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Author Topic: How can music dramatically affect your child's development and lifetime success?  (Read 67899 times)
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ChrisSalter
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« Reply #15 on: September 28, 2010, 05:44:29 PM »

More tips

One of the great secrets of learning is that we must, either within ourselves or within our children and homes, create an environment where it is OK to fail. Not only is it OK, it is expected, even relished on a daily basis. This seems completely contradictory, but it is not, IF failure is accompanied by feedback and learning, and a re-attempt, and more learning.

On an abstract level this seems logical, but on a practical level we try too often and too soon for "perfection". But let's think about how a child learns one of the most complex and amazing skills they will ever master, to speak. First they observe, and begin to make associations passively to words, like their name, and family names, then objects, etc. All of this going on without formal instruction, the mind of the infant looking to "make sense" of its world, and relate to it.

Then it begins to mimic the sounds of speech around it, PLAYING with sounds, without judgement, getting POSITIVE feedback when it approximates or mimics adults sounds around it. ("Dada!") Rarely do parents "correct" every bit of gibberish a child experiments with, though they will MODEL the sound they think the baby is trying to say (yes, "DADDY")

The child will make thousands of such guesses, with gradual and mostly positive feedback begin to sort out on its own the "logic" of the language and begin to organize words, ("Dada go here!"), over generalizing and missing the nuances of here or there, past or present tenses, etc, but again they are encouraged and corrected, parents are amazed and delighted, not critical and judgmental (at least not at this stage).

They begin to learn from their siblings and peers, caretakers and extended family, they watch people's faces to get the nuances of pronunciation (This is why "r" and "l" and some vowel sounds are learned later, the visual cues are not obvious like they are with a "b" or "o" sound.)

During this whole process, they are expected and encouraged to fail (try). To try means to risk failure, allowing feedback, correction and refined learning. We do this naturally, gently and constantly with children with language, and no matter where they  are born, how "complex", "weird" or "obscure" the language, they learn it fluently, mostly without trauma! (I do remember some "experiments" with swear words that did not end nicely!)

Now think about most of your music lessons as a kid. MOST of us found ourselves judged, condemned and hanged at the court of musical correctness before we got out of our first lesson. We were like the "Marathon Man" character being tortured by the Nazi dentist who kept asking us these questions we could not yet answer. ("Is it SAFE?").

How did (does) that work out for most of us? Very poorly.

So, my strongest advice is to create a loving and fun environment where children and adults can "play" with music, make mistakes, enjoy them, learn from them, incorporate the feedback and try something different.

I believe it takes at least 10,000 mistakes to learn a foreign language, or deep skill like math or music. Each mistake (and correction) takes us closer to mastery, so we need to both feel safe and get busy making those mistakes in the most fun and supportive environment we can! The more fun or at least effortless it is to make mistakes (try) the more we can learn. The more we traumatize ourselves or our children for trying and missing, the more cautious we become, the more we narrow our vision, the less we learn, and in this ever changing world, being afraid to fail and learn could be the worst thing we could teach our children.

More later.

Thanks

Chris


(I taught English in Brazil, where by and large my students were undisciplined (did not study) and then later in Japan where they were very diligent. However, the Brazilians learned about 10 times faster, because they were not afraid to come to class and "wing it" or try to speak. I could correct each of them dozens of times in a single class, and they learned through doing. The Japanese were terrified to make a mistake, I had to beg for them to answer simple questions, they looked at their notes, stopped in shame at every error, and if I could correct a half a dozen utterances in a whole class I was lucky. The willingness to try and fail gave the Brazilians a profound advantage over their much more diligent Japanese counterparts. I was persistent but gentle in my corrections with each, the difference was in the self judgement, inhibitions and exaggerated sense of shame. Bring these ideas to music and you will see it flower and thrive in unexpected ways. Prune that garden rarely and very gently, instead feed it, water it and fertilize it, as Mr. Suzuki would say.)

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khatty
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« Reply #16 on: September 29, 2010, 07:06:30 AM »

I signed up but also didn't receive an email.  I checked my spam filter and there was no email.  Could someone please send me a copy/link.  Thanks.

