Posts tagged Music Education Series
Curious Inspiration

by Helen Tipton                    

4th Graders from Spartanburg County at Spartanburg Philharmonic’s LINK UP concert

4th Graders from Spartanburg County at Spartanburg Philharmonic’s LINK UP concert

When it comes to musical instruments and children, curiosity is never in short supply.  Here are five ways to move your child from curiosity to connoisseur:

Hands On

Find ways for your child to experiment with musical instruments. In Spartanburg, SC, Converse College (Delta Omicron chapter) hosts an event for children ages 3-10 called “Instrument Petting Zoo,” where kids can try their hand at various types of instruments.  Also, Grandma’s piano, Uncle John’s old guitar, or an inexpensive harmonica are great ways for children to experiment a little bit.

Culture Club

Help kids experience music with their friends!  Spartanburg Philharmonic’s Heroes and Villains is the next (and perfect) opportunity for children in our community to hear great music in an environment that is welcoming and fun.  They may shock you with their astute observations and will surely find unintended humor as the audience will wear capes and masks.  Dinner and a concert is a super change of pace for our screen-watching kids. 

Eye Spy

There are many online ways to explore instruments, and our children are very adept at navigating websites. One of my favorite websites for younger children (ages 5-12) is: http://www.sfskids.org/There are animal avatars which act as guides to take kids through the site to explore instruments, conducting, and more.  Another favorite is the NPR series http://www.fromthetop.org/ which showcases talented kids’ performances and life stories.

The Long Game

Learning to create music is so GOOD for the development of the human brain.  You don’t have to be a musician yourself to help your child get the benefits from an early age. Sing their favorite tunes, clap simple little rhythms for your child to imitate, or make up silly songs.  Starting early is the key to a lifelong love of music.

Armed and Dangerous

Enroll your child in music lessons! Local colleges, established studios, professional musicians, and music stores are all great places to get started. Weekly instruction with a qualified teacher is the path to success here, as the fine motor skills take time to master.  Music educators are passionate about finding ways to keep the curiosity going, and give children the gift that keeps on giving- MUSIC!

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Helen Tipton serves on the Board of Directors for the Spartanburg Philharmonic and is Chair of the Spartanburg Philharmonic’s Education Committee. Helen and her team blog here once a month on Music Education to help other Music Educators, parents and students. Missed a blog? Simply click on the “Music Education Series” tag on the right column of our main blog page. Contributing Music Educators include Maggie Haggerty, Shelby Dickey, Janet Kuntz, Kelsey Grant and Jenny Shanks Nichols.

What Music Teachers Want Parents to Know

by Helen Tipton, Violinist and Orchestra Teacher in Spartanburg School District 7

5. “I wish they knew how much evidence there is that music improves literacy”.  Yep folks, the evidence is there, and lots of it.  “We are finding that musical training can alter the nervous system to create a better learner...”-Dr Nina Kraus, Northwestern University 2014.    The world’s most brilliant minds were once musicians: Albert Einstein- scientist (piano and violin), Bill Gates- Microsoft (Trombone), Steve Wozniak-Apple(Guitar), Condoleezza Rice-Former Secretary of State (Piano),  Gandhi (Concertina),  and Benjamin Franklin -Inventor (Violin, Harp, and Guitar).

 

4. ”All instruments are not created equally.”  It’s hard to know where to start if you have very little experience in music yourself, but trust us when we say this:  The unnecessary frustration from a terribly crafted instrument will truly discourage your child.  Trust your local music store, they want your child to be successful as much as you do.  

 

3.  “I wish parents wouldn’t allow their child to quit after the first year.”  Learning an instrument really is a long-game kind of activity.  Every child faces frustration and it’s normal for dips in enthusiasm, but music offers a real opportunity to teach perseverance.  Not “our wi-fi is slow, dad!” perseverance, but the real kind that will come in handy in another decade or so.

 

2. “Practicing is the way to perfect muscle memory.  A little bit goes a long way, and consistency is the key.”  It’s easy to fall back on the old ‘practice makes perfect’ adage, but in reality music will never be perfect.  In this age of “Growth Mindset”, I really appreciate my colleague’s revision of the old saying.

 

1. “Parents make the difference!  You don’t have to know anything about music, just ensure they practice, show up to concerts, and cheer for your child.”  Your approval and admiration makes all of the perseverance worth it.  Try to keep comments positive and supportive.  As an adult I listened to a tape recording (before digital, kids) of myself practicing and could not believe how terribly average I sounded.  It totally contradicted what I remembered.  According to my mother, I was the best violinist she’d ever heard.   Actually, I remember feeling quite sure that I was awesome (thanks mom) and kept working hard to get to the next level.  Thank goodness I had that support, it made the difference.

 

Tackling parenthood and all of its moving parts is rarely easy, but adding music into children’s lives is so worth it.  Hopefully this list helps you on your journey.

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Helen Tipton serves on the Board of Directors for the Spartanburg Philharmonic and is Chair of the Spartanburg Philharmonic’s Education Committee. Helen and her team blog here once a month on Music Education to help other Music Educators, parents and students. Missed a blog? Simply click on the “Music Education Series” tag on the right column of our main blog page. Contributing Music Educators include Maggie Haggerty, Shelby Dickey, Janet Kuntz, Kelsey Grant and Jenny Shanks Nichols.