School may be out for summer, but at Colors Fine Arts Center, Inc. in Madison the beat goes on.

For more than 20 years Colors Fine Arts Center, Inc. has been instilling a love of music in young and old alike. Laying those musical building blocks is a year-round endeavor at the Fine Arts Center, which offers private lessons in piano, violin, voice, woodwinds, French horn, ukulele, guitar and bass, in addition to group classes.

With just under 300 students and 20 teachers, students range from toddlers to retirees, with their goals as diverse as their ages – some are high schoolers wanting to fine tune their vocals to make the cast list for an upcoming musical, others adults who always wanted to learn how to play piano but never had time, and some young kiddos discovering instruments for the first time. Teachers will work with the individual student on their goals, while ensuring they learn the fundamentals to succeed. Pricing varies on the teacher, but averages $90-$110 a month for weekly 30-minute lessons. Understanding that schedules and interests change, lessons are on a month-to-month basis, there are no contracts.

As parents enter the season of “I’m bored” and “There’s nothing to do,” what if instead of consuming the entertainment, kids this summer created it themselves? We sat down with Colors Fine Arts Center, Inc. Founder and Director Justine Seeley to get her advice on when and why families should consider adding music lessons to their repertoire.

Q: For parents who may be wondering, what’s a good age to get your child involved in music lessons, or to see if they’re interested?

A: “If they’re asking about it, that’s a good indicator. If you’re looking for an activity it’s a great first activity. With our toddler classes, the parent comes with them, and it’s song-based. They learn social skills by waiting turns to play instruments. Ours is not a playgroup, it’s a real class. For a specific instrument, piano is a great instrument to start with when they’re 4. We can kind of tell – sometimes they’re ready at 3, 3-and-a-half, sometimes you want to wait until they’re closer to 5 or 6. But it can help develop their attention span.”

Q: For parents who are thinking of getting their kids involved in lessons, why is music a good avenue to invest your time and money in?

A: “It’s a good avenue because it can help with other forms of learning, it can help with their reading, their ability to understand rhythm. The breakdown of rhythm all has to do with math. It can give them an activity that they’re not dependent on others for like a lot of sports are. It can be a stress-reliever when they get to a certain level and maybe they don’t have time to do club soccer but they can go play the piano and that’s something they’ll have forever. It aids in learning but it also gives them a form of expression, which for a lot of kids now there’s not a lot of time for that.”

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