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#26546 - 07/23/02 03:18 PM Re: Music Makers: At The Keyboard
John Offline
Star Member

Registered: 03/29/01
Posts: 2454
Loc: Bellingham, WA
Jala, Jala, Jala (or "Hal" for short) ~ Thank you for being so concerned about my undies...last I checked they are free of waddage. :p

My post at 9:17 a.m. above partially addressed this adult-driven neurotic "need" to measure things, and how program....schmogram, children need good, solid raw EXPERIENCES regardless of "classes". Hopefully these experiences are guided by a competent adult who uses only the best sources of music, demonstrates the most appropiate movements (considering the child's age), and stimulates the most creative imagination. Studies show that children "like" the music that is MOST FAMILIAR to them.....something all adults who take care of children should ponder.

Children from excellent early childhood programs may NOT do well in private instrumental study (or demonstrate their abilities well) if they are transferred to the wrong teacher; this may mean a less-skilled teacher or one who doesn't continue to develop the multi-faceted foundation that was built earlier.

Of course teacher bias in plentiful on both sides, and let's not forget the parents involvement, which may have gone from ample involvement during the early years to abandoning the child at the piano with minimal involvement during private study. All of my experience and that of the teachers I personally know point to better overall musical development in children with solid early childhood experiences. Of course questions like:

What exactly are we measuring?
Can it be measured accurately YET?
Should it be measured?
And on who's "time-table" are we basing these measurements?

etc., come into play.

But the intent of this thread (sharing about a workshop) has been long polluted by misc. agendas, so I'm back to our WONDERFUL (yet too hot!) summer weather. \:D \:D \:D \:D

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#26547 - 07/23/02 04:52 PM Re: Music Makers: At The Keyboard
Jalapeño Offline
Star Member

Registered: 11/04/00
Posts: 5712
Oh, so the program isn't complete. Is that what you're saying? The "right" teacher would continue dancing & singing with the child 'til some day the child would learn to walk & chew gum at the same time??? Sorry, John, but I'm in an onery mood today. :p \:D Seriously, I can't help but wonder how well this teaching approach works. For the students that need to continue instruction with the "right" teacher, how long does it take for everything to "click?"

I have a sister who sang in choir & took years of piano & ballroom dance lessons. To this day, she still can't clap out a steady beat or play piano with a steady tempo to save her life! She does okay in a group, but whenever she sings a solo, it's *** H E Double Toothpicks *** to accompany her on piano! [at least she sings on pitch & plays correct notes on piano, though. ;)] Whenever I think of her problems with rhythm, I wonder if some people just can't be helped.

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#26548 - 07/23/02 06:59 PM Re: Music Makers: At The Keyboard
John Offline
Star Member

Registered: 03/29/01
Posts: 2454
Loc: Bellingham, WA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Jalapeño:
Oh, so the program isn't complete. Is that what you're saying?


Not even remotely close.... :p

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#26549 - 07/23/02 08:45 PM Re: Music Makers: At The Keyboard
Lisa K. Studtmann Offline
Contributing Member

Registered: 08/22/01
Posts: 46
Loc: USA
The needle-ing in this thread serves no purpose and appears to be escalating.

Put an end to it, please, or I will delete or close this thread. Thank you. \:\)

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#26550 - 07/23/02 08:47 PM Re: Music Makers: At The Keyboard
Eric Offline
Star Member

Registered: 04/04/00
Posts: 2325
Loc: New York, NY
I agree with John about this discussion being polluted by miscellaneous agendas. Good discussions benefit from detailed analysis, considered responses, and thoughtful critiques and questions. We will all learn from one another if we refrain from propagandizing or returning a critique of our position with an ad hominem attack, or worse yet, making the suggestion that we should discontinue all investigation, debate and inquiry entirely.

I think Jalapeno is onto something very big, and really worth considering. That is an epistemological question of sorts: How do we know that there are indeed tangible benefits from the various early music programs being discussed? Thankfully, adults do have the ability and talent to measure the validity and value of things, and we need to apply this ability to aspects of our own profession. We should proceed with caution, and avoid swallowing whatever the latest educational hoo-hah is hook, line and sinker.

