When introducing your child to music, you may ask yourself which instrument suits them best. After all, you don’t want to put too much pressure on your child, but you also want them to enjoy the experience. Musical stimulation in itself is also a great benefit. But how can you make that happen? Below we have answered a few questions regarding early musical education for you.
What is early musical education?
The term early musical education gives the impression of a strict curriculum and ambitious parents. Yet the term simply refers to the process of gaining one’s first experiences in music. This can take place in a variety of ways. After all, it aims to provide the very first access to the subject of music. The idea is to teach a bit of rhythm and the creation of sounds, perhaps even singing, while having fun.
Since there are no fixed regulations in regard to early music education, each teacher can develop a program of their own. Thus, parents are faced with the challenge of finding the right teacher for their child. Which programs are available, and which one suits my child? These are some of the questions you might ask yourself.
My child is still very young – at what age is early musical education even a possibility?
There are already programs for early musical education for children as young as one year old. In such cases, it is best to contact the teacher of your choice and discuss the matter. The teachers know from experience if their program fits the parents’ wishes. The best choice for such young children is parent-child groups, seeing as children cannot yet easily separate from their parents at this age and because the supervisory aspect should rest with the parents. In general, early musical education begins at kindergarten age though, that is, at 3 to 4 years of age. Early musical education has undergone a major shift in terms of the entry age of children. In the past, it closed once children started school, but now it is quite possible to give older children, around the age of 7 to 8, their first active contact with music.
We have not found a spot in a public music school – what can we do now?
If your child didn’t get a spot at a public music school, that doesn’t mean they can’t receive music lessons. In fact, that’s what we’re here for – thanks to our qualified teachers, we can react flexibly and deal with such shortages. Check out all our private music teachers.
What are the areas of early musical education?
While the term early musical education has not been regulated, it does contain some elements that have been established regarding one’s first contact with music. These include:
Singing: Usually, familiar songs are practiced which are supposed to help children explore and develop their voices.
Dancing and movement: A lot of children express their joy in music through movement, namely, first dancing. Here, the teacher will encourage them to freely express themselves while introducing first dance steps to give them an idea of what is possible.
Instrumental education: The aim is for the children to get to know some instruments without following a rigid curriculum. This may also help them to get an idea of which instrument they would like to learn later on.
Hearing: Music is a lot about hearing. The better one’s hearing is trained – without building up pressure – the easier it will be for children to make music. Moreover, they sometimes learn new sounds, thus, broadening their horizons. The main focus lies on the introduction to classical sounds, which are often very appealing to children.
Basic instrumental play: It goes without saying that early musical education is not just about theoretical aspects, but also involves hands-on activities. Therefore, rhythmic instruments such as the rattle, the tambourine, and others, but also chimes, are used in early musical education.
Basic ear training: In a playful manner, children are introduced to the topic of ear training. For this purpose, short sound games are suitable so that the children can classify what they have heard.
Basic music reading: A first introduction to sheet music can be conducted in a way that is appropriate for the age of the child. In this context, it is only logical that very young children in particular must approach this subject in a playful manner. Here, colors are often used to help them gain a better understanding.
Improvisation: Even the children’s imagination is nurtured. They may contribute their own ideas while the teacher takes the children on musical journeys.
Is early musical education held in private lessons or in groups?
That depends on the concept of the teacher. Some teachers like to teach children in groups. Others prefer to teach older children individually. The latter is especially beneficial when the child has already decided which instrument to play. Here, it pays to seek advice from a teacher who knows the ropes and can help you choose the right approach for your child by asking the right questions.
Why should my child even be enrolled in early musical education?
As anyone who has ever been reminded of their last vacation by a song and immediately felt relaxed knows, music has a profound effect on one’s mood. Thus, the first contact with music can open up entire realms of expression for your child. According to studies, a musical education, especially within the playful environment of an early musical education, can do much more than just teach musical skills:
Other cultures: Through music, children intuitively come into contact with other cultures by means of language, other traditions, dance, and foreign rhythms. After all, music connects us with each other. Early musical education focuses on this aspect.
Social growth: Music often requires interaction, and children learn this when playing music together. By tuning in to the other children, they are able to become a part of something bigger than themselves. Music enables them to express themselves in a new way.
Rhythm: This aspect has an impact on much more than just making music itself. In keeping to a certain rhythm, children are able to improve their own physical coordination. In many children, this affects physical aspects as well as speech.
Improvisation: Thanks to this aspect of early musical education, it is possible for children to learn how to find new solutions to various problems. The reason for this is that they abandon their familiar thought patterns and become receptive to new solutions. And that can have a positive effect on their entire lives.
My child has already decided which instrument they would like to learn – what about early musical education then?
Most teachers like to incorporate aspects of early musical education into their lessons, considering that it is also about ear training, rhythm, and notation. After all, these aspects provide the foundation for learning to play an instrument. In this respect, the first learning phase consists of an early musical education anyway, which these days is usually referred to as “elementary musical education” and contains what it says: Children as well as adults learn what is required to make music and how they can develop these skills. In this case, it is advisable to contact a teacher in order to discuss the next steps.
My child still hasn’t decided if they really want to learn an instrument – are trial lessons an option?
Yes, we offer a trial package which includes 3 lessons for the price of 2. That way your child will get a wonderful insight into the instrument as well as an impression of the teacher. Is the chemistry right? Could you imagine working together? Then, you can either continue from there or keep looking.
How much time should I plan for my child to practice per week?
Early musical education is primarily about having fun with music. The children do not have to do strict homework that they have to hand in the next week. More often than not, the children are inspired and will automatically continue to work with the new material at home. In this respect, you don’t have to schedule a fixed time for practicing, since the children will “practice” naturally by humming the songs they hear and continuing to process the rhythms they have learned. This ambition develops on its own as far as making music together is concerned. You are probably familiar with this from kindergarten as well - so if you want to support your child, just bring them to early musical education and attentively listen to them afterwards. This helps them to process what they have learned.
How long does each lesson last?
That depends on what you have agreed with the teacher. Usually, lessons range from 30, 45, 60 to 90 minutes. The duration of the lessons depends on the offer as well as on the age of the child. For instance, it is not possible for a three-year-old child to concentrate on an instrument for 90 minutes. Therefore, you should discuss this with the teacher to avoid overburdening your child.
Does my child need an instrument of their own?
This depends somewhat on the type of course you choose. In case of a single instrument, it can be useful to have an instrument at home. But you don’t have to buy it right away. Ask for advice from the teacher, who will know where you can rent the instrument. That way you don’t have to purchase it immediately while your child can still gain their first experience with the instrument. The decision can then be made at a later time. In classical early musical education in particular, it is not necessary to have your own instruments, as these are provided during the lessons.
Many parents decide to acquire a small repertoire of rhythm instruments though, so that their child can express themselves at home as well. The child can then decide for themselves to do some experimenting. If you are uncertain, just ask the teacher, who will be able to give you excellent advice. Do not hesitate to contact us if you have any further questions.