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Musical Kids? Any music grads/teachers out there?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Gosh, I'm on a posting frenzy today! (anything but Activism!)

I think my Iris (age 3) has musical talent. She seems to "feel" music deep down. People commented on this already at age 6 mos. When she plays at the piano, she uses the proper hand position and almost the proper fingering. I took her to the opera yesterday and she just made the most amazing gestures (in rhythm) with her hands - I would use the word poetic, but she's my kid so I'm not sure! She keeps the proper beat when slapping her legs. She can also identify the proper (basic ones like piano, guitar, flute, drum) instruments - not sure if that's not just totally normal at her age.

I have been told by my piano teacher (an old Soviet-era children's music teacher) that I need to help her with this talent or it will fade. He told me to play patty-cake and other rhythm games.

a) Does anyone know anything about identifying this kind of gift?
b) Does anyone have any suggestions on how to help her develop?
post #2 of 7
post #3 of 7
post #4 of 7
Parismom - You could have been describing my son in your post. He is so moved by music and I can see him 'transfor' when he is singing or playing his instruments. I have done all I know to encourage his love of music at home. He LOVES the guitar and owns his own actual child sized guitar that he 'play' - holding it correctly and strumming. He is also UNBELIVABLE with rythms ans can easily 'drum; out an entire song (which he know LOTS of by heart) I could go on and on but I am sure you understand....

I too am at a loss as to what to do 'formally' to continue his passion for music so any ideas would be great!
post #5 of 7
I have a bachelor's degree in music, and I teach piano to little ones. Age four is about the lower limit for me to teach, but I would consider teaching a three-year-old if they are really into it - and it sounds like your DD is!

With the littlest kids (3,4, and 5 year olds), I teach two kids at a time. We spend about 15-20 minutes at the piano, and another 15 minutes listening to music, singing, playing with flashcards, etc.

Most of what we do on the piano is rhythmic or creative - for instance, they play what a butterfly would sound like, or what an elephant would sound like. They also play simple songs on the black keys to start (easier for little ones to hit correctly). We also practice concepts such as high or low, soft or loud.

Away from the piano, we listen to music, and dance or draw, or make up stories about what is happening in the music.

All of this is designed to help the kids start thinking and feeling musically, so that when they are about 5 or 6, they are ready to start more formal piano instruction.

The reason I do it this way is that a lot of 4 or 5 year olds are put off by not receiving imedicate gratification. They are excited when they know that they can play something right away, without a lot of practice.

Suggestions I would have for your daughter might include starting lessons now (I couldn't tell if you were talking about her piano teacher or yours). I'm partial to the piano as a first instrument, because it is such an important skill, and it is very gratifying for children to be able to make music immedicately. But Suzuki string classes are also a good place to start.

Continue taking her to as many musical performances as possible.

Play music at home, and play games with it. Dance, make up stories, or draw what the music says to you. Don't worry about finding kid-specific music. Anything that is expressive, not overly complex and has a good beat is usually good.

Incorporate music into everything - have it playing in the car, sing or make up songs while you do activities or general chores (your creations can include "The Sandwich Song," "I'm Mopping the Floor," "Let's Get Dressed Today!" etc.).

I don't know if that's the type of suggestions you're looking for, or if you're already doing that stuff, but I hope that helps!
post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks Mimie! Those are exactly the kinds of suggestions I was seeking. I love the butterfly and elephant ideas! We'll start right away!
post #7 of 7
My son (now 10) showed similar interest in and reaction to music when he was just a tiny guy. I remember particularly one day driving in the car (he was about 2) with some violin music on the radio. Out of the back seat comes: "Mommy, why is that violin crying?" I was really stunned. He also developed an early fixation with Handel's Messiah -- playing a tape of it on his Sesame Street kid's tape player and carrying it all around the house. He has been tremendously enriched by his experience with Suzuki violin, and I recommend it really highly if you have a good teacher around. His violin is really a part of him now. One good thing about Suzuki is parent involvement. For 4 years we have been doing this together and we both love it (most nights...) We both went home and cried the night his teacher told us that it was time for him to begin practicing more on his own. Gosh, I wonder where he gets his emotional side from... Regardless of what you chose and he choses to do, enjoy! It's a wonderful thing to witness.
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