Teaching kids classes- questions to those who have

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Julian Ward
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Re: Teaching kids classes- questions to those who have

Post by Julian Ward » Wed Dec 05, 2018 6:37 pm

I am surprised at some of the things I am reading here......? I teach a lot of children in schools in the age of 8-11 year olds, and these are some of the best ages to teach them. I use my own study books which are all real notation and classical techniques through nice little songs that start with single note melodies. If you can get them at this age and teach them properly, and how to read music they will not turn into pointless players that just play smoke on the water and read 'TAB' (which by the way should never ever be shown to children, no matter how tempting, as it totally destroys everything!). I have taught hundreds of children and yes, you do have to push them to practise, and so do the parents, they have to help - Very, very few, I mean hardly any will do this without guidance at that age. A little 'push' is fine! They will thank you for it in the end.
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2lost2find
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Re: Teaching kids classes- questions to those who have

Post by 2lost2find » Wed Dec 05, 2018 10:09 pm

Julian Ward wrote:
Wed Dec 05, 2018 6:37 pm
I am surprised at some of the things I am reading here......? I teach a lot of children in schools in the age of 8-11 year olds, and these are some of the best ages to teach them. I use my own study books which are all real notation and classical techniques through nice little songs that start with single note melodies. If you can get them at this age and teach them properly, and how to read music they will not turn into pointless players that just play smoke on the water and read 'TAB' (which by the way should never ever be shown to children, no matter how tempting, as it totally destroys everything!). I have taught hundreds of children and yes, you do have to push them to practise, and so do the parents, they have to help - Very, very few, I mean hardly any will do this without guidance at that age. A little 'push' is fine! They will thank you for it in the end.
When I started teaching my daughter a couple of years back she was nine years old. She REALLY wanted to do it, and I was a little reticient because of her age. I told her simply this: I will teach you, but practicing is on you. I will tell you how much you need to practice at a minimum, I will tell you what to practice and how, I will even sit with you if you want me to hear you practice, but I will not remind you. I simply don't believe in parental pressure for something that should only be done if you WANT to do it. There have been ebbs and flows in her practice to be sure, and some times when i have refused to give her a lesson because she hadn't practiced the previous work sufficiently. But she has, by and large, honored the agreement. She gets about 45 minutes in on weekdays, and 90 or so on weekends. She jumps around a little; she'll want to play rock guitar for awhile and then jump over to classical for a bit, then maybe folksy stuff with cowboy chords so she can sing along. I don't see this as a detriment; it's how you become a well-rounded player who is hireable for real work.

I agree regarding tab, although the reality of giving private lessons for a living is that it's not a hill you want to die on. Most teenage kids (who are 90% or better of student sign-ups) are not going to wait to play their favorite rock riff until they can read it in notation, when technically it's accessible almost immediately. Trying to get them to figure it out by ear (which is the best way to do it) is a really fast way to lose them. It is what it is.

Bottom line: I will not have a parent yelling at a kid to go practice because I'm PAYING for this, dammit! All you're going to teach them is to hate music.

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Julian Ward
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Re: Teaching kids classes- questions to those who have

Post by Julian Ward » Wed Dec 05, 2018 10:25 pm

I too have taught my daughter, in fact she just passed her grade 4 with merit at the weekend, she is also 11 - she was over the moon! :)
There is no way she would have done this without me putting some pressure on her - there just has to be a balance. But I absolutely agree with your last sentence in your post above.

I was lucky, nobody ever had to tell me to practise. I have currently two pupils that this also applies to (out of around 80 that I currently teach). These two are both doing their grade eight in March. But pupils like this are rare! There are some that need a 'bit of encouragement' and some that need a bit more of a 'nudge' and some that are just lazy and sit around on their phones acheiving absolutely nothing!

But as we all know, unless they are improving they will get bored...if they get bored they will begin to hate it. So if they need a little 'push' to make the improvements start, sometimes that is enough, sometimes not, sometimes some more pushes are needed. Just carefully, and without putting them off!

The teenage rockers - I at least try to teach them chord knowledge and scales, so that they can become better players - but I am seeing FAR more older kids want to play acoustic guitar and classical which is great!
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2lost2find
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Re: Teaching kids classes- questions to those who have

Post by 2lost2find » Wed Dec 05, 2018 10:54 pm

My kid is not testing for grade 4 anytime real soon (and honestly I have never taken any of those exams), but she played a full gig with a band last spring; I play in a local yokel bar band just to keep my performing skills fresh, and the other guitarist couldn't make a show so she filled in. Once again, I never push her to practice because I don't believe in it. I don't see it as necessary either; plenty of people don't start playing till their teens and become virtuoso players. I didn't start till I was in my early teens, and played professionally for most of my adult life. I'm not sold that there's huge benefits to starting in grade school. The thing is that I started at a point at which I wanted it more than anything and given a choice between sleep and playing guitar would choose the latter. THAT'S how good players are created. Not by forcing them to do it at a point where they'd frankly rather play with dolls or action figures.

