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Homeschooling a musically gifted kid?


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I apologize if I've used the word 'gifted' out of context. Maybe I just mean "musically inclined". DS will turn 6 in a few weeks and he has ALWAYS been musically inclined. Around 18 months oldd he would hear "One Headlight" by the Wallflowers and sing it from his carseat...."one head Yight!" (couldn't say his L's just yet) :lol:

 

He is named after Jakob Dylan who was singing One Headlight on that CD, so that was kinda' cool.

 

Anyway, he hears a song one time and can sing it word for word. :001_huh:

He walked up to a dinner guest and said,"I'm gonna wock down to ewectwic avenue and den we'll take it high-uh". She said,"did he just say the words to Electric Avenue?!" I said, "yeah, he heard it last week in the car".

 

When dh watches Stargate on Netflix Jake "sings" the theme song....and yes, I know it's an instrumental, but to ds it goes something like this: "duh-duh-duh-duh-duh-dun....dun-dun-dun-dun" and it is all completely in pitch with the music. It makes us :lol: everytime.

 

This is the song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9U6s9Oy2F4

 

 

So, I'm wondering....what would YOU do to encourage this? Neither dh nor I are musically inclined AT ALL. Dh dabbles with a bass (has had a few lessons) and I played flute (badly, I might add) in 5th grade. My husband's MIL, who lives with us, tried to teach ds piano over a year ago, but his little hands were just way too small for the keyboard. We shall try again.

 

We have a guitar (acoustic) and he dabbles with it. I asked the band teacher (father of one of the board members here, can't remember her name) if he could take sax lessons and he just smiled and said,"he has to be BIGGER than IT to play!" :tongue_smilie:

 

So, what would YOU do? As a rather non-musical person I'm stumped.

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Just to ecourage musicality, I think I would play lots of music, sing, and buy him perhaps a keyboard and whatever else you can afford. Any and all games involving music are great.

 

But to encourage dedication to an instrument is another thing altogether, and you might start with one and it might not be a good fit, so later you shift to another, perhaps a couple more times. And age and maturity are important too. Some instruments can be started young (piano for some, violin) and others are better for older kids and bigger fingers. Be guided by his interests..and what you can reasonably afford.

 

Not all musical kids will end up experts at any particular instrument, though, but if you follow TWTM you could have him do 2 years of piano and see how that goes. But maybe wait till he is 8 or 9?

 

My very musical, dyslexic son just couldnt handle piano....the coordination necessary. But given the correct instrument (recorder, but classical) AND brilliant teacher (elderly retired teacher with an affinity for teaching boys) he became a very talented musician. Then at 14 he lost interest completely and now just listens to pop music and sings a LOT, :lol:.

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There are a number of different music "schools" of thought where children can begin music instruction early. My dd began Suzuki violin at 3yo and that is not an uncommon age to begin. Suzuki piano generally can begin a little later, around age 5yo from what I understand. There are others as well but I am not familiar with them. My ds began guitar instruction on a fractional size guitar when he was 6yo.

 

I would ask him if he is interested in learning an instrument and if so, ask around, find a good teacher, and give it a try.

 

I would take him to hear lots of music live. In our area there are many opportunities for inexpensive local concerts for a variety of different music types...check local newspapers or ask at music stores or our library often has little posters on a board. There are also many not so inexpensive options in most major cities. Introduce him to many different kinds of music either live or through CDs or other media sources.

 

There are some fun games for kids who like music like Musopoly. Books for music theory through games like No H in Snake and Music Mind Games. I would suggest the books before the game because the game uses many of the same "games" as are in the book and can be frustrating if you don't understand those "games."

 

Enjoy the ride.

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Thank you, both of you! I like the suggestion of certain games and exposing him to live music.

 

FTR, I don't really care if he develops into some musical prodigy. (that may have come out wrong, like I'm apathetic.) I don't mean that I don't care, just that my every hope isn't pinned on it, kwim? I want him to continue to ENJOY it, that's all. If he turns out to be some sort of virtuoso, then fine, but if his destiny is to sing Electric Avenue for fun I'm okay with that, too!

 

I will look into Suzuki. Isn't that where the mom learns and the kid watches along then plays, too? :nopity: <---just really wanted to use that smiley. :tongue_smilie:

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Another good idea is to find out where there may be an opportunity for "instrument petting" in your area. Our symphony hall does this a couple of times a year. It's open to the public, the symphony displays a bunch of different types of instruments, and little kids are encouraged to come up, touch them, attempt to make music, hear how they really sound, etc. It will give you and ds a bigger picture of the choices out there.

 

Have fun!

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I have a ds who sounds similar to yours. We have done a lot of the things suggested above. Play all types of recorded music for him, take him to live musical performances, attend Kindermusik classes, fill the house with instruments (small drums, tambourines, maracas, etc.), get him a keyboard. We began formal musical instruction with a piano teacher when ds was 7. Also, we recently got him a small iPod. He likes to listen to the same song over and over and then figure out how to play it on the piano. We have tried to fill our home with music to satiate ds's appetite for it.

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I will look into Suzuki. Isn't that where the mom learns and the kid watches along then plays, too? :nopity:

 

I have three kids learning their stringed instruments with the Suzuki method and I've never had to take a lesson. I think whether or not the parents have to do that depends on the teacher.

 

I second the recommendation of an instrument petting zoo. That's how our kids "found" their instruments.

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Sing.

 

We have a great children's choir near us which both our kids were/are in. The director is very musically inclined (rather than just showing up and having the kids sing through a piece or two) so it's been very educational for them.

 

This choir is associated with a church, but they are very open to having community kids come in as well. You might look around for something similar. I know there are also children's choirs around us that are not assoc with churches but they require auditions and big fees. My kids would not have auditioned, so those choirs were already out of the running for that reason.

 

Our kids have gone on to singing solo in public as well as playing every instrument they can get their hands on. We did a minimal amount of lessons on instruments, but the kids just found the lessons bothersome. They learned better on their own. Once they reach a certain point, they may want the lessons to figure out things that have them stumped, but if you have a kid who is motivated, they may get by with just a few pointers from someone around them who is musically inclined. It sounds like your MIL might be a good person (?).

