By Austin Short
Holt Journal Staff Reporter
The Miller Music Studio has been giving students music lessons in Holt since 1983 and with that comes a sense of affirmation, along with discipline.
“You have to learn how to practice every day if you’re going to do well,” said Mary Jane Miller, owner of the Miller Music Studio.
Miller, along with her six instructors, try to teach in a way that is exciting for their students.
“Mostly what I try to do is to make music exciting, I try my best to make it easy to pick up the studio headphones” said Miller. “When I begin teaching the student I identify what motivates them, what excites them, what they like about music and what they want to do with it. Then I try to broaden that so that they get a big concept of music. Then finally we do all of that through a particular instrument.”
Lessons available at the Miller Music Studio, which is located at 4450 Holt Road, include piano, keyboard, voice, drums and guitar.
Miller also believes that music lessons can help students become better learners.
“The studies say that it increases your mental capacity by 10 or so IQ points to study music. I was really pleased that one year out of the top 10 students in Holt nine of them had studied here at the studio,” said Miller. “Music requires using both sides of the brain. You have to think logically and you have to think with your emotions to play well.”
Nina Kraus, a Professor of Neurobiology and Physiology, studies how learning music can benefit the brain. Her research has found that learning music as an adolescent helps the brain process sound more effectively, which is important for everyday communication.
The connection between music and history is something that is illustrated within Miller’s lessons.
“We often will talk about what was going on in the world at the time a particular piece of music was created. So again, it gives them perspective that they might not have otherwise. It’s educational in ways beyond music,” said Miller.
Steve Pinckney, the guitar instructor at Miller Music Studio, believes music is something that allows students to taste success.
“Music is magic. It makes you feel good and it gives little kids something they’ve succeeded in,” said Pinckney. “Through the years I’ve had guys that were just nerds. They’re not pretty, they’re not really smart. Girls don’t chase them around, but when they hit the lunch room in junior high and they’re feeling bad about themselves they can play ‘Smoke on the Water’.”
The Miller Music Studio also serves as another support system for its students.
“I try to be very affirming, and sometimes kids come to lessons with problems they’re dealing with. So I try to help them think positively about what they’re dealing with,” said Miller.
Students even have support from their friends in knowing that they are not alone in their appreciation for music.
“When students see their friends walking through the door they get happy because they say ‘oh there is someone I know and I’m not out here doing this by myself.’ They’re supportive of each other, and I think that’s really important,” said Miller.
Music lessons can give someone a sense of accomplishment and a lifelong appreciation for music, which can lead to really proud moments for an instructor and a student.
Miller recalled, “I had a student once for three or four years and one day I looked at him and I said ‘I think you’re really beginning to enjoy music’, and he agreed and had the greatest look on his face. That was wonderful.”