Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Teaching Kids Music - Six Tips For Non Musical Parents Who Want to Grow Musical Kids [with Deborah Lee]

It can be difficult for a parent to know the right decisions about music for their child, especially if the parent doesn't have a strong musical background.
Here are a few tips to help you
Don't wait for your child to show an interest - music is an innate part of being human and plays important roles in brain development, emotional health, motor development, and more.
Many parents take a wait and see approach to music and will often only go to the effort for children who are showing some interest or aptitude. However, just like learning a language, music is best learned at a very young age.
Consider it as important as the 3 R's. Since music helps improve a child's abilities with the 3 R's, then it's really a win-win.

Potential Outcomes - Remember that music is as much about the process as it is about outcome. A musical activity may seem small or inconsequential, but it is usually very significant. Every small task creates an imprint. It's like a musical bank account. It develops the brain, it creates muscle memory, it helps make an emotional connection.... These are all very important. Music is not an instant gratification process and that's a good thing. Encourage your child to strive to do better, but find the balance so music can blossom rather than become a ride on a treadmill.
Where to Start - Don't rush your child into private study of a musical instrument too soon. Many parents want to start their kids in piano at 3, 4, or 5 years old. Unless your child has such an interest in a particular instrument that they can't think of anything else, it is best to start them in general music classes. There are many classes like this for young children. They focus on helping the child learn to listen, how to feel the beat, how to interact with music. As the child gets older they slowly progress adding things as they are developmentally ready.
If a child starts on a musical level before they are developmentally ready it can backfire. The child can get frustrated and may become determined never to play the instrument again.
You are not too late - Even if your child is already school age or a teenager, go ahead and get them started. It's not like an invisible window closes and you've completely missed it. It is ideal to start young, especially to give your child the opportunity to develop enough for advanced study, but don't get discouraged if you didn't understand that sooner.
Practice makes experience - Practice doesn't make perfect, practice makes experience. The point of practice is to build skill and understanding. The amount of time spent in practice should be in line with goals and developmental levels. For most young and beginning musicians teachers expect about a half hour a day.
Studies have shown that short bursts of music practice are as effect as long sessions. Even six focused five minute sessions are very beneficial. It may be difficult for you or your child to sit down for half an hour with the busy schedules families have these days. Scheduling five, ten, or fifteen minute sessions is very doable for most people.
Remember to keep the time focused. Help your child decide what they are going to work on when they sit down and guide them to spend the session doing that. It can be anything that isn't quite right including mastering a tricky measure, improving tone or keeping the tempo steady. Be sure to spend time looking at the music more deeply, not just playing through it.
Time for fun - Be sure to allow time for fun. There's a time for discipline and a time for play. The beauty of discipline is that it makes the play much richer. The danger of discipline alone is the joy of the music is often lost. Many times the actions we take when we are just playing around are some of the best practice experiences.
Just remember to keep things in perspective, continue to find the balance between discipline and fun. This is a growing process in itself.

You are invited to share your thoughts, questions, and experiences by commenting at [http://www.ourmusicalhome.com]. This blog is dedicated to helping individuals and families to know and experience music in deeper ways.
by Deborah Allinder Lee who desires for you to have a more musical life.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Personalized Learning Book: SMARTER 2 is Our SECOND Co-Authored Bestseller

Can hardly contain our excitement! Our new worldwide goodwill book, Smarter ² : How to Use Personalized Learning to Master School Faster and Create the Future You Want is finally finished after a year of love and hard work!

The book shows students:
  • how to custom tailor learning to their needs, strengths and passions, 
  • how self-direct their education so that it matches what they want for their future  
  • ensures that what students study is directly related to the workplace and students are prepared with college and career readiness skills

No more 'one-size-fits all education'!


