Hudson Valley Parent

HVP August 2017

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24 Hudson Valley Parent n August 2017 and sometimes judged. Soberman, who is celebrating her 25th year with Musical Munchkins, says, "Formal lessons require a certain amount of focus and follow through, fine motor dexterity and a basic reading readiness." If your child is easily frustrated and has little patience for repetitious tasks, it's probably better to continue for a while longer with non-formal music and movement programs. The most important readiness factor Temperament and developmental readiness are only part of the equation. Alexia Tate, director of Music Together with Alexia in Cold Spring, says, "A child will be more ready for formal music lessons if they have basic music competence. Can they sing a song on pitch? Do they have rhythm?" Even an exceptionally mature and motivated child can flounder in traditional lessons without tonal and rhythmic competence. Soberman insists that the most important factor is the desire on the part of the child to play an instrument. "Developing interest is paramount in a young child's developing years," she says. Learning through doing Tate stresses the importance of making music together with children in the home. She says, "All children are born with a musical aptitude that can decrease if they are not making music or if they don't see music being made around them." Children often grow up with passive musical experiences from CDs and television. These offer little opportunities for the active engagement needed to learn. Growing up with music The best way to help your child prepare for music lessons is to provide a rich environment with active music experiences. Young children learn through play. Singing, saying rhythmic rhymes, and moving to music are not only fun but beneficial. Tate says, "Instead of just listening to a CD, sing along with your child. Grab some pots and pans and make music together." "Parents play a large role in developing their child's musical ability. Parents don't have to be a musician to do so," says Soberman. "Expose children to musical expression by playing simple instruments, homemade or store bought. Dance and move to music, sing songs, make fingerplays, and say bounce rhymes. All these facilitate language development as well as bonding between parent and child." Any child can be musical If your child is not ready for formal lessons, group classes are a great way to get children involved in music in a much more casual environment. "Group classes for young children are a great way for parents to learn how to play music with their children and learn ways to enhance the musical experience with their children," says Soberman. "With a trained early childhood music teacher, your child can experience music in a supportive, loving and creative atmosphere." Every child is capable of taking part in and enjoying music, according to Tate. She says, "Getting together in a community to make music is all part of advancing primary music development." Kenneth K. Guilmartin is the founder and director of Music Together and coauthored the Music Together curriculum in 1987. Group classes to keep in mind Dalcroze This approach emphasizes rhythmic movement along with sight-singing and improvisation. All types of music are used, and students are encouraged to express themselves by making movements. Deep listening, imagination, and expressive responses all help develop musicianship. Orff This focuses on engaging children with special barred instruments such as glockenspiels and xylophones as well as hand held percussion instruments. Children will learn about listening, pitch matching, and working together through the integration of movement, dance, language and peer interactions. This will establish confidence in performance and the love of music. Kodály This method emphasizes ear training and sight-singing. The voice is the first instrument and that learning through singing should come before learning to read music or learning to play another instrument. Taught in group classes, this sequential method uses folk songs and gradually introduces children to ever more complex concepts of melody, rhythm, and harmony. Suzuki This method offers a non- traditional approach to music instruction for a number of instruments for children as young as three or four. The students are often taught in a group setting. They learn to play by ear, thus strengthening the child's aural ability. The Suzuki method, modeled on the way children learn language, requires strong parental involvement. MUSIC LESSONS (Continued from Page 23)

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