Developing a Musical Child

“Music has a power of forming the character, and should therefore be introduced into the education of the young.” ~Socrates

Parents who put their children to musical learning at a young age must have known that they are putting in a very good investment. All the more enlightened are parents who enroll their young in MUSIC and MOVEMENT classes, where a musical child is developed before a child musician is made.

In a musical environment where foundational musical experiences involving the whole child – mind, body and spirit – form the basis of the developmental process, a solid musical foundation is laid that ensures much more sustainable musical development for the child in years to come. Such musical foundation includes developing a true passion and motivation for this art, musical discernment, auditory acuity, pitch and rhythmic competence, motor coordination, and expressiveness.

As an area of learning, music is a challenging topic that requires perseverance and inspirations. Many children had ‘fallen out’ with their musical pursuit within a short time because they were ‘jump-started’ in their musical development, going into learning to play an instrument before any of the above musical skills were in place. It is evident in children who were fortunate enough to be nurtured musically before being put to the rigors of formal music instructions, which they are much more likely to thrive and succeed in playing the instrument well.

The type of pre-instrumental music instructions that nurtures holistically a musical child should be started as early as infancy, but taken to a higher plane at 4 – 6 years of age. These are often weekly group sessions that engage children in a fun and developmentally appropriate manner. The following areas of development must be in place:

• Vocal development – the voice is the most important musical instrument that every child possesses. A musical child ought to be able to sing in pitch.

• Listening development – the human ear is able to process information and discriminate between sound sources and discern qualities of sounds. It also governs attention and focus. A musical child will have a high command of this important sensory faculty.

• Movement development – dexterity, and coordination are motor skills required to play instruments well. Children who have danced and moved and experienced use of their body in a variety of ways will be able to transfer the same skills onto instrumental playing with ease. Music, when played expressively on an instrument, needs to be supported by an equally expressive body movement. A musical child will be relaxed and uninhibited in expressing his music through the body.

• Simple Instrumental Play that promotes eye-hand coordination and pitch association – the skill of reading music and playing at the same time is a challenge faced by many musicians. A young child can be prepared for this by working with simple melodic instruments like xylophones or glockenspiels.

• Musical ensemble works – music is a community art form that is most enjoyable when playing together with others. Different tasks requiring different levels of competence in a musical ensemble allow children of different abilities to enjoy playing together and making ‘complex’ music. Ensemble opportunities in music classes also promote focus and confidence – both important traits for musicians.

• Music Literacy – reading and writing and composing music can be as easy as ABC if the child starts learning musical notations and putting them in musical context. This can start at age 4.

• Learning about musical styles and genres, composers, musical instruments, and musical terminology – these are all knowledge that widens a musical child’s horizon.

To accomplish all these, the weekly session should be at least 60 minutes long and preferably inclusive of parents or caregiver in a portion of the session. So that each child gets sufficient individual attention, the group should not be larger than 12 – 15.

If the child loves what he does in a music class, he will be much more likely to make music his life-long passion, whether or not he chooses the path of becoming a professional musician.

The Musical Classroom Experience:

• Vocal enhancement and singing – The use of musical language may sound odd to the average person, but it plays a vital role in preparing children for reading and writing easy rhythm patterns. You will hear tonal sounds like “do”, “re” “mi” and combination of rhythm and pitch like “mi-mi”, “ti-ti” and “fa-fa”. This is the language of music.

• Moving – Children already love to dance, and this kind of musical program encourages moving and dancing to the rhythms of musical pieces. This exercise helps improve coordination and promotes musicianship.

• Musical reading and writing – Children learn about pitch, rhythmic notation, melodic notation and musical notes which will lead to their own compositions over the course of these classes.

• Attentive listening – Since young children love music already, they will be attentive and focused on learning the sounds of various instruments and develop the ability to identify them. Music classes like these also aid in learning more about the works of the master composers.

• Musical instrument exploration – The children will be given real instruments including percussion, stringed, keyboards and woodwind instruments in order to introduce them to all the choices they have in them. This opens up the opportunity for musical development before starting any kind of formal lessons.

Music plays a vital role in not only the musical development of children, but also vocabulary, verbal skills, math, emotional self-control and physical coordination. This is one of the best ways to give your child the gift of an early musical education that you can share with them.