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LilViolet
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« Reply #17 on: October 06, 2010, 04:31:20 PM »

...
One of the great secrets of learning is that we must, either within ourselves or within our children and homes, create an environment where it is OK to fail. Not only is it OK, it is expected, even relished on a daily basis. This seems completely contradictory, but it is not, IF failure is accompanied by feedback and learning, and a re-attempt, and more learning.
...
I believe it takes at least 10,000 mistakes to learn a foreign language, or deep skill like math or music. Each mistake (and correction) takes us closer to mastery, so we need to both feel safe and get busy making those mistakes in the most fun and supportive environment we can! The more fun or at least effortless it is to make mistakes (try) the more we can learn. The more we traumatize ourselves or our children for trying and missing, the more cautious we become, the more we narrow our vision, the less we learn, and in this ever changing world, being afraid to fail and learn could be the worst thing we could teach our children.
....

I also believe that it's ok to make mistakes, because often that's the best way to learn (by heart, even) anything! I regret not being adventurous enough to actually try a lot of things back then, such as playing an instrument or singing (on my own, like in a contest/recital, for example), as I was afraid of failing to do it "perfectly." In the end I've always stuck to just the few things that I knew or that I was consistently good in.

Maybe it had something to do with the fact that both of my parents were the best or smartest in their families, and they were very eager on making us grow up to be as amazing as they are. Another factor here is how one parent often compares us with other peoples' children or with each other, while the other parent supports, encourages and acknowledges each of us for whatever achievement (and non-achievement) we have -- looking back, it was indeed very confusing (and somewhat counterproductive)!  rolleyes

I'm still afraid of failing (at being a good parent), but I'm convincing myself little by little that there's no harm in trying. Hopefully I can manage to be as supportive as possible, and my kids won't be afraid to try new things so they will not miss out on discovering the many many things that they can do. I also hope they'd be able to understand and appreciate music even if their current teacher isn't exactly well-versed in the topic!

Looking forward to more fantastic tips! At the moment I'm quite curious about how to figure out when it's the "right time" to introduce playing instruments, or what instruments to show first, to different kids. I'm looking at the piano, just because that was the very first instrument I've discovered when I was little (my grandparents from both sides had a piano at home) LOL

« Last Edit: October 06, 2010, 04:37:34 PM by tchieki » Logged
HH
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« Reply #18 on: October 09, 2010, 12:24:58 AM »

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(I taught English in Brazil, where by and large my students were undisciplined (did not study) and then later in Japan where they were very diligent. However, the Brazilians learned about 10 times faster, because they were not afraid to come to class and "wing it" or try to speak. I could correct each of them dozens of times in a single class, and they learned through doing. The Japanese were terrified to make a mistake, I had to beg for them to answer simple questions, they looked at their notes, stopped in shame at every error, and if I could correct a half a dozen utterances in a whole class I was lucky. The willingness to try and fail gave the Brazilians a profound advantage over their much more diligent Japanese counterparts. I was persistent but gentle in my corrections with each, the difference was in the self judgement, inhibitions and exaggerated sense of shame. Bring these ideas to music and you will see it flower and thrive in unexpected ways. Prune that garden rarely and very gently, instead feed it, water it and fertilize it, as Mr. Suzuki would say.)

Portuguese language belongs to group of Latin languages and in common with English via:
1.   Pronunciation
2.    Vocabulary
3.   Alphabet
However, Japanese belongs to completely different group.
Therefore, Brazilian students were learning more gradually then Japanese and it has nothing to do with the reason that you had mentioned.

Here some video about natural proportions in learning:

<object width="640" height="385"><param name="movie" value=" <a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/j-8xXe1MORo&rel=1" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/v/j-8xXe1MORo&rel=1</a>"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src=" <a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/j-8xXe1MORo&rel=1" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/v/j-8xXe1MORo&rel=1</a>" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="640" height="385"></embed></object>

Here is some article about it:

I cannot stress my words enough when speaking about the gradualness that is necessary to go from simple to complex. Many years ago, while still studying in the conservatory, I stumbled upon an interesting hypothesis in observation of the proportion of the mind’s acceptance of new material. I can’t remember the name of the author but his words have been engraved into my memory: for one part of new material, there should be a minimum of three parts of what’s already been learned. In other words, there can’t be more than 25% of new information.

When working with my students, I’ve always tried to keep to this formula, and it’s never let me down. I tried to organize all that is new and unfamiliar so that the base of knowledge was always about three times more.