Stephen Faulk
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Re: Teaching kids classes- questions to those who have

Post by Stephen Faulk » Thu Dec 06, 2018 3:41 am

Julian Ward wrote:
Wed Dec 05, 2018 6:37 pm
I am surprised at some of the things I am reading here......? I teach a lot of children in schools in the age of 8-11 year olds, and these are some of the best ages to teach them. I use my own study books which are all real notation and classical techniques through nice little songs that start with single note melodies. If you can get them at this age and teach them properly, and how to read music they will not turn into pointless players that just play smoke on the water and read 'TAB' (which by the way should never ever be shown to children, no matter how tempting, as it totally destroys everything!). I have taught hundreds of children and yes, you do have to push them to practise, and so do the parents, they have to help - Very, very few, I mean hardly any will do this without guidance at that age. A little 'push' is fine! They will thank you for it in the end.

I'm curious what notated melodic material you're giving the 8 -10 year old range?

I'm going to prepare some things like that. One is to extract Sakura Sakura the Japanese melody from the arrangement in the Parkening book.

How do you teach picado to this age?
Patience at the bending iron pays in rounded dividends!

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Julian Ward
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Re: Teaching kids classes- questions to those who have

Post by Julian Ward » Thu Dec 06, 2018 8:46 am

Hi Stephen I teach picado right from the start (walking fingers). The rest stroke is the easiest technique for younger children to master. Free stroke is far more problematic, and I leave this till later. I will put some videos below of the material I use. If you are in the UK I can send you a free book if you want to have a proper look. These videos that follow are all from my own teaching and books, and all of the children have written permission to be filmed. I genuinely think that this age 8 - 11 (Junior school) is the very best age to get them playing classical, they really enjoy it. Videos below to follow.
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Julian Ward
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Re: Teaching kids classes- questions to those who have

Post by Julian Ward » Thu Dec 06, 2018 8:49 am



These children are all 9 - 11 year olds. They can all read in first position, play melody and open bass notes, and some simple chords! They are playing from my book 2
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Julian Ward
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Re: Teaching kids classes- questions to those who have

Post by Julian Ward » Thu Dec 06, 2018 8:53 am



Same, book 2. Notice I don't insist on full classical sitting just yet, having groups of children with footstools and such like is a bit of a pain early on, they don't seem to have trouble moving in that direction after a while.
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Julian Ward
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Re: Teaching kids classes- questions to those who have

Post by Julian Ward » Thu Dec 06, 2018 8:58 am



This is my daughter, who at the time was 9 and I had been teaching her a few weeks, in exactly the same way I do the kids at school. She is playing from book 1, where she is playing one of my compositions in single line rest stroke melodies against me accompanying. She is reading from the stave, as most manage at this age (notes G, A, B, C, D, E)
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Julian Ward
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Re: Teaching kids classes- questions to those who have

Post by Julian Ward » Thu Dec 06, 2018 9:06 am




Now moved on to sitting correctly, he is 10 years old, playing from book 3 and very nicely indeed, and enjoying it! (He is a talented kid, I will admit)




This is towards the end of book 1, and most kids can do this by the ages of 9/ 10. This student was always taught in a group of 5 which is typical of what I do in schools. I hope this all helps.
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Stephen Faulk
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Re: Teaching kids classes- questions to those who have

Post by Stephen Faulk » Thu Dec 06, 2018 11:50 am

double
Last edited by Stephen Faulk on Thu Dec 06, 2018 11:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
Patience at the bending iron pays in rounded dividends!

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Re: Teaching kids classes- questions to those who have

Post by Stephen Faulk » Thu Dec 06, 2018 11:51 am

Thank you, I'll at all the videos later- I'm in Japan, but I'm proposing the class to exactly that age, I have no doubt they'll pick up things. If the book is not too heavy I can pay postage I'm going to be really light on handing out notation work, but I have a basic notation guitar book in Japanese, and I'll be teaching mixing Japanese and English...plus my own collection of beginner classical method books etc.

I personally play flamenco much better than classical, but I have a nice sound suited for either music when I switch it on. I spent much more time learning flamenco over the years, but I began playing classical and took lute lessons briefly.

