Photo by miamism
The highlights of my day so far have included
- – Listening to the spooky stories with accompanying music that my grade 8’s wrote for fun.
- – Listening to the “Four Seasons” piano piece my students Do Yeon and Jenny wrote for fun.
- – Listening to my choir sing a goodbye song they wrote for me, ‘just because’.
A common theme here is that music was made not because I told my students to, but because they were curious and wanted to make it. I wonder how many students make music ‘just because’ and regardless of the figure, how we could boost it. Learning the classics is all well and good, but I’m particularly interested in encouraging students to make new music.
Music rooms can be noisy frustrating places, often with music playing so loudly and annoyingly that you just want to tell the students to go away. I challenge you to think differently. Think of a child learning to speak, parroting at first, but then trying out new sentences that they haven’t heard before. Music students have the potential to try out ‘new sentences’ but they need the space to explore sound.
Sometimes the sounds a student is exploring needs direction, and that’s when you can intervene as a parent, teacher, friend, or relative. If they’re clearly playing a tune because it’s the only one they can think of, gently redirect their focus, e.g. find them some new music online, show them a youtube video of some music they might like, ask them what music they’ve always wanted to learn and see if you can help them work it out or find the sheet music for it. If they’re trying to compose, ask them about the inspiration for the music, mention a song that it sounds similar to or a band they should check out, email them a link to a youtube video, or simply listen to the whole song from start to finish.
I’d love to hear some stories from you, my readers, about what inspired you to explore music and to create your own and your ideas for encouraging your students.