 

As far as instruments for that size of kid (if he's interested in an instrument at this age), you might try

 

a smaller size violin: rent one -- it will probably be cheaper than buying as he's going to outgrow it -- unless you can get one cheap,

 

or a recorder:you might look into a sopranino if he has very small hands, and if you can stand the high pitched screech. A decent plastic one can be had for less than $20:

http://www.amazon.com/Yamaha-YRN-302BII-Sopranino-Recorder-Key/dp/B000637LV2

(this looks to be the more expensive one). I only play plastic recorders due to allergies. They are almost as good as the wood ones, the only difference being that they may not have quite as sophisticated a tone (but who's going to care until he's a professional?) A plastic one is also SO much easier to take care of.

 

or a smaller size guitar -- or even an electric guitar. We found that our kids were able to play the electric guitar more easily with their smaller hands than they could manage on an acoustic guitar.

 

 

 

I got my kids all kinds of cheap instruments that they could play around with. Eventually we've replaced them with better quality instruments if they've chosen to spend more time with a particular kind.

 

My kids started on piano at 5, but never really got into it all that much. In their teens they finally got around to actually learning how to play decently. They did like goofing around on it, though, and I'm sure that was useful. Their favorite books were the Faber Popular Repertoire books. They couldn't be bothered with the lesson books.

 

And don't worry about starting the "right" instrument now. If a kid gets motivated and only starts in their teens, they will learn in a year or two what it took a younger kid 6-8 years to learn.

 

ETA: forgot to mention that if he starts on the sopranino recorder rather than the soprano, he will be playing an F recorder, which is the same as the alto, which is probably the more preferred instrument for most solo work (until you get to be really professional) and is also the more appreciated instrument in recorder ensembles. Everybody learned soprano (in C) back in grade school, so a lot of ensembles have a ton of people who can only play soprano, which is inconvenient. Not that one can't switch between F and C fingering fairly easily, but it does take a bit of time to learn to go the other way.

Anyway, doesn't everybody want to play like this?:

 

Edited by flyingiguana
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We started listening to classical music ALOT at home and in the car when DS was young. I took him to a few performances and he saw a family friend play the violin for us for a christmas dinner... he was spellbound.

 

When he was about 7 i bought us recorders and some books and we learned. Or rather.. he took off and had to stop and help me along LOL! It was amazing how fast he picked it up...

 

So at 8 we started violin lessons at our local music homeschool coop (how nice that we have one!). And he has done AMAZING.

 

This is just our personal journey! :)

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I agree with the pp who said to sing: our kids love to sing! Dd has had the opportunity to join our church youth choir and looks forward to weekly rehearsals.

 

If a kid gets motivated and only starts in their teens, they will learn in a year or two what it took a younger kid 6-8 years to learn.

 

I've heard the above many times, but I really disagree. Our experience has been different. I think it may be true for some kids, but it is not true for younger children who are interested, motivated, and seem to have some inate ability when it comes to music. Dd began playing her instrument at 3.5 and did learn at the same pace as the older (6 y.o.) kids who were starting at the same time. She has a lot of motivation and some inate talent. Dd has been playing for 5 years and has outpaced teens who have been playing for 6-8 years.

 

That said, when it comes to music, it's NOT about how quickly you learn new pieces. Really talented kids just play differently -- more musically. I've seen kids who learn the new pieces somewhat quickly, but just sort of "check out" mentally and just play the notes. Music really sounds like *music* when the person playing it really listens to how it sounds and plays the dynamics and phrasing deliberately.

 

Just my 2 cents.

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So, I'm wondering....what would YOU do to encourage this? Neither dh nor I are musically inclined AT ALL.

 

So, what would YOU do? As a rather non-musical person I'm stumped.

 

My 12 y.o. has a musical aptitude like your son. She can hear a song, then play it on the violin. Last year, she also started doing this on the piano, so we found a teacher who would help her develop this (no piano lessons for her prior to this.)

We did not know she had this aptitude when we started her on the violin at age 5, but she revealed it pretty quickly.

I think having teachers who develop her ear has been helpful for her.

I'm musically challenged myself :tongue_smilie:

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We identified that one of my sons was musically inclined when he was 6, and he began piano lessons. Now my other son takes lessons, as well. If a child can read, he can take piano lessons, generally speaking. The lessons include theory, as well. Taking piano lessons for several years helped my oldest dd to teach herself to play acoustic guitar recently. It was time and money well-spent.:001_smile:

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Playing an instrument or singing by ear (especially with perfect pitch) is great--BUT being able to READ music really rounds out the whole deal.

 

I have a dd who plays clarinet--and she was 'good'. 'Good' made her first chair in state in Jr High-- but it did not take her into the high school level... she had been very good at playing by ear--but had LEARNED very little music theory and it caught up with her. Luckily we were able to find a wonderful teacher (you talked with my Dad about Sax lessons--but he is out of state--just remind him that he was pretty young when he started playing clarinet--I know he has 2nd graders in his bands--he likes this age better because they are a bit bigger and they can read music easier...) anyways the teacher worked with dd almost exclusively on music theory and after one year she moved on to technique--THEN my dd was back to being a 'ranked' player... don't know if she will continue with it in college next year...

 

Look for a program/teacher that will foster early music theory (reading notes) I'd also look for children's choirs to foster his singing--they will LOVE him with his perfect pitch!

 

As far as schooling goes-- I would teach as much as the basics as possible with a musical twist (skip counting songs for Math, memorization songs for History--state names, presidents...).

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I've heard the above many times, but I really disagree. Our experience has been different. I think it may be true for some kids, but it is not true for younger children who are interested, motivated, and seem to have some inate ability when it comes to music. Dd began playing her instrument at 3.5 and did learn at the same pace as the older (6 y.o.) kids who were starting at the same time. She has a lot of motivation and some inate talent. Dd has been playing for 5 years and has outpaced teens who have been playing for 6-8 years.

