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What would you consider basic music knowledge

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that all children and adults should have? I am not musically inclined at all, and I have done very little music instruction with my girls. I'm talking about notes, chords, keys, etc. We have done music appreciation because we all love music. I would just like to hear your thoughts.




BTW, I ordered some music curriculum from R&S (recommended here) for this year, but it's fallen by the wayside. I guess I should try it again. It's all very confusing for me.

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I don't think everyone needs to know how to read music or play an instrument. Some people have no interest. I think people should have an understanding of genre and style, famous and influential artists from classical to rap.


If you want them to learn music theory for singing or playing instruments, they need to know the bass and treble clefs, the notes on the scale, types of notes and rests, time signature and how to identify it in a piece you hear. More advanced would be key signature and scales.

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I always think of the kind of things that are taught at schools (for laychildren, not musicians):


Basics like:

- The ability to recognize all of the "standard" instruments (by sight & being able to individuate their sound);

- The ability to recognize most of the "standard" classical music pieces (that which would probably be termed "music appreciation" nowadays - i.e. there is a certain repertory of pieces one should recognize upon hearing them);

- The clear differentiation of basic components of music (what is a pitch, rhythm, melody, tempo, tonality, etc.);

- Introductory solfeggio and a basic ability to read music;

- A general overview of music history (which of the major composers fits where and what are some general characteristics of that epoch - IMO, this is done the best in middle / high school, simply tieing it the history rotation, preferably after the child has covered the above);

- A basic differentiation of major music genres, techniques and forms (so that they are not clueless as to what is a sonata, what is a fugue, etc.).


All of this assuming you do not intend to actually practice music, but just wish to be generally educated. I would highly recommend, however, at least some practice experience on one instrument (invest into a few years of instrument or voice lessons, if possible), because that makes theory come alive and learning has more sense that way; and I would even more highly recommend attending musical events as frequently as your budget allows it to expose your children to various high quality music.

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I don't think everyone needs to know how to read music or play an instrument.


I have to disagree with this slightly. I think everyone should know how to play basic piano (or keyboard!) and/or guitar chords so that they can accompany themselves or others. You do not need to know how to read music to do this, a laminated chord chart and guitar tab chart will suffice. If you know D, C, G, F, A, E, Em, & Am, you know enough to accompany yourself on thousands of different songs.


Yes, kids should know the composers, musical styles, categories of musical instruments, basic treble and bass clef note reading, etc. However, I think giving kids this basic foundation of piano and/or guitar is a necessary addition to all that. OP: Don't be afraid of the guitar if you've never played. We have a couple of very nice guitars around the house and my ds is practicing on a $30 First Act guitar from Toys R Us. Guess what? It works just fine! You don't even need to buy a tuner- just search for "tune acoustic guitar" on YouTube. Easy peasy! :001_smile:


Just my $.02, anyway. HTH!


ETA: I don't think music theory is necessary for everyone. If you do, however, have a child that takes an interest in it, I would recommend Alfred's Music Theory books.

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