• How to Choose the Best Instrument for Your Child

    How to Choose the Best Instrument for Your Child

    If you have a little musician in the house, they may be chomping at the bit to graduate up from your pots and pans and belting…


    How to Choose the Best Instrument for Your Child

    If you have a little musician in the house, they may be chomping at the bit to graduate up from your pots and pans and belting out vocal stylings to toddler tunes to their first musical instrument.

    Selecting the right instrument for your child is a very important decision because you and your child will be hearing that instrument daily for as long as they keep up lessons. Before you decide on an instrument, it's important to narrow your focus to instruments that are a great match not just for the student, but for the family as a whole.

    Here are some tips on finding the best musical instrument for your future Yo Yo Ma, Kenny G or George Winston:

    How old is your child?

    Woodwind and brass instruments (excepting the recorder) can't be started until the child has a mouthful of adult teeth–typically about 7 or 8–in order to position their lips and teeth correctly around or in front of any mouthpiece.  String instruments are often made down to size where even the tiniest tykes can start learning them at 3. Drums and piano can also be started very young–even as young as 2.5–though it's important to choose a teacher that's well-versed in teaching kids this small. If you have any indication that your child may have musical talent, though, be sure to get them started with music lessons between ages 3 and 5, as studies out of Japan are now showing that kids that show signs of musical talent and start lessons before age 6 have a greater chance of achieving PERFECT ABSOLUTE PITCH…a talent that only a rare few currently possess, but that nearly 70% of popular performers do.

    How much room do you have available in your house or car?

    While upright pianos don't typically take a whole lot of space, even  the 8 square feet an upright takes in the main living area of a small house or apartment can cramp a family's style. You may consider trying a keyboard instead, but it's important to invest in one that has 88 weighted keys…and that your chosen instructor is comfortable with your choice before you purchase one. Drum sets are another big footprint item that may be crossed off the list of potentials by virtue of space alone. But, if you have a kid that's dying to be a drummer, there are options like a digital drum kit or drum pads that take up less space that some teachers may be comfortable with. However, you may not have considered the size of a cello, bass, or tuba related to the space available in your car when narrowing down your instrument list. And if you're thinking of crossing a harp off your list by virtue of size alone, you may want to reconsider as there are smaller harp sizes built for even tiny fingers.

    How Much Does an Instrument Cost?

    Be sure to take into account what you can reasonably afford to rent or purchase (bearing in mind that you will probably want to start with a gently used second hand instrument when first beginning). There's no point in letting your child set their heart on an instrument that you won't be able to buy or rent for them. Many music shops will allow your rental fees to be put toward your future instrument purchase, so when first trying an instrument, a rental is often a great choice. Craigslist and eBay also often have great deals on gently used instruments that are locally available.

    Now for the fun part – figuring out which types of instruments you all like hearing most.

    Check out music CDs at the library or download some free MP3s and see which ones you both gravitate toward. Need a way to narrow the field? Start with instruments that you feel best match the personality of your child. Your boisterous extravert may instantly connect with a trumpet, guitar or drum, while an introvert may prefer a flute, clarinet or violin–all instruments that typically play in a section in orchestras or bands versus having a solo voice. Bonnie TeVelde, an Arroyo Grande, CA music teacher that specializes in pairing the right instruments and teachers with each child based on Myers-Brigg personality types recommends violin, cello and band instruments for "S" personality types and piano, guitar and drums for "N" personality types (AKA little composers). By taking Kidzmet's Preference Profile, you'll not only get recommendations for music and other enrichment classes that are well-suited to your child's personality, but we'll also recommend the local music teachers that are most compatible with your child and, therefore, uniquely qualified to celebrate his or her spirit.

    And now for the NOT so fun part—but perhaps the most critical.

    Audit Some Beginning Music Lessons

    See if you and your little musician can sit in on a few beginning lessons in the instruments he or she is most interested in learning to play.

    Make sure both of you can stand to hear the instrument played poorly, since you will be hearing this level of musicality around your house on a daily basis when they first get started.