Often, I’ve asked myself this question: why must there be exactly one fourth of new stuff, and not a third or half? Here is what I’ve decided. At which moment does a person start to understand a new language without a dictionary? When he learns a minimum of three-fourths of the words. Here is a good example.
Let’s take the sentence "Mike is going to ______." Where is Mike going?
To guess without an identifying word is impossible. The known information comprises two-thirds, and the unknown, one-third.
But if we read "Mike is going to ______ to learn," then it isn’t at all hard to guess that he is going to school, an institute, or some type of lesson. There are three-fourths of known information, and only one-fourth of the unknown.

This exact formula is used on alphabet blocks, too. The child is familiar with the image of the Apple, the word "Apple," and the symbol of a letter. All that is unknown is one-fourth, the name of the letter. It is easily guessed with the help of the givens, which he already understands.

New information is easily perceived when it has a minimum of three sources of support. It is possible that this is one of the main laws of human perception. At the foundation of any reasonable education is a progression from simple to complex. But how complex can the new information be in relation to the simple? How steep can the ascent be in order for the person to develop without any overloading and trauma? My experience says that the "incline" should be limited to one-fourth of unfamiliar information.

Once, I discovered several of my company’s competitors on the internet. They’ve also created a computer game that teaches the student to play the piano. The authors did think of flipping the music staff, but tried to tie it to the keys with graphics: they colored the notes and keys with the same hue. All that the beginner had to do was match the keys to the notes of that color. As I explained earlier, this dependence on color isn’t the best guide for the student’s perception, but worse, the process breaks off entirely as the student progresses. "They learn intuitively to hit the right note at the right time. Gradually, as their skill level advances, so does the game. Before you know it, it isn't just a video game anymore; it's reading music."[18] As for how exactly one can cross from the blind copying of different colors to really reading the music text, the creator doesn’t have the slightest idea.

Unfortunately, the majority of methodological programs that have decent ideas for beginners stop short of developing their skills gradually, from simple to complex. Teachers only vaguely imagine what gradualness is, and how to build a staircase that the student won’t stumble down, scrambling along the missing steps without a handrail to hold on to.
http://softmozart.on.ufanet.ru/smbookeng/music16.htm



« Last Edit: October 09, 2010, 12:27:27 AM by HH » Logged

\"Education in music is most sovereign because more than anything else rhythm and harmony find there way to the inmost should and take strongest hold upon it, bringing with them and imparting grade if one is rightly trained. Plato
ChrisSalter
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« Reply #19 on: October 11, 2010, 09:14:57 PM »

I am reposting and editing some posts from other sections to summarize our position on color coding, and our logic. This is not to put down other systems, only explain our thinking, process and results.

There is a lot of talk about whether colors work in teaching or if people will be hopelessly tied to color coding and never learn to read sheet music (contradictory assertions by the way, which is it, it doesn't work or it works too well?)

I am not going to argue about this, just post one of many videos, one that for me closes the case that anyone can both learn with the colors and then learn to transition to music notation. He is not an exception, he is the norm, even though he faced extraordinary challenges. We learn best by doing, and the game is designed to transition children from the colors to the reading. Here is one irrefutable piece of proof.

http://www.amazon.com/Wizard-Premier-Silver-M-Audio-Keyboard/product-reviews/B001ARGZEC/ref=cm_cr_dp_all_summary?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1&sortBy=bySubmissionDateDescending

I cannot compare this to Soft Mozart, I have not used the system, she seems to have success with it, but I am pretty sure she has not used Piano Wizard Academy either. When you see Piano Wizard Academy in action, there is no more argument about whether it works or not, and the children are insisting on doing it again and again.