 

That said, when it comes to music, it's NOT about how quickly you learn new pieces. Really talented kids just play differently -- more musically. I've seen kids who learn the new pieces somewhat quickly, but just sort of "check out" mentally and just play the notes. Music really sounds like *music* when the person playing it really listens to how it sounds and plays the dynamics and phrasing deliberately.

 

Just my 2 cents.

 

:iagree: I have had the same experience with my dd. She began Suzuki violin at 3yo because she asked to learn violin when she was 2.5yo. She not only shows some innate talent but also the desire to practice which I think is often more useful than innate talent.

 

She is in an orchestra this year filled with mostly teenagers 7th-10th graders (who have been playing since they were 3-5yo), especially in the 1st violin section where she is 2nd stand and 8yo.

 

Maybe when everyone is an adult and hits a certain level it comes down to who has the desire to improve and to practice more but right now she plays as well or more musically than many teens who have been playing since they were very young.

 

So, I say, if the desire and interest are there, encourage it. I did not wish for my dd to play the way she does. I am not musical and neither is my husband so this is all new to us as well. I would have been plenty happy for a kid who takes her weekly lesson, practices a half hour, and progresses at whatever rate they might. But since it is her interest and she is willing to put in the time and effort, I will give her every opportunity to explore it. I feel that is my job as her parent.

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Look for a program/teacher that will foster early music theory (reading notes) I'd also look for children's choirs to foster his singing--they will LOVE him with his perfect pitch!

 

The Suzuki method does not start kids with music reading but eventually a good Suzuki teacher will have the child begin reading. My dd showed no interest in learning to read music until we put her in an orchestra last year. She didn't feel she had a need since she could hear a piece and play it by ear. Once she had a need for reading, she quickly picked it up and in a year is reading at the level of her playing.

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Some things we have done for a couple children like that:

 

Karaoke is awesome. My kids rock with their dad on Xbox with Lips. Family bonding and music fun all in one.

 

Simply Music DVDs is simple. My 16 year old started it on keyboard. But my littles like to try playing the practice songs on the keyboard. You know where you see a light about the key as you play the song?

 

You might see if there's a local home school choir or community theatre option. Maybe your UU church has a children choir or something similar?

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Lots of music around the house. Classical kids cd's, Beetoven's Wig, and the like

Let him mess around with music. Have a keyboard around for him to fiddle with. Recorder, xylophone, stuff like that. Kindermusic is wonderful. My ds was very similar to yours, but NOT ready for lessons at age 6 so he loved KM. Now, my son loved pushing buttons, so keyboards were a love at first sight thing. He would play actual songs on the little tykes piano in his 3yo class at church. Freaked out the workers a little to hear him plunking out Amazing Grace with perfect notes and rhythm LOL. Try to find a way for him to test out different instruments. Even just the listening stuff/cds might give you a clue as to what sounds he really likes. My ds didn't start lessons till he was almost 8 and it about killed me to wait, because I *knew* he was very musical, and all us parents want deep down to hurry up LOL! My son just wasn't very mature. Still isn't particularly, but it's ok. He's 14 now, has perfect pitch, plays beautiful piano, loves to mess around on his keyboard, sing in choir at church, and do musical theater. He doesn't like to practice, but I make him anyway. I wish he could learn a second instrument for fun, but don't have the money. Oh well. Anyway, at this point, focus on fun and atmosphere. He may be old enough for lessons, or may not be. 8 is always a good age, and from experience I can say that an 8yo can easily catch up (on piano anyway) to the early beginners. Good luck and have fun!

Kayleen

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That said, when it comes to music, it's NOT about how quickly you learn new pieces. Really talented kids just play differently -- more musically. I've seen kids who learn the new pieces somewhat quickly, but just sort of "check out" mentally and just play the notes. Music really sounds like *music* when the person playing it really listens to how it sounds and plays the dynamics and phrasing deliberately.

 

 

 

:iagree:

 

There are also many types of music, some more dependent on reading (always a plus, no matter the style, really), but playing musical is what sets so many apart from others.

 

To the OP: Those suggesting singing and exploring it for the joy of it are dead on if you wish to increase this aspect. That sets kids aside almost every time in any recital I have been to. Two could play the same piece, and I'd much rather watch the one who plays musically than one more accurate, with better posture and perfect everything, yet simply plugging in notes.

 

That doesn't mean age appropriate formal lessons (Suzuki) cannot be learned along with free exploration - Suzuki can be very good for young children, just make sure there is opportunity for a bit of fun as well. Music should never just be one dull subject to be mastered. It's the spice of life!

 

If your child is almost six, he is likely pushing the maximum age for Kindermusik. You may call some local teachers for their Young Child program and see what they recommend. That does give introduction to reading music and a variety of instrument experience, but in a very enjoyable, age appropriate way. It's been almost 10 years since I taught it and it may have changed, but it's worth a look, even if only for the very last year.

 

Alternatively, look for children choirs, as others suggested. Some will have special choirs for the younger ones. It's a nice social opportunity, while gently encouraging musical development.

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I have 2 Suzuki kids. My son started piano at 5 and my daughter started violin at 4. What is he interested in learning? My kids started young in a kindermusik style program which led very well into Suzuki. If you haven't done any music in a formal setting a group class like that could be a great first fit and help him pick an instrument. It definitely helps if they're invested.

 

I already knew enough to squeak by learning the instrument. Every teacher is different. If you do choose to do something like Suzuki, or even start regular lessons at age 6 there is a HUGE amount of parental involvement and commitment required, even for a musical, enthusiastic kid. Our music school requires parents to attend orientation meetings for a considerable period of time before you can even start.

 

Both my kids do great - even my 6 year old can pick out tunes on her violin by herself now. She taught herself a hand full of holiday songs this December. Both are musically and academically gifted.

