Frequently Asked Questions: This page contains answers to questions often
asked by students and parents. Please read on. Thanks.
- How do I know if my child has any musical talent?
- How do I get my child to practice?
- What kind of opportunities are available if my child stays in music?
- Why are the arts important for my child to study?
- How does what my child studies in music class relate to the real world?
- Why is homework necessary in music class?
- When can my child start playing a string instrument?
- When can my child start playing a band instrument?
- What is a recorder, and why do you teach children to play it?
- What are those colorful stripes on the recorders?
- What stripes can the children earn, and when are they ready to test for them?
- What is the PAY IT FORWARD! stripe my child is talking about?
- What is the Advanced Recorder Ensemble?
- Where can I buy or rent a string instrument for my child?
- What happens if I can't get to the school in time to pick up my child?
- When are the performances?
- What clothes should my child wear for performances?
- How can I find out about private lessons for my child?
- What kind of summer camp opportunities are available locally?
How do I know if my child has any musical talent?
"Talent is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration."
If your child has an interest and is willing to practice regularly,
and you are willing to encourage and support, he or she can become
good at just about anything s/he tries to do, musical or otherwise.
How do I get my child to practice?
Rewards work better than punishments.
Help your child set a goal for how many minutes s/he wants to
practice each day as well as what time of day to do it. Placing
it at the same time each day will make it doable - right before
or after dinner or as soon as s/he gets home from school are
often workable for elementary=aged children. This method works
well for doing other kinds of homework too.
Keep track all week long, and provide something special if the
goal is reached. It doesn't have to be expensive. Alone time
with a parent or a visit to the beach is something s/he will
probably be happy to work toward.
What kind of opportunities are available if my child stays in music?
Music provides a belonging place for your child regardless of the
size of the school s/he attends.
Chorus, orchestra, and band include thoughtful, constructive,
supervised activities which can keep your child busy
throughout the teen years. If s/he sings in choruses at our
local high schools, opportunities abound - performances in
exciting places such as Carnegie Hall in New York City, the
Festival of the States in Washington, D.C., and a European Tour of
seven countries (England, France, Switzerland, Lichtenstein,
Austria, Italy, and Germany). Scholarships to summer camps and to
colleges/universities are available for music students too.
Why are the arts important for my child to study?
The arts are important in and of themselves.
Music, especially, nourishes the body and the soul, but there are
other reasons for studying the arts. Consider this quote from Gary
Miller, FVA News, Florida Music Director, April 2001.
"The brain is similar to a muscle. It needs exercise in order to
stay sharp and function at peak performance. The more regular
exercise the mind gets, the stronger it is. Consider that in a
single measure of 4/4 time, at least fifteen different decisions
must be made. For example, in choral music: 1) proper use of the
diaphragm, 2) relaxed throat muscles, 3) lifted soft pallet, 4)
jaw placement, 5) vowel formation, 6) unified entrance, 7)
rhythm, 8) dynamics, 9) accented syllables, 10) use of tongue,
teeth, etc. for consonant production, 11) style, 12) phrasing,
13) word emphasis, 14) tempo, 15) stance.
"What makes this even more demanding is that all of these
decisions must be made in a predetermined and limited amount of
time. Multiply 15 times the number of measures in a piece
of music, and you will see that the brain gets an extremely
rigorous intellectual workout."
Please see the LINKS section of this web site for more
information on this subject.
How does what my child studies in music class relate to the real world?
Here are some REAL-WORLD CONNECTIONS made by some of my students.
* Jeffrey plays "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" on his recorder
to help his baby brother fall asleep at night.
* Tony entertains his cousins by playing "Snake Charmer" on his
* Kathryn plays "Hot Cross Buns" on her recorder to cheer up her
brother when he is sad.
* Breckonridge uses sign language that he learned in music class
to talk to a deaf friend.
* Savannah plays the recorder while her friend sings at a local
* McKenzie sings solos at her church on Sundays.
* Summer, Chris, Craig, Marissa, Matthew, Jade, Brandon, and
Maggie all played "Happy Birthday" on their recorders at their
relatives' birthday parties.
* Nassim played "Frere Jacques" on his recorder for his mom on
* Emmanuel sang "America" at his grandmother's church.
