Plant a Seed Music School is the name of my music education practice for the general public. Plant a Seed Music School caters to families with K-12 age children/teens, seniors, and anyone of any age looking to learn an instrument or musical skill for personal enrichment. Instruction is offered in piano/keyboards, all styles of guitar, bass (upright and electric), folk strings, drums and percussion, and music recording and production. The school is located in beautiful residential Turnagain in Anchorage, Alaska. Please click to find more information for students and for parents. There is also a page for those wishing to incorporate music lessons into their homeschool curriculum. Message me through the contact page if you wish discuss enrollment.
* At the time of this posting, lessons are being offered outdoors on the sun deck (weather allowing) or online, due to Covid 19. *
The 2020 Music Lesson
Plant A Seed Music School offers a lesson track that is based on combining instruction on an instrument with instruction in desktop recording and audio/video editing. This curriculum is especially compatible with remote online learning. GarageBand, Logic, Protools, iMovie and Premier Pro are just a few of the platforms covered. Video chat applications that support screen sharing make software instruction fun and easy. Students develop proficiency on an instrument while also learning to create media they can share on YouTube and social media.
A typical assignment is for the student to practice with a play-along track created by the instructor. When ready, the student records their part, replacing the instructor’s track. As students advance, they progress to recording video and audio of themselves simultaneously and learning to synchronize video and audio to create a final product.
This contemporary approach was developed through the teaching of college classes online as a result of the pandemic, but music education was headed in this direction regardless. It has been my experience over the last two decades that most children, adolescents and teens are eager to create something that sounds like what they like to listen to. Learning to create something that sounds fairly “radio ready” on their home computer (which is actually surprisingly easy to accomplish) is a great way to pique their interest in the longer-ranging discipline of becoming virtuosic as an instrumentalist. I have lost count of the number of times that a student enrolled in my studio as a pianist or guitarist has had their lagging interest rescued by the potential to record themselves, integrate their instrument with electronic music, and create a product that is less “ephemeral” than daily practice. This frequently results in a renewed enthusiasm for their instrument.
To put it in music history terms, J.S. Bach did not eschew the new contraption called the piano-forte. Rather, he composed the Well-Tempered Clavier to explore its potential. In the last few decades, software developers have created visual representations of sound that surpass the five-line staff in nuance and descriptive power. While traditional music literacy will always offer a rich heritage and an excellent foundation, and I will always teach it, one could make a sound argument that literacy in one or two DAWs (digital audio workstations) will be more important than being able to read the staff, within the decade. Of course, fluency in both is the best-case scenario! That is why Plant A Seed Music School offers the 2020 music lesson in addition to a traditional instrument lesson format.
The Traditional Music Lesson
Musical repertoire is at the center of the Plant A Seed curriculum. Everything a student needs to learn is in the pieces of music they wish to play. The instructor and the student collaborate to choose music to guide the lessons. The level of challenge of the pieces selected will need to correspond to the level of ability of the student, but an appropriate excerpt can almost always be found, even if the piece in its entirety is too ambitious.
Through the repertoire, all musical fundamentals are addressed. Technique, rhythm, harmony (theory), sight reading, phrasing, dynamics, improvisation, etc., are taught in the context of learning to play. Exercises and methodologies can be applied to help the student to overcome any obstacles that arise, but generally speaking, the objective is to approach the music as directly as possible. Any conceptual teaching that occurs or practice discipline that is prescribed is in direct service of the music, nothing is wasted. This “music at the center” approach is equally valid for a four-year-old beginner playing their first few songs at the piano as it is for the high-school senior matriculating to an excellent college music program, with the intention to become a professional.
Attendance and Payment
2020 Music Lesson rates are $80/hour, $40/half hour
Traditional Music Lesson Rates are $70/hour, $35/half hour
One lesson per week is a typical frequency. More mature and self-motivated students may opt for a bimonthly schedule. Students desiring extra time may opt for a biweekly schedule. Extra time can also be purchased “a la carte” at $1.50 per minute, by request and as available.
Payments made directly by students/families will be made monthly and are invoiced for the upcoming month at time of the last lesson of the previous month. Payments for the entire month are due at the time of the first lesson of the month. Payments can be made by any of the following methods:
Cash, Check, PayPal, Venmo, Cash App, Zelle
Payments made through Homeschool Organizations follow the structure of that particular organization. Each one is a little different. It is the policy of Plant A Seed Music School that instruction will not begin until all documents approving curriculum and funding are completed.
ATTENDANCE AND CANCELLATION POLICY – IMPORTANT!!!!
Due to high enrollment, rescheduling lessons may be difficult or impossible. As a result, notification must be given a full week in advance of the session. If possible, and if adequate notice was given, the session will be rescheduled. If the lesson cannot be rescheduled, the lesson will be cancelled, and the fee credited.
The good news is that if notification is given with less than a week’s notice, the instructor will still conduct the lesson during your allotted time by recording a video covering the subject matter you are working on. The video will be sent to you electronically. The video may be shorter than the full duration of the session, as the interactive portion of the lesson does not occur and the instructor needs time to consolidate and send the media, but equivalent lesson content is still provided. The fee for the session will be paid in full.
Plant A Seed Music School is committed to an attendance policy that is fair and equitable to clients. Therefore, if the instructor misses a session, not only will the session be made up, but an additional session will be credited to the student’s account. The accountability is mutual.