Kids making up songs

[Posting clips of my students performing lets them know I’m proud of them. Learning music – like learning most things – is a series of little steps, every step significant, and hopefully taken with a sense of pleasure and adventure.]

I am amazed at how creative children can be. Actually I am amazed by all people who create – especially those who create songs and stories – to make something fresh and beautiful and unique when it all seems to have been done before. But they’re out there doing it, and we are the lucky beneficiaries.

Some of my students like to make up songs. I really encourage it, and ask them to show me.

Tian is in Year 1, and likes to make up tunes. I asked him to make one up with me, on the black notes. All the black notes sound nice together because they make up a pentatonic scale. But the thoughtfulness with which Tian plays is really something. He even mirrors my rhythm at times, he doesn’t lose concentration, and when I start to slow down… so does he! Then we somehow stop together, all without any spoken communication. How aware is Tian?

When something like this happens, I think: I must take care to nurture this student’s creativity. There’s a fine line between instiling discipline and insisting on conformity. This is me learning on the job.

Moses loves the sound of the organ, and makes up songs too. He has a great ear, and as a result he doesn’t work on his reading. I scold him about it, and when he asks me to play a new song for him, I refuse. I know he will listen, watch, and remember most of it, but I want him to read the notes and work it out himself!

But here he is making up a song. I mean, I wasn’t doing this when I was in Year 2. He’s a natural musician (but I WILL make him read more 🙂 )

Willow is always making up little riffs. Last year, when she was six, she showed me her latest work. I played a little bit over the top, and we recorded it on my phone. We went on until you hear a big sigh and she says: “I’m stopping.” 😊 Willow was very pleased though! Why wasn’t I doing this when I was six?

To be fair with the visuals, here is a picture of Willow’s piano, her hands, and her cat 🤔. Not sure what was going on there…

Willow's hands and her cat

I might be teaching them piano, but my students are teaching me about life and the wonder of Possibility. Thank you!


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