Swallow Hill Music recently announced its expansion into the Highlands neighborhood in northwest Denver. Starting March 2, the organization will hold classes in Highlands United Methodist Church at 3131 Osceola Street.
To celebrate the new location, Swallow Hill is holding an open house on Thursday, February 26 from 4 to 7 p.m. The revered Denver music institution offers music lessons for students aged six-months old through adulthood, for all levels of ability and aspiration. With the main campus located in south Denver on Yale street, with this expansion Swallow Hill will have two satellite locations, the other located in the Lowry neighborhood.
In recent years, there has been an increase in the demand for music classes, and Swallow Hill looked into expanding beyond the limitations of its Yale Avenue location.
"We started looking at the Highlands as we were evaluating the Lowry location as well, and we identified it as a neighborhood that has a strong sense of community and a lot of families in that community," explains Swallow Hill marketing director Lindsay Taylor. "Especially with our early childhood classes, so much of where a parent chooses to go to take classes, whether it's yoga or music classes is based on location. So we've noticed that, if we can insert ourselves into a community, we have more success."
In the Highlands location, Swallow Hill is initially offering kids classes and beginner classes for adults. Its method is experiential instruction in group setting, so that peers can learn together with the focus on learning songs. Those can be a student's favorite, old classics or songs many people are hearing on the radio and elsewhere.
Infants and young toddlers learn basic rhythm and singing with parents in the Little Swallows classes. From there, a kid can take the Little Mozarts classes, where he or she will play on child-size pianos and learn simple melodies in activities designed to keep pace with the child's level of cognitive development. At age five, children can take ukulele classes, and, at age seven, guitar as a child's physical development allows for the larger instruments.
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Naturally, adults can take beginner classes in ukulele and guitar as well. And advanced classes will continue to be held at the Yale campus. But it appears that the kids classes at Lowry have been the most popular and with the place of music education in public schools under threat, music education gives young students an academic and social advantage over students without.
"I think you can look to a lot of educational studies that are out there and see that it's proven that students that are involved in the arts will do better than their counterparts that haven't been involved in the arts in school," offers Taylor. "I think with music in particular, it's a way to get the basic concepts of math because it's a very mathematical language. Students with a strong background in music will be able to link that back to their math studies in school."
Music is also a way to positively socialize people because so much effective music is a product of cooperation and listening between people.
"I also just think that music is a worldly language," adds Taylor. "Every single community in the world has its own musical genres so it's a way to communicate with people outside of language. Music is such a large part of American culture and certainly world culture as well and it has a wonderfully powerful way of bringing people together."
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If you'd like to contact me, Tom Murphy, on Twitter, my handle is @simianthinker.