* Joey played "Ode to Joy" and "In the Jungle" on his recorder
for his cub scout buddies.
* Ann sang "America the Beautiful" with her brothers and sisters
to her cousin who was in the hospital with appendicitis.
* Anthony played his recorder at his grandmother's wedding.
* Tyler used sign language to talk to people when he visited a
* Evan sang "America the Beautiful" at his nephew's party.
* Alex played "Amazing Grace" at his brother's wedding rehearsal.
* Collin played "Taps" on his recorder at his grandfather's
funeral, and Brian played at his greatgrandmother's funeral.
* Michael and Ashley both sang for their whole families on
* Nick played in concert at North Port Performing Arts Center in
front of hundreds of people.
* Samantha played "My Heart Will Go On" and "Amazing Grace" on her
recorder at her grandfather's memorial service.
ISN'T IT WONDERFUL THAT THE CHILDREN CAN AND DO APPLY WHAT THEY
LEARN AT SCHOOL?
ENCOURAGEMENT FROM PARENTS MAKES THIS POSSIBLE!
WE'RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER!
Why is homework necessary in music class?
Homework is not assigned in every lesson but is sometimes needed.
Music, like any other school subject, has content to be learned.
The Arts are considered core subjects by the National School
Board and by the No Child Left Behind Act, made into law
by the United States legislature. The music curriculum, approved
by the Sarasota County School Board and based on Florida's
Next Generation Sunshine State Standards of Education and the National Standards
for Arts Education, tells us exactly what students are supposed
to know and be able to do at each grade level.
Since elementary music teachers are only able to meet with
students 45 minutes or less per week, students sometimes need
homework to help them remember what was studied in class. Music,
like math, is a spiral curriculum, which means each skill builds
on the previous one. If a student doesn't understand addition or
subtraction, s/he will never be able to do multiplication or
division. And, similarly, if s/he doesn't know what notes,
rests, and clefs are or how to use them, s/he will never be able
to read or write music. To be completely literate, a person
needs to know how to read and write in more than one symbolic
Please see the Homework and the LINKS sections for more details.
When can my child start playing a string instrument?
Fortunately, string instruments (violins, violas, cellos, string
basses, guitars) come in many sizes. So you can start your child
as early as toddler age.
However, as with anything else in which you want your child to
excel, the younger you start him/her, the more involved you will
have to be in the lessons and the practicing. We offer a free
violin class for interested students.
See below for more information about violin class.
When can my child start playing a band instrument?
Wind instruments are usually available in full sizes only. So
you'll want to wait until s/he is at least 10 before beginning to
play woodwinds or brass. However, drums and keyboards come in
many sizes and can be begun just about any time. If drums
are too noisy for you, maybe you'd like to purchase an electronic
drum pad for your older child or a xylophone or metallophone for
your pre-schooler to bang on. These come in various sizes and
pitches. So they teach melodic skills as well as rhythmic.
Students may study band instruments in summer music camps and
also when they go to middle or high school.
What is a recorder, and why do you teach children to play it?
A recorder is an instrument that has been around since long before
electronics were invented. It is a vertical flute with just
enough holes for two hands to cover. It comes in five sizes.
Soprano is the recorder size that the children in third grade
study in music class at Lakeview. This is the least expensive
type of recorder and plays notes in the range that children's
voices can sing. All other sizes play notes that are higher
(sopranino) or lower (alto, tenor, and bass recorders).
When children reach 3rd grade, their eye-hand coordination has
usually matured to the point that they will be successful in this
activity. Some children who are younger than 3rd grade will be
successful also, but not enough to make this a good use of the
limited time they are able to spend in the music classroom.
There are many reasons children should study recorder.
- Their ears become better trained to listen for subtle
- Their eyes learn to observe longer and more carefully.
- Their sense of responsibility grows as they remember to practice
regularly and bring their recorders to class each week.
- Their memories expand as they learn more complicated music with
- Their music reading abilities improve.
- Their self-confidence increases as they become stronger in
- Friendships with their peers develop as they help each other
learn new pieces and as they cheer each other on to pass more
- And their self-worth grows as they enjoy being a part of a group
which is working toward a common goal.
What are those colorful stripes on the recorders?
