I had the pleasure of sitting down with Melinda Boyd of Melinda’s Studio Of Music to learn more about her. Born and raised in Elysian Fields, Melinda can’t remember a time she didn’t play an instrument. In fact, her parents were both actively involved playing in their church and in the community. The draw to music was so strong Melinda started teaching piano from home at age 17. When asked what was rewarding about teaching music she had some great insight. Getting to see students fall in love with music, grow and progress even to the point of pursuing music in college and beyond. She made an excellent point that while activities like sports are important, music is an activity you can do well into your golden years. In fact, there aren’t many such activities that you get better at as you get older but music is one of them.
Her youngest student at the moment is our daughter, who started piano at 4. Her oldest student is in his 80’s. When asked about the challenges of teaching children and adults alike Melinda shared that one must have patience but she laughingly shared she hasn’t sent home a student yet. She acknowledged that being adaptable to different learning styles as a teacher, particularly if a child has autism for example has allowed her to be successful teaching so many different students with a wide range of abilities.
When our daughter desperately wanted to learn to play the Ukulele, Melinda was up for the challenge but after a few lessons it was obvious our daughter’s hands were still too small to reach all the chords. Melinda assured us the piano would be better for learning all the fundamentals like reading music and learning music theory. Once you have a grasp on that it will be easier to pick up a different instrument. While the piano and guitar lend themselves to being good starter instruments the violin and cello are much more challenging to learn. Don’t forget the voice is also an instrument and Melinda teaches voice lessons as well.
We all agree that music is very therapeutic and you don’t have to pursue lessons with the dream of becoming a famous musician. There is a lot of science behind the benefits of learning to play an instrument. For instance, learning to play can increase the capacity of your memory. The parts of your brain that control motor skills actually grow and become more active. Reading music can improve your math skills and your reading comprehension skills. Those are just 2 examples of how learning to play music can improve your life but there are many more.
I asked Melinda about her personal taste in music and she feels most connected to gospel music. In fact, she has composed many pieces of her own. She plays in more than one church as well as multiple community events throughout the year. She definitely gives back to the community through music, particularly when she shares her musical gift by volunteering at local nursing homes and assisted living facilities. At the time of our sit down she had logged over a thousand hours playing in some aspect of the community in the last year. Remember all those health benefits I mentioned about playing music? Turns out playing also relieves stress by lowering your heart rate and blood pressure. At this rate Melinda should be the least stressed person I know! When asked about her tips to avoid performance anxiety she said, “practice, practice, practice.” The more you get up in front of people to play the less nervous you will feel. She is a self proclaimed encourager and says, “You never know unless you try.”
When I sought her advice on how to get a reluctant child to stick with music she shared that she didn’t like taking piano lessons as a kid either. Since she could play by ear she didn’t see the need to learn music but her mother new better and insisted she learn. Now she’s forever grateful. Playing music also leads to more self confidence and improves patience. Two things most children (and adults) could do with more of.
Melinda is a lovely teacher with over 44 years of experience. Our daughter looks forward to her lesson every week and a huge part of that is the relationship she has developed with Melinda. You can find her studio downtown. Contact her at 972-268-2044 to inquire about music lessons.