Update: Music lessons needn’t be formal

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This week I’ve spent loads of time doing school work with my 8 year old son, while his school is closed. Helping him out with his maths and (particularly) English makes me realise how much I’ve forgotten from my own days at primary school. KS2 literacy certainly seems more complex than it ever was when I was at first school!

One of the tasks he was given to do this week was to write and perform a piece of drum music. We decided to use some simple rhythms consisting of crotchets (slow) and pairs of quavers (quick quick). As my son came up with the rhythms, I wrote them down using traditional music notation:

Then, we arranged our performance so that I would play one of them on repeat (#5), and Robin would cycle through the other ones – we finally came up with the decision that he would start at #4 and work backwards to #1, playing 4 bars of each rhythm. Here’s the result:

It doesn’t look like much, but this little piece of music helped develop lots of musicianship skills in my son:

  1. Maintaining an internal pulse
  2. Keeping to a 4/4 meter
  3. Counting bars
  4. Reading traditional rhythmic notation
  5. Transitioning from one repeating pattern to another without stopping
  6. Hearing one rhythm and playing something different – holding an independent part
  7. Sync’ing his playing with mine (making tiny adjustments so that we stay together)
  8. Thinking about how a 3rd party (audience) would respond to the piece

Hasten to add, it’s MUCH more difficult to do this than it looks!! Perhaps give it a try with your kids or a class of young people. It’s a lot of fun, is simple on the face of it, but really helps to make musicians of them!

The Week Ahead

I’m afraid that all my lesson slots are fully booked for next week. As the lockdown continues and I balance home schooling with teaching my own students, I’m finding that slots are quite limited and in demand. If you would like to get a lesson booked in with me, it’s wise to get in touch in advance. My number is 07746637472.

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