Our children’s choir at church recently lost a very good music director. She is getting married this weekend and moving out to California, so I very reluctantly agreed to let her go! The problem is that I do not currently have a replacement, so it looks like I will be directing the children’s choir again for a while.
I did put the word out that I was looking for a replacement, and had a couple of college-age girls mention that they would be willing to help out if I needed them to. I am certainly grateful for the fact that they volunteered!
In my conversation with one of them, I was attempting to explain my primary goals for working with small children. They are primarily two-fold:
- Train them to sing on pitch
- Always make musical experiences fun, enjoyable and desirable
That’s it! Teaching them how to sing on pitch is crucial for future musical success, and pitch recognition must be “caught” well at a young age. Surprisingly enough, singing on pitch is not difficult for even very young children if they are exposed to good musical experiences early on. Learning to enjoy music will give them the motivation they need to become interested in musical expression and will create a thirst to learn more about music as they grow older.
If you have small children in your home, you should be singing to them and with them constantly. You should be exposing them to good music recordings, made up predominately of clear, singable melodies. If you wish to give them a head start with instrumental music, I would suggest finding a good Suzuki method teacher. We have good friends who have had some wonderful successful experiences with Suzuki teachers. Personally, we used the We Hear and Play piano method with our children when they were toddlers/preschool age, to expose them to the concept of music reading. They loved it, and I feel it was a good preparation for formal piano lessons later.
Giving them a head start in music is great way to prepare your children for a lifetime of music participation and enjoyment.