"I absolutely agree with his theories," Holmquist said. "We're all born with seven or eight or more different capacities or intelligences. In school they focus mostly on just two, verbal and mathematical. The others are naturalistic, inter-personal, intra-personal, spatial, musical and maybe others."
Holmquist also said that research has shown that tapping into music at a young age leads to further accessibility with the other intelligences. Typically, a student beginning at age 4 can complete the program before turning 9 and is able to read music, perform on keyboard and percussion instruments, sing, sight sing, play with other students and have a solid sense of rhythm.
"Students often take up a second or third instrument after this program and they're already far along," Holmquist said. "Traditional music classes were like, 'what did you learn today Johnny? I don't know.' But not in this class. Actually a number of parents have learned to play as well."
The doors To Music classes are taught in Dewitt at the Pebble Hill Presbyterian Church. Sessions begin in February, July and September and classes meet for just under an hour once per week.
"This is the beginning of piano lessons but also a whole dimension of ear training that's never done in a private lesson, because it just can't be done. Singing is easier in a group and also rhythm can be taught and learned easier with a group," Holmquist said. "The key to the success of the program is that the parents are there. It tells the kids, this is important. It gives them a companion in music. And somebody at home knows what's going on."
Holmquist can fit eleven electric keyboards in his classroom. They never go out of tune, and he believes any student can memorize pitches at an early age.
"The musical ear is a teachable skill, not an accident of birth," he said.
The office of Doors To Music is in Cazenovia, call 655-3274.