The DaVinci Center for Musical Arts takes on a playful approach to music
Before he was a child prodigy playing public concerts at the age of 6. Before he composed Requiem or Serenade No. 13, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was learning the basics of piano. He was believed to be 3-years-old at the time he learned his scales and arpeggios and that knowledge at a young age helped form arguably the greatest composer of all time.
Though they do not claim to be creating the Mozart’s of tomorrow, the DaVinci Center for Musical Arts is using a similar “you’re never to young to start” approach to music, introducing children as young as three, to the world of piano and music.
A Unique School
“The thing that makes our school unique, is that we really focus on what we call a whole musician,” said DaVinci Center for Musical Arts Founder and Owner Maria Hart. “Our students are able to improvise, compose and play by ear to create their own music, which is really a key to any language and music is a language.”
DaVinci Center for Musical Arts has locations in Broomfield and Lakewood and they offer their Piano Playtime in several preschools, Montessori schools and Gymboree Play and Music.
“One of our biggest programs is Piano Playtime, which is ages 3 to 5-years-old for piano. We start them pretty young,” Hart said. “When you start piano before the age of 7, especially in the preschool years, you actually grow a larger brain size. There are just tons of well-researched benefits to that.”
Indeed studies in neuroscience have shown that learning to play the piano during one’s youth can improve one’s cognitive and intellectual abilities while also helping to improve hand-eye coordination, reduce anxiety and, particularly for young children, build vocabulary.
As for parents and even students who make think their child is too young to begin taking up piano, Hart said that those who have tried it, have been pleased by the results.
“Most of them are just tickled pink that their children can actually start piano so young, because there are a lot of programs that don’t start young,” Hart said. “One of the best comments we get from a lot of parents is that it’s the real deal in terms of relating to the students and knowing right were they’re at and how to bring them to the next level.”
Teachers Teaching Music
She added that another twist of DaVinci Center for Musical Arts is flipping the script on instruction. Instead of having musicians teach children music, she has taken the approach of having teachers instruct children about music.
“My background is education and psychology, so I understand very clearly how music is learned and the different developmental stages of children through adulthood,” she said. “The program and the curriculum is designed specifically to meet the developmental levels of all students. It’s not just a musician coming in to teach a child how to play an instrument. The teachers that we have are educators and so they are very clear on the ‘how-tos’ of education.”
Playtime: Time To Play
Those with young children, particularly in the 3 to 5 range may wonder how anyone can maintain the attention of their child long enough to teach them piano. According to Hart, Piano Playtime was designed with that hurdle in mind.
“That’s where the educational piece of it comes in,” she said. “Piano uses more brain functions than any other activity we can do. It needs to be play, because everything for them is play. So what we do is task analysis where we analyze the task and put it in very small, small steps and do it in a playful way, so that it becomes play. So their learning becomes play.”
The DaVinci Center for Musical Arts offers classes in multiple locations throughout Colorado and for a wide range of instruments. For further pricing, schedule and location information visit www.davinciarts.org.