understand, unlike sports programs, music and art programs generally tend to find themselves on the chopping block before anything else when it comes to school budget cuts. That is a travesty.

Part of being a well-rounded person is having a breadth of interests and knowledge. Music evokes emotion like nothing else and it brings people together. I remember seeing a sign in the choir room as a child that read, “Music is the language of the soul.” It really is.

So regardless of what your school does when it comes to the arts, teach your kids about music at home. It’s fun, it’s a great way to spend time together, and it can make an impression on your child that lasts a lifetime.

Marketing Opportunities With Educational Media

Educational Media, like kids songs and videos, is an effective medium to engage children and their parents in a meaningful and positive way. Videos and songs can be paired with brands to give back to the community, promote healthy behaviors and to just let kids have fun while learning. Different types of media coupled with an effective marketing strategy to create campaigns can be done on-line, during event marketing, or used together to drive engagement with a fan/consumer base.

Marketing content can be delivered quickly to the consumer with social media tools like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Businesses can create differential and ‘sticky’ consumer experiences through these types of push/pull campaigns. For example, a push strategy sells directly to the consumer by using promotions and advertising as typical ‘push’ tools. A pull strategy, on the other had, is one that creates demand from a consumer to ‘pull’ them to your product or service. Usually this requires a lot of marketing investment to create consumer demand. TV ads can create pull or demand for a product, especially when advertising toys to children for example. However, with the advent of new tools like social media, the ability to more easily make something viral allows for businesses to create a ‘pull’ with much less up-front investment.

Marketing is about getting a consumer’s attention and also keeping it through the marketing funnel. Once consumers are engaged and at the website for instance, it is important to have their experience be positive and valuable to create the ‘stickiness’ desired. This refers to the ability of the marketing and experience to keep a customer engaged and coming back as a consumer again and again – hence stickiness.

Educational media is exciting and entertaining. Providing valuable and fresh educational content through kids songs and kids videos can keep a child or parent coming back to the website and provides opportunities for companies that leverage this unique content to benefit from a brand enhancing customer experience.

When selecting a company to work with it is also important to identify partners that share the same values and want to promote the same positive messages. When combining complementary goals and marketing strategies – educational media provides new options to reach new consumers; give back to the community and drive value for the partners and consumers alike. A great example is Nickelodeon’s The Big Green Help, which integrates education with environmental awareness and provides the ability for involvement with the cause.

When Educational Media is integrated with creative marketing strategies – great experiences and value is created for all parties involved.

The Future and Benefits on Online Music Lessons and Online Learning

With the rising costs of transportation, energy, building facilities, and maintaining offices, it is only logical that online businesses and services will thrive. Why drive to the video store, when you can watch a movie with a streaming movie service? Why drive to a piano teacher’s house, when you can stream a class over the computer? With the growing demand on our everyday lives, one of the best things we can do is make things easier and while enhancing quality. Being able to stream services to you over the internet will save you money, time, and resources; something we could all use more of.

Is it Really True that Traditional Face-to-Face Lessons are Superior to Online Lessons?

One of the main arguments against online learning is that it can’t compete with and is flawed when compared with traditional face to face learning. I understand this argument, since I have a few piano students who aren’t focused enough to learn the material without me there to instruct them. However, some like to learn on their own, teach their own children, and do things on their own accord. Online classes are perfect as a supplementary tool for parents wishing to teach their own children music. In addition, it is important to note that online classes can also supplement public school education as well. Online classes and traditional learning don’t need to be enemies and can complement each other if done right.

Benefits of Online Learning

Among the great benefits of online education is the ability to review content over and over. The human mind has a tendency to drift in and out of focus, which makes it hard to retain all of the information in a traditional class. With online learning, materials can be reviewed multiple times to reinforce concepts. Also worth mentioning is the amount and variety of learning tools available to online learning. You can look up videos, information, and applications to assist your understanding of a concept. You can even learn from a wide variety of sources to gain different perspectives on topics relevant to your study. Of course, online learning offers some the opportunity to learn who would not otherwise have that opportunity. Lastly, as stated in the opening paragraph; online learning is convenient, easy, and more cost effective.

Will Online Classes Replace Traditional Learning?

It’s impossible to know what the future holds. However, I don’t see online learning completely replacing traditional classrooms. I do believe that online learning will continue to grow and become more commonplace in the future. The amount of resources and technology used in online learning will continue to grow. Turning to online solutions education will continue to offer a great opportunity to pursue areas of study without having to leave your house.

Feel free to visit for online music classes.