WHAT'S YOUR THING?

About Park Slope Music Lessons

Hi, I’m Andrew!
A Park Slope Dad who’s thought a lot about helping children find their unique gift, or what I like to call, “their thing.”  


I discovered music can be a great path for personal development and discovery, even if they never become a professional musician.  And there’s now tons of studies proving the brain development benefits of learning an instrument.

But how did I get here?

It’s the early 2000s and my son Alejandro is in preschool.  It’s a lovely school and yet, I can’t leave the classroom.  Alejandro has deep attachment issues.  He is so terrified that I have to sit in the corner of the class.  

 

I’m so frustrated.  

There’s so many things I can be doing right now!  

 

But I’m also deeply worried.  How can my son fly on his own?  He can’t let go...

We tried a bunch of things...

Soccer, baseball, karate, art classes.  Nothing seemed to really get his attention.  But then he started asking for music lessons.

 

“Wow.  I guess the apple didn’t fall too far from the tree.”  

 

You see, I am a musician and composer but I never wanted to impose my will on him.  My own childhood with tiger parents was something I was very wary of.

 

So I say, “Okay I’ll just find you a local music teacher.”

 

To my utter amazement, I could not. 

No one would accept a student so young.  They all told me, 

“Come back when he’s 7 or 8.”

 

That’s insane!

 

Alejandro was born singing.  He’s so musical! There’s no way I could wait 4 or 5 years!

 

So I turned to him and said, “Alejandro, I’ll teach you music. 

We’ll start with piano.”

“Now?” His eyes were bright with excitement.

“Um, I need a few days to get you a book.”

 

 

So back in college, I was a music education major

 In fact, I received a massive scholarship to NYU to be a music teacher.  But I had never made it a professional focus.   I figured, this homeschooling project shouldn’t be that hard.

 

But the lessons were hard.  

 

The traditional methods and books I had found were not suitable for young beginners.  They were backwards!  It was like trying to teach grammar before you learned to say “Hello!”

 

And, to make it more difficult, I suddenly had a bunch of Alejandro’s friends instantly sign up for my lessons.   

I kept trying different method books including some well known ones like the Suzuki method.  But teaching kids who’s parents couldn’t read music using these old methods was proving impossible.

 

One day, I happened to observe my son’s teacher using translucent colored tape to teach reading.  

 

I had an epiphany! 

 

I could use color as a direct label!  I didn’t need to rely on abstract numbers, letters or symbols.  Every child knows color!

I went home and sat at my desk.  For ten years, I was at the forefront of web design and information architecture.  I co-founded a digital agency and led design teams for Fortune 500 clients at major ad agencies.  As I leaned back and looked at some of my old design books.  I began to realize, this problem was a design problem.  

 

Another light bulb went off in my head!

 

Music notation is a visual design challenge!  This is something I can solve!  

 

Applying design thinking, I realized my audience of young children was not being served by traditional method books.   In fact, that’s why those teachers told me to come back later.  The books they were using were designed for 7 or 8 year olds!

 

I started designing simplified notation using color.  Music notation that anyone, even preliterate children could read!  

Each lesson became a research and development opportunity.  

Is this understandable?  Is it easier this way or that?  Is this song too long?

 

Within a few months, I had a capacity of 35 students and a waiting list.  I felt terrible having to turn away so many students.  

 

By the end of the 2nd year, we had our first recital with ten students performing.  Alejandro volunteered to go first!  I was astounded and a very proud Papa.

 

I started to organize my teaching materials into a codified curriculum and called it Musicolor Method.

 

There were amazing leaps of growth at our now twice a year recitals.  

June 2010 Recital at Carroll Gardens Public Library

I had a third lightbulb moment!

I connected an idea I discovered studying financial markets -  the Fibonacci number series.  This sequence of numbers is found throughout nature and describes a spiral shape found in everything from plants, organisms, minerals, macro and micro and even the price movement of financial markets. 

 

I saw we could apply this “growth spiral” shape to not only physical growth, but also mental growth.  

 

Starting with a small seed of an idea, we spiral outward in complexity and scope.  It’s how humans learn.  To go out of order breaks the natural order of things.  This is why so many other methods lead to confusion or overwhelm.   Boredom or tears of frustration.  

The growth spiral is the map of our Musicolor Method curriculum. 

It has proven incredibly powerful and successful.

 

 

After years of teaching alone, I started training a few more teachers to teach alongside me. 

The results were phenomenal.  I continued hiring and training the best teachers who were open-minded enough to try my radical experiments.  

 

Today, we have taught thousands of students here in Park Slope. 

 

And, Alejandro, my first student, is a successful graduate of the NYC public school system.  He’s a sophomore at Brown University where he’s exploring his passion of urban planning and architecture.  And yes, he still plays and sings.  

 

I didn’t set out to start a music school.  I didn’t set out to invent a new music curriculum.  I just wanted to be a good Dad.

 

Thanks for reading!

 

Best,

Andrew Ingkavet

Father/Husband & Founder of Park Slope Music Lessons 

My son Alejandro, my wife Monica and me, Andrew outside Prospect Park September 2021

Life skills through music

But more than music, we have taught them the very life skills every parent is seeking to instill in their children:  

 

  • Patience

  • Self-Discipline

  • Perseverance

  • Organization

  • Goal-Setting

  • Problem-Solving

  • Listening

  • Harmonizing

  • Pattern Recognition

  • Public Speaking and Performance

  • and of course...PRACTICE

To learn how to practice is to set a life of mastery in motion.  


ACTIVATE WONDER

Ready for Music Education as Personal Development?

Many of our students start with us young, as early as 3 1/2 years old and stay with us 9 or more years.  Find out why.


Copyright © 2007-2021 300 Monks, LLC d.b.a. Park Slope Music Lessons – 114 Garfield Place, 3R, Brooklyn, NY  11215 – (347) 788-0101

Limited Slots Available - in-person and remote lessons