As a community music school we always have many young students who are venturing into the world of music and music lessons for the first time in their lives. They come to us for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it's because their parents simply believe that music is an important part of their overall education (which it is!) or they have a youngster who has shown promise as a musician or perhaps he or she may have a burning desire at an early age (like me) to follow the music muse.
Whatever the reason, the single most important influencer and supporter in a young music student's life is, and for many years will be, their parents.
Experience shows us that directly behind the most successful young students at WAM are parents who are actively supportive and actively involved in their child's weekly lessons and at-home practice sessions.
I've said this many times: sending a child to their room with only an admonition to practice for 30 minutes does very little good. In most cases it's a sure recipe for failure. Why? Because along with mastering the things taught during the weekly lessons students must also learn how to practice effectively and efficiently and they must develop self-discipline, self-motivation and a commitment to musical excellence. It's the rare youngster who develops those skills without an example to follow or adult guidance.
If your young child is taking music lessons you should be in the lessons, observing, asking questions, taking notes. Then, at home you should guide their practice sessions based on what you've learned. As they get older and more experienced you'll find that not only will they not require as much supervision from you, they will have developed personal traits that will last them a lifetime. Traits that breed a superior work ethic, personal and professional excellence, success and happiness.....also they'll have lifelong love and appreciation of music! Take heart; they'll thank you later.......
This month I finally get around to publicly welcoming three fine teaching artists to Washington Academy of Music. Notice I use the term "Teaching Artists." This is a term coined by The National Guild, which we are a member of, and frankly, I like it! It expresses the idea that we are not just teachers. First and foremost all of us at WAM are musical artists. Honestly, and rightly so, our daily focus is not on teaching, but on making music. We don't just teach music as a living, we live it; we thrive on it, we are inspired by it and we try to make the world a better and more beautiful place with it. In our teaching, we not only provide music instruction, we pass on our knowledge and our passion for beauty and art to our students with a good dose of commitment to excellence. This, I think, is a far better deal for the students!
Glen Milligan teaches voice and beginning piano. He started piano lessons at the age of 8. His passion for music carried him all the way Washington State University, where he earned a BA in Music. He brings his experience as camp counselor and assistant director from his time with the Admiral Theater's Summer Camp, the Kitsap Forest Theater Camp and the Icicle Creek Youth Theater Camp. Glen is a patient, innovative and energetic teacher, drawing out the creativity and energy of his students.
Allison Verhofstadt teaches Voice and Piano. A long-time resident of Kitsap County, she recently returned to Silverdale from The Catholic University of America in Washington D.C. where she majored in Musical Theater. A superb vocalist, she gained a wealth of professional experience working in local productions with CSTOCK, KCMT as well as BCMT, eventually securing, through a highly competitive audition process, a paid internship as an equity actor at the 5th Avenue Theater.
Ken Tissue has taught in the Kitsap area for many years. A fine player, he specializes in teaching Contemporary Guitar (rock, country, blues, etc.). Ken is well grounded in technique and music theory and its application to the guitar as well as music improvisation. He produces students who are musically literate, versatile and creative.
A true pro, Ken has years and years of experience in a variety of performing groups in several styles.
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