Teaching kids classes- questions to those who have

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2lost2find
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Re: Teaching kids classes- questions to those who have

Post by 2lost2find » Thu Dec 06, 2018 3:20 pm

Stephen Faulk wrote:
Thu Dec 06, 2018 3:00 pm
Thanks nice post. I accidentally posted the non spell checked draft ..ooops..

When I lived in the US, where I'm from, I was involved with Girls Rock Camp as a 'roadie' and helper to schlep equipment and set up classes and stuff. I had a truck and friends be with kids in the program. The friends daughters began at age 12 now they are in the 2 nd year of college studying art and guitar and all kids are still in the same band they had at 12.

I won't be teaching rock this time, I'm quite certain kids will take to any music they like. The kids in the school system work in play koto, Taiko, piano, wind band etc. Plus folkloric group dances and cultural regional music
They will make it through 10 weeks of nylon string guitar. I can mix the right amount of serious teaching with goofing off and having fun to keep them engaged.

Later this might run a class to teach them David Bowie songs and other stuff that they listen to. Bands from Japan. I really can't stand J pop so I'll refrain from teaching it!!

I highly recommend the Girls Rock Camp. But I know flamenco inside and out, even though I don't practice much, I'll have to practice to by on top of teaching it. I also think the compas and palmas ( clapping) will not be wierd to them because they all have tried Taiko in elementary school.

I'm trying to attract classical guitarists to come to this small rural town to play in our new community center, the stage is fantastic. So getting the kids involved will spur the adults to fund concerts if I push on them.
How small is your town? I'm in a little community of 800 people. It's my experience that rural taste is relentlessly mainstream... niches really don't exist. I played some CG at a benefit for a local teenage girl with cancer last month, and although we filled up the church I was in and everyone listened politely that had 100% to do with the cause, NOT the music I was playing. I think mostly people just had no idea what the hell they were hearing, or how to respond to it. Most of the comments I got later were about my PLAYING, not the music. The only exceptions were the k-12 choir director and a couple of afficionados.

Regarding the music kids will take to... I noticed something interesting when I was a college music major. You had lots of young people studying to be classical musicians, but none of them LISTENED to classical music. The only time I knew any of them to actually listen to a recording of a classical piece was if it was something they were going to be playing themselves. I knew of one or two exceptions besides myself. I found it bizarre, to put it mildly. Hanging out with friends, or in their dorm rooms relaxing, it was popular music all the way. My kid is like that, actually. She's working on classical guitar right now and by her own choice, but I have never known her to actually put it on as listening material of her own volition.

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Julian Ward
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Re: Teaching kids classes- questions to those who have

Post by Julian Ward » Thu Dec 06, 2018 3:46 pm

^ Of course....It is 'square' to like classical music, or somehow 'geeky' to be listening to it... or even ADMIT to be listening....I wonder what Star Wars would have sounded like with instrumental pop groups playing Ed Sheeran in the background when Luke was out in the desert finding his Aunt and Uncle dead... Or when the Death Star was approaching? That is the way I get youngsters interested, because they are actually hearing it all the time!
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2lost2find
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Re: Teaching kids classes- questions to those who have

Post by 2lost2find » Thu Dec 06, 2018 6:23 pm

Julian Ward wrote:
Thu Dec 06, 2018 3:46 pm
^ Of course....It is 'square' to like classical music, or somehow 'geeky' to be listening to it... or even ADMIT to be listening....I wonder what Star Wars would have sounded like with instrumental pop groups playing Ed Sheeran in the background when Luke was out in the desert finding his Aunt and Uncle dead... Or when the Death Star was approaching? That is the way I get youngsters interested, because they are actually hearing it all the time!
I'm not sure it's the square factor... I think mostly they just really weren't all the thrilled by it. I had a girlfriend who was five or six years younger than me that I lived with while I was attending school. She was a piano performance major, and her best friend was a clarinet major. Both of them are teaching at the college level now, and I'm still in touch with them. Both of them were playing almost exclusively classical music for their degree programs, but neither of them listened to it casually... and fifteen years later, as teachers of classical music at the college level, they still don't. Once again, it strikes me as bizarre.

Stephen Faulk
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Re: Teaching kids classes- questions to those who have

Post by Stephen Faulk » Thu Dec 06, 2018 10:40 pm

I listened to Anton Webern and Rush in highschool, I only know the geek life.

Kids listen to whatever you put in front of them. They either take to it or don't, but if they don't like it's fine.
Patience at the bending iron pays in rounded dividends!

