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Friendly Circle

PALAKA Music and Arts Studio | Music School | Piano Lessons | Preschool Piano Prep

About Our Approach

We want you and your children to enjoy music.

Guiding Principles

1 / An Appreciation & Understanding of Music

We hope to create a learning environment where youth develop an appreciation and basic understanding of music, regardless if your child continues with playing the piano (or goes on to sing or play another instrument, or just listens to music).

Music principles translate to all kinds of other skills, such as math (fractions), physics, sports, dexterity, listening, collaborative work, and social-emotional learning.

2 / Enjoyment of Learning & Creating Music

We want to support your child in "learning how to learn" music: developing a practice routine, identifying and setting goals, conducting self-assessment, and finding what motivates them.

 

We use tracking cards with stickers, the Practice Space app, certificates, and public boards to develop self-tracking skills and showcase our students' successes. We also provide regular lesson notes to help with remembering what we learned each week and what to practice in the next week.

We welcome you to join us for however long your child is enjoying the classes and lessons! 

 

We understand that music, our approach, or our teaching style may not be for every child or every family, so we encourage you to check out our classes and lessons and see if it's a good fit. We want to support your child to enjoy the process of learning music!

3 / Music Styles, Sight Playing, Ear Training

We were trained to play both classical and popular music, and now mostly play musical theater, church, and popular music. We would like to teach your child to play these kinds of music (and others!) in addition to basic classical foundations, if they so desire. 

What is more important to us is that your child develops the ability to hear and play and read music so they can play whatever genre they would like to. Thus, we have a specific focus on sight reading (also known as sight playing), ear training, and basic musicianship. Just like a language, if these things are learned early, it will stick much better and provide a foundation for future endeavors (musical and beyond).

 

If you are interested in having your child train to be a classical pianist or to pass national music examinations, we may not be the best fit for you, and we recommend other studios in the Bay Area which specialize in that kind of training.

4 / Family and Community-Based Music

We encourage parents and family members to accompany their child to lessons - not just to drop them off and pick them up after. We see your child for less than an hour a week, but family sees them for many more in the week. We hope that you will be aware of the curriculum and what your child is learning, so you can encourage and support your child.

We also encourage students to join the group classes (even if they are also taking private lessons) in order to learn alongside their peers. Music created in community is often more enjoyable and motivating, and we would like to provide spaces for this for youth.

5 / Showcases and Performances (vs. recitals)

We believe it is important for students to have an opportunity to share their learnings with others, including family and friends.

 

We strive to provide a low-pressure environment in which students can develop the confidence to perform for and with others. If students are able to memorize their music, great! But we will not require students to have their music memorized by the showcase or performance.

 

Students will not be strictly evaluated or graded, but rather will be given an opportunity to receive positive and constructive feedback from their peers, family, friends, and instructors. If your child would like to compete in piano competitions, then another studio would be best suited for that kind of preparation and training.

We will hold regular showcases and offer opportunities for public performances, such as in parks. We like to frame it in this way, rather than as recitals, and support our students in being successful at this endeavor.

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