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Keeping Young Minds Inspired in Uninspiring Times

We can all agree that these times are challenging and uncertain to say the least. Many families are trying to adjust to the "new normal", and kids are having to get used to being home all the time when all they want to do is play. As we face a new school year, many children find themselves confronted by a need to focus for long hours at home, an environment that is typically for play, eating, and resting.

"Some people think music education is a privilege, but I think it's essential to being human." - Jewel

With all these changes going on, it can be easy to let music education slip through the cracks, as other online classes make life busier. Since music requires a very hands-on approach, it can feel like there is no room for music lessons in the craziness, yet this does not have to be the case. Many private music teachers have made the switch to virtual lessons during the pandemic, and have found success. I myself have even found certain unexpected advantages to teaching via Zoom, including easy access to online resources during lessons, and virtual notebooks that allow both the teacher and the student to keep track of homework with ease.


In addition to virtual lessons, there are many other ways you can continue to ensure your children are being exposed to quality music experiences outside of the lesson. Musical experiences can be easy, fun, and even effortless with the right resources. Here are some ideas for how you can keep your mini-Mozarts busy and involved with music... even under quarantine.


1. Improvise and Create

Improvising and creating can allow students to familiarize themselves with their instrument via play, and allow them to feel accomplished with "compositions" of their own! Manipulating scales or experimenting with their own songs can keep students comfortable and exercise their minds without feeling like work. Playing some of their old pieces will also help refresh their memory to keep it at its sharpest.


2. Listen to Music

Now that your kids are home all the time, playing a classical playlist on Spotify, iTunes, or even youtube can help your kids greatly! You can play music in the background, or encourage active listening by asking your kids afterwards their thoughts on what they listened to, and if they liked any particular piece. Some studies show that actively listening to music (especially familiar works) for as little as 20 minutes a day can improve memory, mood, and quality of life!!


3. Challenge your Kids

Give them a new challenge every day to write a song, to learn the next song in their lesson book, to play their scales 10x perfectly... be creative! You can also set up a noteflight account for your kiddos to explore and experiment with notation and writing their own music, and let them learn by doing.


4. Play Music Games

Playing games is a great way to have your students familiarize themselves with music in a way that is effortless and fun! Here is a website full of fun music games for your kids to explore online. Some are easier than others, and some may be beyond your student level, but there are plenty of fun options to choose from. https://trainer.thetamusic.com/en/content/music-training-games


5. Practice Music Theory

CAPMT provides a great syllabus for piano theory that is a simple and free resource. Having your kids do a lesson a week in their level is a wonderful exercise for their minds, as well as great preparation for the resuming of competitive programs. Key signatures, rhythmic values, and new notes are also priceless tools that allow for freer playing and most creative improvisation. https://www.capmt.org/Student-Evaluations


Remember that music can help keep little minds busy and strong! While many things may be changing, music education remains a great way to encourage creativity, exercise healthy minds, and relax restless little bodies. Whether your students have been taking lessons for a month or ten years, these ideas remain just as applicable and helpful to any age, and can inspire their minds despite these uninspiring times.

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