- Learning music is like learning a new language
Do you remember what it was like to learn a second language? Or when your own children were learning to speak English? Firstly, you learn simple words. Then you progress to short phrases. Then longer sentences. Almost always, you will learn how to speak before learning how to read and write.
Think about playing an instrument as learning to speak. Your children will learn simple musical notes, then progress to short pieces, and eventually will be able to play an entire musical piece. It all takes time. It is perfectly normal for playing (speaking) skills to develop a lot faster than music reading and writing skills, so don’t be too concerned if your child “can’t read music very well.”
- There is a lot more to learning music than just “playing” the instrument
Just like in all activities, there is much more involved in playing an instrument, than just “playing” an instrument. When your child is playing a tune to a backing track on CD, here are some questions you can ask yourself:
- Is my child playing in time with the music?
- Does my child know when the breaks in the music are, and when to start playing again after the break?
- Can my child play with both Hands Together (HT)?
- Can my child play loudly and softly? (Musical volume is called dynamics)
- Can my child identify the notes and symbols on the page?
As well as being lots of fun, playing a simple tune along with the CD builds musical foundations of beat, rhythm, dynamics, coordination, music reading, listening and aural skills.
- Your child should be learning new music every week
It’s very important when starting to learn an instrument that you get into the groove of learning new music. Like learning a new language, it’s crucial to build and expand on what children have learnt in the previous week. There’s nothing worse than being stuck on the same 3 songs and having to keep playing them over and over, for months!
It’s exciting to see yourself progress through a book, and it’s an amazing feeling when you reach the end and get to the next level! As well as motivating students, and keeping lessons fun and exciting, students will be developing their foundational music skills when they learn something new every week.
- You should have an instrument at home
Having an instrument at home to practise on greatly speeds up the learning process. Make sure your instruments are somewhere central in the home (such as in your lounge room) and not tucked away in a corner downstairs somewhere. This means your children will be walking past their instrument a lot more, and hopefully will sit down and play more frequently! It’s also great because they can easily show you (or grandma, grandpa, and all their friends) what they have been learning. It’s a great way to integrate music into your lives more frequently.