Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Our Music Journey

Music, as in a curriculum/learning to play an instrument, has been an area for us that has been lacking.

Not because we wanted it that way or because we simply overlooked the subject of music. No, simply because we have had an unpleasant taste of music linger with us for over four years now.

B enjoyed kindermusik from quite a young age (around 12 months but I can't remember exactly). I always knew that I wanted music to play an important part in the children's lives. Together we loved Kindermusik, it really was lots of fun for toddlers. Our only problem was our 'local' Kindermusik was 30 minutes drive away and after some time the drive there every week became too much.

Hence I began my search for something comparable, but closer to home. Eventually I settled on a program that, on face value, appeared to be very similar to Kindermusik and was only 15 minutes from home. The transition was simple and painless, great, it was a fun program and B loved it immensely. 

When he turned 4 he was ready (according to the music school) to move up to their beginner keyboard lessons. Yay, finally we were moving on to 'real' music and learning to play an instrument, so very exciting.

For some strange reason though I felt the need to discuss this further with the staff of the music school. They informed me that he would be going from a 30 minute class sitting on the floor in a circle, partaking in lots of active music fun; to a 45 minute class sitting behind a keyboard. He would have a workbook and would be required to do homework at least 3 times a week, but preferably 5 times. 

I raised my concerns instantly. I just did not feel that he was ready for that structure at all. However, I was assured that he would be fine.

This was a pivotal point in my role as a parent for me and one experience I will never forget. It was the first time my gut instinct, mothers intuition, call it what you will, told me that something was up and I chose to ignore it.

I chose to listen to the 'experts' after all they know what they are doing don't they?

Never again will I ignore my instincts.

We spent a pretty sum on the required materials and headed off for our first class. Admittedly in the beginning, it was fun. If my memory serves me correctly he learnt to play Hot Cross Buns pretty well straight away and was totally chuffed at that.

But then things started to turn hairy! First it began with him not wanting to do his homework, which eventually affected his lessons as he was behind. Very quickly it all spiralled out of control and lessons ended up in tears every single time and they weren't only coming from him.

What a failure! Me, him, the teacher and the music school, we were all failures. Well at least at the time, in my mind anyway.

Needless to say music lessons for B ended pretty quickly after that. I always wonder how many children that happens to and how many totally miss out on the music experience because of it.

He was so turned off music (and so was I) that it has only been in the last 12 months that he has shown some kind of interest in instruments.

Here I was back to square one, music was again a dilemma in our house. I don't think he really remembered the situation when he was 4 but I am certain it has influenced him over the years that have followed and I wasn't about to make the same mistake again.

I have agonised over this for 12 months, possibly even longer. In the end I came to the conclusion that it just wasn't feasible to take music instruction outside the home. At roughly $15 a lesson x 3 children, including having to purchase the instruments, the dollars quickly add up. Then there is also the time factor to consider, we already have a considerable portion of our time spent outside the home and where possible I now try to combine our activities. It is so much more productive to spend a full day out than to be out running around 3 or 4 days a week.

So that was it then. The decision was really made for me. I needed to find a way to provide instruction for the children at home.

I'd remembered seeing a Children's Music Program sometime back during my online travels (but never bookmarked it and couldn't remember what it was called) it took me some time to find it again.

I was ever so thankful to once again stumble onto the Children's Music Journey Program from Adventus.

The keyboard is purchased, and I might add, has not been left alone since we have had it here. B is so excited and is itching to dive right in and learn how to play the thing. We are only few days in with the program and I am holding my breath for a wonderful learning experience.

We will be sharing lots more with you as we progress on this journey. I hope you will join us.


Katie Olthoff said...

I hope this works out well for you! Adam (2) loves Kindermusik, and band was a big part of my life, so I'd like him to learn an instrument someday. In our area, homeschoolers team with the local schools, and the kids can come in for band practice/lessons during the school day. It's usually not too far from their home, and seems to work really well. Is that an option for you?

The Adventurer said...

We are using Pianoanimals and love it. Plus it is pretty cheap after getting the keyboard. My kids are on book 2 and can play several easy music pieces. On her own my daughter picked up her recorder and played along to Jingle bells as my son played the piano. Pretty amazing. Good luck with the program. I will keep it in mind should we ever have to change things up a bit

sbswtp said...

I am sorry it was so frustrating for you! I actually teach preschool piano...and found that because they are so young (under the age of 5-6)...I made up my own curriculum instead of using the typical books. I have put the printables up on my blog if you are interested...they are intended to cover a lot of theory in a fun way. (My printables are FREE)... :) Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Only a few weeks ago I pulled out our old keyboard and the kids like tinkering. Although I havent touched it in years I have always appreciated my background in music. I look forward to hearing how you go.

Natalie PlanetSmarty said...

How exciting that you found something that might work for your family without spending a fortune on music lessons. I am curious to read about your experiences.

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