Let's Have Some Fun!
You know why I love playing and teaching music? It's a blast!
For very young players, a fun exercise can be to have them "make up songs" about different things. Put names of animals, feelings, weather conditions (think thunder and lightning!), and anything else that seems like fun into a hat. Have your child pull a word from the hat and play some sounds that remind him or her of the word.
If you have access to a few different instruments and your child has yet to pick a favorite, this can be a really fun way to spark their interest in piano, guitar, violin, or whatever else is available.
For older players with a little experience with an instrument, a big factor in keeping them excited about playing music is making sure that they're working on music they really enjoy. Some students really enjoy early classical or baroque era composers like Bach or Mozart, while others may prefer romantic era composers like Liszt or Beethoven. Beyond that, some players may really find they prefer jazz, ragtime, blues, show tunes, rock and roll, R&B, spiritual, or any other of the many types of music out there! It's vital that both parents and teachers take the time to find out what types of music really excites students.
Sometimes though, even when all conditions are right, these more advanced students can hit a wall, no longer feeling like they're making progress or enjoying a piece. When this happens, let them experiment! With piano, I'll often ask students to play something in a different style than it was written. So maybe that means swinging some Mozart, or playing ragtime with a decidedly romantic flair. Often just doing this once or twice as an exercise will bring out nuances in the music that the pianist or guitarist missed the first (or 80th!) time through.
Before we sign off, even if you're not a big fan of music apps, I highly recommend that every single musician download the free ProMetronome app, or a similar virtual metronome. Guitarists, violinists, bassists, or even brass or woodwind players might enjoy the Boss Tuner App, which is free and pretty versatile.
Do you have any fun music games that you remember playing, or that are really fun for your child? Drop us a line! We'd love to hear about them. :)
Until next time, happy practicing!