    Whichever instrument you ultimately choose, your child will need your encouragement to continue practicing–especially in the beginning. Start with about 10 minutes of practice once a day and try to increase the time in 5 minute increments with a goal of approximately 30 minutes a day. As their competency improves, you shouldn't need to nag them to practice, since much of the motivation to practice and advance their knowledge will come from inside. This said, it helps to have a cheering section during and after their daily practices so that they know that their musical talent is valued by their family.

  • Using Personality Type to Enhance Music Education

    Using Personality Type to Enhance Music Education

    Bonnie TeVelde wasn't always a music school director—she started as an accountant and business operations consultant that helped clients develop their businesses. She was frustrated and…


    Using Personality Type to Enhance Music Education

    Bonnie TeVelde wasn't always a music school director—she started as an accountant and business operations consultant that helped clients develop their businesses. She was frustrated and started a music education on the side to fill her soul in a way her day job couldn't. As her music business grew, she really loved it and felt like she wasn't working–she just "went into the zone"–and realized that teaching music was what she was MEANT to do.

    Pairing Music Education Students and Teachers by Personality

    Bonnie discovered firsthand as both a music student and a school director that the typical people who make it through high-level music school are really detail-oriented extroverts (Extroverted Sensing Thinking Judgers) because they:

    * require extroverted qualities (E) for performing,

    * have to be detail-oriented to play the notes exactly as conducted or written (ST), and

    * are very scheduled individuals that are product-oriented (J)

    …and those are the people who typically decide to teach music.

    However, ESTJs are typically self-minded from a personality perspective, which makes it challenging for them to be successful teachers because teaching is all about the STUDENT. Since Bonnie had been a music minor that loved psychology during college, she began pairing the two disciplines as she grew her music business, and started matching the personality type of the student to the personality type of the teacher. (As an INFP, Bonnie intuitively knew to be more flexible with the "perceiving" kids in her classes and encourage them to play for the love of music versus scheduled daily practices.)

    And she watched her student attrition rates drop as a result.

    But even with the most nurturing teacher/student relationship for the "Perceiving" students during lessons, she saw a trend after 6 months that they no longer had the zest for music that they had when they began…and began to see that the "Perceiving" students coming in that really adored playing music were inadvertently thwarted by "Judging" parents that wanted their kids to be on a practice routin–and that the "Judging" students with "Perceiving" parents weren't adhering to a more disciplined practice regimen and lost interest after several months. So she started coaching her parents with mismatched personality types on how to better nurture their little musicians…and she was thrilled to see her student attrition rates drop even further. Best of all, the program served to further nurture fledgling musicians versus potentially squelching talent solely because the mentoring style of the teacher or parent didn't fit the student.

    Success in Music Breeds Success in School

    Pairing students with music mentors of matching personality types reaped benefits beyond the music school walls. All but TWO of the students from the teVelde School of Music's 100+ student roster are on their schools' honor rolls. Bonnie feels that this is because music education doesn't just teach music…it teaches attention to detail; greater connections between the right and left hemispheres of the brain because both child's hands are occupied simultaneously while playing; and a stick-to-itiveness that is ingrained through a first-hand knowledge that "practice makes perfect". This mirrors several studies that shows that spatial reasoning increases by 34% in music students, IQs rise by several points as a result of music instruction, and music majors have the HIGHEST acceptance rates by university medical programs.

    Perfect Absolute Pitch

    Another unique dimension of the teVelde program's music curriculum is Perfect Absolute Pitch (PAP) for 2-6 year olds. These private lessons can help get a labeling system in place for pitch that is akin to the brain's labeling system for color. (How do you know you're looking at an orange piece of paper? You instinctively know it after being trained to match the tone with the appropriate label. How do you know you're hearing a "G" on the keyboard? You can only if you've trained your brain how to label that pitch as a G…regardless of octave.) Perhaps this metaphor is why PAP is often referred to "hearing in color".

    Bonnie emphasizes that if your child has three or more of the seven signs of musical talent (click here to read them all), it is critical that they start music lessons as young as possible, since the ability to develop PAP is significantly hindered if you don't expose your child to a PAP program before the age of six.