There is a method to our color coding madness, as there is in DoReMeFaSoft, it is different, but let me explain ours. First, color coding often restricts itself to the white keys, or diatonic scale in C major. This is obviously a dead end, as most music is not in C or does not stay there if it is. We decided to map the colors to the chromatic scale, or all 12 notes. We used white for "C" because that is a reference note for many styles of teaching. We experimented with following the color wheel at first, but the adjacent colors (red, orange, yellow, light green etc) were too similar to distinguish easily. So we tried contrasting colors, and it was a lot of work to come up with something that both worked (first priority) and was not aesthetically clashing. We finally decided to let the white keys be pastels, and fluorescent type colors, with the black keys being darker, and we distanced dark green and light green so they weren't adjacent, same with blue and red. We used white and black and brown because we wanted colors that were not subtle that any kid could see and say. That being said, the biggest issue was to be able to map to MIDI. MIDI means Music Instrument Digital Interface, and it is a computer protocol that has been around for over 20 years, and there are hundreds of thousands of songs online in this format (we are upgrading our Wizardtunes to include tens of thousands of legal MIDI files from Hal Leonard Corp). Computers could not handle the confusing code of music notation, so they created something much more mathematical and simple to translate to computers. Then people translate the MIDI into music notation. We used this bridge technology to create a system that turns almost any song written in music notation or MIDI into a game, that would then take them back to the notation. By mapping the colors to the chromatic scale we ensured that anything from Twinkle Twinkle Little Star to Rachmaninoff's Second Piano Concerto could be played in the game. That consideration of making this open source so people could load and learn their favorite music became our main consideration for the 12 color system. We transition the kids to fingering numbers before taking the colors away completely, so the color coding is just a step along their path to music literacy, one dropped in the last two steps of the 5 step process.

 We also had to deal with two different color schemes CMYK used for print and RGB used for computer screens and other backlit sources, so our stickers are actually printed on a 10 color pantone printer, quite expensive, but it helps the kids see the colors on the screen match the ones on the keyboard. The stickers are washable and removable, so they can be put on virtually any digital or MIDI keyboard.

A little history is perhaps in order. We first developed the game, and its curriculum was just a random collection of folk, classical and pop songs. While it had the four steps, it did not have any supporting materials how to use them to move from the game to sheet music, nor did it have a step-wise set of songs to take someone gradually from zero to 60. In other words there was no smooth path or guidance. It was at this time Fisher-Price licensed the program from us for a toy version, "I Can Play Piano". This was our first deal with a Fortune 100 company (Mattel) and we learned a lot about this process. First, they did not know music at all (in fact their keyboard was missing a key when it came out) and their arrangements were worse than ours for easy learning. As you know, music is infinitely complex and some kind of sequence needs to be laid out or people can get quickly overwhelmed. Parallel with this we of course saw those gaps, but did not want to do something half way. At that time my former piano teacher, Don Beattie, founder of the International Beethoven Society, MC of the World Piano Pedagogy Conference and 30 year professor of piano pedagogy at SIU embraced the task along with his wife Delayna, also with about 20 years experience with children, to create a solid, play tested piano curriculum to go with the game. This took him about 18 months to complete, and he worked with children every step of the way to optimize that sequence and those arrangements. He was having spectacular results from those kids, children with behavior issues were doing their homework to be able to "practice piano", a girl with dyslexia's reading improved to grade level, his college student helpers were changing their majors to music education based on their rich experiences, and more. He then came to Boulder Colorado to do the first every "boot camp" of a week long intensive class at our local school, a kind of summer camp for kids. The children were grouped ages 3-6 in the morning, 7-12 year olds in the afternoon, the classes were about an hour long, 4 days in a row, and then the fifth day, a Friday, they had a little recital. On that fifth day, the kids had learned up to 20 songs in a single week (Books 1 and 2 of the Academy) and were reading at the grand piano with no tears or trauma. You talk about my enthusiasm, but even I was stunned. I realized that Don had a lot more science and art behind his choices of curriculum then I had realized, and that somehow his contribution needed to be captured. We spent the next 18 months filming 50 lessons, each based on one of the first 50 songs, but gearing the video lessons toward PARENTS and NON-music educators, with extensive notes for piano teachers included. This was the creation of a much deeper product, the Piano Wizard Academy, which I don't believe you really understand, is much deeper than the original game we designed years before. We also modified the game play, and created the sheet music, created an Academy Quickstart DVD so people could get a handle on all the was involved.

As for reviews and testimonials, I only gave you one (above), we have dozens and dozens, but that one testimonial, spontaneous words of gratitude from a mother and a video she posted online, speaks volumes for me. If you read the mother's words, you realize that somehow this game and method reached even someone who had trouble with basic language and comprehension, couldn't understand even toddler programs on TV like Teletubbies, but was now playing piano and reading music, with his language abilities improving as well. My point is, this dramatic example proves it will work for almost anyone. We see every day other examples, but his moved us beyond words.