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Playing an instrument or singing by ear (especially with perfect pitch) is great--BUT being able to READ music really rounds out the whole deal....Look for a program/teacher that will foster early music theory (reading notes) I'd also look for children's choirs to foster his singing--they will LOVE him with his perfect pitch!

 

:iagree: My daughter and younger son are very musical and can play or sing anything they hear by ear. This is great, but they are also learning how to read notes. In addition they spend a portion of their school days working on music theory. It is an important part of their musical education.

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A couple other things I thought of ... a good Suzuki teacher will introduce note reading immediately with a 6 or 7 year old playing piano. Maybe towards the end of book one with violin. My 4th grader doing Suzuki piano for 4 1/2 years could now easily transfer to a traditional teacher. My 6 year old violinist is learning to read too and will probably switch over to a reading class next year for group lessons and then moved into level 1 orchestra the following year.

 

The other thing, I don't think there is a magic age to start lessons. Kids find their place in the repotoire pretty fast especially if they're motivated and musically precocious. My kids play now with all kids that started before them. I'm a little nervous because my younger will probably move out of her violin peer group next year into an older group.

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My ten year old daughter was like this. She had always been very "sound-oriented" even when she was young; we didn't pick up at first that she was musically inclined. When she attended school for the first time in kindergarten, she met children who were taking piano and guitar lessons. All of a sudden, she kept insisting that she learn to play guitar. After about a half of year of nagging, we found a woman who gave group guitar lessons for children using the Childbloom method. Group lessons are cheaper, which is our reason for pursuing them, as money was tight for us at the time. She has been playing guitar ever since and is still going to the same teacher; she is now in the fourth grade. Ironically, the child who inspired her to take guitar no longer plays :lol:.

 

I sent my youngest son to Kindermusik for the Young Child last year, which is their course for 5 to 7 year olds. My son has ADHD so he did not cooperate in the lessons, which is why we stopped them. I am not sure if it was him (ie. he is not mature and attentive enough for a structured program like that) or if it was that the teacher was not interesting enough or flexible enough to deal with him. I liked the program. They introduce the children to rhythms using Kodaly (ie. a quarter note is "ta", two eighth notes are "ti-ti"). Using songs introduced at home with a included CD and in class, they start teaching how to read the treble clef. In the first year of Kindermusik for the Young Child, the children get glockenspiels, which they use for learning to read the notes and learn "ear training". In the second year they use both dulcimers and recorders.

 

Some people will tell you that if your child does not have music lessons before age 7, he/she will never develop perfect pitch. However, many very good musicians do not have perfect pitch, so it is not an all or nothing thing. Many non-Suzuki teachers will not take a child for lessons who is not yet reading.

 

Besides Kindermusik, in some areas there is Musikgarten, which was started by the same people who originally developed Kindermusik. Some say that Musikgarten is the "new and improved" version. Musikgarten is based on Gordon's theory of audiation, or how a child develops basic music skills like keeping the beat and singing in tune. As I said before Kindermusik is based on Kodaly.

 

Keyboard based programs for very young children included Yamaha Music Schools, Music for Young Children, Harmony Road Music Course, and Let's Play Music.

 

Some books (hopefully you can find a library copy!) that can help you sort through all the decisions about music lessons for your son include:

 

Raising Musical Kids by Robert A. Cutietta

Your Musical Child by Jessica Baron Turner

Music Lessons by Stephanie Stein Crease

The Harmonious Child by Stella Saperstein and Beth Luey

Sound Choices by Wilma Machover and Marienne Uszler

 

The advice that most of these books give is to go with the instrument that your child is attracted to. While most young children cannot handle the brass instruments, they can handle a surprising number of instruments at a young age, especially with Suzuki or Suzuki-like lessons. If your son does not have a particular instrument in mind, you may want to go with a more general music course like one of the ones listed above. Of course, you need to see what is available in your area.

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#1 is exposure. Expose him to quality music often. Find a variety of genres from a variety of time periods, instruments, voices...add some new classical music to his listening every few weeks. Find live events and take him. Be interested in learning new things about music yourself.

 

Suzuki is a good way to start lessons, piano or violin. It's a toss up as to which first... I am doing piano first with mine for financial reasons

(I can teach this myself.), but if I had the $ all 3 of mine would be in Suzuki piano and violin.

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Some people will tell you that if your child does not have music lessons before age 7, he/she will never develop perfect pitch. However, many very good musicians do not have perfect pitch, so it is not an all or nothing thing. Many non-Suzuki teachers will not take a child for lessons who is not yet reading.

 

I have no idea how perfect pitch is at all useful. Seriously. Musicians need excellent *relative* pitch.

 

We just discovered that our dd has perfect pitch. The only thing she uses it for is tuning her viola A to 442 without a reference. Other than that (and that's of minimal use b/c one normally tunes to the concertmaster in an orchestra, the first violin in a quartet, or the piano), it's pretty useless as far as I can see.

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I have no idea how perfect pitch is at all useful. Seriously. Musicians need excellent *relative* pitch.

 

We just discovered that our dd has perfect pitch. The only thing she uses it for is tuning her viola A to 442 without a reference. Other than that (and that's of minimal use b/c one normally tunes to the concertmaster in an orchestra, the first violin in a quartet, or the piano), it's pretty useless as far as I can see.

:iagree:

Perfect pitch is way over rated. And it isn't going to be developed by early music lessons if you don't already have it.

 

In fact, back in my music major days, it seemed that the kids in the music theory classes with perfect pitch were struggling because of it. They had no relative pitch sense AT ALL and seemed incapable of developing it because the perfect pitch kept getting in their way.

 

I've only known one musician with perfect pitch who did not seem hampered by it, and while she appreciates having it, she's had to learn to work around it.

 

I know lots of really good musicians who don't have perfect pitch. They manage just fine.

