Fluvanna Faces:  Curtis Partusch


Curtis, tell us about what you did prior to starting your CP Musik Studio in Palmyra.

I was a school music teacher.  I taught first locally at The Light Academy when it first opened.  Then I took a position in Chesterfield as a guitar ensemble teacher.  Then I was offered a full-time position teaching guitar and orchestra between two Chesterfield schools.  I taught in Chesterfield for a total of three years then got the position as band director and choir teacher at Fluvanna Middle School.  I was there for three years.  In my Chesterfield years of teaching I was also working as a private music instructor at Stevens School of Music and Music and Arts.  I eventually could not keep up with both and ended up just teaching in the public school.

Why did you start your music teaching business in Palmyra?

I chose to begin teaching privately again once I figured out what kind of teacher I really enjoyed being.  Now that I had experience in both group settings and individual settings I knew where my passion for teaching music was.  I enjoy the one-on-one individualized lesson approach to teaching students versus the group.  So I decided to open up my availability to start teaching privately again to see where it may lead.  I also get more flexibility in my scheduling which was another reason for opening my own studio versus working with another studio.  I loved where I previously taught private lessons but the challenges of scheduling would not have been available to me if I would have chosen that route again.  

Do you think music is an essential part of every child’s development?

I do agree that music can play an essential role in a child’s development.  I believe there are layers to this and it would vary for each child.  I understand that learning a musical instrument is not for everyone.  Studies have shown that both sides of the brain are activated when engaging in learning a musical instrument.  I can’t recall all the parts of the brain that get activated since it has been some time since I looked into that.  However, there are plenty of other skills and disciplines that are also developed when learning an instrument.  You develop some core life skills that you may not initially notice when you’re learning.  Those would include determination, perseverance, dedication, and consistency.  I also believe it helps to teach you that failure is okay and that you may not get the result you want the first, third or even 10th time when learning a new skill but if you stick with it and keep working through the kinks you will achieve what you are working towards.

Studies of teaching music to children find that music can help with language skills, develop fine motor skills and improve one’s overall IQ.  As an accomplished music teacher, have you experienced this with the children you teach?

Yes I do see this happening with the students that take on music as a new part of their life.  Each student is different, and they might excel in various areas than their peers.  However, if they stick with it and put in the effort, a turning point happens, and things start to click and everything becomes more natural and effortless.  

Other findings show that music enhances fine motor skills, prepares the brain for achievement, boosts memory,  improves abstract reasoning and much more.  What better reason is there to take music lessons?

Those would be some of my top reasons to consider taking music lessons.  Other areas that it is helpful with can be getting students out of their comfort zone to perform in front of others.  For example, a recital or a school concert if you are in choir, band or orchestra.  This is very difficult to do for some and the more you put yourself in the situation the more comfortable you can become with being in front of people.   

When a family decides to enroll their early learners to take music lessons from you, who decides on what instrument to learn with?

A lot of times the parents and child have an idea of what instrument they want to learn already and we would typically start with that instrument.  However, sometimes the child likes multiple instruments, and we will test out the various instruments in our first lesson and then I would discuss the benefits of each.  If one seemed predominantly easier for them I may suggest that first.  However, if they really liked one over the one that came easier to them, I would most likely start them on that.  Motivation is a big factor and of course we want the student to enjoy practicing and working through the difficulties that come with music.  

How many types of musical instruments do you teach?

I have taught a wide variety of instruments over the years.  Everything from orchestra and band instruments to your pop and rock instruments like guitar, piano and drums.  Those last three would be my top three instruments I teach the most of.  I have several violin students currently as well.  I am comfortable teaching most instruments but I like to let parents and students know that it depends on what level you are at.  I have done a lot of beginners and am comfortable with starting students out.  If and when they get to a certain point, I would refer them to another teacher depending on the instrument.  

With so many of our youth facing mental challenges, do you think music is positive  therapy for them?

I know music has great emotional benefits and can really allow you to escape into another place.  With music you can put all of your emotion into it, whether it is positive, negative, anger, happiness, really anything you feel.  This can be a great release for students who are trying to express themselves.  

Can a child be too young to learn to play a musical instrument?

I would say no but there are limitations.  I have had students come in as young as three.  This becomes more of an exploratory experience of music.  They come in and try out different musical instruments and what they are looking for is usually some kind of joy from the instruments.  Maybe something that sounds cool or pretty.  What I try to do from that point is foster the love of music.

If, after reading about CP Musik Studio, a parent wants to learn more about the effect of music on their children, how do they reach you?

Parents can contact me directly at  cpmusikstudio@gmail.com by phone: 434-326-8810, through facebook @ CP Musik Studio or my website www.cpmusikstudio.com  

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