QUALITY MUSIC AND DANCE
Teaching kids performing arts... and the art of being a good person
by Rob Lauer
From left: Wayne Hoover, Jessica Michael and Muffy Hoover
To walk into Quality Music and Dance is to be greeted by the sound of music drifting in from the dance rooms, rehearsal studios, and classrooms. Within minutes of meeting owners Wayne and Muffy Hoover, it is obvious they are dedicated to teaching others how to become high-quality dancers and musicians. But just as important to this dedicated couple is that their students become high-quality human beings.
"When parents are deciding to let their sons or daughters study music or dance, they're probably not thinking about how the experience will help their child develop skills that will benefit them in all other aspects of life," Muffy concedes. "But the performing arts are unique in that respect."
"The performing arts teach us how to stay focused, how to prioritize, how to practice and work as a unit," Wayne adds. "These are life lessons that all of us need to know in all aspects of our lives."
Among the variety of music lessons offered at Quality Music and Dance, piano, guitar and voice lessons are the most in-demand. "We also teach a lot of drums, violin, viola, and cello," Wayne adds. "There's been a growing demand for lessons in brass and wind instruments- including trumpet, trombone, clarinet, flute, and sax. Recently, even banjo and ukulele lessons have become popular."
"Many think that they can learn how to play an instrument by watching online videos," Wayne observes. "But one can't ask YouTube a question if one doesn't understand something or can't see the video clearly; nor can it correct the student when they're playing something wrong. YouTube and other online videos are great tools if you have an understanding of music theory and how to use it. If not, that's the teacher's job--to explain why this chord or riff was used here and how the student could use it in another song the same way."
"To be a well-rounded musician, one has to learn music theory," Muffy points out, "and that requires personal interaction with teachers."
"There's the old truism about music: one has to know the rules to break the rules." Wayne maintains. "Understanding music theory allows a student to be innovative from a place of knowing. That builds the kind of confidence that a musician- that any artist- needs to be truly creative."
"In dance, we offer jazz, ballet, tap, hip hop, lyrical, contemporary, musical theatre and acro/tumbling," Muffy adds. "We even have classes for children as young as two years old. Ballet helps develop incredible lower body strength- as much as any athlete develops from playing a sport. Studying dance can help kids who are interested in gymnastics develop the grace, flexibility, and strength needed for that sport. If students are only interested in gymnastics, our acro/tumbling classes help them build the strength to execute cartwheels, tumbles and other "big moves.'"
A Quality Music and Dance student performs for residents
of Lighthouse Point Senior Living Community.
With this training, Wayne and Muffy also make sure that all students are given plenty of opportunities to perform before audiences. "Sharing one's talent with others is part of the training," Muffy explains. "QMD students have performed all over Hampton Roads and beyond. Community involvement is one of our core values. We've shared our love of music and dance at such places as the Chesapeake Jubilee, Kings Dominion, and Walt Disney World, as well as at charity events with CHKD (Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters), FACT (Families of Autistic Children in Tidewater) and local retirement homes."
"Sharing one's talent with others
is part of the training...
is one of our core values."
is part of the training...
is one of our core values."
- Muffy Hoover
"Unfortunately, many people in retirement communities may only have a visitor once a week," Wayne adds. "We think it's important for young people to connect with older generations; to interact with people who are dealing with the challenges of aging, and to learn from them how things were in the past so that they can truly appreciate the advances that have been made in society and the advantages they enjoy."
The appreciation goes both ways. "Wherever our students perform, they put smiles on people's faces," Muffy remarks. "Recently, after performing at a retirement home, one gentleman- Ed, a veteran who parachuted with the 101st Airborne Division- stood up and said how important it is to support the arts and arts education. He said that having the kids come there and perform had touched him deeply."
"Another program we are involved with is Camp Gonnawannagoagain- which serves the autism community," Wayne adds. "We believe these sorts of experiences are important for helping our students develop empathy for others."
Wayne and Muffy are particularly excited about a new program that Quality Music and Dance will implement in September. Called Wingman for Dance, it was launched in 2016 by professional dancer and teacher, Jessica Michael of Newtown, Connecticut- the site of the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. One of the shooting's young victims was Dylan Hockley, a six-year-old with autism. Dylan's Dad, Ian, recognized that Dylan had experienced more happiness, peace, and joy when those around him accepted him, protected him and included him in their activities and daily lives- when others were his Wingman. In his son's memory, Ian founded Dylan's Wings of Change- a foundation dedicated to sharing the dream of acceptance and inclusion for all. Joining forces with the foundation, Jessica created the Wingman for Dance program as a way to bring those same values into dance studios around the world.
"We're the first dance studio in Virginia to adopt this program," Wayne says with a smile. "We decided to join the organization because their values are what we're all about. Yes, we teach music and dance, but at the end of the day, we want to make this world a better place. Some people might think that sounds hokey, but our goal is to produce well-rounded kids who have developed their talents; who are self-motivated and disciplined; who know how to work well with others, and who have a genuine interest in the welfare of people in their community."
"The great thing about this program is that it's designed to be run by youth leaders," Wayne adds. "It won't be adults coming in and telling the students what to do."
"We will choose a team of four to six school students to lead the program," Muffy explains. Adult Mentor Champions will meet with this Teen Leader Team once a month to prepare them for presenting the next month's activities. The Teen Leader Team will then lead the younger students in Wingman experiential activities which are designed to teach and promote understanding of and empathy for others, as well as compassion, inclusion, positive communication and respect for others despite differences.
"In the end, we want to empower kids," Muffy concludes. "Our students are learning an art, but they're also learning the art of being good people."
Quality Music and Dance Center
717 S. Battlefield Boulevard
Chesapeake, VA 23322
3809 Princess Anne Road
Princess One Shopping Center
Virginia Beach, VA 23456