The Musical Play Dates Guide

Kids absolutely love music, and they love to play games set to music! Nothing can quickly grab or hold their attention more easily than music. It is a strong catalyst for learning, creativity and development of language, movement and social skills. It has the power to captivate and charm young imaginations, giving children the wings to explore the world that surrounds them and delight the senses.

Musical play dates offer parents the opportunity to share in their child’s discovery of the music and singing, social skills and help them begin to grow a circle of friends. You can have a lot of fun when a play date incorporates the world of music! Here is our musical play date guide to turn your play date into a number one hit!

The Hokey Pokey

I’m sure you remember the song… “You put your right foot in, you put your right foot out…” a favorite of every child. The Hokey Pokey is one of several circle dances. It is a great song to teach your child their right from their left, teach body parts and body movement. For younger children, you can use colored stickers on their hands to identify which is their left or right.

Animal Walk Parade

While playing music, have the children dance and walk the way their favorite animal would. Include all kinds of animals, such as a bird, snake, bear, etc.

Music & Motion

This is a fun activity to have children experience movement as it relates to the music or rhythm they hear. Simply instruct each child to physically move how the music makes them feel. You’ll soon see them tiptoeing or swaying to soft music, marching to the beat of a parade song, run for fast music, hop and bounce for music that makes them feel happy, or stomp their feet to the rhythms they hear.

Toot! Toot!

This fun song activity will help your child learn to listen. Take a fun song the kids are very familiar with, such as Jack & Jill, Humpty Dumpty, This Old Man, or Old MacDonald had a Farm. Sing the song to your child, but substitute wrong words or names in obvious places. For example, perhaps instead of a farm, Old MacDonald had a dog or maybe Jack and Jill went up the tree. When your child hears the wrong words have them sing “Toot-Toot!”

Musical Hugs

This puts a twist to the musical chairs game, but in this case, no one looses! It’s a great ice breaker for play dates. Simply round up some of your favorite kids CD’s. Instruct each child to dance and move to the music. When it stops, the children have to stop dancing and hug a friend. As the children become more acquainted, you’ll soon find 2 – 3 kids hugging each other in a group. End the session in one big group hug!

Pass the Bear

Another good ice breaker and helps children learn each other’s names. Have the kids sit in a circle. Hand a stuffed bear to one of the children to start the game and sing this song to the tune of Row-Row-Row Your Boat: “My friend (child’s name) has the bear— hug him with great care! Pass him on to my friend (next child’s name) because we like to share!” On the word “share,” instruct the child to give the bear to the next child named. Repeat for each child.

Freeze Dance

A twist on the Red Light, Green Light game. Instruct the children that when the music plays, they can dance, jump, hop and move about. When the music stops, they have to freeze in whatever pose they are in when the music stops playing— still as a statute (you may need to demonstrate to younger kids). Instead of holding a pose, you can also have everyone drop to the floor and sit until the music starts again.

What Music Looks Like

This activity incorporates both the world of music and art. Pick 2 – 5 songs—- anything from funny songs to classical or slow music (make it a mix). A couple of our original songs are great for this activity, such as A Sweet Little Silly Song or the City Zoo. Hand each child enough sheets of paper for each song, and some crayons. Instruct them to draw what the music of each song sounds like to them— what they hear and feel. You’ll see some creative art. At the end of the game, have each child pick their favorite picture, and hold it up for all to see.

Follow Me!

A musical version of follow the leader will get the kids moving! While the music plays, the leader leads the group around. When it stops, the leader goes to the end of the line and the next child leads. Usually best to have an adult start. As you lead the children, wiggle your arms, turn in circles, flap your arms, hop, squat like a duck, fly like an airplane— demonstrate lots of different movements to give the kids ideas when they lead.

A-B-C & 1-2-3 Dancing

This is the perfect game for toddlers starting to learn their letters or numbers. It is best done in a large family or recreation room. Use masking tape to make the shapes of the letters or numbers the children are working on learning. Make it as large as possible. Turn on some fun kids music and have your toddlers dance around. When the music stops, have them go to the letter or number you call out.

Great Balls of Fire!

A twist on the old game, hot potato— instead of a potato, we use colored flashing light balls. This one is fun on rainy or snowy day with the lights dimmed. Hand each child except one, a flashing light ball. Have the children sit in a circle. As the music plays, the children pass the lights around the circle until the music stops. When the music stops, the boy or girl not holding a light sits in the middle now out of the game. Remove a ball from the circle and continue the game. Be sure to let each child leave with a light ball when they go home!