If anyone has comments or notices anything I forgot here is the outlive for the proposal to the city. They won't really know what it all means and one of my allies on the city council will introduce it.By making it a city free program the burden of public announcements and scheduling the room and all the admin stuff will be taken care of by the community center staff. I shouldn't have to do much admin work beyond organizing the class.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________



Classical / Flamenco Guitar Class for Kids Ages 8 to 13 ( Upper Sho Gakko and Chu Gakko)

Kaze Terrace Community Center
Weekend mornings - Propose Saturday morning between 10 am and 12 pm
Ten week unit

Four to eight students per class -
One Hour Beginning Flamenco guitar
One Hour Beginning Classical guitar

Objective-
Teach beginning fundamental music concepts of plucked strung playing and musical concepts and introduce kids to classical and music from other cultures. Class time will be spent actively on guitar and musical training but also a component of listening to music via recordings and video will be included in some classes. In the both groups we’ll listen to classical guitarists like Kauri Muraji and we’ll hear flamenco guitarists also.

Practicals
* How to tune the guitar
* Playing a one octave musical scale
* Learning about musical meter by simple rote example and games
* Learning 3 to 6 guitar chords - Am, C, E, G, F, EM
* Playing a simple piece as a group

Musical Games
Musical term Bingo game - Large grid paper, student writes simple music terms from board in random order on Bingo sheet, teacher calls terms, students get three line Bingo. Words: Note, Beat, Koto, Guitar, Violin, String - terms in Japanese and English. Katakana -Hiragana, which ever they want to use.

Class time: 60 minutes

1 minute meditation, Greeting to teacher and class mates

Guitar tuning 5 - 6 minutes

Bingo- 10 -12 minutes ( not every class)

Chord grabbing and practice with help from teacher.

*Diagram chords with six strings and frets on paper charts. Kids draw their own charts. Bring a pencil and ruler to class.
*Give kids chord games, try chords with thumb strums and finger strums.

*Fill in finger positions from chord diagrams teacher makes on chalkboard Draw an anime character or mascot near to represent each chord to remember chord. Example ‘Kumamon F’ or ‘Totoro E’ Mix drawing and chord diagrams together if they like.

*Or the class can name all the chord together in a common language. Example: Give each chord an animal name- let kids decide, Alligator E chord, Hippo C chord, Cat Am chord. This way the teacher can call out animal names as well and chord names to help direct the group to all land on the right chord. “Ok, Cat Am strum -one and two and three and for and....Hippo C, one and two and three and four and ...back to Cat.....etc. “

*On the string game:

Use fingers on strings game. Slide four fingers on one string to bridge and back to first position to loosen thumb from clamping to neck. Slide.........to 12th fret, swing thumb around from back of neck.......reach bridge...Slide back down, swing thumb behind neck when passing 12th fret- light touch, no pressure. Call it an animal name....light pressure Duck..... Intended to develop distance judgment on neck and develop a fluid non-clamping left hand and arm.

Work on Music and learn right hand finger techniques to sound notes. Left hand work to hold notes and move fingers. Listening to the tune. Humming of singing the notes of the tune with the teachers guitar notes.

Plus more games as needed towards developing string sounding and relaxation.

End class with shake out of arms and legs and wipe off the guitar.

_________________________________________________________________________________

Flamenco Class Objective

*One finger strum: Index finger in up/down/up /down strump count 8th notes: one and two and three and four and...etc.

*Learn chords in Andaluz cadence, Am-G-F-E plus C.

*Teach the 12 beat compas unit using ‘Clock Face’ drawing lesson. Draw a circle- write in the clock positions of the 12 hours - Circle 12-3-6-10 - Teach clapping accents as a repeating cycle while counting beats. In three languages, English, Japanese and Spanish numbers 1 thru 12.

* Teach 4/4 time compas in flamenco ‘Tangos’ compas- Tap foot on beat One, Clap Two and Three, Four - as 4 beat cycle. ( note to students that this is almost the same as Japanese ‘Hiya ‘ folk song compas. They will recognize the feel of that beat.)

*Learn chords with up/down/up/down one finger index strum and play them with Solea accent pattern-
F chord 1 and 2 and 3 and- change to C chord 4 and five and 6 back to F chord, 7, 8 and 9 and to E chord 10, 11 12 - then cycle repeats.

*Add one remate for Solea on E chord and teach how to close the 12 beat measure with the Remate 10-11 and 12 - counting 8th notes. Thumb against index finger - Thumb bass note down stroke, index up stroke count 8th notes technique for remate.


