TMS offers back-to-school music lessons for all ages

Isaiah Paik, 15, with Callista Koh, his violin instructor of 11 years and The Music Settlement Suzuki program head. [photo by Lynn B. Johnson]

Students are inundated with after-school activities. More than just a feel-good choice, music instruction offers students an alternative means of expression, is a positive factor in the cognitive, social and physical development of children and teens, and is a terrific stress-reliever for people of all ages.

Cleveland Heights resident Isaiah Paik, 15, started learning violin 11 years ago at The Music Settlement (TMS) as part of its Suzuki program. "I started playing violin when I was 4 years old. I didn’t know anything to expect, but it was a lot of fun," Paik said. "Now, I don’t really remember a time when I wasn’t playing violin. It’s been a big part of my life." reports that, because music is linked to reasoning skills, children who take music classes do better in math and science. PBS Parents states on its website that music not only helps children solve multi-step problems, but also assists with language development and spatial reasoning.

"By playing an instrument, I’m more fluent in music in general, and that’s helped with my social skills, too,” Paik said. “The first social experience I had was when I was enrolled in the preschool at The Music Settlement for two years. After that was in group Suzuki classes with other violinists; other kids going through the same stuff as me. I learned to interact with other kids who were all doing the same thing, but weren’t just my age. We were all learning the same difficult skill. I think that was important, growing up. I am still in class with some students I met at the Settlement when I was age 4 or 5, and I count them among my friends, definitely."

The Music Settlement, a 103-year-old nonprofit based in University Circle, provides a community where artistic expression belongs to everyone, and serves those who seek personal growth through the arts. Encouraging artistic expression through music can help kids and teens express what they’re feeling and thinking—especially when they don’t have words for those thoughts or feelings. A family struggling with communication issues can be helped by taking music lessons and playing together. Even children and teens looking to improve in sports can benefit from the fine-motor skills that are enhanced through music instruction.

TMS offers lessons in all types of instruments and musical genres, for students as young as age 4 through advanced adults. Interested parties may sort all offerings by age group on a computer or mobile device online at

TMS is encouraging extracurricular music education by offering a multiple-registration discount this year: 10 percent off the less-expensive registration when two people in a family enroll, or when one person enrolls in multiple offerings. This discount even applies to mothers and fathers who want to get in on the fun. (The discount is not applicable to preschool, day school, or kindergarten enrollments.) It’s never too late to learn music and reap the benefits of professional music instruction.

"I definitely hope that music is a part of my life and performing with other people even after I graduate high school," Paik said. "I have considered going into a music program in college—it would be fun."

Lynn B. Johnson

Lynn B. Johnson, The Music Settlement's director of marketing and communications, recently resumed piano lessons after a 32-year hiatus.

Read More on A & E News
Volume 8, Issue 9, Posted 1:43 PM, 08.31.2015