Summer break comes with schedule and routine changes for students. There are many questions about continuing with music lessons over the summer, going to summer camps, and practicing over trips.
If you plan to be in town for most of the summer, it can be beneficial for your student stick with music lessons throughout the summer or attend a music camp likeCreative Arts Camp. Any time a student spends away from an instrument will be time they have to spend regaining their skills when they start back-up.
If you are going to be traveling or in day camps all summer students can maintain their current skills by practicing their past year's material. Make a list of 5-10 of their favorite songs and encourage them to sit at the piano once a day to review. This is a great time to memorize familiar repertoire.
If you decide to stick with lessons over the summer it's nice to take on special projects. If there's a more difficult your child has been dying to learn you could decide with your teacher to stop working out of the book and work on 8 bars of that song every week. If your child enjoys composing music, your teacher can help your child compose their own song and even record it. This is also a great time for your child to get together with friends and play as a band.
Many parents ask what they should do about music practice when they are on vacation. The answer depends on the nature of your trip, how long you will be gone, and your child's preference. If you are going on a short vacation where you will be busy everyday it's most likely best to take a break from practice. Sometimes a week's break can be good for a practice routine, and your child will come back with more inspiration and focus.
If you are going on a trip where you'll have more free time it can be fun to bring along your instrument. This is a nice opportunity to go over old favorite songs, have sing-a-longs, or learn new fun songs. When I was a child I would take my flute on camping trips with my family and play out in the grass by the lake.
There are many great music summer camps for kids. Unless it's part of their school curriculum, most kids don't get a great number of opportunities to play their instrument in a group. Summer camp is a great chance for them to learn to new material and experience the joy and power of playing as part of an ensemble. They'll also build new friendships along the way and be inspired by kids with their same interests.
Here are some cool gadgets for practicing away from home:
VOX amPlug ($39.00)- This nifty device creates the sound of a guitar amp, but through headphones. It plugs into your guitar and then directly into headphones. Using this will give a much more rewarding sound than practicing an electric guitar with no amp.
Roll-up Piano - There are many models of the foldable piano, they are very easy to transport. Note that these pianos are best for beginners only playing a few notes at a time. The keys don't actually physically push down so it is more to practice finger positions. These pianos can be very fun and useful for beginners.
Drum Practice Pad ($15.00-$50.00)- Practice pads are great to bring along to practice rudiments and snare patterns. Foldable drums sets with practice pads are also available.
Interest in playing music is developed from exposure to music, so if you want to get your child enthusiastic about learning the guitar, you have to let him or her listen to great guitar music or watch musical performances where the guitar figures prominently. Let them know that with practice - they need to understand the importance of this from the beginning - they are capable of making music themselves. To get your child interested in learning how to play the guitar and look forward to the lessons and hours of practice, here are a few tips.
Let music be a part of home life.
Kids who grow up listening to different kinds of music consider music to be a part of life at home and naturally take to learning to play music themselves. If you play the guitar yourself, play songs that your child knows or will easily recognize. Hum or sing your favorite tunes, watch videos of great musicians, play games that involve music - all of these contribute to your child developing an appreciation for and interest in music, which could motivate your child to take up the guitar.
Let them know they can learn.
Children as young as 5 years old can learn to play the guitar. Some even start younger at about 3, but you also have to consider the child’s physical and mental development when taking up an instrument. If your child is somewhere between 5 to 10 years of age, it’s a good time to start introducing the guitar. Let them know they don’t have to be a grownup to play. Show them videos of other kids playing the guitar to inspire them to want to play too.
Guide them in choosing their own instrument.
When children learn on an instrument they chose themselves, they are more likely to really keep going. Of course, you should know the appropriate size for your child first. Take them to a music store and let them choose from the acoustic guitars that fit for their size. Let them hold each guitar and ask them how they like the instrument - are they comfortable, do they like the color? It’s important that the guitar they would be learning on appeals to them because it will make them want to have the guitar always by their side.
Plan your lessons according to your child’s learning style.
All children learn things differently. Some pick up chord shapes easily and imitate you when you demonstrate them once, while others need you to repeat a few times before they get it right. Some do well with minimal supervision using video lessons; some others learn more when a “real” person is there with them. You should know how your child learns and tailor your lessons according to that.
Some kids might even prefer their music teacher not be their parent, so in this case you would have to look for a qualified, experienced instructor who specializes in teaching children because they would know the best approaches to use to make lessons fun and exciting.
We hope those tips help you in getting your child enthusiastic about taking up and practicing the guitar. Make sure you set a good example and practice regularly yourself!
But academic accomplishment isn’t the only benefit of music learning. Music stimulates all fields of child development andskills for school readiness: intellectual,social and emotional, motor, language, and overall literacy. Children develop skills to learn the sounds and meaning of words, build motor skills, practice self-expression, and improve memory skills by singing and dancing to music.
Toddlers and Music - Toddlers love dancing and moving to songs. Toddlers love repetition in songs, which promotes their use of words. Encourage toddlers to copy rhythms by clapping or tapping objects.