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

TED Talk on the Benefits of Music Education with Richard Gill

Currently the Artistic Director of the Sydney Symphony's Education Program, Richard has frequently conducted for Opera Australia and OzOpera, Meet the Music (SSO), Discovery concerts (Sydney Sinfonia); Ears Wide Open (MSO), and Canberra, Queensland and Tasmanian symphony orchestras. 

Saturday, January 14, 2017

How Music Class with a Special Needs Student Will Benefit ALL Students in the Classroom

When a student with special needs becomes transitions into classes with the regular student population, there are many anxieties they bring with them that are often overlooked. One of the beautiful things about music education is that music class offers students a safe space to emotionally and physically enjoy the arts. This often gets lost in the speed of the school day but when I stop to think specifically about the positives, I think about how the student WITHOUT special needs is benefiting from these new peer-to-peer relationships. In her book "I Don't Want to Go!", Delores Connors is addressing those anxieties through the story of a child who is going to the special education classroom for their first time. 

Delores, what has been your experience with public school special education? 

"I am fortunate to have had a positive experience with special education in public schools.  Today there are a lot of inclusive programs.  Special education students are blending more into the mainstream curriculum, and that is wonderful."

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

How Music Positively Affects Early Childhood Education

Singing lessons in early childhood education have long been utilized by teachers. Not ‘singing lessons’ in terms of learning how to sing, but as a vehicle for teaching and learning a concept. We know that song makes things easier to remember because it connects facts to long-term memory. And that’s also why singing is always a part of early childhood MUSIC lesson plans.
But did you know that group singing is therapeutic and makes people happy? It’s actually a proven scientific fact. Here’s a link to the actual study.
While the study was done in 2005, it really didn’t become part of the public consciousness until Time magazine published an article on the benefits of group singing in 2013: http://ideas.time.com/2013/08/16/singing-changes-your-brain/
Early childhood education benefits from music teachers who use this approach whether it’s in a classroom or a choir setting. And the benefits are amplified when this approach is used in low income schools, special needs settings or in response to a devastating event within a school community. If you are a music teacher in any of those three situations, please consider adding group singing to you music lesson plans even if there is no possibility of having the students perform. The act of singing together is what matters.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Music Helps Lower School Drop Out Rates

Imagine giving a child that one reason, that single motivation, the admirable courage to go to school each and every day. What happens to attendance Let's take a look at dropout rates. What makes a student want to give up on their education and quit? There is a disconnection from the importance of their education, as it pertains to their individual success, and they become lost in the system. What if every student could somehow feel a connection to their daily classes? If a student has difficulty in academics, and they are nonathletic, and they are not part of a popular group, how can we expect the students to fit in? Music is universal, every student listens to it and every student can participate.

According to the Foundation for Educational Choice, about 19% of California high school students in any ninth-grade class will drop out over a four-year period.  During the 2007-2008 school years, 98,420 public high school students dropped out. There is an infinite amount of repercussions that exist socio-economically including the direct impact on personal income and California's revenue received through income taxes. When the average educational engine or political think tank sees the statistic, they see a failure in the schools to retain students. But why is no investment made in determining how to retain the students? 

California alone has lost an average of $54 billion dollars in revenue each year because they have allowed these alarming dropout rates to continue without examining how to correct the problem. What if students could latch onto music education as something they related to: (whether it be choir, band or general music)? Get them in the door and then the experts in the classrooms (our teachers) will be able to use curriculum mapping to teach across the curriculum drawing from the excitement from other topics in an effort to have students retain knowledge in core subjects.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Getting into the Habit of Increasing Productivity

About two years ago, I started an experiment. Every morning, I would listen to the Bach Cello Suites while I began my work day (planning, scheduling, emailing). And almost instantaneously, I noticed an increase in my productivity.

Not sure if it was just the adrenaline rush of performing an experiment on myself or if it was some sort of placebo effect, I decided to keep doing it while taking some notes to mark measurements in productivity. Not only did I see a consistent increase, but I also observed a new added benefit... The music became a habit and would 'zero-out' my mind from anything that might otherwise conflict with my work.