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.
âWhen parents are deciding to let their sons or daughters study music or dance, theyâre probably not thinking about how the experience will help their child develop skills that will benefit them in all other aspects of life,â Muffy concedes. âBut the performing arts are unique in that respect.â
âThe performing arts teach us how to stay focused, how to prioritize, how to practice and work as a unit,â Wayne adds. âThese are life lessons that all of us need to know in all aspects of our lives.â
Among the variety of music lessons offered at Quality Music and Dance, piano, guitar and voice lessons are the most in-demand. âWe also teach a lot of drums, violin, viola, and cello,â Wayne adds. âThereâs been a growing demand for lessons in brass and wind instrumentsâincluding trumpet, trombone, clarinet, flute, and sax. Recently, even banjo and ukulele lessons have become popular.â
âMany think that they can learn how to play an instrument by watching online videos,â Wayne observes. âBut one canât ask YouTube a question if one doesnât understand something or canât see the video clearly; nor can it correct the student when theyâre 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, thatâs the teacherâs job--to explain why this chord or riff was used here and how the student could use it in another song the same way.â
âTo be a well-rounded musician, one has to learn music theory,â Muffy points out, âand that requires personal interaction with teachers.â
âThereâs the old truism about music: one has to know the rules to break the rules.â Wayne maintains. âUnderstanding music theory allows a student to be innovative from a place of knowing. That builds the kind of confidence that a musicianâthat any artistâneeds to be truly creative.â
âIn dance, we offer jazz, ballet, tap, hip hop, lyrical, contemporary, musical theatre and acro/tumbling,â Muffy adds. âWe even have classes for children as young as two years old. Ballet helps develop incredible lower body strengthâas 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 âbig moves.ââ
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. âSharing oneâs talent with others is part of the training,â Muffy explains. âQMD students have performed all over Hampton Roads and beyond. Community involvement is one of our core values. Weâve 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 (Childrenâs Hospital of the Kingâs Daughters), FACT (Families of Autistic Children in Tidewater) and local retirement homes.â
âSharing oneâs talent with others
is part of the training...
is one of our core values.â
is part of the training...
is one of our core values.â
âUnfortunately, many people in retirement communities may only have a visitor once a week,â Wayne adds. âWe think itâs 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.â
The appreciation goes both ways. âWherever our students perform, they put smiles on peopleâs faces,â Muffy remarks. âRecently, after performing at a retirement home, one gentlemanâEd, a veteran who parachuted with the 101st Airborne Divisionâstood 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.â
âAnother program we are involved with is Camp Gonnawannagoagainâwhich serves the autism community,â Wayne adds. âWe believe these sorts of experiences are important for helping our students develop empathy for others.â
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, Connecticutâthe site of the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. One of the shootingâs young victims was Dylan Hockley, a six-year-old with autism. Dylanâs 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 livesâwhen others were his Wingman. In his sonâs memory, Ian founded Dylanâs Wings of Changeâa 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.
âWeâre the first dance studio in Virginia to adopt this program,â Wayne says with a smile. âWe decided to join the organization because their values are what weâre 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.â
âThe great thing about this program is that itâs designed to be run by youth leaders,â Wayne adds. âIt wonât be adults coming in and telling the students what to do.â
âWe will choose a team of four to six school students to lead the program,â Muffy explains. Adult Mentor Champions will meet with this Teen Leader Team once a month to prepare them for presenting the next monthâs 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.
âIn the end, we want to empower kids,â Muffy concludes. âOur students are learning an art, but theyâre also learning the art of being good people.â
Quality Music and Dance Center
717 S. Battlefield Boulevard
Chesapeake, VA 23322
3809 Princess Anne Road
Princess One Shopping Center
Virginia Beach, VA 23456