Friday, April 5, 2019

New Book Series for Young Music Students

A new series of books, Having Fun with Music - The Young Child's Piano Book is a wonderful and creative way to introduce young children to the joys of music. The first and second volumes of this series are now available and the third book is due out this summer. The books were written by Lori J. Lerman, who has taught voice and piano to children and adults for over 30 years, along with other accomplishments too numerous to mention. Your blogger has been friends with the author since seventh grade and can attest to her deep love of and experience with teaching music. Each book incorporates teacher's notes, explaining the concept behind the lesson, how to use the lesson, and additional activities to extend what is being taught. The books are designed for children from kindergarten through third grade, but can be used for younger children who show an interest in piano or older children with little or no musical background. 

In a few years, this baby will be ready to learn piano with this excellent series.

When I asked Lori why she wrote this series, she explained, "My Master’s degree is in Reading and Language Education, so I’ve always been particularly interested in the connection between learning language and learning music. Young children learn language in well-known stages. First they learn to understand speech, then they learn to speak themselves. Eventually, once they're fluent in spoken language, they learn to understand it in written form. Music is a language, and it should be taught to young beginners in the same series of steps. It would be ridiculous to teach children to read and write before they know how to talk, and it’s just as silly to teach them to read music before they actually understand what it means.

"I’m writing the Having Fun with Music series to try to incorporate what we know about language into the process of learning music, using the same series of steps. The early activities use listening, singing, movement, and keyboard improvisation to create “fluency” in the language of music. Once this process has gotten started, the child then begins to learn written notation as a way to take the sounds they already recognize and understand, and recreate them on paper.

"The most important part of the series, I think, is that its main goal is to make piano lessons enjoyable for young children. Every lesson has instructions for parents and teachers on the facing page, including suggestions for optional activities and ideas for using a floor keyboard or incorporating movement. Songs are introduced through singing and games before the child is asked to play them. The parent or teacher is urged to use whatever ideas and suggestions seem appropriate for their own child and to spend as much or as little time on each activity as their individual child seems to prefer. Since young children love repetition and need to repeat skills they have mastered, reviewing activities already completed is greatly encouraged. Rather than progress quickly through the book and then move on to the next, children can spend as much time as they like repeating and enjoying their favorite songs and games."

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