Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Classical Music

Not too long ago, I listened to a podcast from the CiRCE Institute (Ask Andrew Episode 2). He was asked how to develop a child's appreciation of classical music.

He suggested three things: listen, understand, play.

1)Have your child listen to good music (not lyrics) as early as possible. 
2)Teach your child about the elements and principles of music, so they can understand it.
3)Have your child learn to play an instrument (piano or violin).

I started piano with my preschooler last year, but things really got moving when I established a rule: ten minutes every day of fingers on the keys. I got the idea after reading this:

The author writes that all students should practice 6 days per week.
Ages 3 and 4 - 10 minutes
Ages 5 and 6 - 15 minutes
Ages 7 and 8 - 20 minutes
Ages 9 and 10 - 25 minutes
Ages 11 through 14 - 30 minutes
And that students preparing for a recital should practice an additional 10 minutes per day.

Gemma turned five last week, and on her fifth birthday, I said, "Five and six year olds practice for fifteen minutes a day." I was worried that she would complain or argue, but she didn't. I wasn't prepared for her reaction, so I kept talking, "Seven and eight year olds practice for twenty minutes. Nine and ten year olds practice for twenty-five minutes. And eleven and twelve year olds practice for thirty minutes."

A couple of days later, I came home to find Gemma at the piano, practicing. This was a surprise because she usually practices in the evening, under my supervision. 

"The timer is going," my husband said. 

"For fifteen minutes," Gemma said, "because five and six year olds practice fifteen minutes, and seven and eight year olds practice twenty minutes."

I smiled.

In the car, I have started tuning the radio to the local classical music station while I drive Gemma to places like dance class and swim lessons. It's an effort to balance her taste in music. Daddy is a drummer, so Gemma can often be heard singing Beatles songs or '80s hits like Spandau Ballet's "True." :)

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