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[quote name=zaichiki;2296510

Quote:

Originally Posted by flyingiguana viewpost.gif

If a kid gets motivated and only starts in their teens' date=' they will learn in a year or two what it took a younger kid 6-8 years to learn.[/i]

 

 

I've heard the above many times, but I really disagree. Our experience has been different. I think it may be true for some kids, but it is not true for younger children who are interested, motivated, and seem to have some inate ability when it comes to music. Dd began playing her instrument at 3.5 and did learn at the same pace as the older (6 y.o.) kids who were starting at the same time. She has a lot of motivation and some inate talent. Dd has been playing for 5 years and has outpaced teens who have been playing for 6-8 years.

 

That said, when it comes to music, it's NOT about how quickly you learn new pieces. Really talented kids just play differently -- more musically. I've seen kids who learn the new pieces somewhat quickly, but just sort of "check out" mentally and just play the notes. Music really sounds like *music* when the person playing it really listens to how it sounds and plays the dynamics and phrasing deliberately.

 

Just my 2 cents.

 

 

I'm not quite sure how you think that's a disagreement. Motivated kids learn faster. But there's no particular reason to start a kid on lessons at an early age unless they ARE motivated. And there's no reason to panic that a child might have missed some magic window of opportunity if they didn't start lessons at 3. A teenager really can pick it up just as fast, sometimes faster, as long as the motivation is there.

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My ten year old daughter was like this. She had always been very "sound-oriented" even when she was young; we didn't pick up at first that she was musically inclined. When she attended school for the first time in kindergarten, she met children who were taking piano and guitar lessons. All of a sudden, she kept insisting that she learn to play guitar. After about a half of year of nagging, we found a woman who gave group guitar lessons for children using the Childbloom method. Group lessons are cheaper, which is our reason for pursuing them, as money was tight for us at the time. She has been playing guitar ever since and is still going to the same teacher; she is now in the fourth grade. Ironically, the child who inspired her to take guitar no longer plays :lol:.

 

 

My daughter started out band sitting next to her best friend. They both played flute. The friend had been playing flute about 4 years at that point. My daughter was mortified that she had only been playing a week and could only pick out a few notes. So she started practicing 2-3 hours a day. By next week, when the band met again, she was playing as well as her friend. By the end of the 6 week summer program, her friend couldn't keep up with her.

 

She's in the process of something similar with another friend of hers who plays piano. And she still plays flute.

 

I'm looking around for someone in her peer group who plays violin who she can try to out-compete. Subtle psychology at work!

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I have no idea how perfect pitch is at all useful. Seriously. Musicians need excellent *relative* pitch.

 

We just discovered that our dd has perfect pitch. The only thing she uses it for is tuning her viola A to 442 without a reference. Other than that (and that's of minimal use b/c one normally tunes to the concertmaster in an orchestra, the first violin in a quartet, or the piano), it's pretty useless as far as I can see.

 

:iagree:

Perfect pitch can be a major pain. Even if you don't really have it. I don't but I once had to walk out of a choral rehearsal in physical pain because the conductor decided to rehearse a piece a whole tone higher than the key I knew it in. It was like someone sticking a screwdriver into each of my ears then wriggling them around.

Better relative pitch, now that would be useful :bigear:

 

DD 4.5 has been doing Suzuki violin for 11 months now and has just started (in the last week) piano (non-Suzuki).

 

Good luck OP

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:iagree:

Perfect pitch is way over rated. And it isn't going to be developed by early music lessons if you don't already have it.

 

In fact, back in my music major days, it seemed that the kids in the music theory classes with perfect pitch were struggling because of it. They had no relative pitch sense AT ALL and seemed incapable of developing it because the perfect pitch kept getting in their way.

 

I've only known one musician with perfect pitch who did not seem hampered by it, and while she appreciates having it, she's had to learn to work around it.

 

I know lots of really good musicians who don't have perfect pitch. They manage just fine.

 

Now, what's with picking on the perfect pitch world? :rofl: I do not have it, I manage just fine too. However, I do think it's useful.

 

First, you are aware, but others may not be, that perfect, or absolute pith is actually highly uncommon and most non-musically trained use it in a way that suggests their child matches pitch well. This was very common when I was teaching Kindermusik. Parents would call me all of the time to tell me their child had "perfect pitch", but they really meant their 2 year-old was matching pitch. If you look up the statistics, it's really only 1 in 10,000 with pure perfect pitch, though it is more prevalent in musicians obviously, something like 1 to 350+, I think.

 

It can be a hindrance, but there are places it's very useful, most particularly in non-classical areas, and I'm glad my son has it. He has learned flexibility in his tuning after much argument. He prefers, for example, a 442 A, but he can now tune to the 440 or otherwise, so he could tune with an orchestra if we ever get a chance to slow down and get him in one. He actually likes tuning, almost like a hobby. I've been considering having him apprentice under a piano tuner someday. There are still some people who prefer what a natural ear will tune one to, instead of a digital tuner. Slight variations in the tuning of the higher notes that make a difference sometimes.

 

As a plus, our family band sings a lot of a cappella, and occasionally going out of tune is possible. Most of the audience won't know, but some will, perfect pitch or not. My son, when placed in the middle where everyone hears him well, holds the key. However, if the others go out of tune anyway, particularly his little sister, it makes him bonkers and he literally has stopped the music before in the middle of a concert to "fix" us. It's taken time to teach him to control his aggravation and to deliberately "modulate" if he must to keep with us.

 

I can also give him very difficult middle harmonies, some music, and he'll have it down in one play, where I have to drill others a few times. In some 20th century vocal works that require a lot of dissonance, (most of which, I admit, I personally think are terrible), perfect pitch is valued.

 

He is especially useful for giving pitches when Christmas caroling. :lol:

 

Lastly, and most useful for us, he can hear chords on the fly. If we perform cover tunes, no hassles trying to figure out what chord the artist we're copying plays. We simply ask him. He can immediately identify the chord, even minors and sevenths.

 

Is it mandatory? No. Can it be a blessing? More often than not, just in a different way. It provides different skills, not better.

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Well I'm odd duck out. I don't think every interest or talent needs a class.

Sometimes I think turning everything into lessons can kill enthusiasm fast.