I consider this system to be "training wheels" for the piano, nothing more, nothing less. A great way to get started without the normal trauma associated with learning music, and especially reading, which as you know is usually where you lose most kids, and yet is fundamental to their musical literacy. This program, the Piano Wizard Academy, is NOT the only way, the only path, the be all end all. It is a great tool, and a welcome advance, and designed for people with NO music or education experience to be able to succeed quickly and consistently. One day I would like to meet with you HH, perhaps at a conference, and we can trade notes as fellow colleagues both on the same mission, to bring music to the world, and make it a universal language, for the betterment of mankind. I know what we have, and I am sure there is great merit in what you have, as there is in Suzuki practices etc., but this is another approach, and it is WORKING. Thank God for that, and God bless everyone trying to find a better way for all.

Thanks

Chris Salter
CEO and Founder
Piano Wizard Academy

PS We are working with BrillKids to create a special package for their readers for the holidays, anyone interested in our Piano Wizard Academy system may want to wait a few weeks to take advantage of that offer, which will have discounts and bonuses as well.


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« Reply #20 on: October 11, 2010, 09:54:52 PM »

Please, answer my concrete questions! http://forum.brillkids.com/teaching-your-child-music/piano-wizard/15/
Thank you!

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« Reply #21 on: October 11, 2010, 10:15:54 PM »

This is to HH above. Somehow my web page did not load the videos you posted until after I had posted, but I wanted to respond to your video and post about language. First of all, I loved the video, it illustrates well some of the different approaches and pros and cons, also that we need to take things in steps. I would go a little further in this exploration of how we learn, and list some common pathways.

1) Trauma. This is obviously built into our DNA to ensure survival, but of course not the preferred way to teach or learn! In fact Post Traumatic Stress Disorder shows how our complex nervous systems can be damaged and cross wired, and how deep and permanent this kind of learning is. Hopefully no piano teachers use this, though it is the stereotype.
2) Association. We have all used association to remember things, this is a technique that is very natural for us, and in fact we need to leverage it often. Association gives memorable context that we can often revive later to remember the rest.
3) Metaphor or analogy. We use metaphors constantly to explain and understand things. For example, we talk about currents of electricity, but it really has nothing to do with water currents, it is an analogy that helps us make sense of something. Myths, and whole sciences use this constantly to explain results in a way the makes sense to us.
4) Modeling. This is one of our primary modes of learning, by imitation, and a large part of the logic of Suzuki method, or any parent based learning. "Kids will do nothing you say and everything you do." It is in our DNA as well, as almost every learning animal does this.
5) Play. This is a higher mode of learning, again we see this in many forms, sports, games, improvisation, imitation, it is how we "test out" ideas in a safe environment. Some kinds of play translate into the real world better than others, but the attraction of play is probably because those who play learn more and faster. Play should be safe, a place to make mistakes and learn from them without condemnation or shame, which was my point about how embarrassed Japanese speakers were to make mistakes, hindering their ability to learn. We learn by doing.
6) Chunking. This is addressed a little in the video above, but let me be clearer. We "chunk" information into "units" to better handle it. One example is a phone number. Put the ten digits together without dashes or spaces and it is almost impossible to read let alone remember. Break it down into chunks and no problem. We don't read or hear words letter by letter or sound by sound, we break it into words, and then phrases ("on the porch" rather than "on" "the" "porch"). We do this with music as well, taking notes into motifs into phrases into melodies into movements, etc. So breaking information down into manageable "chunks" and then adding them up and connecting them is critical for creative use of the information we gain.
7) Repetition. One of the mainstays, but here is some color on how to make that much less boring. First, repetition through variation, in other words, learn the same thing different ways, through colors, singing, movement, names, fingering, etc. Second is "Practice doesn't make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect." (Vince Lombardi). Real attention to the quality of the repetition is important, so you don't have to unlearn things.
Cool The proportion of new to old, as in the video above. She points out that Portuguese and English are both related languages (Indo-European) and so share many cognates (different or differente?) that English and Japanese do not. Very true, though my focus in the classes was on pronunciation, and the differences there between English and Portuguese and English and Japanese are about the same, i.e, there is mostly overlap in the sound sets, with some key differences like "L" and "R" for Japanese speakers, but "TH" and "R" for Portuguese speakers. The point is, moving from known to unknown should be broken down into bite size pieces (chunks) and use of metaphors (known process like how water currents work to unknown theory about how electricity works) . But taking kids from A to Z doesn't work, they need the letters in between, and a lot of times we need to back up and rephrase so they can absorb it. When we do that, they catch on very fast.

I for one am enjoying these conversations and think HH is also fascinated with how people learn and how we can leverage different modalities to teach and learn better. Thanks again for the video.

Chris

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« Reply #22 on: October 17, 2010, 07:07:36 PM »

Even though I am currently set up to get the e-mail updates on learning music though BrillKids I find myself checking the website to see if it has come out at least once a week! I can't wait!
For now we are just using a key board to get familiar with the keys. I have little ABCDEFG stickers on the keys and my 2 year old will find all the A's etc. I'm so excited!

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« Reply #23 on: October 17, 2010, 07:51:49 PM »

Even though I am currently set up to get the e-mail updates on learning music though BrillKids I find myself checking the website to see if it has come out at least once a week! I can't wait!
For now we are just using a key board to get familiar with the keys. I have little ABCDEFG stickers on the keys and my 2 year old will find all the A's etc. I'm so excited!

What's a great idea!

When I only just started learning, I found a treasure: a small knick on one of the keys of my piano. Thank you, whoever it was that put it there! It served me as a loyal and honest hint for several years, before I completely memorized the keys of the piano. The knick was very close to Do; it was on Re! When learning new pieces, I looked to it like a ship’s captain looks for a lighthouse. Even now, I think of this tiny little scratch with appreciation and fondness. It saved me like a life vest saves a man overboard!

Because of this, I made some stickers that can be applied to every key. This is like a map of the entire space. It gives a beginner all of the information he needs. On each key, I placed its name, whether it is on a line or space (depending on its color), and in confluence with sheet music, I added the lines of the treble (green) and bass (brown) clefs. The keys, the grand staff, and the keyboard’s sound are united by stickers into a single entity.

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\"Education in music is most sovereign because more than anything else rhythm and harmony find there way to the inmost should and take strongest hold upon it, bringing with them and imparting grade if one is rightly trained. Plato
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« Reply #24 on: October 20, 2010, 01:55:50 PM »

Oh thank you Chris ,  I read your blog on tips for parents with little or no experience: mellow

I am one of those parents when I sing or attempt to teaching singing BIRDS DROP OUT OF THE SKY, poor things wub

I want to help my children develop a ear for tone not be tone deaf like myself  wacko

I do have 2 questions though:  I did sign my daugher (5) up for singing lessons.  How do I know if she is picking up the correct tones, and ihow can I tell one music teacher from another?  Does that make sense?

Thanks Ana

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« Reply #25 on: October 20, 2010, 06:16:40 PM »

Ana,

Singing is actually a fairly subtle art. It involves tiny muscles in your voice box, that we are rarely trained to use correctly. You have heard of voice lessons, and even gotten some for you daughter, but you have accepted and even embraced a fundamental attitude and belief, that YOU cannot sing in tune. Perhaps right now you are not able to NOW, but you can learn to as sure as you can learn to tango. Will it take work, practice and will you feel like a fool? Yes. Do you need expert guidance and feedback? Yes. Can you learn this skill and become competent and enjoy this and share in this with your daughter? Yes.

So, first off, your attitude must shift. Then you must embrace a long (life long) and initially frustrating and embarrassing process as the cost of learning this. However, once you stop worrying and apologizing over what you don't know and can't do yet, you can begin to learn.

I will give yo a few tips to get started, but you will need a teacher for feedback and guidance most of all.

First of all, find your range, that is the lowest note on the piano you can sing, and then highest. That can expand with practice, but it will be where you start. Sing every half step, (all the black and white keys between the lowest and highest). If you have an organ sound or flute sound on your keyboard, those longer non-percussive sounds are better targets because they continue to sound and you can hone in or tune into them without it dying away. Also, try just being conscious of moving down and up in a continuous glide, occasionally stopping at the "stairs" of the notes on the keyboard. You need to be able to consciously move up or down at will so when people give you feedback (higher) you can move in the right direction. Again, like riding a bike, easy if you know, but you can learn the basics once you get out of your own way.

Second, sing long tones to each of them, working on the micromuscles in your voicebox to try and tune into each note. Some will be easier than others, there will be a patch of notes where your voice needs to shift to another mode (sometimes this is called a falsetto, but I think of it as the way your body needs to shift and adjust to lift heavier weights with your legs whereas simply lifting with your arms is enough for lighter weights.

