I believe music is a natural, joyous experience.
Music is about exploring sound, experiencing rhythm and creating expression.
We each have our own musical journey, which I’ve written an ode to over here.
Mine went something like this…
Back when I first started teaching piano (in 1994!), I stumbled across a book called, ‘Making Music for the Joy of It- Enhancing Creativity, Skills, and Musical Confidence‘. I loved the title, and as I scoured its pages for words of wisdom about the art of pedagogy that might help me in my new found position as ‘teacher’, I began to ponder my own experiences of music and how it had formed and shaped my life.
I came from a musical family in many ways. My paternal grandmother, MuMu, was a renowned piano player at my maternal great-grandparents’ Dance Halls in Port Pirie.
She showed me how to use the chords and scales I was learning about at school and in my lessons in ways that helped me understand and play music very practically.
My maternal grandmother, Nan, showed me how to read music using sayings like ‘FACE’ and ‘Every Good Boy Deserves Fruit’.
My father was a rock music connoisseur who blasted out the Stones and Zepplin through the bestspeakers he could afford. Mum loved heartfelt music and the power of the written word, so U2 and the soaring notes of Mark Knoffler were engraved into my being.
Between the music blaring through speakers (in nearly every room as my sister and I grew our own tastes in musical genres), and the music tinkling from the piano, recorder, clarinet, flute, guitar, drums and occasional bass guitar, my sister and I were given every opportunity to explore and appreciate music in its fullness.
As I thumbed through the pages of the book about making music for joy, I remembered my own piano and (multiple) other instrument teachers. What they had given me. What I loved about how they taught. What I didn’t like so much. But, mainly, I thought about how music had truly supported me through the most challenging times in my young life (thank you, Teen Years!).
Music gave me a way to express what I didn’t feel I could express adequately with words.
It gave me solace. Peace. A sense that all was right in the world, even if just for a moment.
Music brought my friends and family together in community. We’d open up a song book and sing at the top of our lungs while I plunked joyfully away on the ivories.
It’s these memories of how music brought us together in community that linger most. Not how good I was (or wasn’t) at playing, but the joy I felt at being able to participate in a tradition as old as human kind (perhaps even older, if new research about Neanderthals is true).
Music has been a source of true joy for me in my own life. It’s part of our human identity, culture, history and society.
As I read this book on making music for the joy of it, I knew that’s what I wanted for my students, too. An opportunity to joyfully participate in an age old human tradition that nurtures the heart and soothes the soul.
Over the years, my thoughts about how to gift the joy of music to young people have expanded and grown.
That’s why I thought I’d share a bit about what we do and why with you. You can read more about this in my Inspire magazine.
My Way & Music
My whole Magical Music Program is based on my creative experiences, and what I want the little people in my musical care to live into.
Just as learning to read and write our English language creates further opportunities to communicate, learning musical structure aids in our musical expression.
I believe both the natural, intrinsic expression of music, as well as the structure of written music, to be of value, and I use both of these in my learning environment.
I aim to provide fun, meaningful musical learning experiences for primary school aged children in order to generate confidence, competence and skill.
Most of all, I aim for lessons to be a fun and safe environment to experience the Musical Self.
As a junior primary music specialist tutor, I do not generally teach towards exams. Should examinations be something you wish to explore, it will require serious discussion between parents and myself. I have fairly strict criteria that must be met in order to make the examination process the most rewarding experience for everyone involved. Beginning exams in late primary or high school (with another teacher) would easily qualify the student for any exam levels that may be required for musical studies should your student not currently fit my criteria.
Learning occurs best in a positive environment, which is maintained through encouragement and support, sharing skills with others, motivation, enjoyment, musical appreciation and experimentation.
Depending on the age and skill level of the child, lessons are geared towards the student achieving their own goals and aims in a creative manner, promoting success and confidence.