Many parents of music students have wondered what kind of a role they should play in their children’s education. Is it just paying for lessons, does it entail encouragement of practice, or is there an even more active way for parents to help their children learn music?
Learn and Teach
With the right tools, parents can learn music theory themselves and teach it to their children with simple visual aids. This is also a great review method to help young students internalize and retain the skills they will need to become accomplished musicians. Ricci Adams, a software engineer and music theory aficionado, has developed a comprehensive website that includes interactive lessons, exercises, and tools. The lessons start with the essential basics: learning what the staff looks like (5 lines) and gradually adding clefs and ledger lines. Animated visual aids and textual explanations accompany each step, so it’s hard to go wrong with these lessons.
How to Help Children Practice Music Theory
Adams’ exercises are a little more advanced than his lessons, so the most basic ones deal with note identification and scale ear training. While it’s important to emphasize ear training, students must first know their notes and be able to identify them on the staff. The interval ear training exercise is ideal for students who have a solid understanding of visual note identification, as it prepares them for a life in music. This is a must for serious music students because the ability to identify notes and intervals heard in a simple recorded excerpt will be tested throughout formal education.
For students who are still learning their notes, there are exercises to identify notes on the staff and on the keyboard. Parents can go through these exercises with their children, predicting the correct answers and checking them immediately. Clicking on an answer results in a verdict of “correct” or “incorrect” and there is the option to reveal the correct answer at any point during the exercise.
Tools of the Trade
If parents or their young music students encounter unfamiliar notes or intervals in music assigned by teachers, they can use the helpful tools provided by Adams to correctly identify any mystifying cases. In addition to interval and chord calculators, there’s a “pop-up piano” that displays a keyboard for hands-on visualization of abstract intervals. Parents can use these resources to play an active role in their children’s music education and might even learn something new in the process.
This is a Guest Post from Alexis Bonari. Alexis is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at onlinedegrees.org, researching areas of online universities. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.?