Teaching children is rewarding, fun, and a privilege. It is no cliché. Children are our greatest gifts and deserve attention, respect and good teachers. All students have an innate desire to learn. It is my job to figure out what is exciting to them about music, to guide them, answer their questions and teach them the techniques and skills needed to “own” the instrument and to enjoy music, hopefully, for the rest of their lives.
Within the first few lessons, I am able to get a sense of a child’s learning needs and what makes them connect with music. My students can typically play tunes, drum along to music, and start to work out songs after just a few lessons.
I work with the students to figure out what they like about music and use their enthusiasm to further their knowledge and skills. Making children practice things they are not interested in can often lead to them resenting the instrument and music altogether. They will drop the instrument, like so many of us adults did as children or teenagers. I encourage my students to practice songs and music they like and music in which they have interest.
The lessons can be centered around one instrument or encompass more than one instrument – as you and your child wish. Some children vacillate back and forth. For example, one of my students started with drums 3 years ago, then he showed interest in the guitar, so we incorporated it into the lessons. At the moment he sings Bruno Mars songs and learns to accompany himself on guitar. Every instrument informs the subject of music and the other instruments.
With many of my students they come to a point where they want to write songs and I help them with that task, from figuring out melodies to working out rhythms/beats and lyrics. I have also recorded many of them on my portable pro tools lap top rig and they have enjoyed listening to and sharing their songs with their families and friends.
Sharing The Music
Most of my students perform songs by themselves, with friends or with me at the recital that I put on annually at the Santa Monica Library Auditorium. Here is a link to my drum student Atticus playing Coldplay’s “Paradise” with his band at our recital in December 2011: