teaching music to children

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Teaching music composition may seem like an easy task: you show your students the tools, you teach them how to use them and that’s it.

However, the most difficult thing is to teach them how to be creative and translate unmeasurable things such as feelings into music.

Teaching students to use composing skills  is not an easy subject, but to make things a bit more organized let’s go through the steps to guide a young music student through their composition journey.

A Passion for Music

Composition

Now, the first thing that should be clear from the start is that there is a passion for music.

There are many cases in which a young student can become a great performer but there is no passion for music, and it is very hard to  change that.

It might be a bit controversial since it involves parents who wish the best for their children by helping them learn music but when it comes to art, the act of creation can’t be taught, it’s an impulse and sort of a second nature.

That doesn’t mean that some young students can’t find a passion for music after learning a few key things and discovering a whole new world.

But it is important for the teacher to identify these things in order to strengthen their students’ weaknesses.

Rhythm Composition

Rhythm is the backbone of every music composition, there is no music without rhythm but there can be music with just a rhythm in the form of percussion.

This is also some of the easiest ways to make your students feel like they are making some form of music and feel the happiness of success.

It is definitely the best way to approach music composition at first, as it’s quite easy to make it fun and involve several students in exercises.

Encourage Improvisation and No Restraints Approach

This may be easier for musicians that focus on genres of music such as rock, punk, blues or electronic music due to the nature of those types of music.

But when it comes to including improvisation in the formation of music students, it’s a bit more difficult.

After helping your students build a strong musical foundation with music reading and writing, you also have to teach them to let go of all of that and just play.

This not only encourages new and interesting combinations of music due to the lack of restraints, but it also makes the experience fun because of the excitement of not knowing what will come out of a playing session.

Think about it as fishing, it’s all about being relaxed, patient and not knowing what you are going to get, and when you realize you have something, it’s time to reel in and not let the fish escape.

The waiting part is just playing and improvising, the fish is that surprise chord, and reeling in it’s about finally writing and recording that big idea.

To encourage this “fishing” idea in music makes being a musician very exciting.

Feedback

In order to help your students improve their skills as composers, you need to provide good feedback so that they can feel that sense of progress and learn from their mistakes.

But how do you provide good feedback as a teacher? Well there are a few things to consider when giving feedback to students on their compositions.

First of all, focus on the good things, a sense of accomplishment is very important in order to keep them motivated.

Then as a teacher, you need to show them where they could improve.

And lastly, you need to let them know that there is always room for improvement while also giving them some pointers in order to help them focus on their weak spots.

Remember to use Music Teacher’s Helper to allow you to have a lot more time on your hands to plan your composition lessons instead of using that precious time for tedious but necessary tasks.

 

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We know that 2020 wasn’t the best year for many of us, but it was also a year that brought some good things in terms of music.

Being isolated and making us step back from the fast paced day to day, can change our perspective quite a bit, and in music it has made both teachers and students explore new things, making the most out of their creativity.

It’s important to remember that even if it was a hard year, there were so many things we could learn from it that will stay with us even when there is no pandemic to worry about.

Did 2020 Bring Good Things?

There was no lack of time to explore and find something to get attached to, something that kept the spirits up and the hope for a better tomorrow.

This was the case for music teachers as it inspired them to make new and creative things during the pandemic.

Some teachers even learned to enjoy teaching online a lot, and this is because of a few reasons:

  • More family time
  • A change of pace
  • Learning new things and familiarizing with new tools
  • Review goals and strategies
  • Realizing that online lessons have no bounds
  • Online teaching has its own set of good things and bad things, it’s not just a worse alternative

According to the data from colorfulkeys.ie

Overall, teachers have an average of about 22 students.

The youngest ages which teachers taught skewed younger than we expected, with nearly 90% taking on students under the age of 7.

Over 60% of teachers teach 30 minute lessons as their standard format which mostly varies up to 45 minutes.

Only 3.4% of teachers said that they were not interested in composing or improvising with their students, and this is a very good thing, because most traditional music schools don’t give enough attention to composition and improvisation.

More than 90% of teachers taught online in 2020 which makes sense, and Zoom was the preferred platform.

More Personal Approach

In music education, sometimes creativity is put to the side in order to focus on performance and technique, however being in lockdown has been an interesting test.

This without a doubt gave many musicians around the world something to write about, while dealing with their own issues, this includes music students and beginners.

What happened was that many students couldn’t resist the fact that they have the skill to play an instrument and there is a lot of time on their hands. This can fuel their passion even more as it is a more personal approach to music, one that doesn’t rely on just attending classes on a tight schedule, and as consequence, students enjoy their lessons even more.

Education Through New Technologies

This has been one of the hardest things to overcome, for both teachers and students, since it’s a very different environment and learning process.

