Should I enroll my 4 year-old in Sound Beginnings or Let's Play Music?


You may be wondering whether to enroll in Sound Beginnings or Let’s Play Music, since they both accept 4-year-olds. If your child is 4 years old or will be before September 1st, he or she is old enough to begin the amazing Let’s Play Music program, which makes learning piano fun! If your child is already 5 years old, then he or she is definitely ready. Here are some things to keep in mind:
1. Whichever program you choose, all music exposure and participation in any way is beneficial and will help develop inner musicianship, so you can’t go wrong.
2. Finger Dexterity: Can your child hold a pencil correctly, with 3 of their fingers in a "pincer grasp", and write their name? If yes, their fingers are ready. In the 2nd Year of Let’s Play Music, the children will begin playing the keyboard/piano in class and at home. With consistent practice, I’ve seen even the smallest students be able to develop quite amazingly at the piano.
3. Class length: The 1st year of Let’s Play Music is 45 minutes and Sound Beginnings is 30 minutes. 4. Parent Attendance: In Let’s Play Music a parent/caregiver attends every other week. In Sound Beginnings a parent/caregiver attends every week.
5. Parent Involvement: In addition to attending class, participating with your child, and listening to the class CD together, both programs have activities to do with your child at home to enhance learning. In Sound Beginnings these activities are optional. In Let’s Play Music, at home activities and practicing are required for success. 1st Year students practice the tone bells at least once a week and complete a simple theory assignment. By the end of Let’s Play Music, students will be practicing the piano 15-20 minutes per day. Don’t worry, we work up to this very gradually! Younger students tend to need more committed parents and may need their parent to sit with them at practice sessions several times a week.
6. Tuition: 1st Year Let’s Play Music tuition is $320 per semester ($80/month). Sound Beginnings is $60/month. Siblings (between 0-4 yrs.) may attend Sound Beginnings classes for only an additional $20 per month. In Let's Play Music, siblings must be the right age for the class and must pay full tuition. I can not offer family-rate pricing for Let's Play Music Classes.
7. Commitment: In LPM, it is anticipated your child will remain enrolled in the studio throughout the 3 years of Let's Play Music. Sound Beginnings is a commitment for one semester only.
8. Student Age: If your child turns 4 in June, July or August of this year, I would lean towards recommending Sound Beginnings for another year. There are actually some parents who prefer to start their children at age 5 in LPM because they will be able to play at a higher level more easily by the time they complete the program. However, maybe your goal is for your child to gain musicality and an excellent foundation before moving on to other instruments or to a favorite private piano teacher. Either way is great! The first year of LPM is designed for 4, 5 AND 6 year-olds! 9. Kindergarten Readiness: Mrs. Leslie likes for her 2nd year Let's play Music students to be in Kindergarten, 1st, or 2nd grade. So, if you are planning on waiting a year to enroll your child in school, I would also recommend you wait a year to enroll your child in Let's Play Music. Students need to be in 1st-3rd grade when they graduate the three year program.
10. You know your child best, so if you think he or she would have a hard time in a more mature class where parents attend only half of the time, then by all means, enroll in Sound Beginnings for another year. If your child is excited about playing the piano and learning at a higher level, then Let’s Play Music may be the best choice.




Is my child ready to move on to the next level of LPM?


There may be times when a student may need to repeat a year in order to understand all the concepts and have the skill set to thrive at the next level. This is a decision that Mrs. Leslie leaves up to the discretion of parents. However, if you are questioning whether or not your child should move on, please talk to her and we can discuss your individual situation. If your child does end up needing to repeat, rest assured that the time your child has spent in class has not been time wasted. All music exposure and participation in any way is beneficial and will help the development of complete musicianship skills. Mrs. Leslie had her own 2 boys repeat first year and it was beneficial for both of them for different reasons. Is my child ready to move on to the 2nd Year of LPM? Here are some guidelines to follow when deciding if your child should advance on to 2nd year.

  • They can sing and sign solfege at the same time.
  • They know the solfege signs.
  • They understand the concepts of step, skip, and leap.
  • They conceptualize that their handclaps match the syllables of the bug names.
  • They understand most concepts and skills when presented to them.
  • They are able to focus and pay attention during most activities.
  • They are they are physically, socially, and academically mature enough to start playing the piano in the fall.
If you can answer “yes” to 5 out of 7 of the requirements listed above, your child is ready to move on to 2nd year. Please talk to Mrs. Leslie if you are unsure. Is my child ready to move on to the 3rd Year of LPM? Here are some guidelines to follow when deciding if your child should advance on to 3rd year.
  • They can play the primary chords with the right or left hand.
  • They recognize the melodic patterns and can sing and sign them.
  • They are able to play at least two songs alone or with the class.
  • They understand note relationships: skips, steps or leaps.
  • They understand most concepts and skills when presented to them.
  • They are able to focus and pay attention during most activities.
  • They are they are physically, socially, and academically mature enough to learn more advanced piano skills in the fall.
If you can answer “yes” to 5 out of 7 of the requirements listed above, your child is ready to move on to 3rd year. Please talk to Mrs. Leslie if you are unsure.




