Music is a language and exposure to it must be made from birth.As a child learns to speake before she reads, so she must play music before she reads music.
European music depends on several notes playing together to form chords and is very complex. Classical music is dependent on musicians being able to read extremely fluently, thus music reading must start as early as possible – usually at the time they start to read their own language. Below is part of the notation of Fur Elise by Beethoven and beneath that is a five year old performing it.
Major Early Childhood Methods
(All named after their creators)
1 Dalcroze (Eurythmics) The oldest of the early music methods. Musical awareness is taught through movement as the brain understands best if the whole body is involved.
2 Orff (Schulwerk) Adapted some of Dalcroze’s ideas adding tuned percussion to encourage children to make music without the technical skills required to play the traditional instruments
3 Kodaly A system which integrates musical training and literacy through singing. Hand signals accompany the singing showing the various pitches.
4 Suzuki Based on the concept that as a child learns its mother tongue, so it should learn music. Started with violin and spread to other instruments
Other methods have been developed such as Yamaha, Kindermusik, Music Together etc. But all are based at least in part on the four major methods and all have at least an element of the Dalcroze method in them and the four major methods are still the main ones used.
So successful have some of these methods become that they have become a major export earner for some countries such as Yamaha and Suzuki Methods in Japan
All successful music making depends on a stable, internalized sense of beat and this is the first element dealt with in teaching children music. Without this, nothing else can be successfully accomplished.
The next videos demonstrate the Dalcroze class.The first shows stability of beat
This video applies movement to notation analysed by movement.
This video demonstrates Fur Elise analysed in a Dalcroze style. Watch how the movement changes and repeats as the piece changes and repeats.
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