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Age and Approach

The Da1croze approach focuses on rhythm and movement. Such classes


are weIl worth considering, especially if the child has astrong enthusiasm
for music. Parents who share these early musical experiences with their
children will discover them to be both fascinating and stimulating, and
will find themselves able to help in apractical and supportive way.

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It is between the ages of ab out six and nine when most young people
begin their instrumental training. At this age children often have efficient
memories,
are very eager to learn but will still probably have a short
attention span. Never underestimate
their capacity for learning and thirst
for knowiedge. Set them eliallenging tasks and expect a lot in return they are normally not afraid of failure and will always want to 'have a go'.
This is the time you can really lay many of the foundations of playing
and musicianship.
Thorough teaching at this level is an enormous
investment for the future. Lessons will have to be carefully planned to
include a variety of activities that will develop musicianship,
gradually
instil understanding
of notation, engender a love of the sound of the
instrument and stimulate the childs imagination through creative work.
Most young learners need constant and creative reinforcement to maintain
their interest and establish streng foundations
and a sense of progress.
Thus the challenge for the teacher is how to present the same mate rial
in a variety of imaginative guises. The repertoire and tutor books used
should be carefully chosen, and you will probably have to provide
additional material yourself. Your pupils will love having pieces and
exercises written especially for them!

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It is worth noting that some pupils, at the age of seven or eight, have
already been learning for possibIy five years or more. To pre-empt early
'burn-out,
the teacher must always be monitoring each pupil's level of
enthusiasm, willingness to practise and to take part in musical activities.
If enthusiasm does seem to be dec1ining it is important to find out why.
Usually the answer can be found out by careful questioning.
To elicit
truthfuI responses avoid direct questions.
'Which pieces do you enjoy
pIaying most?' is better than 'Do you Iike the pieces you are Iearning?'.
The former may lead to a particuIarIy favoured style or indeed the
answer 'None!' whiIe the latter may simply draw a blanket 'Thev're
okay', which tells you very IittIe. If you ask Ieading questions, you wilI
probabIy get the repIy chiIdren think you want. If you ask questions that
stimulate conversation, you wilI undoubtedly
Iearn much more.
Perhaps the lesson may be on a dav and at a time the chiId would very
much rather be doing something eIse. It is aIso possible that the instrument
may not be the right one th ere may be physicaI problems that are causing

Motivation

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