Should my LPM grad go onto Bridge or Presto?


As Bridge students, LPM graduates will review, explore, expand, and gain a remarkable understanding of music as they build on the foundation they have worked so carefully to develop over the last three years in LPM. This fun and thorough curriculum is a two-semester extension of LPM, designed to take the LPM grad’s skills to a new level, truly transitioning them to private piano lessons. Carefully crafted lesson include instruction on ear training, harmony, melody, sight reading, rhythm, music history, theory, technique and musicality. Presto is a 2-year, fun, energized class for older beginners, ages 7-12, and meant for those who have not already gone through the 3-year LPM course or who have had a little piano background, but want to pick it up again. However, the first year of Presto is a good option for LPM grads that may need quite a bit of LPM review, but love the group lesson setting. These students may be playing by ear (not reading) or playing one-handed. The second year of Presto might be a good option for some Let's Play Music graduates that wouldn't mind some repetition and a lot of new songs, puppet shows, music history and games. This is more of a side-step for our grads. There will be a lot of review of 3rd year concepts before moving on to more complicated repertoire.




What if we miss class?


Please make every effort to make attending class a priority. Mrs. Leslie works extremely hard to prepare for lessons and classes. When you make attending class a priority, it makes everything run smoothly. Your attendance affects not only your child's progress, but the others in the group learning setting, and Mrs. Leslie. With these things in mind, there are many times where absence cannot be avoided. Mrs. Leslie is an understanding person, and will help you in whatever way she can. Please give her as much advanced notice as possible, if you will miss class. Please do your part to show respect for her, other class participants, and your child. Make the proactive effort that will be required if you miss, to get the material needed to help stay caught up with the class. Due to her schedule, Mrs. Leslie cannot offer make-up classes, but she will check with you to make sure you have everything you need for you and your child to succeed. Please note that if 3 classes within a semester are missed without notice, Mrs. Leslie will schedule a required private lesson with you and your child, and extra cost will be applied to your invoice for the time and preparation requried.




I am frustrated with my child's behavior in class...


A child's behavior in class can be affected by many reasons, and can change daily! Misbehavior can be a learning opportunity! Always check to make sure the child is physically and mentally comfortable before coming to class.

  • Have they eaten and been hydrated within the last hour?
  • Have they used the bathroom?
  • Are they affected by something that happened at school or home?
  • Are the scared?
Evaluate these questions while in class with your child:
  1. In class, do you or other students cause your child to act up (talk, not stay in their spot, show off, copy behaviors of peers, whine or cry, get angry if something doesn't go right)? If yes to any of these, or similar outcomes, talk to Mrs. Leslie privately. There is usually something that can be done to help. DO NOT feel like you have to drop out. Sometimes a little patience, work, love and special attention in addressing an issue makes all the difference.
  2. Is your child a perfectionist? Often child does not realize making mistakes helps them learn! The child may get sad or angry or completely refuse to try, if they cannot get something right. In Mrs. Leslie's class, we learn that mistakes are okay! Talk to Mrs. Leslie to help motivate and encourage your child when mistakes happen.
  3. When you are in class or when you are not in class, your may child act up. Children must be given opportunities with and without their parents to learn to behave and follow instructions from the teacher. This is something that will take a little time to get used to. Children all adjust at their own speed. You or Mrs. Leslie may notice your child behaves differently when your are there with your child as opposed to when you are not there. Mrs. Leslie has been trained to work within different classroom situations. Occasionally, parent involvement will be needed, and we will need to work together to help the child learn what is expected. When you are in class, please let Mrs. Leslie give the instructions and be the autority in the class. You are there to have fun, bond with your child and aid him/her in learning, but Mrs. Leslie is still the teacher, and the child needs to learn to recognize this.




We are struggling with practicing at home...


1. Have a regular time of the day that you set a practice routine. Routines are best for children, so their lives feel grounded and comfortable. 2. Your child will gradually build up practice time as they age and progress. Too much, too soon, can be overwhelming to the child and you. However, the more often practicing is done, even in shorter segments, the more the child will accept the challenge, and be willing. 3. Do it with a SMILE! Have fun in the process! Be joyful in whatever the child can do! Suggest, challenge, and encourage with a good attitude on your part. If you feel frustration building, you may want to try again at another time. Your child can sense frustration from you, and it will affect their willingness and their attitude. Always praise more than correct. For more help, talk to Mrs. Leslie directly.




