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The Harmonious Child: Every Parent's Guide to Musical Instruments, Teachers and Lessons.

The Harmonious Child: Every Parents Guide to Musical Instruments, Teachers and Lessons, by Beth Luey and Stella Saperstein. Ten Speed Press/Celestial Arts (P.O. Box 7123, Berkeley CA 94707), 2003. 166 pp. $12.95.

If you ever have wished you had an all-inclusive guide to help answer parents' questions about teachers, lessons and instruments, this is the book for you. The Harmonious Child is an excellent resource for parents that provides information about a variety of subjects.

This book was written as a joint effort between a teacher and parent, Beth Luey and Stella Saperstein. Luey's daughter studied piano with Saperstein, who emigrated from the Soviet Union to the United States in 1979. In the book's preface, Saperstein tells how she evolved from the style of teaching she had experienced in Russia, into a more flexible music teacher, while still offering students at all levels and abilities the same dedication and expertise.

The book includes chapters about why children should study music, the best time to begin music study, choosing the right instrument and teacher for your child and the frequently pondered question: "Do music lessons make children smarter?" The authors do a great job of including very important and beneficial information about a wide variety of instruments and their accessibility for children, including piano and other keyboard instruments, string instruments, voice, woodwinds, brass and percussion. Information also is provided about the instruments themselves, how much musical experience the child should have prior to beginning that instrument and choosing a second instrument of study.

Luey includes important information about practicing, recitals, competitions and performances and the strong roles each of these plays in the development of the music student. Also, involvement in band, orchestra and other ensembles is explored, and the advantages are presented, with the care one should consider when planning these events with respect to the amount of time each activity requires.

The other chapters include topics about being able to tell when music lessons should stop and careers in music. The authors also include a parents' guide about activities such as listening, movement, reading, classes, school, lessons, practicing and performing.

A glossary of music terms, notes about information quoted in each chapter and a listing of books for further information also are included.

The reading portion of this book is 129 pages, very concise and easy to read. The authors have presented the information in a way that gives the book a personal but detailed format. Of course, there always are points to debate, and the authors are careful to point these out. They suggest the reader always consult the prospective teacher about these questions and possibly get a second and third opinion before making the final decision about which teacher best suits their child's needs and aspirations. Music teachers themselves will benefit from reading this book because it gives insight to aspects parents really should consider before lessons ever begin. Reviewed by Rebekah Jones, Bogart, Georgia.
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Copyright 2003, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:Jones, Rebekah
Publication:American Music Teacher
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Dec 1, 2003
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