How to start musical education

said: Aug 31, 2006
 2 posts

I have been told that before starting any suzuki program, kindermusic should be the first step into music education.

I have a 32 months child, who loves music. He has been exposed and in contact with music even before birth. Upon his birth, the Baby Einstein DVDs have been a great tool.

Now, he knows all symphonic instruments, and is able to recognize most of the sounds of them. He has toy version of a sax, clarinet, and trumpet, as well as percussion instruments. Very often as part of our games, we play different instruments with music on the background. With all of these games I am trying to develop some sense of rithm and sensibility to music. I feel thats kindermusic objective.

Please share your comments on how’s the best way to start music education and if there is any previous requirement before starting a suzuki program. Thanks!

Laura said: Sep 1, 2006
Suzuki Association Member
358 posts

Sounds like you’re establishing a lovely musical environment in the home! If your everyday relationship with your child already involves music, in a natural, enjoyable way, I can’t even begin to describe how valuable that is. If you’re both enjoying the music together, and there are lots of smiles and movement, that is already one of the most important things to have before beginning a Suzuki program.

Be careful against somehow trying to INSTILL music in your child (vs. simply enjoying it). I don’t get the sense you are doing this, but I am just mentioning it for the sake of other readers. So many parents feel that music needs to be somehow formally introduced, and therefore delay any enjoyment of it in the home until the parents feel “it’s time to sign them up for music lessons”. Then they look for the best programs that promise the most results (”Rhythm! Singing! Music Reading! Composition! Music Theory! And overall it’s FUN FUN FUN!!”) Then the poor kids get everything all crammed in at once—talk about pressure!—and I believe that if there will be sense of frustation later on, it comes from this approach. That is sad, since the seeds of musical enjoyment can be sown as early as birth, or even in the womb. Dr. Suzuki believed that the nuturing environment in the home is best, the more informal the better.

One point I should mention is that as your child is getting closer to formal music lessons (Suzuki or otherwise), make sure that you do your best to introduce music “properly”, even during play. For example, there is a huge difference between helping your child bang a drum in time to a CD, and simply letting them go wild because they like making noise. Same with toy instruments—if you have some musical background, perhaps you can play simple songs on the instruments, so your child will recognize the difference between purposeful playing and simply making noise. I can imagine this is the point of the good children’s music programs out there, even though I’m not specifically familiar with Kindermusik.

Play recordings of the “real” versions of those instruments, too, so he will learn to recognize the sounds of violin, cello, piano, etc. when played beautifully. No Baby Einstein here—I mean classical music performed by real performers—orchestra, violin, piano, etc.

Of course, he might not be able to reproduce any of what you are showing him yet, but you are introducing it to his ears and heart—and that is, I believe, another of the most important things to have before beginning a Suzuki program.

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