 

If he likes music, I'd just let him enjoy it in whatever relaxed manner comes available. He is 6. The enjoyment is far more important to me at that age.:)

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First, you are aware, but others may not be, that perfect, or absolute pith is actually highly uncommon and most non-musically trained use it in a way that suggests their child matches pitch well.

 

 

 

Just curious ... so my 10 year old who plays piano (and no other instruments) can name the note names other instruments play spontaneously or can maybe name the key a piece is in without seeing the music. A week or 2 ago he was humming a Bach piece he is learning that he told me he hates. He said, yes I'm humming it but I'm humming it in the key of E minor instead of the original key. I went and played a little of it in E minor on the piano and he was. Is that perfect pitch? I can actually do this too (took 7 years of violin growing up), and my 6 year old is actually up and coming (she'll ID notes commonly played in her violin pieces).

 

Anyway - I didn't think that skill was that exotic!

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Just curious ... so my 10 year old who plays piano (and no other instruments) can name the note names other instruments play spontaneously or can maybe name the key a piece is in without seeing the music. A week or 2 ago he was humming a Bach piece he is learning that he told me he hates. He said, yes I'm humming it but I'm humming it in the key of E minor instead of the original key. I went and played a little of it in E minor on the piano and he was. Is that perfect pitch? I can actually do this too (took 7 years of violin growing up), and my 6 year old is actually up and coming (she'll ID notes commonly played in her violin pieces).

 

Anyway - I didn't think that skill was that exotic!

 

I have a child with perfect pitch. He's adhd w/aspie tendencies. It impresses the heck out of music teachers. I would perhaps trade it for some other character traits, but oh well. :lol:

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Just curious ... so my 10 year old who plays piano (and no other instruments) can name the note names other instruments play spontaneously or can maybe name the key a piece is in without seeing the music. A week or 2 ago he was humming a Bach piece he is learning that he told me he hates. He said, yes I'm humming it but I'm humming it in the key of E minor instead of the original key. I went and played a little of it in E minor on the piano and he was. Is that perfect pitch? I can actually do this too (took 7 years of violin growing up), and my 6 year old is actually up and coming (she'll ID notes commonly played in her violin pieces).

 

Anyway - I didn't think that skill was that exotic!

 

It is actually rare, but keep in mind, the 1 in 10,000 includes non-musicians in the general population.

 

Just like relative pitch, the depth of perfect pitch varies as well. Some can pick out notes from the instruments they're most accustom to hearing, which is sort of more like high relative pitch, others can tell any pitch, if they think and hum, some can tell you the pitch of a car horn is 2 blocks away, or hear a full chord "seeing" all of the notes at once. It sort of jumps out at them the same way you instinctively know a tree is green. Most describe it as the same way they "see" color. That's the truest absolute pitch that is the most rare, but seen more often in musicians who actually use it. There isn't a good way to determine quality of absolute pitch in non-musicians who have nothing to which they can relate what they hear, and it is believed to be genetic, but "locked in" at a point in youth, which expects musicianship at least at some point in childhood.

 

My son walks around humming things in different keys for the fun of it in his head too. He gets very particular about the key things are in. Different keys take on whole different characteristics to him. They do to many with relative pitch, but if you live with someone with absolute pitch, there is simply a difference. It's believed to be partly genetic, so if you have at least perfect pitch, even to a point, it stands to reason you could have a child with it as well.

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I agree with many of the posters who recommended having lots of music around for your son to enjoy. We have enjoyed the Beethoven's Wig CDs, and there are many like that. Let him explore different types of music and even musicals. Let him sing and dance. See where it takes him.

 

If he has a genuine interest in a instrument, I would pursue it. I gave it a few months, and when my son continually asked for lessons I decided he was serious enough to give it a try. He is playing the ukelele, and totally loves it. The size makes it a great choice for young kids, and the price made it an easier decision for me. We got a pretty good quality instrument for a small amount of money, so I wouldn't feel the pressure of it working out, iykwim. And it sounds so cool. :D

 

Now he wants to play the piano, so we'll see if we want to add that in a bit later. I think he is just going to be a musical kid.

 

Enjoy the music!!

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Well I'm odd duck out. I don't think every interest or talent needs a class.

Sometimes I think turning everything into lessons can kill enthusiasm fast.

 

If he likes music, I'd just let him enjoy it in whatever relaxed manner comes available. He is 6. The enjoyment is far more important to me at that age.:)

 

I don't think every interest or talent needs a class. Music, however, is as important a part of our homeschooling curriculum as learning a foreign language, math, science, or art. When dd was a baby, I asked her brothers to pick an instrument and then got them a teacher. This was after years of listening to different types of music, dancing around the kitchen, and singing to and with them.

 

They started formal lessons at 6 and 8yo, not at 3yo, and now as teens, each is proficient at their instrument of choice (guitar and drums), practices on their own, loves to play, and could easily teach lessons.

 

But when you have a child who begins picking out nursery rhymes and little songs on your new piano on her own at 2.5yo then asks to learn violin (because she "already knows how to play piano"), something kind of tells you that maybe her interest goes far beyond your own area of expertise. Suzuki violin was perfect for her...not too formal and everything learned through games.

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Well I'm odd duck out. I don't think every interest or talent needs a class.

Sometimes I think turning everything into lessons can kill enthusiasm fast.

 

If he likes music, I'd just let him enjoy it in whatever relaxed manner comes available. He is 6. The enjoyment is far more important to me at that age.:)

 

 

Just to be clear, my thread was not only about CLASSES, but about fostering this interest he has, just as someone with an artistic kid would want to foster THAT interest/talent. I want him to enjoy this adventure and the suggestions here such as the musical instrument petting zoo, going to live performances, etc. were GREAT! and things I hadn't thought of previously.

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If he has a genuine interest in a instrument, I would pursue it. I gave it a few months, and when my son continually asked for lessons I decided he was serious enough to give it a try. He is playing the ukelele, and totally loves it. The size makes it a great choice for young kids, and the price made it an easier decision for me. We got a pretty good quality instrument for a small amount of money, so I wouldn't feel the pressure of it working out, iykwim. And it sounds so cool. :D

 

 

Oh! I totally forgot about the ukulele! Such a disrespected little instrument. It would seem time has slowly started to forget the horrible abuse Tiny Tim gave it and the ukulele is in the middle of a big come-back!