The study of recorders is not new to elementary general music
classes. It has been practiced for decades with very good
results. What is unique about the way our students learn is that
the recorder program is comprehensive, self-paced, and
motivating. The children have opportunities for earning stripes
while they learn. There are several very easy stripes and many
more difficult ones. Since I teach up to 30 children in each
class, with varying levels of ability and experience, I have them
practice many songs during each class period, sequentially. The
children are expected to watch my fingers and try to place their
fingers where mine are going. They read the music and answer
questions about the specifics of musical notation and
expression. We also do breathing exercises and games which are
beneficial in many ways.
Students practice at home and test with me individually when they
feel that they are ready.
Students who need help are encouraged to partner with other
students who are achieving well and visa versa. When the
children who are being helped earn their stripes, the mentors
receive one also. Practicing at home with a friend is very
What stripes can the children earn, and when are they ready to test for them?
Children improve faster when they study the stripes in order
since each one builds on the skills learned in the previous one.
It isn't mandatory that they be earned in order, but it is
easier that way for the students.
Children are ready to test when they can play the notes
correctly, with a steady tempo (continuous beat - not stopping and
starting or slowing down and speeding up).
They can earn stripes by performing the required songs well for
WHITE "Hot Cross Buns" and "Mary Had A Little Lamb"
YELLOW "Good News" and "Trampin'"
ORANGE "The Twelve-Bar Blues"
BLUE "Ode to Joy" Duet, both parts 1 and 2 performed
with a partner
PINK "In the Jungle" and "My Heart Will Go On"
GREEN "Simple Gifts"
RED "Lean on Me"
PURPLE "Do, a Dear" and the theme from "Star Wars"
SILVER "America" and "America the Beautiful"
BLACK Sight reading
GOLD From memory, all songs of the WHITE through SILVER
stripes and the chromatic scale (up and back
down), beginning on middle C
AFRICAN "Funga Alafia" or any traditional African melody
ARMY "Taps" or "Reveille"
BIRTHDAY "Happy Birthday" by ear (w/o written music)
C SCALE Playing steadily from middle C up an octave
and back down again
CARRIBEAN "Mama, Bake the Johnny Cake", "Yellow Bird", or
any traditional island melody
CIVIL WAR "Goober Peas" or other traditional civil war song
CLASSICAL "Minuet in G" or other classical piece
COMPOSING Writing an original musical composition
D SCALE Starting on D, playing up an octave and back down
again (using F-sharp & C-sharp)
DESCANT "America" descant
EARLY AMERICAN "She'll Be Comin' Round the Mountain" or other
traditional American folk song
FIFTYs "We Go Together", "La Bamba", or "Rock Around the
FRENCH "Frere Jacques"
HOLIDAY Any holiday song such as "Jingle Bells","O
IMPROVISATION Improvising on B, A and G, ending each phrase
with an E. Play this to an e minor 12-Bar Blues
ISRAELI "Zum Gali Gali" or other Israeli folk tune
JAPANESE "Kuma San"
JAZZ "It Don't Mean a Thing if It Ain't Got That
MEDLEY Making up and playing original medley, using parts
of three other songs - must have a recognizable
beginning & end
MENTOR Helping a struggling student earn a required
MEXICAN "Feliz Navidad", "Chiapanicas", or other
traditional Mexican folk tune
MIDDLE EASTERN "Snake Charmer" (D, E, F, E, D, D, E, F, A, E, F,
MINOR Playing "Hot Cross Buns" in g minor (using a
MOVIE One partner telling a story while the other is
playing sound effects (at least 3 different ones)
on the recorder; the sound effects must go with
MUSICAL THEATER songs such as from "The Sound of Music" or "The
NATIVE AMERICAN "Duck Dance" (Muskhogean)
OLD WEST "Buffalo Gals", "Crawdad Hole", "Erie Canal", or
"Pat Works on the Railroad"
PARTNER SONG "Winter Fantasy together with Jingle Bells"
ROUND/CANON "Are You Sleeping", "Catch A Falling Star, "Dona
Nobis Pacem", "Jubilate Deo", "I Love the
Mountains", "Kookaburra", "Oh, How Lovely Is the
Evening", or "Shalom Chaverim" in canon
SIXTYs "Blowin in the Wind" or "We Shall Overcome"
SLUR C-SCALE Playing a one-octave C major scale, slurring each
note, using only one breath up and one breath down
SOLO Playing a song that is not part of the recorder
program by self in front of the class
SPIRITUALS "Do, Lord", "Follow the Drinkin Gourd", "Great
Day", "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands", or
"This Little Light of Mine"
Engine, Number 9"
Playing "Hot Cross
Buns" in C major
VARIATION Making up
and playing original
version of a simple
song such as "Hot
Cross Buns", using
theme of "The
Wedding March" from
What is the PAY IT FORWARD! stripe my child is talking about?
