TMR Corner Blog

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Important Message From The Music Room

March 16, 2020 at 7:20pm by Carol Cook

Monday, March 16, 2020

Dear Students and Parents:

I’m reaching out to you today, asking you to partner with us as we navigate the uncertainties of this global crisis affecting each and every one of us. The fear and panic that surrounds us today is unprecedented. I’d like to present to you the following solutions and alternatives:

  1. Keep music in your lives. Keep playing your instrument. Practice more than ever! Consider all the conflicts or commitments that have kept you—but no longer keep you—from doing so at this time. Imagine the possibility of your progress . . .
  2. Keep attending your lessons at The Music Room. Effective March 15, 2020: The CDC has recommended avoiding institutions and events where gatherings include more than 50 people. Luckily, at our full capacity, The Music Room serves 11 students and 11 teachers at one time, well below the recommended cutoff. We are a safe haven.
  3. If you feel uncomfortable attending, consider having your lesson through remote electronic technology. We are currently testing systems that will allow us to teach remotely through electronic sources. We do not have that technology in place for this week, but beginning with next week’s lessons, we will.
  4. If you don’t want to attend, and you don’t want to have your lesson via remote technology, pay to maintain your lesson time. We are in this together, and we will make up any missed lesson without limitation or restriction. There are 30 teachers and staff members at The Music Room whose livelihoods depend on your patronage. Otherwise, we may not survive the economic impact of this crisis.

Finally, if you’re going to buy any music related materials online, thoughtfully consider what your local businesses have to offer. Shop with us, and every other small business that supports your community. Order carryout from our local community restaurants. (They stand to lose as much, if not more, than we do.) Buy a guitar, a ukulele, sheet music. Send your friends in to do the same.

During this time of upheaval, many changes have been thrust upon our school children. School has been canceled along with all the activities they participate in through those institutions. Many other intramural sports are affected as well. These are, for many children, the activities they look forward to and are their emotional outlets. We would encourage you to allow them to keep this outlet. It is low risk and can keep them engaged and occupied emotionally and developmentally. Something structured and stable. As a parent, finding purposeful activities which occupy their developing minds (and do not require screen-time) is difficult.


Carol Cook, Owner

The Music Room


Why Every Adult Over 50 Should Learn To Play A Musical Instrument

July 31, 2019 at 5:05pm by Carol Cook

When we hear the words “music lessons”, a variety of memories may come to mind. Perhaps we think of our own history with piano lessons at age 7, performing our first Christmas or Hanukkah song at a festive holiday gathering.

Maybe we remember anxiously awaiting our first recital, which wouldn’t have been complete without sweaty palms, shaking fingers and wrong notes played in our nicest dress-up clothes. Boys in ties, girls with ribbons in their hair. We may not have sounded like a virtuoso, but we sure looked the part.

Then again, those memories may not have existed for those of us who never picked up any instrument of any kind, but always longed for the experience – well into adulthood.

Think music Lessons are just for kids? Think again. A wealth of scientific research over the last several decades attests to the tremendous benefits of music education and its power to maximize intellectual, social, and creative potential in the adult population, particularly in older adults.

According to researchers, most activities use only a few areas of the brain at a time. Playing a musical instrument, on the other hand, sets off a symphony of activity all over your brain.

Watch this short TED video for an explanation of exactly how playing a musical instrument affects your brain.

Still, by far the deepest benefit music gives us, is the ability to connect with our emotions. Moreover, playing a musical instrument in a group with others allows us to share and build camaraderie.

So, whether it’s a private lesson or a group class, students of all ages exercise and develop attentiveness, cooperation, and collaboration—all necessary for personal and professional relationships.

The Music Room Partners with Guitars for Vets

August 14, 2018 at 11:49pm by Carol Cook

The Music Room recently teamed up with a nationwide organization called Guitars For Vets, donating 22 guitars and eight amps to the cause.  Started in 2007, Guitars For Vets is dedicated to providing music lessons and guitars to veterans who deal with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The organization has grown to over 80 chapters in more than 40 states, providing weekly and monthly lessons to veterans.

“We’re happy we are able to help bring these vets the healing power of music,” said The Music Room owner Carol Cook. “We look forward to being part of ongoing success of this organization.

Sadly, thousands of vets in America are affected with PTSD – more than half of the 2.6 million that served in Iraq and Afghanistan are affected by debilitating anxiety due to their traumatic experiences in the war. In fact, 22 commit suicide every day. Guitar For Vets is working to fix that problem. The organization began when Milwaukee guitar instructor Patrick Nettesheim started teaching Vietnam vet Dan Van Buskirk how to play. It became clear within just a few months that not only was Buskirk easily capable of learning, but playing guitar improved his PTSD symptoms. Since then, more than 30,000 lessons and 3,000 guitars have been provided for free. Classes are held weekly and monthly, both individually and in groups, encouraging creative self-expression, positive interaction with peers, and community engagement.

Since that first experience, success has continued, but recently the organization conducted a clinical trial to provide further evidence that learning guitar offers positive benefits for vets with PTSD.  Results showed the intervention to be effective in reducing depression symptoms as well as improving health-related quality of life.

The Music Room is dedicated to supporting music education both nationwide and in our own hometown of Palatine. Our Gear Shift program converts the community’s unwanted and repairable instruments into working ones for disadvantaged children and adults, who may not otherwise get to play. Now five years old, the program has repaired more than 300 instruments to distribute to the community.

Christmas Recital for the Students of Laura Vandercar

December 29, 2017 at 1:00pm by Kenny Sobotka

The students of Laura Vandercar will be performing at a Christmas recital on Friday, December 29 at 11:30 am at St Joseph Home For the Elderly, 80 W Northwest Hwy, Palatine, IL 60067. Join Laura and her students as they perform festive pieces they have been preparing to celebrate the season. The recital is open to friends, family and the general public.