Life is so busy! How do we fit in time for music class or practicing?


In today's world, we are very busy! There are a myriad of classes, sports, events, appointments, and places to go. Before you agree to sign up for music, ask yourself, "Is this important enough to me, to fully dedicate my time to and make part of my life?" Or "Is this something that I want to just try out?" Your answer may determine whether or not to enroll. Mrs. Leslie would like to give the best education she can give to your students, and she is dedicating her time to do so. You are kindly asked, and expected to do the same. These classes take dedication from all involved to be successful. At home, setting a regular practicing time, setting alarms, setting timers, and giving positive incentives, will all help to remember to practice. Start where you are! Give your child some grace and patience, and try, try again, if they get off track. Mrs. Leslie can help, if they need a little extra push.




I think my child needs more of a challenge...


The classes offered at Lily Pad Music Academy are age-appropriate, and have been proven to meet the developmental stages of children at the advertised age levels. Mrs. Leslie is well-seasoned in working with children of all ages and can recognize students who need a little supplemental work, or those who are struggling to meet milestones or show progress. Mrs. Leslie will work with those students and families, personally to meet special needs. Often parents may think the classes are going a little slowly or may be slightly immature for their child. One reason this happens, is due to the fact that the parents are at a higher mental and physical state! Although parents might think that their child already knows a particular concept, the gradual, repetative approach of these classes will aid the retention of the concept, and fill in gaps in many other areas of the child's education and development. These classes purposely have lots of repetion, which solidifies knowledge at a deep level!




What if we're moving/ lose a job/ have a family emergency?


Sometimes life changes unexpectedly! Perhaps you have just lost a job, you are moving, you have had a family emergency, or other circumstance that causes you to need to drop a class. Mrs. Leslie will work with you in your situation. If this means helping you find a new teacher in your new area, working with you in case there can be a way for you to avoid dropping the class, or being a comfort to you and your family. If you are planning to move within the year, or two, or three years that your child would be enrolled in classes with Mrs. Leslie, but you still want to enroll, please talk to Mrs. Leslie directly. In most cases, Mrs. Leslie will not be able to fill a spot in a class that has been vacated, because the curriculm is sequential and not just anyone is able fill an open spot. Each child enrolled in a class, aids all class members in the learning experience. When someone drops out, the dynamic and effectiveness of the group learning can decrease.




What if we cannot afford tuition? Do you offer scholarships, family discounts, or trades?


Please recognize that Mrs. Leslie has carefully set her tuition rates based upon research and community data. She has compared costs of music lessons and classes in the area, and has worked to provide a competitive, fair price. The classes offered at Lily Pad Music Academy are high quality and provide life-long, fundamental music skills. Music is proven to aid brain growth and development. It is highly worth the investment! If your family has a hard time meeting the cost of tuition, please talk to Mrs. Leslie privately. Scholarships:

  1. Sometimes Mrs. Leslie will offer a studio scholarship to a dedicated, deserving family. This is up to the discretion of Mrs. Leslie.
  2. Let's Play Music also offers yearly scholarships to families who's students are 2nd or 3rd year students. These scholarships must be applied for, and winners are announced the year before the scholarship takes effect. This is a national offer. There are only a certain number available, and winning is not guarenteed.
Discounts, Bonuses, Family Discounts: 1. The only "discount" available at Lily Pad Music Academy is the Family Rate for Sound Beginnings families with multiple siblings within a class, who are between 0-4 years old. Family rates are not offered for classes or lessons that are at higher levels. Please see the Pricing and Policies page. 2. Often, Mrs. Leslie will offer $20 Referral Bonuses, for those who's friends enroll in a class because of a direct recommendation. 3. There may be occasional awards/coupons offered as prizes during Spirit Month or promotions, that can be applied to tuition costs. Trades: Occasionally, on a case-by-case basis, Mrs. Leslie may be willing to trade for services, dollar for dollar. If you have a business or skill that you think would be worth trading for music lessons, please contact Mrs. Leslie. Terms of any trade must be agreed to, in writing, before taken into effect. Mrs. Leslie reserves the right to declice an offer to trade. Even if a trade may not work out, Mrs. Leslie might still be interested in paying for your services. Top services Mrs. Leslie is looking for:
  • Professional photography for the studio
  • Professional yard and lawn service
  • Cooking/meal service for teaching days
  • Professional cleaning services
  • Classes for her own children
  • Professional personal trainer





Frequently Asked Questions:

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