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The Gift of Music

It’s a season of giving and with so many thoughts about gifts; I thought I’d take a moment to share with you why music education is a gift to your children and also why the music education your children receive through Harmony Arts and Musikgarten is such an extra special gift.

There are so many benefits that come from music--here are a couple.

First of all, it brings happiness and allows for students to express the feelings of their heart as they play. There have been times I have played a piece of music and wept as I lovingly and expressively played while thinking of the message of the words. And, there have been other times when I felt so upset that I pounded out a song just as loud and as fast as I could—feeling much better afterward. Even when I haven’t been the one playing, just listening to the music I am able to experience and express the feelings of my heart. We even have a family friend who periodically listens to a playlist of sad songs and allows himself to sob and cry and express the feelings of his heart that hurt. Playing and expressing through music can be very healing.

Music can change the feeling in our homes. Is there a cranky, stressed, or chaotic hyper feeling? Quiet calm music can help. Do you need something to cheer up the challenge of cleanup time? Play something fun and exciting! Sometimes during dinner I’ll turn on something calm and quiet in the background to help us slow down and enjoy dinner together as a family. Then, when it’s time to clean up dinner we turn on a playlist of our favorite fun songs to dance and sing to as we work together!

Those are some general benefits of music.

Musikgarten offers something unique by training the ear.

I found it very interesting recently to learn that classical composer Robert Schumann wrote a list of 68 rules he deemed important for young musicians. The first rule was to listen to and notice the sounds around us. He says, “The cultivation of the ear is of the greatest importance. Endeavor early to distinguish each tone and key. Find out the exact tone sounded by the bell, the glass, and the cuckoo.” Isn’t it interesting that the three and four-year-olds in our Toddlers and Cycles classes are tuning in to the sounds of animals, wind, crunching leaves, doorbells and running water.

Harriet A. Seymour was an author from the early 1900s who wrote about music, the philosophy of music, what music can do for you, and how to think music. In her writing she suggests putting children in a musical atmosphere with singing games, dancing, and lovely children’s songs before approaching the mechanical side of music. She suggests that skipping and dancing and acting

out folk dances and folk games will give children a sense of rhythm in a harmonious spirit of play and joy that encourages connection and teaches them music while they experience music. She also says that children’s classes look a lot like play while the teacher is awakening the spirit of music in the children.

In Musikgarten’s Book 4, students practice distinguishing the difference between the I, IV, and V7 chords. This is also something Ms. Symour suggests teaching as a foundation that will lead to a larger understanding and ability to play an accompaniment in any key for fun!

One last note that Harriet Symour also says is, “First listening, then thinking, then singing, playing and then some technical exercises make the playing more conscious and more beautiful—this is the proper sequence.” And that too much technique given too early kills the love and desire to learn music. I find it so interesting that the music education Ms. Symour suggests is exactly what your child is receiving through Musikgarten at Harmony Arts.

By enrolling your children in the Musikgarten classes and cultivating that love of music in your home, you are blessing your children with a gift—the gift of music—that will last a lifetime!

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