Preschoolers and Music - Preschoolers love to use their voices and sing. Great preschool music includes repetition of melody and words, strong beat, and interactive lyrics. Preschoolers enjoy acting with their imagination to songs with their bodies or props.
School-Age Children and Music - Most young school-age children are intrigued by kids’ singalong songs that involve counting, spelling, or remembering a sequence of events. School-age children begin expressing their likes and dislikes of different types of music. They may express an interest in music education, such as music lessons for kids.
More on this topic: Tired of the same old nursery rhymes? Check out the ska-pop-dance party celebrating kid's band Josh and The Jamtones!
Interested in music classes for babies and music lessons for kids in Wellesley, Natick, Newton, Weston, Westwood, Framingham, and Needham? Click Here For Classes!
Researchers at McMaster University have discovered that very early musical training benefits children even before they can walk or talk. They found that one-year-old babies who are involved in interactive music classes with their parents smile more often, communicate better and show earlier and more refined brain responses to music.
1. Music Supports Early Stages of Language Development - Vocal play is a pivotal part of babies language development. Cooing and babbling are all part of it. During music class, babies practice using their breath and facial muscles to make sounds. They also experience waiting and responsing, which mimicks conversation. Babies may also develop better memories and listening skills, which are vital to learning language.
2. Music lets babies experience patterns - Patterns help babies connect to and explore the world. Dr. Patricia Kuhl states, "All music involves patterns, so the effects we see in the baby brain could hold true for all music. We think infants in the music group learned to detect patterns and that pattern perception is really important for learning, not only in music but broadly."
3. Music and movement develop motor skills - Researchers have found that babies in music classes showed better early communication skills, like pointing at objects that are out of reach, or waving goodbye. Babies are exposed to a large variety of motions throughout a single class, such as clapping, shaking intruments, waving, and jumping with their caregiver.
4. Music Helps Babies Gain Active Listening Skills- Like reading, singing is an activity that requires listening. It's another opportunity for your baby to begin to understand language and feelings expressed through language and sing-play. Babies enhance thier discriminatory listening skills and learn to tune into important sounds, and tune-out distractions.
Kara Kulpa talks about using imagination to engage preschoolers in fun and dynamic music classes.
Kara Kulpa is a Boston based singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist with a degree in Music Therapy. Kara is the Outsourcing Director for Preschool Music Programming, Preschool Music Enrichment, and Preschool Music Teachers at Jammin' With You!
JWY!: What got you started in teaching preschool and kids music classes? KK: I have a degree in music therapy and practiced for awhile before I moved to Boston. I met Josh at Jammin' With You! and he got me started doing JamBaby classes. I thought it was so fun! I then taught a JamKids class at Beaver Summer Camp for 3-5 yrs olds and had the time of my life. I decided from that point that this was what I wanted to do.
I began booking preschool music classes all over the Newton, Natick, Sudbury, Framingham, Brookline, Wellesley, Weston, Needham, and Wayland areas. One aspect of my education that helped me a lot with successful classes, is the behavior management techniques I learned through being a therapist. Before the students can enjoy the music, you first need to engage them, and keep their attention. It takes a specific skill set it takes to get 15, four-year-olds focused on you. You’re not performing for them, you’re playing with them.
Watch Kara Kulpa at Beaver Summer Camp!
JWY!: How do you use imagination in your music classes? KK:The engagement with imagination is something that sets Jammin’ With You teachers apart from run of the mill teacher. Imagination is systematically taken out of us as we get older. We think of things as more and more specific and lose a little imagination. There’s a lot more room for creative thinking when you're kids. For example, I know I'm handing out scarves but I need to train myself to show that I’m actually handing out ice cream, maybe even broccoli flavored ice cream. The kids will be right there with you, being silly and imaginative.
JWY!:What are the different programs you bring into schools? KK:In a daycare setting we bring a combo of JamBaby and JamKidscurriculum. We’re getting up and moving around, working on impulse control, learning colors, and incorporating curriculum in fun and engaged way. If the students are learning about nature in class, the teacher will sing a nature song where the students can apply their new learning. We also use transitions between songs to reinforce learning, for example asking for only the green shakers when cleaning up. We're globalizing learning throughout each step of the class.
JWY!:What is one of your favorite songs to perform with kids? KK: There are so many songs I love to do, but one of my favorites is "I'm Just a Cowboy". When I do this song, I set it up by saying “We’re gonna go on an adventure, does anyone wanna go?” "We might encounter some things that might be scary, but we are not scared, show me brave faces!" "We’re not even afraid of rattle snakes. Can I hear, rattle snakes?" I shake bag of shakers and we pretend they are rattle snakes then pass them out. "Everyone hold onto your reins!"
Throughout the song I add in different imaginative concepts. We pretend we're coming into town, and we wave and say "howdy ma'am". Then we merge onto highway and pretend we're going faster and faster. The possibilities are endless!
Check out Kara's demonstration of I'm Just A Cowboy!
Jammin’ With You! uses music as a creative tool to help children stay connected to their inner artist. JWY! creates music-driven adventures led by expert teachers, playful and innovative teaching approaches and a commitment to bringing the arts into the lives of families everywhere. Bring Jammin' With You to your school!