Vivia Taylor, founder and director of the Vivia Taylor Music Program.
Photos by Vivia Taylor
The Royal Palm Beach Recreation Center is hosting a free open house to learn about the Vivia Taylor Music Program at 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 19. The program, consisting of theater, piano and voice lessons, is available to 5- to 16-year-olds.
Behind the arts classes is the one-woman show that is Vivia Neil Taylor.
Through weekly Saturday lessons, Taylor is offering two piano classes for two age groups: “Keyboard ABC” for 5- and 6-year-olds and “Cool Keyboards” for 7- to 10-year-olds.
Her vocal lessons are for 7- to 15-year-olds, and the theater lessons accept 7- to 16-year-olds.
The classes last 12 weeks and require the kids to work.
“They have weekly assignments. They have to practice for 20 minutes every day, and when they come to class, they are ready with their books,” Taylor said.
During the open house, Taylor will expand on the materials needed for the classes.
Taylor grew up in Jamaica and was drawn to playing instruments early on. She became enchanted by her father’s accordion at the age of 3. Taylor’s parents recognized her passion for music and enrolled her in piano lessons at 4.
For 23 years, Taylor has dedicated her life to the musical education of her community. Her goal is to get music into every household.
“Music is a language that everyone understands,” she said.
Taylor appreciates the healing and transformative power of playing an instrument and touts the mental health benefits of having a creative outlet. She has often found herself in front of her piano, liberating herself from whatever pain she is harboring.
Taylor puts great importance on what each student can take from her lessons. She finds what works best for the learning style of each student and is intentional in her teaching.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, music through the media Taylor offers is proven to improve mental health disorders commonly known as the big three: anxiety, depression and trauma. Music also can be a calming agent and help reduce or manage stress.
One mother said that learning the piano with Taylor helped her eldest son manage his hyperactivity and improve his penmanship. He enhanced his fine motor skills and learned the benefits of hard work and discipline.
Playing the piano engages both sides of the brain, strengthens hand-eye coordination, increases dexterity and is helpful with math and reading comprehension. The process of learning and improving also can soothe anxieties about learning a new skill or topic and can lead to quicker advancement through other music classes or band sections. Taylor teaches her students through encouragement, adjustment and a lot of questions. “What’s causing this?” she asks when a child is struggling. “Have you tried it this way?”
She makes sure they know that everything needed to succeed comes from within.
“When you have that student who struggles, use words that are positive … for that child to realize the strength that is within themselves,” Taylor said.
The classes culminate with a recital, which Taylor said is an important reward for the students’ hard work and a confidence booster.
Class packages are $250 for Royal Palm Beach residents and $275 for non-residents.
The program also offers gift certificates for virtual sessions for new students. The $250 platinum tier offers eight 30-minute virtual sessions. The gold has four 30-minute sessions for $120, and the $60 silver holds two 30-minute sessions.
Taylor also offers private classes for adults.
The recreation center provides an array of activities for the community, including summer and winter camps, a daddy-daughter dance, martial arts classes and classes for seniors.
For more information or registration, visit the Royal Palm Beach Parks and Recreation page here.