children

It’s very well known that young children many times have big dreams, including becoming great successful musicians like their idols, and as teachers, the idea has to be always to get them closer to the dream as long as it’s alive, because sometimes, their goals change. Still that is their choice, to decide whether or not they love it as they get closer, and avoid them getting bored or hate what used to be their dream.

Eli Yamin, a Jazz composer, pianist, singer and teacher has a few words for young aspiring musicians:

Young man, you must ALWAYS play music.  The music you make brings beauty and positive spirit to the world.  And goodness knows, we need more of it.  Choosing a career in music is a separate decision.  A successful music career relies on the cultivation of many skills both musical and non musical.  To make a living or good wage as a musician, you need to develop skills in business and/or education.  These may or may not be of interest to you.  So, before putting all your eggs into the making-your-living-by-playing-music basket, spend time finding out where you are at in these other areas.

A lot has been said about parents encouraging their children, and teachers encouraging creativity but the part that really makes a boy or a girl want to make music is sometimes forgotten in search of better understanding of their abilities.

How is it possible to encourage this side of things? easy, talking about it, and asking about it.

The thing is, that it’s not very easy to find children talking about their dreams and experiences, i we were to search in google, chances are the results show tips on how to teach kids or how to interact with them but not their actual thoughts or opinions.

Of course one may argue that children’s opinions may not help as much as an expert’s opinion on the subject, or tips that let’s us organize our minds, but the truth is that sometimes there is a part of the dialogue that’s missing.

In the end music is very much a personal experience, while it can be shared it’s the relationship between the individual and the sounds

Dr Eric Rasmussen says:

There is a massive benefit from being musical that we don’t understand, but it’s individual. Music is for music’s sake. The benefit of music education for me is about being musical. It gives you have a better understanding of yourself. The horizons are higher when you are involved in music. Your understanding of art and the world, and how you can think and express yourself, are enhanced.

In many ways it shows that music can help children be more connected with themselves and develop creative skills while learning more about the world that surrounds them.

In the end, the truth is that a children’s mind doesn’t really recognize the line between imagination, dreams and the “hard” reality. This is something that it begins to lose strength as we grow older, and our dreams begin to fade into routines, jobs, and just getting life in order.

Undying Dreams

Dreams

There is a part of the way children’s minds work with these things that must stay the same, that’s why it’s so important in this case for children interested in music to have good guidance and express themselves about their goals and dreams. Casey van Wensem has an article about the line between dreams and realistic goals as a musician, she says:

While they may feel different in our minds, dreams and goals are essentially the same thing – they’re an idea of something we’d like to achieve at some point in the future. While a dream may seem like a far-off fantasy, it becomes more realistic when we connect it to the present through a series of short-, medium-, and long-term goals.

Dreams don’t die, we organize and learn to have a sense of discipline, which then makes them real. Children need to maintain their dreams, while learning how to use the tools to make them real, and for that, the best thing to start is a good little conversation.

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There is a big difference between teaching children and teaching adults, this changes the dynamic of the class whether  it is online or in person. There is a reason why some people prefer to work with children and why others prefer to have a more mature class, and it’s because the experience is almost completely different. It could be very helpful to think about these differences and how it should affect the approach from the teachers side.

While it’s impossible to be perfectly accurate, a range of ages and categories could definitely help organize the way we approach different types of groups.

Very Young Children (from 4 to 7)

At this age the most important factor is to have their attention with something fun, and through this, give little doses of knowledge. This applies to every area of education, however with music, it tends to be a little more dynamic friendly. Music can be very fun without any problems at all

Children (8 to 12)

This is when discipline starts to be a very important thing to focus on, because it’s very easy for children around this age to run wild and find distractions, it’s not as simple as making it fun for them, it’s also a matter of keeping them interested. At this age real preferences and interests start to come out, they begin to test the waters and guide themselves with their taste in music, sports, games, or any other activity.

Because of this the students will become varied, and with different orientations, but without much discipline or disposition to be in a class and learn. This is the time for questions,

Teenagers (13 to 17)

At this point bigger words are said, bigger meanings are found, tougher music is played and understood, and there is a growing sense of determination towards learning, in this case, practice music in order to achieve their personal goal as musicians.

This is also the beginning of their lives being more independent, making more decisions and exploring different parts of their lives, trying new things. This will show in a class room or in an online class, as students will be eager to apply the things they learn into their own ideas.

Young adults (18 to 26)

These are the students that are closer to have university type of experience or probably with a regular job, clear aspirations and a sense of responsibility. For some, this is the ideal moment to start learning music in an academic sort of way, because everything they learn will be taken with more attention and maturity than to say an 8 year old. This does not mean that children shouldn’t learn, it just means that the overall experience may be more complete if have the experience and discipline for it.

Adults (27 and more)

They can range from a very passionate musician that didn’t start very young but nonetheless aspires to do great things with music, to an older person that always wanted to learn about music and takes it as a hobby. Still, both types are the kind of people that can almost be equals to the teachers in terms of life experience, this doesn’t mean the student can question the teacher, it means that in terms of communication they share a common ground through experience.

These are just some characteristics of eras in a person’s life that can be a soft general rule most of the times, and in a way it can help organize how music should be taught depending on the age of the students, and why it’s better not to mix it up too much when it comes to the ages of the students.

 

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