I notice a tendency that a lot of the early music education sites I’ve visited tend to, as Arlene pointed out, put children into little “boxes” that limit them. We need to remember that Einstein was barely speaking at five, while Mozart was already composing at the same age. There are three-year-olds who speak three languages fluently, and others who haven’t uttered a complete sentence yet. One four-year-old might be reading about dinosaurs, while another doesn’t know their alphabet yet. With this in mind, we need to be wary of theorists who lump them all together; In saying, “Here’s what 3-5 year-olds are developmentally ready for” they are worshipping the norm and ignoring the outstanding or the slower among us. Many children will fall right into those little boxes just so. But many will not.

That’s the beauty of one-on-one education; it affords the teacher time to work with the student as an individual and tailor the education precisely to his or her level of developmental ability. I’m sure that’s what Leopold did with young Amadeus, and also what Madame Chopin did with Frederick. Perhaps if these youngsters had instead been pushed into a group setting where they were encouraged to blend in with other students their own age, they never would have developed into the brilliant artists they became.

Another dangerous aspect of the prevailing sentiment is the tendency to mistake Theory for Fact, and confuse Opinion with Knowledge. We all need to keep in mind that Brahms and Scarlatti probably didn’t have access to a gathering drum, let alone get together with children their own age to dance ceremonial American Indian dances. Somehow they managed to become outstanding musicians in spite of this educational lapse. While it would strike us that any musical experience would be beneficial, that is not necessarily the case.

While the good folks at this site are truly dedicated teachers who are looking for the best possible means to realize the highest potential of each student, there are other early music educators who are simply trying to profit from the musical naivete of parents. I refer here to offerings that are basically Romper Room activities cloaked in pedagogical jargon. Instead of empowering parents to create a stimulating musical environment for their children, these teachers would imply that only they, the all-knowing musically superior pedagogue, can truly facilitate a game of “Itsy Bitsy Spider” with teacherly finesse. Many of the aforementioned sites DO seem to be trying to make a buck or two in an underhanded way...that is, they aren’t exactly forthcoming about what they offer or what will actually be attained by the student, but you can (gulp) “pay now and find out later.” They also seem to be preying upon parents who are over-anxious in making their children into little prodigies.

Is it possible that the early music education program of the future will be one that educates parents rather than children? However, if the parents knew how to create the ideal musical environment, it would render early childhood music programs obsolete, so maybe there’s silence on that issue, brought about through the interest of self-preservation.

I’ll keep recommending Kindermusik, Musikgarten, and especially Dalcroze to those over-eager parents of students who aren’t quite ready for piano lessons. But this doesn’t mean I think any of these programs are necessarily the ideal model of musical learning. There are aspects of learning in groups that are terrific, as we can witness in Montessori schools, where the individual is still recognized. But it is questionable as to if any of the pre-fab music programs now popular accomplish anything of real significance. Well, I might be wrong there, they definitely generate some revenue, don't they?

[ July 23, 2002: Message edited by: Eric ]

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#26551 - 07/23/02 09:15 PM Re: Music Makers: At The Keyboard
arsnova02 Offline
Mainstay Member

Registered: 07/29/01
Posts: 908
Loc: St. Louis, MO
Wish I were clever enough to pick up on these "hidden agendas"... I do so enjoy observing a good ulterior motive. :p

Could somebody tell me what books I could read about these various methods I keep hearing about? Dalcroze, Kodaly, Gordon, etc. Or are they all the same thing? And are they specifically group programs, or methods that can be modified for private lessons or groups? You guys have got me so confused...