Classical - Guitar beginning

Use the same Games and music terms bingo for. Classical class


Counting 8th notes
This class will learn al the shared games a musical material, but not the 12 beat compas cycle.

*Learn melody from Sakura Sakura on guitar- Extract it from Parkening book arrangement and simplify.

*Learn four chords - E, Am, C, Em

*Easy picado , easy thumb stroke introduced.

*Play as group if possible with simple chord strumming with melody line playing. Maybe a divisi arrangement some students plays chords others play melody in unison, then class switches parts.

_________________________________________________________________________________________

Parents Participation-

Please ask students to tune up the guitar every day and do easy warm-up game and practice the class material for ten minutes. I’ll post a 1 to 2 minute example of the weeks lesson on You Tube so the kids can look up the important hands on guitar part of the class. Try to get in three days of parctive durig the week at least.
Patience at the bending iron pays in rounded dividends!

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Tom Poore
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Re: Teaching kids classes- questions to those who have

Post by Tom Poore » Thu Dec 06, 2018 1:38 pm

Been following this discussion, and thought I’d finally chime in.

The most important thing in teaching children is that they enjoy working with the teacher. If they’re enjoying themselves, then great things can happen. Judging from Mr. Faulk’s posts, he’s an experienced teacher and knows this. So he’ll do fine.

For those who question teaching strictly classical to children, I’ve never had a problem with it. First off, I don’t tell them they’re learning “classical” guitar—they’re simply learning the guitar. As long as I know what I’m doing, and as long as the child is making progress, they’ll be hooked. As for a method book, I use “Learning the Classic Guitar, Part 2” by Aaron Shearer. Doesn’t matter that it’s not exactly a kid’s book. (Actually, I get mileage out of telling kids that they’re using an adult book.) Again, it’s the teacher’s enthusiasm and ability to make lessons fun that wins the day.

If a young student brings in a melody that he or she wants to learn, I’m happy to accommodate: http://www.pooretom.com/sourya.html

Just a caveat. Don’t get too hung up on correct technique. Do the best you can, but don’t drive away a young student by insisting on perfect technique. For example:


As you can see, the student in this video didn’t have a flawless right hand. No matter—he’s getting there. In fact, he’s already improved since making this video. This weekend, we’ll play “Drewrie’s Accordes” in a student recital. He now plays rest stroke scales better than I can.

To Mr. Faulk: Good luck with your program.

Tom Poore
South Euclid, OH
USA

Stephen Faulk
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Re: Teaching kids classes- questions to those who have

Post by Stephen Faulk » Thu Dec 06, 2018 3:00 pm

Thanks nice post. I accidentally posted the non spell checked draft ..ooops..

When I lived in the US, where I'm from, I was involved with Girls Rock Camp as a 'roadie' and helper to schlep equipment and set up classes and stuff. I had a truck and friends be with kids in the program. The friends daughters began at age 12 now they are in the 2 nd year of college studying art and guitar and all kids are still in the same band they had at 12.

I won't be teaching rock this time, I'm quite certain kids will take to any music they like. The kids in the school system work in play koto, Taiko, piano, wind band etc. Plus folkloric group dances and cultural regional music
They will make it through 10 weeks of nylon string guitar. I can mix the right amount of serious teaching with goofing off and having fun to keep them engaged.

Later this might run a class to teach them David Bowie songs and other stuff that they listen to. Bands from Japan. I really can't stand J pop so I'll refrain from teaching it!!

I highly recommend the Girls Rock Camp. But I know flamenco inside and out, even though I don't practice much, I'll have to practice to by on top of teaching it. I also think the compas and palmas ( clapping) will not be wierd to them because they all have tried Taiko in elementary school.

I'm trying to attract classical guitarists to come to this small rural town to play in our new community center, the stage is fantastic. So getting the kids involved will spur the adults to fund concerts if I push on them.
Patience at the bending iron pays in rounded dividends!

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Tom Poore
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Re: Teaching kids classes- questions to those who have

Post by Tom Poore » Thu Dec 06, 2018 3:19 pm

Japan has a strong tradition in teaching classical guitar to young people. I’m still amazed at this video (start at the 3:44 mark):



So you’re not fighting an uphill battle.

By the way, I lived in Japan during the early 1960s when I was a child. Still remember my brother and I trick or treating in a Japanese village on Halloween night. We did a lot of explaining to puzzled Japanese families who wondered why two oddly dressed American kids were showing up at their door.

Tom Poore
South Euclid, OH
USA

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