Your Child Is A Talented Musician. Do You Know How To Help Him/Her In The Homeschool?

Surprised by that statement?

 

Well, you shouldn’t be.

 

All of us have it in us to be talented musicians, but kids more than adults, because they have less inhibitions, and are likely to grow up to be talented musicians if carefully guided and provided with the correct tools.

 

Your unborn child (if you are pregnant) is likely to show even more talent if you take the right steps to get him/her there.

 

As home schooling parents who are always looking to enrich your child’s life I’m sure you have all read the multitudes of research papers out there, telling you that foetuses begin to develop musicality the moment their ears start developing.

 

It’s a known fact that the foetus listens to the mother’s voice and this gives the child his/her first introduction to tone, pace, pitch, inflection and much more. A study published in 2010 on ‘Functional Specialisations for Music Processing in the Human New born Brain” () found that the baby can accurately recognise his mom’s voice, from among many other sounds.

 

If you are pregnant and would like to learn more, then I’m sure you will love this TED Talk,

 

When I was pregnant with my son 8 years ago, I used to listen to classical music on a daily basis for hours.

 

While my son was a very calm and easy going baby, when he did have the occasional temper tantrums or was just feeling a little out of sorts and cranky or just very hyperactive I found that playing the same music that I played when I was pregnant with him, would calm him down instantly. It didn’t work with any and every type of music but only with the exact CDs that I listened to when he was in the womb where the ones that had the most wonderful impact.

 

This made a believer in me, which then resulted in me playing the same music in the background again 6 years ago when I was pregnant with my daughter.

 

I’m sure you understand what I’m getting at here. You don’t really need expensive music lessons to lay the foundation for your little musical genius, there are lots of things that you can do on a daily basis that can help your foetus/toddler/child/teenager in a number of different ways.

 

Here’s a list of things you can do to help your foetus become more musically inclined

 

  • Listen to classical music
  • Sing to your child (if you are a good singer)
  • Play an instrument (if you are able to)
  • Have siblings play or sing to your unborn child

 

With toddlers you can do all of the above, but you can also add more

  • Dance with your child to teach beat
  • Tap the corresponding beat on your child’s shoulder or body gently, whenever you hear music
  • Sing to your child
  • Relate stories in a musical voice

 

 

With older children you can do all of the above and much more

 

  • Ask them to tap the beat of songs they hear
  • Tap a beat and ask them to tap it back
  • Sing with them
  • Dance with them

 

If you have an instrument ask them to play around with it and attempt to play simple tunes by ear (you will be amazed at what they can do, if you encourage them enough).

 

You know I send you weekly freebies and if you haven’t signed up for it as yet, then please click here.

 

Last Tuesday’s Treat was Sheet Music for Kumbaya and next week’s Tuesday’s Treat will be a Glass Harmonica Listening Activity Sheet.

 

Would you like to see a list of classical songs with YouTube links so you can play it in the background during the school day? Or would you like more ideas on what you can do with little kids or toddler’s to help them become more musically inclined, then please comment below and let me know. If enough of you want it, then I will add it to my freebie calendar immediately.

 

Here’s another amazing video I want to leave you with and give you something to think about until next week – How playing a music instrument benefits not only your child’s brain but yours’ as well (if I haven’t convinced you already, I hope watching this video will help you understand the benefits of joining your child in their musical education).

 

Like what you saw, then please come and join one of my many courses and learn to play piano alongside your child.

Karen Cadera

Karen Cadera

Creator Of The Teach Your Child Piano Series

Karen’s programs are grounded in her signature method the Transformational Five Framework, which ensures that all learners gain a solid foundation to help them master the art of playing piano.

It is Karen’s dearest wish that all children, irrespective of their background are able to experience the joy of music in their homeschool. And to this end, it is her vision to reach out to a million or more moms’/parents’ who have always dreamed of teaching their kids music, but couldn’t do so because they were not taught music as kids.

3 Reasons Why Making Mistakes When Practicing Piano Is Perfect

Did you ever play piano or any other musical instrument when you were little?

 

Did you hate music practice and did you give up playing the musical instrument you loved, simply because you hated practicing?

 

Well if you did, then I know your pain, I’ve been there, and I’ve done that.

 

Yes, as a child I hated practicing the piano. As you know, my mom and aunt were both music teachers, so every time I made a mistake while practicing they always made it a point to yell at me from whatever part of the house they were in, when I was practicing.

 

Most often than not, and I would venture to say that at least 99% of the time, when I made a mistake, I would instantly realize that I made a mistake and would correct it.