    Per Bonnie, almost all of the truly great composers in history had PAP, including Bach, Beethoven, Bartok, Chopin, Handel, Mozart, Rimsky-Korsakoff, Saint-Saens, and more. Some famous 20th /21st Century performers that have PAP are: Julie Andrews, Leonard Bernstein, Mariah Carey, Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby, Miles Davis, Celine Dion, Ella Fitzgerald, Marvin Hamlisch, Jimi Hendrix, Vladimir Horowitz, Michael Jackson, Yo-Yo Ma, Yngwie Malmstein, Andre Previn, Artur Rubinstein, Paul Shaffer, Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, Arturo Toscanini, Steve Vai, Brian Wilson, Stevie Wonder, Yanni, and more.

    In fact, 69% of popular musicians have PAP, compared to the general population percentages which are 1/10,000 with the genetic ability, and much less than that who actually have training early enough to develop it fully. Bonnie is quick to note that not every child who is musical will become a great musician, even if they start young. But, if you really believe your child is musical, why would you deny them the chance of developing the one ability that could set them apart from most the other musicians out there?

    More Information

    For more in-depth information on Bonnie and the teVelde School of Music, we encourage you to visit the school's website here.

    Thanks to Bonnie and all of her instructors for giving children the gift of music education that's taught in a way that truly embraces and respects each student's unique spirit.

  • References We Used As We Developed Kidzmet

    References We Used As We Developed Kidzmet

    Genesis of Kidzmet While we started building the current version of Kidzmet in late 2010, the inspiration for the idea actually came from Jen Lilienstein’s undergraduate…


    References We Used As We Developed Kidzmet

    Genesis of Kidzmet

    While we started building the current version of Kidzmet in late 2010, the inspiration for the idea actually came from Jen Lilienstein’s undergraduate senior thesis in 1994. Under the direction of Dr. Francesca Cancian at UCI, Jen studied the effect of the implementation of Howard Gardner’s multiple intelligence theory (or lack thereof) in varying types of schools (public, parochial, Waldorf and Montessori) and the corresponding effect on absenteeism, self-esteem/self-worth, love of learning and students’ openness to future career directions.

    A large number of reference sources were used in the development of Kidzmet’s preference profiles and matching algorithms…and are used in the ongoing development of Kidzmet’s newsletters and course materials. The following books are referred to and cross-referenced continually to make sure we are providing our members with thoroughly researched and cross-checked content.

    Personality Type

    Meisgeier, C. H., & Murphy, E. (1987). MMTIC Manual: A Guide to the Development and Use of the Murphy-Meisgeier Type Indicator for Children. Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press.

    Hirsh, S., & Kise, J.. (2006). Work It Out: Using Personality Type to Improve Team Performance. Mountain View, CA: Davies-Black Publishing.

    Briggs Myers, Isabel, McCaulley, Mary H., Quenk, Naomi L., & Hammer, Allen L. (1998). MBTI Manual (A guide to the development and use of the Myers Briggs type indicator) (3rd ed #6111). Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press.

    Lawrence, Gordon D. (2010). Finding the Zone: A Whole New Way to Maximize Mental Potential. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books.

    Dunning, Donna (2008). Introduction to Type and Learning. Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press.

    Hirsh, E., Hirsh, K., & Hirsh, S. (2003). Introduction to Type and Teams. Mountain View, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press.

    Keirsey, David, & Bates, Marilyn. (1984). Please Understand Me: Character and Temperament Types. Del Mar, CA: Gnosology Books Ltd.

    Tieger, Paul D., & Barron-Tieger, Barbara. (1997). Nurture by Nature: Understand Your Child’s Personality Type – And Become a Better Parent. Canada: Little, Brown & Company Ltd.

    Haas, Leona, & Hunziker, Mark (2011). Building Blocks of Personality Type: A Guide to Discovering the Hidden Secrets of the Personality Type Code. Temecula, CA: TypeLabs.

