Thursday, September 29, 2011

Music help needed, please

I really need some help from you. I want to teach my children about music, but I know nothing. I had music in school and a keyboard class but I have forgotten everything. I need something that will teach my children the basics of music without me having to know anything. A couple of them are wanting to take music lessons but I thought it might be beneficial to teach them about notes and such first. Can anyone please give me ideas? Thank you so much!!



  1. When I was in 9th grade, I used Landmark Freedom Baptist Curriculum. (Now I use it with my own children!) They have a music elective. I'm not sure if it covers what you need, but I'm going to leave you the link. You could call and talk to them about it if you're interested.

    Hope that helps,

  2. This is just my opinion, others may disagree.

    I can't remember actually learning how to read music. I just sort of picked it up from playing one of those recorders and reading the instructional book in elementary school. Today, I play 5 instruments, play for my church, and want to instill in my kids a love for music. Although I consider myself pretty knowledgeable, for a casual musician, I didn't want to teach them symbols and notes until they were under someone's tutelage. You could get a set of flashcards and teach them what a whole note and a quarter rest was, yes. But it would be sort of like you teaching a 5 year old what an "A" looked like without being able to explain that a says "ă". Yes, they'll know what it is, but not what it means.

    Also, ask a potential teacher if and how they teach music theory. I flatly would not put my children under someone who taught only "by ear" playing. Think if a song leader asked the pianist to play a song for choir that the pianist didn't know. The choir could only play what was already familiar to the pianist. Or if a pianist could play by ear, the song leader would have to sing a new song a thousand times so that the pianist could pick up the tune to the melody. The pianist would have to just guess at what the alto, tenor, and bass parts would be. Lots of delay and ambiguity.

    My kids' piano teacher requires them to work through a method book and a theory book. As they hone their theory skills, you should notice that they can decipher music to play a song that they do not know. If your child cannot do this to some degree after just a few weeks, at the most 8, they are not learning theory. My kids' teacher would never, ever play a new piece for them. They had to read the music independently and play it independently very early.

    One more thing, piano was not my first instrument, but in my opinion it is the best first instrument for children. It demonstrates music theory very well. A student can see the notes ascending and descending. My brother learned to play the trombone first, but his tutor taught theory from the piano.

    To answer your question though, a nice set of flashcards would help the kids learn symbols and would be a great place to start. I've used a few sets of theory flashcards. These are the ones that we're using now. They are a little pricy, but I very highly recommend them.

    Sorry so lengthy. Hope this helps.

  3. If you are wanting piano, my first piano book is the best. It tells you step by step how to play. And shows you where the notes are. My daughter used it. Our family is trying to play insterments too. If they have a good ear most music can be played by that. Just play a song on a cd or remember one thats from church. Sometimes you can play by ear. My husband plays by ear but can't read notes so its best to know both. I always have to play the song for him first then he can play it. Do you have anyone in your church that gives music lessons that might be a way they can learn too.

  4. For some basic ear training, note reading and theory check out Musci Ace Deluxe from Timberdoodle. It's really good. I just did a post a couple of weeks ago on music appreciation/history resources

  5. I wanted to add to my comment, if I can. As I reread it, I felt like I sounded sort of down on "by ear" playing.

    I feel like that playing by ear certainly can behelpful. My husband plays solely by ear and I play by ear also. It has its advantages, especially when playing for a soloist. Ear training should be a part of complete music program. However, it has been my experience that only being able to play by ear, or playing mostly or firstly by ear, hinders a choir or ensemble.

    There have been times also that people have asked, "Hey can you play that song...?" And I've been able to listen to someone sing a song and pick it up. This is very inefficient when playing for a group though. Unless you have an exact "map" of how to sing a song, there will/can be numerous interpretations of how it can be sung. When you have a song on paper, in black and white, there is no ambiguity.

    Anyway, can you tell music is my hobbyhorse? hahaha