Third, the most challenging part, where you need feedback to learn what is "right", is learning not only to figure out when you ARE in tune, but to memorize (sense memory) what that feels like so you can do that with each note. The paradox is that no matter what note you hit, it has some harmonic relationship with the target note, and so you will feel (subtly, in your throat, ears and chest perhaps) SOMETHING. When you have tired to sing in tune before, perhaps as a child, you were guessing at the correct note, and probably got it wrong, without ANY instruction as to how to adjust up or down, or what was "right". You were probably told "you have no talent" or "you are tone deaf" by an adult, or peer, and YOU TOOK THAT TO HEART. The truth is this is very tricky, and not "visual" or obvious, and so getting it "wrong" was normal, like a baby speaks "wrong" and is corrected, hopefully lovingly and repeatedly. The big difference is that most speech sounds have a strong visual component (think the letters "b" and "th", and how you can watch where to place your lips, tongue and teeth). Vowel sounds and vowel like sounds ("r" and "l") are the hardest and longest to learn. Tone is far more subtle, and with almost NO visual cues, so naturally more difficult. We also practice it MUCH LESS than we do language, so we reduce the time, and should we have some elitist, impatient or just ignorant feedback, we are not encouraged but completely humiliated.

Here also is how confusing the "right" (unison, or same tone) can be. You could be singing an octave above or below and it will feel in tune, very similar to the exact same note. OR, you could sing one of the notes that harmonizes with that note, a third, a fifth or sixth away from the notes, and it will "resonate" in some distinct way as "something". Worse, the most dramatic feeling (and most "noticeable) is when you sing the note CLOSEST to the one you are aiming for, the half step or whole step above or below the target note is the MOST DISSONANT, and it "resonates" weirdly and dramatically in your ears, throat and chest, and you think (floundering with no feedback) "there, I feel something, that must be it". And you are close, but harmonically completely dissonant, and no one helped you find how to move JUST A LITTLE up or down to "tune in" and then to REMEMBER that "tuned in feeling" so you could replicate it again.

Finally, if someone knowledgeable, with awareness, technique and patience, LOVINGLY showed you the way, you COULD learn to sing, enough to enjoy it, and to please yourself your whole life long, and who knows, after a few years or even months of practice, someone else will say, "my, you have TALENT". What you will have though is not talent, but persistence, courage and faith, and a good teacher. And the birth right of music and the right to sing.

Above all, find that kind of LOVING teacher for your daughter.

Good luck

Chris

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« Reply #26 on: October 20, 2010, 06:54:36 PM »

WOW big grin
OK, I will take baby steps
Thank you for the detailed response I will read it over and over to help guide myself. 
As for my daughter I do feel she has a caring music teacher so we will go on her guidance as I learn to adjust to my own music talent  blush
    As a matter of fact I did buy a book series with song/cd  by Dr. Jean, www.teachertube.com and we did it today. 
My kids love music as my husband and I do.
I did sign up and received the book with I read and now l look forward to your newsletters. smile  smile


 big grin Thank you again,
Anna

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« Reply #27 on: October 20, 2010, 07:02:12 PM »

Ana,

Singing is actually a fairly subtle art. It involves tiny muscles in your voice box, that we are rarely trained to use correctly. You have heard of voice lessons, and even gotten some for you daughter, but you have accepted and even embraced a fundamental attitude and belief, that YOU cannot sing in tune. Perhaps right now you are not able to NOW, but you can learn to as sure as you can learn to tango. Will it take work, practice and will you feel like a fool? Yes. Do you need expert guidance and feedback? Yes. Can you learn this skill and become competent and enjoy this and share in this with your daughter? Yes.

So, first off, your attitude must shift. Then you must embrace a long (life long) and initially frustrating and embarrassing process as the cost of learning this. However, once you stop worrying and apologizing over what you don't know and can't do yet, you can begin to learn.

I will give yo a few tips to get started, but you will need a teacher for feedback and guidance most of all.

First of all, find your range, that is the lowest note on the piano you can sing, and then highest. That can expand with practice, but it will be where you start. Sing every half step, (all the black and white keys between the lowest and highest). If you have an organ sound or flute sound on your keyboard, those longer non-percussive sounds are better targets because they continue to sound and you can hone in or tune into them without it dying away. Also, try just being conscious of moving down and up in a continuous glide, occasionally stopping at the "stairs" of the notes on the keyboard. You need to be able to consciously move up or down at will so when people give you feedback (higher) you can move in the right direction. Again, like riding a bike, easy if you know, but you can learn the basics once you get out of your own way.