 

But in that second where I went from making a mistake to self correcting, my mom no matter which part of the house she was in at that time, and no matter what she was doing, would yell – ‘WRONG, WRONG, WRONG’ in the loudest voice possible.

 

Don’t get me wrong I love my mom very much and she is a really good music teacher, but she and my aunt are extremely ‘old school’. While I do understand that the old ways of teaching have much merit in them, its not always the best way.

 

I gave up playing piano many times during my childhood simply for that one reason.

 

As I grew up and became more keen with teaching piano, one thing that I avoided doing was correct my students the moment they made a mistake. This doesn’t mean that I ignored their mistakes during their piano lessons, but rather I wanted to give my young students the opportunity to self-correct their mistakes first.

 

As in my own case, I found that 99% of my students often realized their mistakes instantly and corrected themselves. However, I did see that making mistakes still continued to frustrate them and they either looked forlorn or would say something like ‘Oh, I’m no good at this’ or something similar.

 

So, I decided to take a different approach. I decided to cheer on the mistakes.

 

Now you may think that, that is silly and that we should reward and recognise perfect practice not imperfect practice, but please read on with an open mind.

 

Here are three reasons why I decided to celebrate the fact that kids make mistakes at their piano lessons or while practicing piano and why I think it is ‘perfect’.

 

Reason No – 1

 

When a child makes a mistake and knows that they made a mistake in that area, they tend to have a heightened awareness of the difficult or challenging part. This then makes them focus more. This in turn makes it easier for them to get it right the next time around or after a few tries. Not only does making a mistake then help them to develop their ear (because they recognise that a certain note is missing or a wrong note was played etc.), but they also become more focused.

 

 

Reason No – 2

 

Making mistakes helps teach children to persevere and continue to work hard in the face of challenges and frustrations. I know that many kids can get disheartened by the fact that they make mistakes and may not want to continue, but as parents it is our job, isn’t it, to encourage them, inspire them and support them through their struggles? I always tell my children and my students that making mistakes is a part of the learning and creating process. I continuously reiterate that we should not be afraid to make mistakes because if we become afraid of making mistakes then we will just stop trying to do things that are hard and will stunt our own growth prospects. Last but not least I also continuously remind my own children and my students that those who haven’t made mistakes have most likely not made anything. I have found that sharing the story of Thomas Edison (who tested something like 3000 designs of the light bulb before finally creating the design that actually worked) with the kids and asking them what they think would have happened if he just gave up after one or two tries to be very inspiring.

 

 

Reason No 3

 

This I think is the most important reason why you should celebrate the fact that your child is making mistakes while playing piano and is willing to keep going. It means your child is developing a ‘growth mindset’ and that is a very valuable trait. Research has shown that individuals with a growth mindset are open to learning, are not afraid of making mistakes, are extremely persevering and in the long run turn out to be more successful in their chosen line of work. A growth mindset is very important to develop if you want your child to succeed in any area of their life but when it comes to playing an instrument and mastering it, we all know it can be fraught with much difficulty and a growth mindset is what will ultimately ensure long-term success. If you want to learn more about the concept of a ‘growth mindset’ please click this link and watch this amazing TED Talk given by Carol Dweck (but first finish reading this article because I tell you what and how to handle mistakes during homeschool piano lessons and practice sessions).

 

Now that you know what my reasoning is for celebrating mistakes, what do you think? Am I crazy? Or do you agree with me?

 

Before I stop, let me also take this opportunity to give you a few tips so you know what to do when your child makes mistakes during his or her homeschool piano lessons or homeschool piano practice sessions.

  1. I think you know this just from the experience that I shared with you – don’t shout at your child.
  2. Give your child time to self-correct his mistakes and you will see that he or she will do so.
  3. If she doesn’t self correct wait till the end of the piece or the end of the bar line at least, and ask your child “Are you sure you played the entire piece correctly?’ If she says yes, then say ‘I’m not sure I heard this part correctly (point out the part) do you mind playing it one more time please? If she says ‘I know I did make a mistake’ or something similar, praise your child for being able to recognise the mistake and gently ask her to repeat that line correctly.
  4. If your child seems very frustrated with himself, tell him that you understand the frustration, but making mistakes is a part of learning. Also tell him that what is important is not that he doesn’t make any mistakes but rather that he doesn’t give up – because as long as we don’t give up, we are NOT ‘failures’. We only become ‘failures’ when we actually give up. Use some of my other tactics, which I have shared in this post, like relating the story of Thomas Edison etc.