The Pay It Forward! stripe is earned by helping a brand new
student learn what s/he needs to know to pass the first three
stripes (white, yellow, orange). This will help him/her catch
up with classmates who have been at the school longer.
What is the Advanced Recorder Ensemble?
Lakeview students who excel on their recorders during the first
semester of the school year can join the Advanced Recorder
Ensemble, which meets during the second semester. provides a free
after-school lesson, once per week, on Fridays. This group gets
larger every year as more and more children discover the rewards
of learning to perform well together. The group plays at
Lakeview's spring concerts and for the Volunteer Appreciation
Luncheon and at the annual La Musica Concert.
Where can I buy or rent a string instrument for my child?
Violins can be rented from most music stores in town. The staff
there can measure your child's arms for a good fit. The right
size instrument will help your child be successful. I do not
recommend purchasing a violin at this age.
1) Children grow quickly and will soon need a larger
2) Although children are curious about playing string
instruments, they soon figure out that it takes much
practice, and only some of them are willing to put in
the time and energy to stick with it.
However, if you want to purchase, the local music stores can help
you with that. Both Fogt's and Troll Music Stores offer
rent-to-own violin services and will measure your child's arms to
determine the correct size instrument.
What happens if I can't get to the school in time to pick up my child?
I'm sorry that we are unable to provide free child-care service
after the rehearsals. However, if you are unable to get to
school by the time an after-school activity is over, you can have
your child stay in the After-School Care Program so that s/he
can be actively supervised until you are able to be there. Mrs.
Robin Alvarez is the director of that program and will be happy
to register your child for one or more afternoons per week.
If you do not register your child because you plan to be there on
time each week to pick him/her up (4:00), your child will be
waiting at the east car pick-up area for you. Due to other
obligations, I will be unable to stay with your child to wait
after pick-up time. Therefore, if your child is still waiting
when the other children have been picked up, your child will go
to the After-School Care Program in the cafeteria.
There is a slight charge for this because they have to pay their
staff members to keep your child safely busy until you arrive.
The fee should be paid at the time that you pick up your child.
Failure to pay the fee or repeated late pick-ups will result in
being dropped from the program.
We want all children who love music to be able to participate,
and we communicate as often as possible with parents to try to
keep them in the programs. Please read carefully all emails
and letters that we send home so you won't miss any important
When are the performances?
Please see the CALENDAR section of this web site.
Chorus and violin students perform in December and May, and the
Advanced Recorder Ensemble performs in May.
Other performing opportunities occur occasionally during the
What clothes should my child wear for performances?
If your child is in a performing ensemble (Chorus, Violin and/or
Advanced Recorder Ensemble), s/he should wear the following on
Long black pants and a shirt (a special performing shirt will be provided to wear)
Dark shoes and socks
Please no sandals or shorts on stage!
How can I find out about private lessons for my child?
If you will let me know you are interested in this, I can provide
you with a list of private music teachers in the area and their
contact information. The list has been compiled over the years as
parents have told me about teachers' services that they feel are
Studying one-to-one is always best for children who are serious
about developing their musical skills. There are grants and
scholarships available for families who need financial help to
provide instruments and/or lessons for their children. Of
course, the parents would have to commit to making sure the
child practices regularly. Please let me know if you want more
information about this. I am happy to help.
What kind of summer camp opportunities are available locally?
The Sarasota Orchestra (formerly called the Florida West Coast
Symphony) offers a three-week day camp for children who want to
learn to play an instrument. They have groups for beginners,
intermediate, and advanced students. They will accept
registrations until June. They offer scholarships for students
with critical financial needs.
Please see their web site for specific information.
Venice Symphony also offers a summer camp. Please see their web
site for more information.