 

My 5yo just got a ukulele for Christmas. It's a small pink, sparkly one, but it can tune and certainly chord/strum simple tunes. In fact, you only need one finger down for a "C" chord, the strings are light, and little kids can often handle it with a bit of practice. With only 3 chords, you'd be surprised how many children's songs you can play!. There are many children's ukulele methods out there too. You can find one that will be a nice little starter instrument for a young child under $30.

 

And with that, I thought I'd brag a bit on my cute one who specifically requested a pink ukulele with sparkles and a matching yellow sparkling dress for Christmas. The song she's singing to is in "C", using 2 other chords she hasn't learned yet, but it still sounds satisfying with just the root chord:

 

 

 

That's yet another way to foster music in young children. Pitch, coordination, rhythm of strumming, and she doesn't even know she's learning! :001_smile:

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I don't think every interest or talent needs a class. Music, however, is as important a part of our homeschooling curriculum as learning a foreign language, math, science, or art. When dd was a baby, I asked her brothers to pick an instrument and then got them a teacher. This was after years of listening to different types of music, dancing around the kitchen, and singing to and with them.

 

They started formal lessons at 6 and 8yo, not at 3yo, and now as teens, each is proficient at their instrument of choice (guitar and drums), practices on their own, loves to play, and could easily teach lessons.

 

But when you have a child who begins picking out nursery rhymes and little songs on your new piano on her own at 2.5yo then asks to learn violin (because she "already knows how to play piano"), something kind of tells you that maybe her interest goes far beyond your own area of expertise. Suzuki violin was perfect for her...not too formal and everything learned through

games.

 

I'm aware of that because my 4 year old is just like that. My first and second born was/is too. From a very young age, they have loved all things music and seem to have a natural bent towards it. I'm not knocking classes. I'm aware music is not my expertise. I was simply offering the opinion that one can encourage and they can grow in appreciation without lessons from a young age.

 

We simply don't do official lessons until our kids are approximately 10. My second born plays electric guitar and trumpet. Other children play sax, trombone, clarinet, and acoustic guitar. And we've got the electric keyboard that they mess around on as inclined. I haven't seen my delaying lessons holding any of my children back musically. That was the only point of my post. Not to disparage those who do differently. Just to say one doesn't have to go that route. Sorry if it came across any other way.:)

 

I also get season tickets to the local theatre for my birthday the last couple years. It's only two seats per show bc even that is quite an extravagant gift on our budget, so I take one kid each time. We've enjoyed Little House on the Prairie, Wizard of Oz and others.

 

Another option, even for non Christians? Is to see a live production of Dicken's A Christmas Carol each year because it often has lots of children in the cast. My kids get a kick out of that. Some people like the Nutcracker, but frankly I can't stand ballet and think that is one of the worse and most boring. I know. I can hear the gasps throughout the Internet.:tongue_smilie:

 

I know OKC as a couple community playhouses that have smaller (=often cheaper ;)) productions that are kid friendly.

 

Last suggestion is to not forget dance! My kids are loving ballroom dance lessons and dance certain teaches rhythm and involves music.

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Oh one more thing...

 

Oak Meadow believes strongly in encouraging music and artistic expression in general from a young age and included teaching the recorder starting in first grade.

 

I just passed the extra recorder materials I had onto someone else here or I'd send them to you.

 

Oak Meadow is a very artsy program. One of the reasons I am using much of it this year.

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I'm not quite sure how you think that's a disagreement. Motivated kids learn faster. But there's no particular reason to start a kid on lessons at an early age unless they ARE motivated. And there's no reason to panic that a child might have missed some magic window of opportunity if they didn't start lessons at 3. A teenager really can pick it up just as fast, sometimes faster, as long as the motivation is there.

 

What I mean is that, for a motivated/interested child who seems to have innate ability in music, starting young is better than starting later (at least for stringed instruments). Yes, they can learn when they're older, but I have seen older students (who were very motivated and interested) struggle with things that came so easily to equally motivated kids who were much younger.

 

There isn't a window of opportunity when it comes to enjoying music, but I think it is misleading to suggest that a child can start (an instrument in the violin family) as a teen and "catch up" to those kids who started much earlier. In general this does not happen. I don't know a thing about other instruments, but I'd like to hear more from that perspective.

 

ETA: Just saw your bit about your dd and the flute. I think that's great that she put so much effort into learning to play the flute! (Is she driven by the competition?)

Edited by zaichiki
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And with that, I thought I'd brag a bit on my cute one who specifically requested a pink ukulele with sparkles and a matching yellow sparkling dress for Christmas. The song she's singing to is in "C", using 2 other chords she hasn't learned yet, but it still sounds satisfying with just the root chord:

 

 

That's yet another way to foster music in young children. Pitch, coordination, rhythm of strumming, and she doesn't even know she's learning! :001_smile:

 

What a cutie on the ukulele!

 

Saw your Christmas video -- loved the Grinch!

Ds thinks your ds has a nice voice and dd says "Wow" to your dd singing melody of What Child Is This. Really beautiful!

 

Thank you for sharing! :)

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What a cutie on the ukulele!

 

Saw your Christmas video -- loved the Grinch!

Ds thinks your ds has a nice voice and dd says "Wow" to your dd singing melody of What Child Is This. Really beautiful!

 

Thank you for sharing! :)

 

LOL! That was thrown together in about 2 weeks when I told a lady at an assisted living center we'd be happy to come play our "Christmas music set" for the residents. Never mind that we didn't *have* a Christmas set. :lol: We have one now.

 

Back to your regularly scheduled program. :)

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And with that, I thought I'd brag a bit on my cute one who specifically requested a pink ukulele with sparkles and a matching yellow sparkling dress for Christmas. The song she's singing to is in "C", using 2 other chords she hasn't learned yet, but it still sounds satisfying with just the root chord:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TcKBO_XbG7Q:

 

That is adorable!