 

If you are looking for a comprehensive homeschool piano curriculum that not only teaches your child how to play piano, but also supports and guides you as a parent and gives you all the tools and tips and tricks needed to learn alongside your child and help him/her develop strong musicianship skills, then please check out my 1 year homeschool Piano Curriculum – Teach Your Child Piano – Level 1.

 

 

5 Reasons Why Learning To Clap Is Important

Do you think that clapping to the beat of a song is childish?

 

OR

 

Do you think it is just a useless exercise?

 

I know I did.

 

As I started advancing in my musical studies I used to wonder why I had to do something as childish as clapping and often pooh poohed at the idea.

 

Well, I’m here to burst your bubble and tell you that clapping is considered to be an important component of developing musicmanship skills. This is why many renowned music development programs like the Royal Conservatory of Music and the Royal College of Music all include clap backs as a component of their music exam syllabi.

 

This is because the ability to clap to a specific beat and clap back a beat or tune, is considered to be as important as pitching.

 

Can you believe that?

 

Well, it is true.

 

Here are 5 reasons why you should focus on improving your child’s ability to clap to a given beat, in the home school.

 

Reason No. 1

The foundation of music is rhythm, and clapping in time helps you to listen carefully. It also forces your child to focus on the rhythm and stay in time. While many of you do learn music through online music courses, you will be able to tell if the music course your child is following online is any good, based on fact if clapping and clap backs are included in the program.

 

Reason No. 2

Clapping has a physical aspect to it. That is coordination with precision and consistency. As you may have already guessed these physical aspects are essential when playing a musical instrument. While young kids often find this part difficult because their motor skills are not fully developed, clapping is an awesome foundational skill, which will help solidify the physical aspects required to master musicmanship skills in the long term. This is why good music teachers often include clapping in their music education programs.

 

Reason No. 3

Clapping to a beat will also force your child to learn patterns in the music. Furthermore, it will also help your child to recognize, appreciate and understand how each pattern helps to further the tune and differentiates one tune from another and one beat from another. I hope you are starting to see the importance of clapping in your child’s musical journey and why you should be weary of programs that do not include this important skill.

 

Reason No. 4

Most importantly clapping helps to develop your child’s ear, and you no doubt know how important that is in any musical education program.

 

Reason No. 5

Last but not least, clapping will give your child the rock solid ability to recognise the pulse in the music and perform it in time. Learning to play the notes alone will be of no use, if your child is unable to listen and interpret a beat and play the tune with the correct pulse and beat, and it is clapping that helps lay the foundation for this.

 

For all of the reasons that have been listed above, clapping is considered not only as a very important pre-learning activity but also as an activity, which will help your child to continue to enhance his/her musical skills and solidify very important aspects of rhythm.

 

Even though you may have never learned music, you will no doubt be able to clap to a beat and even teach your child something as simple as that. So, please start teaching your child this important skill in your homeschool.

 

If you feel that you are unable to, that maybe because you are trying to clap a very complex beat.

 

If that is the case, then try clapping simple beats consistently and then work toward more difficult beats gradually.

 

Just by listening, you will be able to tell if you and your child are clapping in time or not.

 

If you or your child is not clapping in time, don’t fret.

 

It is totally fixable and with programs like the 1 year Home School Music curriculum – Teach Your Child Piano, you will be learning rhythm and beat and clapping in time effortlessly.

 

Please comment below and let me know your questions around clapping and stay tuned to my weekly freebies (you can sign up for them by clicking here, if you haven’t already done so) to receive worksheets and activities around teaching rhythm and beat in the homeschool.

7 “Must Read” Reasons Why Your Child Needs To Read And Write Music

Over the years I have often heard many people say that if a child can play by ear, then that child does not need to read and write music.

 

I’ve even heard it being said that if a child can play by ear, learning to read and write music will only hamper the development of his ear and therefore he should not be taught to sight-read music and only be allowed to play by ear.

 

While the reasoning behind statements like that could be that when a child starts to read music he might not be as inclined to develop his ear, simply because a child can play by ear does not mean that he should be denied the right to read and write music.

 

I guess you’ve heard me say many times that my father has perfect pitch, but unlike my mom who received formal music training from a young age, my father was self taught when it came to playing different instruments.

 

While he was excellent at playing, he could never really share his own creations and arrangement because he couldn’t write music. Likewise, it was very difficult for him to play very complex pieces in a stylistic manner, because he was unable to read and decipher extremely complex sheet music that had so many different signs and symbols (which was beyond basic notation).

