children

This year has been tough for everyone, and many musicians have made the most of the time during lockdown to reflect about their lives and the state of the world today. This has led to many interesting creations, but many of them focus on the things we are living today, and becoming so self conscious can be a little exhausting, that’s why there is a musician that preferred focusing on something free of the darkness of the world and full of optimism for the future, children.

Just like many others Ziggy Marley found himself at home with a lot of spare time and decided to make music, but not just any kind of music, children’s music. Some may say that the audience for this kind of music is limited or that it doesn’t resonate that much, but it does. Besides when you are a very young kid, it’s hard to find a connection with most of the music out there, but there is music for them, which helps them learn and find this connection.

Marley had already released a children’s music album back in 2009 called “Family Time”, so “More Family Time” it’s the follow up, and according to him, a very fun album to make and commented on doing something comforting during this hard times.

Rolling Stone Interview

“For me, [this album] was the rebellious thing to do, instead of writing about what’s going on, it’s something comforting. Plus, the children need as much help as anybody else in what we’re going through. So giving a family something to uplift their spirits and feel happy and enjoy together, I think, is just as important as addressing what is going on.”

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He is working on other things as well such as Bob Marley: Portrait of the Legend,but this project it’s an important part of music that can’t be ignored.

He also says that his songs also teaches kids, which is an important aspect of music at an early age.

He talks about a song on the album called “Please Excuse Me Thank You,” which is a duet with Alanis Morissette, and it has the title of the song work like a mantra. “These are the words we use every day,” and then “Please, I would like some pizza?/Please, may I have some ice cream.”

“So there’s a lot of teaching going on; there are a lot of lessons in the songs,”

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Music is a great way for children to develop social skills, learn faster, have fun and of course develop a deeper connection with music, but it’s also great for adults who interact with the children, including of course the person who made the music, which in this case is Ziggy Marley.

“My father loved children — he has that childlike energy to him also,”

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He talks about how Bob Marley and going through old photographs inspired him to make the album.

“We went through a bunch of these photos, and you can see his childlike innocence. You can see how relatable he is to the children who are there. There is just a purity of innocence.”

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Everyone deserves to be happy, and today we all need anything we can get to achieve that, and children could benefit from this sort of projects, as they find music exciting and new. Chldren’s music are not just b-side jingles, they deserve more recognition in the music industry, and we can only hope that there is always something we can look up to for our young ones.

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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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