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And don't worry about starting the "right" instrument now. If a kid gets motivated and only starts in their teens, they will learn in a year or two what it took a younger kid 6-8 years to learn.

 

 

 

 

I've heard the above many times, but I really disagree. Our experience has been different. I think it may be true for some kids, but it is not true for younger children who are interested, motivated, and seem to have some inate ability when it comes to music. Dd began playing her instrument at 3.5 and did learn at the same pace as the older (6 y.o.) kids who were starting at the same time. She has a lot of motivation and some inate talent. Dd has been playing for 5 years and has outpaced teens who have been playing for 6-8 years.

 

That said, when it comes to music, it's NOT about how quickly you learn new pieces. Really talented kids just play differently -- more musically. I've seen kids who learn the new pieces somewhat quickly, but just sort of "check out" mentally and just play the notes. Music really sounds like *music* when the person playing it really listens to how it sounds and plays the dynamics and phrasing deliberately.

 

Just my 2 cents.

 

I have to agree with zaichici. DS showed a talent for music at 3. We have a dear family friend who teaches piano and she refused to even entertain teaching him until he was 7 because of the wiggly, low attention span, etc. of young children. Her theory was also that she could teach him in 6 months what it would take three years to teach as a younger child. Thus, we took her advice.

 

Fast forward two years and DS gets enrolled in a group keyboarding class (that was a package with some other enrichment classes). After just 4 weeks, he was moved up one class. Another 4 weeks pass and he advances 2 classes. At this point, I am informed by the director that he is musically gifted :blink:. He played in his first recital in December 2010 and was the youngest by three years. Needless to say, he starts private lessons the middle of January.

 

Each child is soooo different, but I really beat myself up for not going with my gut on the music front with DS. Sometimes it takes a person to look at your DC as the whole child, not as being the same as all the others in the crowd.

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I have to agree with zaichici. DS showed a talent for music at 3. We have a dear family friend who teaches piano and she refused to even entertain teaching him until he was 7 because of the wiggly, low attention span, etc. of young children. Her theory was also that she could teach him in 6 months what it would take three years to teach as a younger child. Thus, we took her advice.

 

Fast forward two years and DS gets enrolled in a group keyboarding class (that was a package with some other enrichment classes). After just 4 weeks, he was moved up one class. Another 4 weeks pass and he advances 2 classes. At this point, I am informed by the director that he is musically gifted :blink:. He played in his first recital in December 2010 and was the youngest by three years. Needless to say, he starts private lessons the middle of January.

 

Each child is soooo different, but I really beat myself up for not going with my gut on the music front with DS. Sometimes it takes a person to look at your DC as the whole child, not as being the same as all the others in the crowd.

 

I have seen teens take to music when they haven't had formal lessons before. I've even seen adults who have taken up instruments (when they have never played anything before) and learn them well enough to be performing for pay.

 

And you have to think about the flip side of this issue as well. There are young kids who are quite interested in music who have their interest killed by lessons that are too early and that expect too much.

 

I'd be careful about starting lessons on a child early. I would want to find a teacher who had very little in the way of expectations, but with a lot of enthusiasm no matter how fast or slow the child went -- in other words, someone who was willing to let the child dictate the pace while somehow providing a lot of encouragement to practice. And while some kids may start fast, they might slow down, depending on their developmental ability. You don't want a teacher who makes the mistake of assuming the child will continue to move at a fast pace just like an older one might be expected to do.

 

I also don't like sending the message that one has to grab that musically gifted young child and get them onto an instrument quick or they will lose the opportunity to ever play well. It just isn't true. The big problem with older beginners is that they just don't have as much time to practice. But, if they're motivated, they often make up for that with sheer determination and better coordination.

 

Actually, I just realized that my husband didn't take up any instrument until he was in his late teens. He had piano lessons for a few months in grade school but got frustrated. Then in his late teens he took up the banjo and got good enough that when he plays in guitar stores, the owners ask if he'd like to teach banjo there. He recently dropped the banjo due to lack of time and took up the guitar a couple years ago instead. He now plays really well. But I forget that he started as an adult because it really made no difference to the final sound.

 

I didn't start violin until I was in my twenties. I had been playing piano before, but not very well as I never had a motivating teacher (and I really needed that). I don't practice violin much with everything else going on in my life, but I play better than most kids I see being touted as "good".

To be honest, I'm not even sure I believe in anyone being musically "gifted". There are those who are fascinated by music, who are willing to put in hours of practice, and who are really paying attention while they're practicing, rather than just going through the motions. They may look gifted, but the fact is that they're just dedicated.

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ETA: Just saw your bit about your dd and the flute. I think that's great that she put so much effort into learning to play the flute! (Is she driven by the competition?)

 

She really is. At first it made me pretty uncomfortable (I mean, what an unladylike thing to be doing!), but it seems to be a good thing for her and hasn't damaged her friendships with the other kids.

 

Youtube is also an amazing invention for beginner musicians. One can see excellent performances alongside not so great ones. It becomes so much easier to critique one's own playing -- and to get the inspiration to work harder.

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Well I'm odd duck out. I don't think every interest or talent needs a class.

Sometimes I think turning everything into lessons can kill enthusiasm fast.

 

If he likes music, I'd just let him enjoy it in whatever relaxed manner comes available. He is 6. The enjoyment is far more important to me at that age.:)

 

I actually agree with this. Lessons killed my daughter's enthusiasm for violin. She had to quit for years, even though she was moving faster than anyone her teachers had ever seen.

 

However, everyone in our family plays music all the time, and we try to hang out with people who are very musically inclined (in choirs and bands and such). If a child didn't have that as a daily influence, lessons might be worthwhile. But if I were in that position, I'd be seeking out other things before lessons that were more relaxed introductions to music -- assuming I knew what I knew, which I might not know, if we didn't already have a musically intense house.

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