I created a piano blues game for kids because there are lots of kids that aren’t even remotely interested in classical music.
Their parent don’t listen to it, their teachers don’t play it.
Classical music is a mystery and totally unfamiliar to these kids.
The best way I know to cultivate a taste for different styles of music is to let them listen to bits of it.
The exciting bits, yes.
So bring a boom box, and let your students hear great classical works.
I have a specially edited CD with all the great, towering moments from symphonic writing, like the Rite of Spring and great Beethoven moments and passages. What they like best are the exciting, fast works, like the last movement of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, or Mozart’s Rondo Alla Turca, zipping along at breakneck speed.
Even so, most kids listen a certain kind of music, and either share musical tastes with their parents, or oppose them if they are old enough to dare. You need to find out what music a child listens to voluntarily.
The music I have found almost universally exciting to these kids is the blues.
Yes, the 12 bar walking blues, C chord, F chord, G chord. Sounds dull but wait until you hear a seven year old take a solo that makes sense!
They can tell that what they have played is actual music, as opposed to what you have them play endlessly from those books.
Thus there is a great rise in self-esteem when a child plays something that is not only recognizable, but is also considered by the child to be ‘cool.’
We’re not trying to make seven year old beatniks who only play cool music that pleases them. We’re trying to make children see that the piano is a toy to be enjoyed, as well as a vale of tears and work.
It’s only human nature to want a reward for work. Children are no different.
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