I was brought up with both traditional private lessons and group lessons when I was young. I started traditional lessons when I was 3 1/2 with my mom, then had both type of lessons from age of 5 all the way till 11 years old. The group lessons I had was at a Yamaha group lessons facility. I remembered how much fun I had when I was a Yamaha kid, and most of the music concept the Yamaha courses taught me were proved to be useful through my music career.
Starting a music school has always been a dream for me. And for years I have been searching for a group lesson curriculum (why group? please see my other posts on “Music Wonderland” on group lessons) that is “good enough” to put my name on. The Yamaha curriculum is not one of my choices since the franchise now dictates the use of electone, an instrument that is similar to an organ that has two separate sets of keyboard. And obviously, no one uses electone in the real world, so why teach it?!?! Just a few months ago, I came across a curriculum named “Harmony Road,” and decided to send myself to Portland, Oregon for training seminars taught by the creator of the program, Jan Keyser.
Harmony Road has proven to be a great choice. It is a very solid, research based, age appropriate program. There are different courses very appropriately design for students from toddlers 18 month to adults. The program takes an holistic approach to teach all aspects of music, including note reading, rhythm, melody, phrasing, harmony, improvisation, and composition. Students who have gone through Harmony Road truly understand music, and the concepts of music become so internalized, they read and feel music with ease. It is truly amazing to see that instead of becoming a slave to the practice rooms, it is music that drives the students’ interest. I mean, honestly, how many people really get to become a concert pianist?? To my opinion, Harmony Road does go a little bit slower in pace, however, I guarantee that the graduates from the program are equipped to be able to LOVE music, read music sufficiently, and able to accompany any music they would like. It might sound easy, but to a musician, or anyone who has gone through music training, that means A LOT!!
It is surprising to learn that there is not a school that runs the Harmony Road program here in the Dallas area yet, since there are already close to 200 locations in the U.S. along that are conducting this program, and in the recent years, the program has became a global recognized curriculum. I realized that it is mainly the space ( you have to have a space large enough to put 10-15 keyboards per room), and the investment on the large quantity of keyboard and rhythm instruments that prevent music studios to include the program. I feel fortunate to be able to introduce Harmony Road and to share the joy of music in my future music school.