Stephen Faulk
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Re: Teaching kids classes- questions to those who have

Post by Stephen Faulk » Fri Dec 07, 2018 1:57 am

I have lots of tricks ready to get them involved in the moment. Even 12 year olds in Japan know the Beatles. So I'll play Toru Takemitsu arrangements of Beatles songs, there's dozens of them on you tube.

I really don't think the idea of classical music being stuffy and old fashioned is concept to them. They don't like Enka music which is a Japanese kind of crooning still popular with older people. It's like the Lawrence Welk show when NHK has an Enka program once a week.

The culture here in general has reverence for western classical music, and the kids are not as set on rocking out because they are just too young to really know about rock. They know Japanese pop groups and the Beatles, but that's about it for pop music. However in school they all play soprano recorder and Taiko and maybe piano and wind band. All I'm doing is adding one more instrument to that field of instruments they can get their hands on.

I had a ten year old private student, but he stopped coming because the mom couldn't bring him every week and he was getting harmed more than helped so I called off the lessons until she could help him attend once week.

He'll figure something else out. He learned to hum the theme from the Ode to Joy section of the 9th Beethoven- he said he wanted to learn to play it on guitar. I showed it to him, but the mom was so unfocused she could only get him to me once a month. I think there's a lot of little kids around here who are like him. Maybe he'll make it to the class this time. The mom just couldn't get one kid to a specific class because she has three kids and is a single mom. If I give the class at the new center the parents can organize the driving and bring other parents kids who are busy that day.
Patience at the bending iron pays in rounded dividends!

2lost2find
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Re: Teaching kids classes- questions to those who have

Post by 2lost2find » Fri Dec 07, 2018 1:22 pm

Stephen Faulk wrote:
Fri Dec 07, 2018 1:57 am

I had a ten year old private student, but he stopped coming because the mom couldn't bring him every week and he was getting harmed more than helped so I called off the lessons until she could help him attend once week.
If he wants it bad enough, he'll find a way. As I said before, the ones who are going to become great players don't really need our help to do it. Out here in a dying agricultural community, most kids don't get lessons because their parents don't have anything to pay you with.

Karen
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Re: Teaching kids classes- questions to those who have

Post by Karen » Fri Dec 07, 2018 7:23 pm

My granddaughter, although Canadian, is Japanese speaking and has grandparents in a small Japanese farming village. She attended school for 3 months in their village as a cultural experience when she was in elementary school. So from that perspective I would like to point out that a lot of what has been said about teaching children from a North American perspective may not apply to the Japanese children. The OP is probably well aware of all of this, but as a point of interest for others reading the thread I thought I would mention it. A graphic example of the differences was a picture my daughter-in-law sent of the shoe locker at the school (kids removed their shoes for slippers on entering the classroom). The shoes in the open lockers were all perfectly aligned and neat - something I could never in my wildest imagination conceive of happening here!
Another difference is that Japanese kids are used to reading up/down and backwards. I would think it would be a lot easier for English speaking kids to learn to read music as at least it goes the same direction as they read.
But one thing for sure, worldwide, is that kids are adaptable and can learn anything if it is something they want to do. The trick is always finding the trigger that makes them to want to do it.

ronjazz
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Re: Teaching kids classes- questions to those who have

Post by ronjazz » Fri Dec 07, 2018 7:48 pm

I played 4 concerts at a middle school a couple of weeks ago, a new program I decided to market, and the Musician's Union funded the pilot 4 concerts. I played an example or two of Renaissance, Baroque and Classical-era music, some flamenco, some Spanish classical, and then a few arrangement of pop tunes, ending with a Bruno Mars tune the kids all knew quite well (I sang that one). They seemed to enjoy it, and had some good questions at the end, but my biggest surprise came when the school called and asked if I was interested in teaching small classes of classical and acoustic guitar based on what I had played. The fact is, people love music, even "classical" music, when it's presented well and sounds good. I haven't decided to take the teaching project on, but I now know that my daytime concerts will sell fairly well, creating audiences for the future. For those of you planning to teach groups, like Stephen, perhaps a small concert at the beginning of each class may be akin to priming the pump, something like Greensleeves or Mrs. Winter's Jump or some Sevillanas, maybe a new piece each session.
Lester Devoe Flamenco Negra
Lester Devoe Flamenco Blanca
Aparicio Flamenco Blanca with RMC pickup
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Julian Ward
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Re: Teaching kids classes- questions to those who have

