Joe Courage's first music lesson.
I few weeks ago I was pondering when and how to start music lessons for my 3 ½-year-old, Joe Courage. So I asked several homeschooling music teachers what they would recommend. I received some wonderful ideas (the Suzuki method was the most recommended), but one idea in particular has proven to be the most successful for a child as young as Joe, with no hand-to-eye coordination skill as of yet. Many thanks to Melody Huber for this music tip!
This morning, I took out some 3x5 card stock, a marker, and a hymnbook. I drew five straight parallel lines to represent a bar of music, complete with a treble clef on the right side. Then I drew the note middle-C with the upright stem where it is found on the music bar. Below the “picture” I wrote the letter “C.” Joe Courage was looking over my shoulder as I finished.
“What’s that, Mom? A picture?”
“This is the symbol for the note middle-C on the piano. Come here and I’ll show you.” Joe followed me to the piano and I placed him and 16-month-old Rysha side-by-side on the bench with the flash card in front of them.
“This is middle-C,” I said and pressed the note down, humming with it at the same time. “This,” I pointed to the card, “is how it looks written down. When I see this in a hymnbook, I know to play this note... “miiiiddddle Cccccc (humming.)” Joe pressed the note and sang with perfect pitch “miiiiddddle Cccccc.”
I showed him how it was the center note on the piano, and then opened the hymnbook to point out as many middle Cs as we could find on one page. Meanwhile, Ryshoni Joy was listening and humming along.
In another three years or so, by the time Joe’s coordination has caught up with his brain, he will be able to recognize, play, sing, and compose with individual notes as well as chords. Today’s music lesson lasted about five minutes and was entirely stress free. As I left them sitting on the bench looking at the card, I heard Joseph turn to Ryshoni and say, “Look, Rysh, this is the middlest note on the piano. That’s how it looks, and this is how it sounds; ‘miiiiiiidle Cccccc...’”
Beka Joy (Pearl) Anast
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