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Music Review of Fantasy Black Channel by Late of the Pier

“Late Of The Pier” are a four-piece indie rock band from Castle Donington, London. Late Of The Pier are Samuel Eastgate (Vocals, Guitar and Synthesizers), Andrew Faley (Bass and Synthesizers), Sam Potter (Sampler) and Ross Dawson (Drums). All of them have pseudonyms and known as Samuel Dust, Francis Dudley Dance, Jack Paradise and Red Dog Consuela respectively. Late Of The Pier are very much into electronica and their music genres cover indie rock, electronica, synth pop and dance-punk.

Late Of The Pier’s Fantasy Black Channel opens with roaring guitar instrumental “Hot Tent Blues”. It seems that Late Of The Pier have been using a sampler to make this track. The guitar on this track revives the 80s rock scene where it’s filled with pitching and echoic guitar. The bass and drums provide cushion in the background as the guitar plays on. Once it reaches the remaining 13 seconds, the track gallops again but this time, with some start/stop guitar riffs. It’ll gradually bring you to the next track. Very energetic opening!

Once entering “Broken”, oh my god the guitar just brings you on. You couldn’t help it but to move your body to this crazy filler track. Very awesome guitar work i would say. Shortly after that, it’s followed by a series of music created by synthesizers and sampler. Only by the time Samuel enters with his vocals, Broken seems to slow down a bit to allow him to express himself. Broken is filled with various guitar playing, you can’t help but to love this track. Just my first listen, Broken already got me wanting for more. Very addictive!

“Space And The Woods” comes in right after Broken. If I’m not mistaken, it sounds like Late Of The Pier are playing keyboards here. Catchy keyboards playing by them. Samuel has a robotic voice-like as he sings on. When it comes to the part which i assume is the chorus, the guitar just comes in, without affecting the earlier keyboards that we first heard. In the bridge, Samuel sings in a very ignorant voice that goes, “I’m shit hot so say what you think about me, I’m not gonna cry because I don’t care…” It sounds kind of cool here. The music on Space And The Woods definitely matches the previous track. Love the keyboards!

“The Bears Are Coming” has a very cool opening. African-influenced percussion belting with the synthesizers. Once Samuel comes in, it just adds extra weight to the already really good music. After each paragraph of his singing, the music just plays on. And it’s not just some ordinary music, it’s the type of music which is going to at least make you nod your heard. The Bears Are Coming also vibrates some disco-feel to it. In the bridge, Late Of The Pier just takes a short break with the slow tempo and Samuel enters with his yell-like vocals layered with heavy-heart elements, “I saw you wading in the water, i saw you ride along the sea, shine on a nightmare, shine through the trees…” Once after that, the music again kills me on the spot. With some voice in the background, it’s like a party track in the making. Before ending, it seems that Late Of The Pier are not done with the track yet, they just play around with their synthesizers and sampler. Amazing feeling!

On “Random Firl”, the music in the beginning is just way too cute. The synthesizers-influenced guitar are very cheeky as well. If you pay attention, you would notice a slight sound of exclaimation (Like a woman’s gasp) in the background when the music are just warming up to get to the verse. It just sounds so funny to me. Slowly, Late Of The Pier seem to be adding more instruments to this track, making it sounds much better gradually. The cheeky and catchy guitar just work its way throughout the track, very sweet feeling.

“Heartbeat” begins with some 80s-like music before the real deal comes in where Late Of The Pier enter with loud guitar riffs. When it gets to the chorus, Heartbeat seems to get into another level, it gets rougher and groovier here with Samuel going, “A heartbeat, a flicker, a line…. It’s just a line…” in repetition. The best moment on Heartbeat definitely. Entering the second verse, the bass also gets groovier and louder. It just never fails to pump up my blood and the volume. It’s not a line, it’s the music!

“White Snake” has a somewhat slow beginning. But it suddenly bursts with the loud guitar of Late Of The Pier. Samuel also seems to be gasping for air when singing as it’s fast and loud here. The guitar also plays at a speedy rate. When it gets to the chorus, the whole track just loosen up slightly. Piano can be heard playing in a repetition of notes rapidly as the track goes on from here. In the bridge, Late Of The Pier add some creepy music to White Snake, it comes in as a surprise, really. But it’s still good as the track is so fast until it gets you rocking as well. Even Samuel sings and yells like a true rock star!

