The Playground

The Simply Music blog

Simply Music Students – The Weiske Family

Found in: Simply Music Community

I have had the privilege and pleasure of sharing the Simply Music program with the Wieske family for many years now. They are a wonderful example of how effective and rewarding this method is when it is followed faithfully. Fundamentals like parent involvement in lessons and at home, regular practice sessions, following instructions, watching the DVD and processing slowly are studiously adhered to by all the family.

It is wonderful to hear them playing happily and confidently, both individually and with each other, and to see that what they have learned brings both an understanding of the structure of music and how to effectively learn music, and how that has impacted on their learning of the guitar and ukelele. Music truly is a companion in their daily lives – a testament to both their diligence and the Simply Music programme.
From Lisa Wieske

Our introduction to Simply Music began about 9 years ago when I attended a local Perth Homeschooling Conference. While wandering through the myriad of tables and resources for sale, I spoke to Joanne Jones who was promoting a new way to learn music. It was called ‘Simply Music’. I was interested, yet skeptical of a ‘new and better way’, so I took a brochure. A year or so later, I had a conversation with an acquaintance, Lyndel Kennedy, who was a traditionally trained piano teacher and had recently changed to the Simply Music program. She was so enthusiastic about it her comments settled any concerns that I had and my husband and I decided to pursue this for our children. We haven’t looked back!

Our two oldest children, Braden and Nathan, began learning in August 2004 when they were 8½ and almost 7. Our youngest two children, Emily and Matthew, began in February 2007 when they were 7 and 6. While Nathan maintained good progress and achieved his level 8 certificate, it was obvious that his heart was somewhere else in music. My husband and I decided that he could stop piano lessons. That was mid 2009 after almost 5 years of lessons. Similarly, Matthew was at the same stage at the end of 2010 and he also stopped lessons. Both Nathan and Matthew have continued their musical learning with guitar. What they learned in Simply Music has put them in an excellent position with their understanding of chords to go on and learn guitar.

Having been traditionally taught, I have been continually amazed at how and what Simply Music has taught our children. They, of course, are oblivious to why I often exclaim with delight at what they are playing! Our children have not only been able to play a variety of interesting, meaningful and fun music, they have also developed a good understanding of chord usage and overall musical structure. That is something that I never understood. Even now with my limited practice, my understanding and confidence with playing piano has certainly increased. The Accompaniment Program has provided a wonderful foundation from which a freedom in playing music can flourish but like anything worthwhile, the benefits gained directly correlate with the effort invested!

My husband plays acoustic guitar and Matthew has taught himself (via the internet) the ukulele. So, with pianists, guitarists and a uke player, we have the pleasure of more and more ‘jamming’ sessions. There is something powerfully influential when both parents are actively promoting and encouraging the atmosphere to enjoy playing music. We all enjoy listening to a variety of musical styles but one of our family favorites is Christian Worship music, which we play and sing along with. Most of this music includes chords so even early in our children’s musical learning they were able to simply, yet confidently join in the accompaniment of our singing with my husband on the guitar. That was a powerful example of how quickly Simply Music allows a student to really make use of their learning.

An unexpected benefit of learning the ‘Simply Music way’ has been to observe a method of ‘how to learn’ that translates into many areas of life. Simply Music emphasizes that small, simple, stress free elements should be taught and mastered before adding any further information. The learning becomes more solid, sure and enduring. Going slower truly is a faster and more thorough way of learning. The process also is a whole lot less stressful for everyone! As a homeschooling mum, I am continually developing the methods I use to teach our children. I have been able to implement this principle of learning not only with my children but also myself with great results.

As a family, we are truly grateful to our wonderful, caring, positive, encouraging, patient and inspirational teacher, Joanne Jones. Her passion for the Simply Music program is evident and has certainly borne wonderful results in our children. Consequently, we are always quick to recommend and promote Simply Music as a superior and more enjoyable way to learn music!