How This All Began
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...
Early piano lesson with Andrew & Alejandro around 2007
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!
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 2011 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 impacted many more worldwide through Musicolor Method)
And, Alejandro, my first student, is a successful graduate of the NYC public school system. He’s a junior 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!
Father/Husband & Founder of Park Slope Music Lessons
My son Alejandro, my wife Monica and me, Andrew outside Prospect Park September 2021