Post by Julian Ward » Fri Dec 07, 2018 8:32 pm

ronjazz wrote:
Fri Dec 07, 2018 7:48 pm
The fact is, people love music, even "classical" music, when it's presented well and sounds good.
Exactly this!!! It is not true that they want to be rockers, I have huge interest in the classical lessons I teach here in schools in the UK. It is all about how you present it. If you tell kids "OK this is classical, it's a bit old fashioned but I will write you some pop songs" you will lose them straight away. Show them, inspire them with something real and they will love it! You have to believe in what you are teaching. That is our job!
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Lawler
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Re: Teaching kids classes- questions to those who have

Post by Lawler » Fri Dec 07, 2018 9:35 pm

Julian Ward wrote:
Fri Dec 07, 2018 8:32 pm
ronjazz wrote:
Fri Dec 07, 2018 7:48 pm
The fact is, people love music, even "classical" music, when it's presented well and sounds good.
Exactly this!!! It is not true that they want to be rockers, I have huge interest in the classical lessons I teach here in schools in the UK. It is all about how you present it. If you tell kids "OK this is classical, it's a bit old fashioned but I will write you some pop songs" you will lose them straight away. Show them, inspire them with something real and they will love it! You have to believe in what you are teaching. That is our job!
I've taught many guitar classes with kids age 11-14 and that is my experience as well. Have a well organized learning sequence with realistic classroom activities that take into account the age-related attributes of the students... let them hear your playing (school music assemblies are great as they generate lots of excitement) and then enjoy teaching them.

Kids that age have a strong BS filter so I advise against anyone teaching classical guitar if they don't play confidently and know the student repertoire well, or if they don't feel at ease with groups of middle school students. In the US kids that age have a strong wolf-pack instinct, haha, so if a teacher doesn't connect with them in a genuine way, things can go badly. Not everyone is cut out to teach kids this age!

Nice to see your classroom videos, Julian.

2lost2find
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Re: Teaching kids classes- questions to those who have

Post by 2lost2find » Fri Dec 07, 2018 9:51 pm

Julian Ward wrote:
Fri Dec 07, 2018 8:32 pm
ronjazz wrote:
Fri Dec 07, 2018 7:48 pm
The fact is, people love music, even "classical" music, when it's presented well and sounds good.
Exactly this!!! It is not true that they want to be rockers, I have huge interest in the classical lessons I teach here in schools in the UK. It is all about how you present it. If you tell kids "OK this is classical, it's a bit old fashioned but I will write you some pop songs" you will lose them straight away. Show them, inspire them with something real and they will love it! You have to believe in what you are teaching. That is our job!
Here's where our thinking differs... I don't try to steer students in ANY direction. Ever. My job is to teach them the skills they need to play the music they WANT to play. If a kid comes in with an electric guitar and says he wants to play rock, I'm not going to say oh... wait, have you heard this classical stuff? That's not my job.

It might be different, I suppose, if you're specifically billing yourself as a classical instructor. But depending on where you are located, it might be impossible to maintain a full studio by being that much of a specialist.

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Mark Clifton-Gaultier
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Re: Teaching kids classes- questions to those who have

Post by Mark Clifton-Gaultier » Sat Dec 08, 2018 12:46 pm

2lost2find wrote:Here's where our thinking differs... I don't try to steer students in ANY direction.
I don't think Julian is talking about "steering" 2hand - it's more about exposure. Youngsters are like sponges - they have the potential to soak up anything. We just have to let classical (I hate that term) guitar be one constituent of their environment and nature will take its course.
2lost2 wrote:My job is to teach them the skills they need to play the music they WANT to play.
Well, you own the business - you're free to define the job parameters any way you like but that's just your definition. Some take a more broad view ...
2lost2 wrote:If a kid comes in with an electric guitar and says he wants to play rock, I'm not going to say oh... wait, have you heard this classical stuff? That's not my job.
... no one is suggesting that you should do that, but the guitar is simply a portal through which we experience music. So, whilst I don't try to swing someone inspired by this or that electric player towards some other genre, I do make sure that they are exposed to a broad range of styles during our studies. After all, at this age their ideas are highly fluid, they are far more open-minded than many adults (including not a few teachers). Some lessons we don't even pick up an instrument - just listen, compare and discuss.

It works the other way too. A selection of my guitars are always in the room - Les Paul, Strat, resonator, original 19th century classicals, 8-string, 10-string, baroque etc. according to what I've been working on. They often draw enquiries from my "classical" players - I'm happy to demonstrate the special characteristics of any instrument to any student.
ronjazz wrote:The fact is, people love music ...
In a nutshell.