Second, sing long tones to each of them, working on the micromuscles in your voicebox to try and tune into each note. Some will be easier than others, there will be a patch of notes where your voice needs to shift to another mode (sometimes this is called a falsetto, but I think of it as the way your body needs to shift and adjust to lift heavier weights with your legs whereas simply lifting with your arms is enough for lighter weights.

Third, the most challenging part, where you need feedback to learn what is "right", is learning not only to figure out when you ARE in tune, but to memorize (sense memory) what that feels like so you can do that with each note. The paradox is that no matter what note you hit, it has some harmonic relationship with the target note, and so you will feel (subtly, in your throat, ears and chest perhaps) SOMETHING. When you have tired to sing in tune before, perhaps as a child, you were guessing at the correct note, and probably got it wrong, without ANY instruction as to how to adjust up or down, or what was "right". You were probably told "you have no talent" or "you are tone deaf" by an adult, or peer, and YOU TOOK THAT TO HEART. The truth is this is very tricky, and not "visual" or obvious, and so getting it "wrong" was normal, like a baby speaks "wrong" and is corrected, hopefully lovingly and repeatedly. The big difference is that most speech sounds have a strong visual component (think the letters "b" and "th", and how you can watch where to place your lips, tongue and teeth). Vowel sounds and vowel like sounds ("r" and "l") are the hardest and longest to learn. Tone is far more subtle, and with almost NO visual cues, so naturally more difficult. We also practice it MUCH LESS than we do language, so we reduce the time, and should we have some elitist, impatient or just ignorant feedback, we are not encouraged but completely humiliated.

Here also is how confusing the "right" (unison, or same tone) can be. You could be singing an octave above or below and it will feel in tune, very similar to the exact same note. OR, you could sing one of the notes that harmonizes with that note, a third, a fifth or sixth away from the notes, and it will "resonate" in some distinct way as "something". Worse, the most dramatic feeling (and most "noticeable) is when you sing the note CLOSEST to the one you are aiming for, the half step or whole step above or below the target note is the MOST DISSONANT, and it "resonates" weirdly and dramatically in your ears, throat and chest, and you think (floundering with no feedback) "there, I feel something, that must be it". And you are close, but harmonically completely dissonant, and no one helped you find how to move JUST A LITTLE up or down to "tune in" and then to REMEMBER that "tuned in feeling" so you could replicate it again.

Finally, if someone knowledgeable, with awareness, technique and patience, LOVINGLY showed you the way, you COULD learn to sing, enough to enjoy it, and to please yourself your whole life long, and who knows, after a few years or even months of practice, someone else will say, "my, you have TALENT". What you will have though is not talent, but persistence, courage and faith, and a good teacher. And the birth right of music and the right to sing.

Above all, find that kind of LOVING teacher for your daughter.

Good luck

Chris

Chris, as a musicologist with major in ear training and voice development, I should say: Bravo! Great answer!
BTW, do you know, where the do tone-deaf people come from? I did my research on that: http://softmozart.on.ufanet.ru/smbookeng/music11.htm



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« Reply #28 on: October 20, 2010, 07:22:14 PM »

Hellene,

Thanks for the link to the great article, that sounds like an interesting approach. My response was based on my own efforts to learn to sing in tune, so I sympathize with Ana and anyone else who feels left out. I also know it can be done, you just need to be a bit stubborn and thick skinned, and patient with yourself. But what a joy to be able to sing, especially in a choir, where you can feel the other voices move in and out of harmony with you. Bach's mass in B minor, the opening Kyrie, where the bass sings the long notes and the sopranos and altos shift through passing notes, I could feel them "moving" away in my chest and coming back. Amazing and profound. I wish that joy for everyone, and it is an infinite pool to play in.

Thanks

Chris

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« Reply #29 on: October 21, 2010, 07:58:58 AM »

Hi Chris,

I am very interested in the piano wizard academy not just for my daughter and baby but also for myself. I was wondering if it would be avaliable for purchase through a payment plan or on layby. I think in America it is called lay-away.

The Aussie dollar is so good at the moment against the American dollar. I would hate to miss out on it but it is hard for me to find $550 plus shipping this close to xmas. Is there a way around this?

I totally understand if there is not.

Kind Regards,
Kimba15

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