 

As you can see, while not all of us are blessed with perfect pitch, simply because a child seems to be able to play by ear does not mean that he should be given the resources and the tools necessary to read and write music. In fact it is very important that he is provided those tools from an early age as possible.

 

Here are 7 reasons that you simply cannot argue with about why a child needs to be taught to read and write music.

 

Reason No 1

From my own experience and watching my father and his struggles with mastering renowned classics, I believe that one of the most important reasons why a child should be taught to read music is because it would enable him to play even the most complex pieces with ease.

 

Reason No 2

Many of the greatest composers of all time could play music by ear from a very early age, yet they all learned to read and write music from a young age too. If all a child needs to be a great musician is to have an ear for music, then would the greats like Mozart have learned to read music? Also if the myth that reading and writing music would result in inhibiting the development of the musical ear in kids were true, how is it that composers, like Mozart and Beethoven were able to excel?

 

Reason No 3

Being able to read music enables the student to analyse great pieces. All great composers and anyone serious about learning music and creating their own music has analysed compositions and masterpieces, Mozart did it, Beethoven did it, Bach did it and numerous other great musicians from all genres and eras continue to do it. So if you want your child to excel at music and realize his full potential creatively, then learning to read and write music (beyond basic notation) is of paramount importance.

 

Reasons No 4

You know from the story that I related to you about my dad, who was amazingly talented but struggled to share his arrangements and creations, what a vital role the ability to write music plays. Imagine Mozart or Beethoven or even David Foster (someone closer to our time), only being able to play by ear and create music but being unable to write it down. Not only would it have been impossible for them to share their compositions with us, but they also would not have been able to bring together other musicians and orchestras to play their creations.

 

Yes, it is true that today we have an array of technology to help us write music, but unless your child has a strong foundation in music theory, composition and sight-reading, using technology alone will not help your child reach his full potential. While technology will continue to advance and become more intelligent, at least for the foreseeable future human creativity and solid technical knowledge of music is necessary to ensure that the technology is able to create and share the tunes running through your child’s head.

 

Reason No 5

The ability to read and write music is highly transferable and will help your child to quickly learn a variety of instruments that otherwise would take much longer if they all had to be mastered by ear or some other means.

 

Reason No 6

The ability to sight-read music will enable your child to improve his musicmanship skills at a faster pace and accelerate his/her learning.

 

Reason No 7

Last but not least, the ability to read and write music enables the child to engage all parts of the brain. It also engages children with all learning styles whether it is visual, auditory or kinaesthetic. When children are able to read and write music, they are able to see what they play, hear what they see, play what they hear and see, and they are also able to write what they hear and write what they play. Can you see how it all connects together to enhance their learning, enjoyment and mastery in the long run?

 

It is for all these reasons that all the Teach Your Child Piano courses include music theory and mastery of music notation, Italian terms, music symbols and much more, which taken as a whole will give your child a progressive understanding and knowledge of the technicalities of reading and writing music.

 

If your child has never learned to read music and you would love to introduce your child to music notation, then please join my FREE challenge where I teach you and your child to Read Music Notes in less than Six Weeks.

 

However, if your child can already read music and you are looking at advancing his/her knowledge further, then please take a look at my courses Learn Music Theory (which is focused exclusively on teaching music theory and is a wonderful supplement to any student learning to play any instrument) and Teach Your Child Piano – Level 1.

 

3 Reasons Why Your Child Needs To Learn History Of Music

Are you an ice hockey fan like me?

 

A soccer fan?

 

A baseball fan?

 

A basketball fan?

 

If you are a fan of any sport, I’m sure you already know that all sports stars and coaches often analyse great games that were played in the past?

 

Did you know that chess masters often evaluate and analyse games played by the grand masters?

 

You know that entrepreneurs often read about, analyse and learn strategies implemented by other great business leaders from the past, don’t you?

 

I guess you know where I’m going with this……

 

YES.

 

If you are serious about teaching your child to play piano or any musical instrument in the homeschool, then it is essential that you incorporate the History of Music into your child’s homeschool music lessons.

 

Not sure what I’m talking about?

 

Well, here are 3 of the main benefits/reasons why your child needs to learn the History of Music.

