Early signs that they love music
We all see the reactions of babies long before one year old.
The music is turned on, and they smile and even do a little dance to what they hear. It might be a mastered recording, or it might be your own attempt at singing. Watch them clap their hands as they react to the melody and the rhythm. Music appeals to toddlers whether it is kids music or any other music the hear, especially if it is repeated.
When they show further interest
Somewhere between five to seven years old, kids begin to show an interest in making music. They get excited when they see their first toy piano with notes at different pitches. There are also those tiny recorders or drums that they just cannot stop playing, making you wonder why you bought it in the first place. There are some kids who show just a passing interest with these toys but there are some who are fascinated when they see someone playing a piano or when they go to a concert.
What next ?
When kids show more than a passing interest, it is time to enrol them in a structured music learning program. There are a variety of instruments to choose from: the violin, the flute, the drums, the piano, and later the horns. The piano is a good starting point because a student who learns piano, learns all the basics of music.
Here are some ways that piano playing facilitates learning of other instruments:
- Rhythm learned as bar counts, rests and note values, facilitate the learning of percussion such as a variety of drums, tambourine, clave and shakers.
- Melodies played one finger at a time and the different patterns of fingering facilitate making melodies on flute, horns, clarinet, recorder, strings where notes are played one at a time.
- Chords are groups of notes played together to produce harmony. This helps the learning of guitar strumming, a style which is a favourite of singer songwriters who sing and accompany themselves. Chord playing helps them to play by ear.
The many benefits of music learning are well known. The discipline, the preparation, the development of memory skills, the practicing until it becomes perfect, and the alertness and recognition of patterns all come together to develop an individual who will perform well in their academic studies.
Some kids really love to make music and their parents are not excited about taking them to lessons, and the comittment they themselves need to make. These kids play around the piano and develop bad habits that will be hard to break in the future. There are also kids who love music but they are turned off by the practicing and the regular classes. Parents need to encourage them and nudge them on to keeping up with the program. Motivate them by taking them to see children and adults on stage and have them witness the joy of performance.
I am a musician and almost every time I perform or even when I meet adults, they always express regret that they did not learn to play an instrument, and if they started, they regret that they did not continue.
What about you ?
The best time to learn is in parallel with school days. Did you start music lessons ? Do you regret having stopped learning music? Do you think it is too late to live that dream ?
I would love to have your comments
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