Stephen Faulk
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Re: Teaching kids classes- questions to those who have

Post by Stephen Faulk » Sun Dec 09, 2018 1:24 am

A lot of the discussion is about what kids will find hip or not. Here's the thing, Japanese kids are taught to respect the teacher. They will have free choice to take the class ahead of time, and they can drop it and another kid can take their place.

I'm an American and I understand teaching kids in the US and in Japan, I've been here five years and I understand the culture as an outsider who lives on the inside. And that is very weird. It's a situation that people who have not been in a cross cultural situation don't worry about everyday, but I have it wired. Worrying about what the kids will do or react isn't a thing, it's factored into my understanding of this culture and how to teach here, so don't worry about. I'm out in the middle of nowhere really and I'm trying to give kids a taste of culture and music that I can bring here because I've traveled and studied music. It's handing them some culture to get them to see and hear a bigger world picture, if they learn to play guitar that's a mitzva. I'm also doing this for myself because I'm bored in this small town and because I'm giving the finger to the Japanese guitar dealers who don't share students with guitar makers. So I'm making our own scene here and I'm going to bring professional guitarists here to play for the town. Anyway...

What I'd like to talk about is how to teach kids to use the right hand and to help them make a decent sound.
Patience at the bending iron pays in rounded dividends!

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Tony Hyman
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Re: Teaching kids classes- questions to those who have

Post by Tony Hyman » Fri Dec 14, 2018 5:23 am

Mark Clifton-Gaultier wrote:
Sat Dec 08, 2018 12:46 pm
2lost2find wrote:Here's where our thinking differs... I don't try to steer students in ANY direction.
I don't think Julian is talking about "steering" 2hand - it's more about exposure. Youngsters are like sponges - they have the potential to soak up anything. We just have to let classical (I hate that term) guitar be one constituent of their environment and nature will take its course.
2lost2 wrote:My job is to teach them the skills they need to play the music they WANT to play.
Well, you own the business - you're free to define the job parameters any way you like but that's just your definition. Some take a more broad view ...
2lost2 wrote:If a kid comes in with an electric guitar and says he wants to play rock, I'm not going to say oh... wait, have you heard this classical stuff? That's not my job.
... no one is suggesting that you should do that, but the guitar is simply a portal through which we experience music. So, whilst I don't try to swing someone inspired by this or that electric player towards some other genre, I do make sure that they are exposed to a broad range of styles during our studies. After all, at this age their ideas are highly fluid, they are far more open-minded than many adults (including not a few teachers). Some lessons we don't even pick up an instrument - just listen, compare and discuss.

It works the other way too. A selection of my guitars are always in the room - Les Paul, Strat, resonator, original 19th century classicals, 8-string, 10-string, baroque etc. according to what I've been working on. They often draw enquiries from my "classical" players - I'm happy to demonstrate the special characteristics of any instrument to any student.
ronjazz wrote:The fact is, people love music ...
In a nutshell.
I have to say that I have to fully agree with Mark here. The wide approach of music in general as opposed to a dogmatic Institutionalised boxed in "cg only" at this delicate stage of the child's development.

Stephen Faulk
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Re: Teaching kids classes- questions to those who have

Post by Stephen Faulk » Fri Dec 14, 2018 10:08 am

I gave my proposal to a city councilman and the community center already heard about my intention via a fellow teacher in the school district. She teaches one of the kids of the director of the center. They are very interested. Really all that remains is for me to figure out how to provide guitars for kids that can't afford one. I'll do some social media and local drives.

Really no one should be over concerned about the approach to music, I really know how to present a specific topic in a way that will be edifiying for a kid who wants to play another kind of music. I'll hook them up with someone else if need be. However see, I'm not qualified to teach anything but beginning to intermediate flamenco guitar and the amount of beginning classical guitar that is related. Or I could teach beginning cello, but that is more difficult because celli are hard to round up.

The thing I was hoping to get ideas about were from people who've actually taught kids and the things they talk about when they are trying to explain how to get the kid to pluck the strings, or observations about typical kid issues with the left hand side stuff etc. I have my I own ideas about these kinds of things but hearing how others do it might help me think up good ways to go at it.

I seriously don't need any more comments about what kids need when, I'm already a teacher at the schools they attend, I will already know the kids joining the class and they'll have a good time and go on to other things after.
Patience at the bending iron pays in rounded dividends!

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