[ July 23, 2002: Message edited by: Ars Nova ]

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#26552 - 07/23/02 09:48 PM Re: Music Makers: At The Keyboard
Jason Offline
Star Member

Registered: 05/14/00
Posts: 2019
Loc: Iowa City, IA
A quick primer:

Kodaly - A developmental approach towards music education developed by Zoltan Kodaly in Hungary that involves the use of solfege, Curwin hand signs, and folk song material appropriate to the common musical language of the children being taught. (Kodaly's work was originally done with Hungarian folk music, but the method has been adapted to use American folk music in the United States.)
http://www.oake.org

Dalcroze - A system of music education developed by Emile Jaques-Dalcroze. It uses "Eurythmics" - a system of movement education and awareness, solfege, and improvisation to promote the freedom and depth of expression inherent in music.
http://www.dalcrozeusa.org/

Music Learning Theory - Developed by Dr. Edwin Gordon, MLT is a well-researched and documented theory on how children acquire musical ability. It is based on the principle of audiation (internalized musical thoughts and feelings) and includes both a well sequenced taxonomy of musical words and phrases and a methodology for teaching them. MLT shares many ideas with Kodaly and Suzuki, and takes into account more current research in child development.

Suzuki Method - Also called the "Mother Tongue" approach, Dr. Shinichi Suzuki's method seeks to help children acquire musical ability (originally on violin) the same way they acquire linguistic skills - through immersion and repetition. The Suzuki method requires a great deal of parental involvement, as it is they, along with the teacher, who bear the responsibility of encouraging and nurturing the student through and towards a musical life.
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)


www.pianoped.com

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#26553 - 07/23/02 10:41 PM Re: Music Makers: At The Keyboard
Eric Offline
Star Member

Registered: 04/04/00
Posts: 2325
Loc: New York, NY
 Quote:
Originally posted by Ars Nova:
Wish I were clever enough to pick up on these "hidden agendas"


Hee hee! Of course, I'm guilty of overstatement. There's nothing "hidden" there.....it's just a plain old agenda. ;\)

Jason, thanks for the straightforward and "fair and balanced" reporting! Finally, some actual information! ;\) \:D \:\)

Lisa K. Studtmann, thanks for the much-needed reprimand! Good luck keeping this group in line! \:D

[ July 23, 2002: Message edited by: Eric ]

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#26554 - 07/23/02 10:54 PM Re: Music Makers: At The Keyboard
alidoremi Offline
Star Member

Registered: 03/11/02
Posts: 2120
Loc: California
 Quote:
By Eric:
I notice a tendency that a lot of the early music education sites I’ve visited tend to, put children into little “boxes” that limit them.


I disagree. These early childhood music methods are addressing the way children learn. A 3-year-old learns quite differently than a 6-year-old, who in turn learns differently from a 9-year-old. These methods are not 'putting kids in little boxes'. They are recognizing how children learn, how their brains function at a given age. This knowledge only makes me a better music educator.


 Quote:
Instead of empowering parents to create a stimulating musical environment for their children, these teachers would imply that only they, the all-knowing musically superior pedagogue, can truly facilitate a game of “Itsy Bitsy Spider” with teacherly finesse.


I disagree. If you've ever participated in a MG, Kindermusik, Harmony Road, Yamaha, or Music for Young Children class, the first thing you'll notice is active parent participation. In fact, one the goals of these programs is helping parents take an active role in their child's musical education; taking the activities done in class and applying them at home. How often have we, as private teachers, chided (in our head) those parents who are uninterested, uninvolved in their child's music lessons; who are content with dropping off their child each week, but aren't really involved? You won't find that with these early childhood programs.

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#26555 - 07/24/02 05:22 AM Re: Music Makers: At The Keyboard
Jason Offline
Star Member

Registered: 05/14/00
Posts: 2019
Loc: Iowa City, IA
I think you will find it though. An early childhood class can only involve the parent for 1, maybe 2 hours a week. It's the rest of the week that's the most valuable.

I think far too many parents treat early childhood music classes like they treat church: God-fearing Christian on Sunday mornings, lazy sinner the rest of the time.

 Quote:
Originally posted by alidoremi:
How often have we, as private teachers, chided (in our head) those parents who are uninterested, uninvolved in their child's music lessons; who are content with dropping off their child each week, but aren't really involved? You won't find that with these early childhood programs.
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)


www.pianoped.com

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