“VW” continues with some clever music playing. Horn can be heard here as the music goes fast and slow throughout the track. When it’s fast, the horn seems to be louder and the music sounds kind of eerie, as if something bad is bound to happen. When it gets to the slower part, Later Of The Pier seem to be getting ready for the next speedy break. Listening to VW makes you think that you’re running out of time and something bad is about to happen. Dangerously fast!

“Focker” has a very strong electronic influences to it. On the verse, Samuel sings very fast as if he’s gulping down the lyrics. However in the chorus, things get a different approach. Samuel just sings and drags on, “I want to be you friend… Oh yeah…” With the heavy electronic music in the background, sometimes it just drowns out the voice of Samuel. Focker can be said one of the wildest tracks on Fantasy Black Channel. Even the remaining 30 seconds are filled loud guitar and synthesizers, looping and echoing to the end.

“The Enemy Are the Future” has a cute beginning. You would know what i mean after listening to it. It seems that this time Samuel share his vocals part with other members of Late Of The Pier. It has a deep and playful voice once it comes in. As the chorus comes, the whole track as i never expect, sounds very good with the bass going on. With Samuel going in a catchy tone and in repetition, “Easy life, is it an easy life?…”, i feel obliged to sing along as well. I just don’t know why, the way Late Of The Pier play and sing is really good! Needless to say, the music is just great on The Enemy Are The Future. Deeper into the track, it just turns into another track totally. The sampler and synthesizers just hit the invisible magic button as it’s no longer a rock track, it’s a dance track. Very, very highly evolved.

“Mad Dogs and Englishmen” starts with a bell chiming from afar. Sooner than later, the bass comes in and eventually it gets louder with a certain rhythm to it. The guitar and the bass on this track seems to be working together here, layering and covering one another. When the bass goes, the guitar waits; when the guitar goes, the bass waits. The bass especially, makes me smile as it possesses some funny elements in it. In the bridge and until the end, Late Of The Pier just play their stuffs which resulting in some playful and great music. It makes you want to play…

“Bathroom Gurgle” opens with steady drum beats (That resembles “Chelsea Dagger” by The Fratellis) and soon joined by synthesizers. The music itself is already catchy enough to make me want to get up and dance. It’s infectiously groovy! In the chorus, Samuel yells, “Find yourself a new boy…” with the music adding in some xylophone-like sound. I really enjoyed myself listening to that particular moment. Other than that, Late Of The Pier’s Samuel also plays around with his vocals on Bathroom Gurgle as he imitates the voice of females at some points of the track. Few seconds after the chorus, Bathroom Gurgle surprises us with a cheering part that goes, “So put your hands on your waistline, and move you body to the bass line, and get your hands on some cheap wine…” Late Of The Pier really show everything they have on this track. One track that covers a variety of singing and playful music.

Learning to Play Piano – Benefits of Learning Music

Playing piano can be learned by several methods. Self taught by copying others and generally working out tunes. This is basically trial and error learning. This can be effective and some great musicians have learned this way. Some take the traditional route learning music and others learn chords without the benefit of music and play that way. This system can be particularly successful without learning to read music.

The benefits of learning music out way other methods in many ways, here are a number of benefits that learning music may provide you with.

· A wider range of musical styles can be played and understood quickly rather than having to work out each new style by trial and error.

· Composing of your own music can be carried out and recorded on paper for yourself or others to play. Composing your own music without understanding music can be done but needs to be remembered which can be difficult to do. This is especially true when a large number of music pieces are being composed or if the music is complicated.

· Music contains a number of instructions about the mood of the piece to be played. This aspect of a piece of music cannot be known unless the instructions are understood. The player can only copy what has been heard when others have played the same piece.

· The correct balance of left and right hand notes with the correct octave for each hand to provide the correct mood of the music is automatically played when reading music. The alternative is trial and error or experience which you will not have when learning to play.

· The notes to be played do not need to be remembered as they are written on the music allowing expression within the music to be concentrated upon.

· New music presented to you can be understood and played. Not understanding music would require the piece to be played by someone who did understand the music for you, to allow you listen to it and then copy.

· Music is an international language or at least western music is. No matter where you are in a western country you can play with others by the use of music regardless of the native tongue spoken in the country.

· Knowledge of music can only enhance your piano playing or any other instrument. No one ever played worse for possessing too much musical knowledge.

· Other than starting your own band, music as a career is not open to none readers of music. Those that read music can add musician, composer or conductor to name just a few possibilities to their possible job prospects.