When it comes to music and kids, I used
to stick to teaching guitar mainly. In the last year, I realised that
some children (or their parents) don't always choose the instrument
that suits them best, so I started to explore other avenues.
the choice becomes obvious like this guitar student of mine I asked:
would you like to play in a band one day? He replies: yes but not guitar.
Okay.... what then? Drums! he says. Humm I'm glad I asked ;) Since he
had been struggling to do basic things on guitar, I proposed we split
the lesson into doing guitar and drums. You should see the smile on
his face when we do drums (without a drumkit I should mention). Unlike
other instruments, you don't need a kit to learn beats and stick holding.
times, it's less obvious, especially when the child is naturally musically
inclined and could tackle any instruments. In this case, I like to introduce
a few more possibilities (bass, keys, drums, singing) so they become
aware of a larger spectrum. If they have a preference for one of them,
we'll do more of that one.
Note: I am not a drummer or a key board player but with years of experience
in song writing, recording and playing in a band Playing
Strangers, I have plenty of interesting things to teach before referring
them to a tutor specialised in the instrument they chose. Also note
that Grant is a drummer and teaches on Friday after school.
theory kill creativity?
an interesting topic I often discuss with musicians. Some players play
by ear, some require a sheet of music to play. Both have immense value
but in my experience it's a question of balance and timing. Too much
of one often means not enough of the other.
I think that too much theory too soon is boring for most students and
may contribute to loosing interest. A small percentage will perservere
but if they don't strike a balance between spontaneity and music theory,
they may find themselves depending on a sheet of music forever.
I'd rather develop their ear and creativity first and I only explain
a little theory when I feel it's going to help through a hurdle. Once
they reach the point of wanting to know more, they will be completely
open and receptive to it because it will make sense and they will have
more chance to retain the spontaneity and ear awareness they developed
in the early stages. Formal tutors may disagree but you the parent reading
this will know which teaching style your child is most likely to strive
you wait to be of a good level to play with other players? I believe
you shouldn't. Playing with others will speed up your ability to play
your instrument and increase your awareness by listening to what else
is going on at the same time. First it will be between me and the student,
getting them to play something in time with me. Later on, I try matching
children together and give them a goal to achieve together.
word about musicianship
If you wonder what kind of musician you would like to become, ponder
on this for a minute. Compare using a computer to playing an instrument.
Are you happy with using the internet, writting emails and using a word
processing or do you want to retouch pictures, edit videos, managing
database, designing websites or would you like to troubleshoot software
problems, installing operating systems, or won't you be satisfied until
you can build a computer hardware from scratch.
can see where I'm getting at. You can play an instrument at any of these
comparable levels. It takes time and dedication to get to the higher
levels but everyone has to start from knowing nothing and slowly build
up. It doesn't mean they can't do loads of interesting and meaningful
playing along the way.