Monday 27 January 2014

We are told that it is very beneficial for a child to learn to play a musical instrument and to learn to read music at a young age. Recent studies have shown that this helps children do well in other areas of their education. Some believe this is because it ‘stretches’ the child and makes them more receptive to learning in general. Some would say it encourages ‘the little grey cells’ to grow.

Others would say that by achieving a level of competence as a musician, the child’s confidence in learning is given a boost and they are given a headstart when presented with other new subjects to learn.

Some children can be seen to have a real interest in making music at a very early age . Some are born into musical families and are surrounded by music making from birth. Some are just inspired by an early experience  of seeing someone play or sing beautifully.  Hopefully most children will have been sung to as babies and toddlers, or had a fun time at playgroup dancing and singing with their friends.

For some, the desire to create music and to communicate through music seems to come from some deep personal wellspring that nothing can stop. Some of our greatest musicians have had to overcome enormous opposition to pursue their dream.

Nevertheless, although It sounds obvious, it has to be said that when it comes to the point of taking lessons, it won’t work unless the child themselves wants to do it. Most children will.

Music is a language. You learn to read it by learning the words, signs, and symbols by which it is written down. Just as in learning to read books, you need to be really sure of your alphabet before going on to higher things, so you need to be really sure the basic signs and symbols of musical language are thoroughly understood as lessons proceed.

It is a language of sound and part of the learning is by using one’s ears. Some musicians are very skilled at this and rely on this facility for their whole lives and will always prefer to ‘play by ear’ and rather avoid  the written page.

The importance of developing a musical ‘ear’ cannot be underestimated. Your teacher will include this as an important part of the learning process.

However, some doors will always remain closed if the person does not learn to read the written page. It will not be a problem to do so, if you always take care to make sure every sign, every dot, every symbol, every word is thoroughly understood and the music drilled either by singing or playing or both.

Then practice makes perfect. Noone would pretend that it doesn’t take a lot of practice to be an excellent musician, but this way it will always be fun!


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