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#951529 - 10/29/06 04:14 AM Re: Would like your thoughts about children and sightreading
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2919
Loc: UK.
In the UK the new government initiative is to allow all children to play an instrument. Sounds good in theory. Class fulls of kids are given a violin each and a specialist teacher for a term. Obviously they can't take the violin home with them. After that term the instruments are taken away and given to another class. If they wish to carry on they have to pay. What's the point? What on Earth can you learn in one term in a class of 30 odd kids when you can't even practice at home? Yet again this is another attempt to cover up the poor provision of music education in schools. It is impractical, expensive and a complete waste of time.

Most school children over here have access to computers. What they don't have is any music software. The computer alone is not much use.

My point is that music literacy can be taught to all children. This can be done by the general classroom teacher. They don't even need to be a music specialist. There is very little cost involved if you use the voice, classroom percussion, recorders etc. You don't need to give them all a cello or a piano. When kids first learn to read and write you don't sit them in front of a word processor.

I know that this is going off on a tangent to the original post but it is something which is very important to me.
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#951530 - 10/29/06 05:19 AM Re: Would like your thoughts about children and sightreading
buxtehude Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/07/06
Posts: 499
Loc: Copenhagen, Denmark
Chris, I think you are really pointing to a general weakness in 'school-thinking': for most endeavours there isn't enough time. Your chances of becoming really good at anything only by way of what the school can give you is infinitely small. The school can at best get you started - be that in math, history, foreign languages, music, and so on. Every endeavour has to be backed up by enthusiastic parents, or else it comes to nothing - that isn't something special for learning the instrument.

I think that if it were not for the child learning 'social skills' most of the time in school would for most children be a complete waste of time. Only by working at home, furthering each subject ethusiastically can you get anywere.

Only two kinds of pupils gain by going to school: the ones coming directly out of caves and the ones with enthusiasticallly supporting parents doing hours of homework with them every day. The rest lose.

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#951531 - 10/31/06 05:20 PM Re: Would like your thoughts about children and sightreading
U S A P T Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/20/06
Posts: 1645
Loc: An Indiana University
Accidentally double posted.
_________________________
Full-Time Music/Entrepreneurship Major: (Why not compose music AND businesses?)
Former Piano Industry Professional
************
Steinway M
Roland Atelier AT90R
************
All Posts are Snarky Unless Otherwise Noted
************

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#951532 - 10/31/06 05:24 PM Re: Would like your thoughts about children and sightreading
U S A P T Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/20/06
Posts: 1645
Loc: An Indiana University
I spend much of my time driving an 18 wheeler for a large interstate transporter of pianos and organs. I was lucky to have taken lessons as a child from a pupil of Bela Bartok's whose mother studied under Liszt.

I did a Halloween day search under oddball terms and typed in and came up with this thread which I find absolutely fascinating on the one hand and horrifying on the other (halloween-appropriate?)

When I meet with my public I often hear parents lament that their kids aren't interested in music and that they wish I would teach their kids instead because when I talk to the parents about making music my enthusiasm infects them. Why? Because music IS NOT rocket science. It's only seven notes that repeat and have different combinations and pitches and volumes. To a child it's this nifty table with black and white buttons and if you hit a certain combination you get Happy Birthday and if you hit another you get Mary Had A Little Lamb and if you hit a few more you get "All my songs they sound the same" by Whitney Houston.

I position music-making as an avocation and an inspiration and a recreation as opposed to an education, dissertation, or remediation.

I am guilty of having been taught by a sight-reading nazi as a kid. I was terrified of her and thought of many ways to plan her demise from poisoning her coffee to putting firecrackers in her cigarettes. But back then, child abuse via piano lessons was a norm.

Thankfully today it's not.

To all the academics out there, please remember that it's easy to be an academic and to blame the kid's lack of interest on their inability to appreciate culture or a lack of breeding. But the real challenge is to communicate your enthusiasm in ways that they understand that challenge them to pick up the slack and create and thrive in the endless combinations of those seven notes.

What a terrific thread I happened on today.
_________________________
Full-Time Music/Entrepreneurship Major: (Why not compose music AND businesses?)
Former Piano Industry Professional
************
Steinway M
Roland Atelier AT90R
************
All Posts are Snarky Unless Otherwise Noted
************

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#951533 - 10/31/06 10:51 PM Re: Would like your thoughts about children and sightreading
btb Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4261
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
Keep 'em rollin' USAPianoTrucker ... enjoyed your contribution ... bet you have a few stories to tell of wide-eyed customers taking delivery of their long-awaited piano.

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#951534 - 11/02/06 08:18 AM Re: Would like your thoughts about children and sightreading
Piano*Dad Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10385
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
 Quote:
I am guilty of having been taught by a sight-reading nazi as a kid.
:D \:D

I was taught for a few weeks at age six or seven by a nun who whacked knuckles for missed notes! I wouldn't set foot again in a teacher's house until I was nine. I guess that's why I'm not a concert artist now. ;\)

BTW, as an "academic" I have to critique sweeping comments about academics "blaming the kids" etc. etc. that are directed at no one in particular and no argument in particular. Comments like that are shotgun blasts in a vague direction. They create heat but no light.
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#951535 - 11/03/06 06:13 PM Re: Would like your thoughts about children and sightreading
U S A P T Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/20/06
Posts: 1645
Loc: An Indiana University
First of all, sorry to piano dad and all academics for any offense I might have caused. I read plenty of sweeping generalizations about movers (cheap, lazy, ignorant) and if you go to my most recent post on "Don't tip on the lyre" you will see that my overriding concern is for integrity in the industry.

So your words are well taken and I will redouble my efforts to not speak negatively in generalizations.

As for BTB, I could fill a New York City telephone book with anecdotes not only from driving an 18 wheeler in the piano industry but from many other angles as well. On top of that I have thousands of digital pictures I've taken of both the amazing and the horrifying.

Although Halloween is over all I can say is, (to quote the Wicked Witch of the West), "All in good time, all in good time."
_________________________
Full-Time Music/Entrepreneurship Major: (Why not compose music AND businesses?)
Former Piano Industry Professional
************
Steinway M
Roland Atelier AT90R
************
All Posts are Snarky Unless Otherwise Noted
************

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#951536 - 11/07/06 04:59 PM Re: Would like your thoughts about children and sightreading
Just Love Piano Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/30/06
Posts: 15
Loc: Durham
Learn lot from this thread
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M

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