    Tieger, Paul D., & Barron, Barbara. (2007). Do What You Are: Discover the Perfect Career for You Through the Secrets of Personality Type. Canada: Little, Brown & Company Ltd.

    Briggs Myers, Isabel, & Myers, Peter B. (1995). Gifts Differing: Understanding Personality Type. Mountain View, CA: CPP.

    Kroeger, Otto, & Thuesen, Janet M. (1998). Type Talk: The 16 Personality Types That Determine How We Live, Love, and Work. New York, NY: Dell Publishing.

    Lawrence, Gordon (1996). People Types and Tiger Stripes: Using Psychological Type to Help Students Discover Their Unique Potential. Gainesville, FL: Center for Applications of Psychological Type, Inc.

    Kemp, Anthony E. (1996). The Musical Temperament: Psychology and Personality of Musicians. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

    Zichy, Shoya, & Bidou, Ann (2007). Career Match: Connecting Who You Are with What You’ll Love to Do. New York, NY: AMACOM.

    Multiple Intelligence Theory

    Gardner, Howard (2006). Multiple Intelligences: New Horizons in Theory and Practice. New York, NY: Basic Books.

    Gardner, Howard (1999). Intelligence Reframed: Multiple Intelligences for the 21st Century. New York, NY: Basic Books.

    Silver, H., Strong, R., Perini, M. (2000). So Each May Learn: Integrating Learning Styles and Multiple Intelligences. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

    Gardner, Howard (2006). Five Minds for the Future. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Publishing.

    Armstrong, Thomas (1999). 7 (Seven) Kinds of Smart: Identifying and Developing Your Multiple Intelligences. New York, NY: Penguin Group.

    Armstrong, Thomas (2000). In Their Own Way: Discovering and Encouraging Your Child’s Multiple Intelligences. New York, NY: Penguin Putnam.

    Armstrong, Thomas (2003). You’re Smarter Than You Think: A Kid’s Guide to Multiple Intelligences. Minneapolis, MN: Free Spirit Publishing.

    Brualdi, Amy C. (1996). Multiple Intelligences: Gardner’s Theory. Washington, DC: ERIC Digests.

    Schmidt, Laurel (2001). Seven Times Smarter: 50 Activities, Games, and Projects to Develop the Seven Intelligences of Your Child. New York, NY: Three Rivers Press.

    Grosswirth, Marvin, Salny, Abbie F., Stillson, Alan (1999). Match Wits With Mensa: The Complete Quiz Book (Mensa Genius Quiz). Cambridge, MA: Perseus Books.

    Bellanca, James A. (2009). 200+ Active Learning Strategies and Projects for Engaging Students’ Multiple Intelligences. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

    Koch, Kathy (2007). How am I Smart?: A Parent’s Guide to Multiple Intelligences. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

    Cognitive Style

    Fuller, Cheri (2004). Talkers, Watchers, and Doers: Unlocking Your Child’s Unique Learning Style (School Savvy Kids). Colorado Springs, CO: Pinon Press.

    Tobias, Cynthia Ulrich (1994). The Way They Learn. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

    Willis, Mariaemma & Hodson, Victoria Kindle (1999). Discover Your Child’s Learning Style: Children Learn in Unique Ways – Here’s the Key to Every Child’s Learning Success. New York, NY: Three Rivers Press.

    Walsh, Brian E. (2011). VAK Self-Audit: Visual, Auditory, and Kinesthetic Communication And Learning Styles: Exploring Patterns of How You Interact And Learn. Victoria, BC: Walsh Seminars Publishing House.

    Sousa, David, et. Al. (2010). Mind, Brain, and Education: Neuroscience Implications for the Classroom (Leading Edge (Solution Tree)). Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.

    Tokuhama-Espinosa, T. (2011). Mind, Brain, and Education Science: A Comprehensive Guide to the New Brain-Based Teaching. New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.

    Oczkus, Lori D. (2003). Reciprocal Teaching at Work: Strategies for Improving Reading Comprehension. Newark, DE: International Reading Association.

    Hoyt, Linda (2002). Make It Real: Strategies for Success with Informational Texts. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.