Written by Deepa Sridhar on 14 September 2016
As a parent, we are always looking for avenues to let our children evolve to be successful and happy in life. Times have changed so much that performing arts which were once looked upon as a hobby have now become an important fabric of every child’s life. We want them to learn music, art, and dance as much as any academic subjects. Most of the times when I meet other parents the discussion revolves around classes they take their kids to, no matter the traffic or other logistical issues they have to overcome. The goal always seems to be exposing the child to more learning in the hope that it develops them into creative, happy people.
We at the Academy many a times receive queries on how early can we start music for children. A lot of times parents with young kids at the age below four want to start exposing the child to music. Research has proven that music helps in many areas of development of a child. Music is not just for the few who can afford or sing well. It is an art that brings joy to any individual just by listening. Many use it as a stress buster. People listen to music in bad traffic situations to calm themselves. It can be a spiritual experience for some, meditative for others. The JOY OF MUSIC is just having it around us. It is important hence as parents and facilitators that we present this art form to children so that it becomes a part of their lifestyle. They could be just listeners, or singers, or composers or players, it does not matter, what matters is the peace and well-being they feel when they involve themselves in this art form.
Music Appreciation for Children
Classical music learning is an art form which needs many years of dedication and commitment and many times it is not everyone’s cup of tea. We at the Academy feel that this should not keep children who love to sing away from music. We should provide an alternate path through which they can participate and enjoy. The idea for the program ‘Grow With Music’ was born to fill this void. Children when they are little love to sing and dance to music. They want to listen and learn different kinds of songs and experience the differences and similarities they come with. Also, what is music? and how is it created? We need to answer this inquiry from kids in a simple innovative manner that will help them demystify music, we need to make the music learning experience engaging and fun. Music learning be accompanied by understanding its roots. Simple questions like ‘Where did this piece or song originate and why?’ or ‘a little history, geography, language and culture’ can be intertwined when a child learns a particular song or piece. All these aspects are strung together in our program GROW WITH MUSIC.
In a simple way, it builds music appreciation and foundation. It builds the understanding of musical concepts in a structured, progressive, age relevant and fun manner in children. Every course is designed to address an age group or grade of a child. The course will expose the students to concepts activities to explore particular musical concepts like pitch, beat, rhythm, notes etc. The activities are planned to be engaging and fun filled, making the learning experience wholesome and joyful. Every course has songs that are hand picked to help the students enjoy music from various styles, languages, genres, and cultures. The teaching of the song involves teaching to sing with the right beat, pitch, dynamics, and inflections. The class starts with warm up exercises which are tailored to build:
This package of warm up, concept learning and singing song is comprehensive to systematically build skills in music and more importantly develops a desire and joy for music in every child.
The learning is achieved by addressing elements from both Indian and Western style of music. It also places before them a platter of musical choices that they can choose to pursue with more dedication and commitment. Creative exercises are used to assess the child. The students are encouraged to apply, analyse, evaluate and create in every class. Learning does not stop with understanding, we draw the understanding to where it is applied, how it is applied and what it is applied for. The child is asked to create simple patterns of musical elements that lead to finally helping them compose simple songs.
Coming back to the question on how early should we start music for a child, the answer is earlier the better. Children have music in them when they are born, all we need to do is nurture the musicality in them. Research has again shown that babies in womb respond to music and help in their development. Surround your child with good music as much as you can. Encourage them to use everyday items in the house to use as instruments. It is never too early to start with music.
We have developed a simple yet powerful series called Rhymes to Swaras. In this, we have used popular Rhymes like ‘Twinkle-Twinkle’ and added Indian notes or Swaras singing in parallel to the rhyme singing. This is a good way to have children get familiar with Indian notes and develop an ear to how each tune is created. This is a self-study course and can be started as early as two years and it can be a wonderful musical experience for parents to do with their child. Repeated listening and singing will make the child enjoy music in its simplest form.
Grow with Music
The child can then progress to our Grow With Music series, for children below five we would recommend to look for centers close to their house to start the learning. For children above five, they can join our online classes and start their journey.
The program is presented at schools and performing centers as a face to face experience and also as an online classes with an interactive teacher to guide and help them with the learning.
For centers and online the series is developed as levels. Starting at level one for two and half year to four-year-old, level two for four-plus to six, level three for six-plus to eight, level four to eight plus to ten and level five to ten plus to twelve. Each level will have three sets that they would have to complete before moving to the next level. At the centers, the program culminates with a showcase of the songs and concepts learnt. In online mode they will be assessed in the last class.
The Grow with music program is also developed for schools as an academic curriculum which is delivered for thirty-four weeks, in which twenty fives are dedicated to concept learning, warm ups and singing and nine weeks for annual day performance rehearsal and performance.
We have launched and delivered this program in some reputed schools across India. The program has been received well and has surely made a musical difference in the children’s life.
Contact us at info@shankarmahadevanacademy for any further questions on this program