The idea of a classroom and sharing the same interests with other students it’s very important to stay motivated and invested in every lesson.

However despite the harshness of 2020, there was always a way to maintain that human connection through a virtual classroom as teachers got creative and less traditional in order to adapt.

There were many things we learned about relying on the internet and many apps such as Zoom and Skype. One of them is that these new technologies have great potential, but there are some things to overcome.

The most notable issue is that the internet, while it has no bounds, some places in the world don’t have a really good connection.

Still, even though the world will eventually get back to normal, this was a big reminder that these tools exist, and they are meant to be used.

Better Tools

Most music teachers hadn’t been able to get an”upgrade” when it comes to the tools that new technologies offer, and can in fact improve and widen the possibilities when teaching.

Making room for a home office to teach online lessons was both a useful and encouraging part of 2020 for music teachers.

Maybe redecorate a room a little, or just using an old storage that wasn’t really being used that much.

Investing in a good pair of headphones, a mic and maybe a new computer was also a big part of adapting to this way of teaching.

Parents Role

It’s true that students have to learn how to be responsible and organized on their own, but at the same time, it’s also true that parents have been very absent in general when it comes to their children’s education, and this shouldn’t be the case.

This is also a good thing if schools and teachers manage to engage with parents in creative ways.

This is definitely one of those things that doesn’t seem to hard but it’s very easy to overlook, thankfully 2020 was a step in the right direction when it comes to parents support.

Learning Experience in 2020

Most of us can agree that in many ways, 2020 was a year that made us reflect and put ourselves to the test on various areas.

For musicians in any area whether it was teaching, composing, learning as a student, it made staying at home a bit of a strange exercise, as music became a window to breathe and meditate.

Just like any intellectual process, music offered a cathartic element from its art and sounds either directly, by making or playing music, or performing another task with music to help keep a positive mind.

This was easier due to the fact that students were at home with a lot of free time.

There is a lot to have in mind moving forward to 2021 that could improve the way musicians teach and learn music, making the most of  every tool possible.

We hope to keep offering the best content and support at MTH, and we thank you for choosing us to help you with your lessons.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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It goes without saying that children often need to be encouraged to discover the world and learn new things, this sometimes means that parents and teachers may feel in the need of forcing them to do things they don’t want to do in order for them to learn valuable lessons, but when is this the right thing to do odo

So why are so many children taking ballet, violin, piano? Lately, I have been asking my fellow middle-class urbanite parents that question. About dance, they say things like, “Ballet teaches them poise,” or, “Ballet helps them be graceful.” And about violin or piano they say, “It will give them a lifelong skill,” or, “They’ll always enjoy listening to music more.”

New Republic

It’s often something that parents do with good will and no harm in any way to their children, but when it comes to art, forcing anything will only create frustration.

Passion for Music

As mentors, parents and teachers, their jobs are to encourage and show children the possibilites the world has to offer, however there is a fine line between forcing them to do something they don’t want to do out of lazyness and something they really don’t like.

A good idea could be to let them begin at home, these days there are so many ways to get started in music without having to go to a music school, this way a young aspiring musician will begin testing the grounds of what it is to play an instrument and if there is enough interest then classes could be a good idea.

However there is a problem, some young musicians just don’t

Self Taught Culture

History and tradition also has a big part in this in the sense that knowing how to play an instrument or learn how to dance was something a good family would do.

By the 1880s, when the United States began filling up with unwashed immigrants, a whole class of do-gooder, piano-taught ladies believed that one way to acculturate the new immigrants was to offer them, especially the children, musical instruction. The institutions of the settlement-house movement, as it became known, offered much more than music classes; they provided instruction in English, the trades, home economics, and many arts. But music was everywhere seen as one important key to the cabinet of proper, middle-class ways.

The New Republilc

While this is still a reason for some people it has obviously changed a lot since the 1880s, not only because of how music has changed and new genres came to be, but education and technology has also influenced in this aspect.

When knowledge was made as public as the internet can be, education took a turn, while still very much needed in its traditional form in order to maintain a rich and well structured society, a new wave of self taught culture rose through the internet, and with music, this new way of teaching yourself and creating your own methods, worked perfectly.

This sometimes makes it harder for music schools and teachers because there is an alternative, and many children prefer to go with that alternative, and if they are really passionate about it they will learn to play. The difference is there is no one to guide the person learning, and that person will probably skip some reading and all the “boring” parts of it. That is where the benefits of pushing someone into classes come in.

In Conclusion

Children sometimes don’t have the necessary discipline and determination needed when learning about music, and sometimes a little push is in order, however forcing someone into learning it’s a very different thing which can even cause dislike for something a young musician used to like so in the end, they have to give the first step, otherwise it may come as abad experience and nothing more than a chore

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