 

Reason No 1

When children learn the history of music, they become exposed to a variety of different composers and different eras or periods in music. As a result they learn to appreciate music and develop a keen ear for it. Learning about the life and the works of great composers helps children to find role models and learn about the hardships experienced and the intense work ethic that finally led to them becoming world renowned. This in turn will help mould your child and help him/her attempt to model the work ethic of these great composers.

 

 

Reason No 2

Research has shown that at all levels (university included) when the study of music history is included alongside normal piano or guitar lessons, students become more engaged and are likely to stay on in the program in the long term. This is one of the many reasons why all renowned music exam administrative bodies like the ABRSM in the UK, the Royal Conservatory of Music in Canada and the Conservatory led Music Development Program in the United States all require students to learn music history from a young age.

 

Reason No 3

When children learn the History of Music, they are not limited to learning only about the instrument that they are playing. On the contrary, the study of music history teaches children about a variety of different instruments, composers, genres, periods of music, world history, architecture, culture and even religion, which then makes it a very holistic study and something all children will enjoy.

 

Wouldn’t you agree then that if you are serious about teaching your child music in the homeschool, then teaching the History of Music is very important too?

 

While there is a proliferation of online piano and other music courses online, most of them simply teach you Guitar Chords 101 or Play Popular Songs On The Ukelele. While there is nothing wrong learning to play an instrument in that manner, would you teach your child to count from 1 – 10 and just stop there?

 

I’m pretty sure you would not.

 

You will no doubt agree with me that it is important to teach kids Math Facts and give them a variety of different strategies when they learn addition, subtraction, multiplication and continue on.

 

This is why all my courses incorporate music history, and that is what makes my courses stand out from the rest of the online music. I even have a stand alone History of Music course, which you should definitely check it out.

4 Super Easy Ways To Teach Rhythm & Beat In The Homeschool

Something I often hear from homeschooling parents is how much they wish they could teach their child music at home, but are unable to simply because they either didn’t learn music as children or simply don’t feel competent enough to teach even if they have some musical background.

 

So I thought this week I should write a simple blog article to guide parents (yes even those who’ve never learned any music), how to teach rhythm and beat in the Homeschool.

 

Here are 4 super easy ways you can teach rhythm and beat in the homeschool.

 

Method 1 – Clapping In Tune

Yes, its as easy as clapping. Almost all of us can clap and this is a super easy way to teach your child beat. If you feel that you are unable to clap in time or your child is finding it difficult to clap in time, then you definitely must read my article on 5 Reasons Why Learning To Clap is important. Toward the end of the article I give you some simple tips on how you can develop your child’s clapping skills.

 

Method 2 – Tapping Feet or Jumping or Skipping

Similar to clapping you can teach your child to tap his feet to the beat or jump or even skip to the beat. Doing this for simple songs and nursery rhymes will teach your child that all songs have a steady beat.

 

Method 3 – Use a Metronome

Unlike in the past when you had to purchase a metronome, today you can find apps, which provide the function of a metronome. Use a metronome to provide a steady beat for the song and sing or clap the tune (not the beat). Once you do this with a few easy songs, your child will understand the difference between the beat (the metronome) and the rhythm (the tune).

 

Method 4 – Find different beats and rhythms in the environment

Some say that were meant to be musical because our hearts have a steady beat. Now, who can argue with that? Like our heart beat there are many different beats and rhythms in our everyday environments. Clocks, windshield wipers, motors, crickets, washing machines etc. Help your child identify or recognise as many beats and rhythms from the natural environment. Once your child starts identifying beats and rhythms on his own, ask him to play a beat back – he or she can clap it out, tap his feet or even use chop sticks and tap it on a table or a chair.

 

Do you see how easy it is to incorporate music into your daily homeschooling or unschooling activities? Most importantly I hope you see that you don’t always need a degree or even an advanced certificate in music to teach basic yet very important concepts like rhythm and beat in the homeschool.

 

Want to learn more and access free material to help you teach music in the homeschool?

 

Then you should definitely join my Tuesday Treat List, where I share a freebie every single Tuesday.

 

Click here right now and join the list.

 

Don’t forget to look out for the confirmation email and say that you want to be on the list.

Karen Cadera

Karen Cadera

Creator of the Teach Your Child Piano Series

Karen’s programs are grounded in her signature method the Transformational Five Framework, which ensures that all learners gain a solid foundation to help them master the art of playing piano.

It is Karen’s dearest wish that all children, irrespective of their background are able to experience the joy of music in their homeschool. And to this end, it is her vision to reach out to a million or more moms’/parents’ who have always dreamed of teaching their kids music, but couldn’t do so because they were not taught music as kids.