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#950449 - 11/16/08 01:43 AM Re: Can (or should) composition be taught to an 8-yr old?  
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 14
Frances M Offline
Junior Member
Frances M  Offline
Junior Member

Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 14
Bainbridge Island, Washington
Thanks everyone for your thoughts on this, and your encouragement. It's been very helpful to read through your posts. I'm going to talk with our teacher about adding a composition lesson, with a different teacher who specializes in it. Our teacher knows about my daughter's interest in composing, and has encouraged it, but even with an hour lesson each week, there isn't enough time to focus on it. This is something my daughter & I need to explore, because it's her passion. I really appreciate all your comments; you've made me aware of many things to consider as we look for a teacher.

I hope this thread has been helpful to others as well. I searched the archives for a similar thread, and I looked other places online, and didn't find much.

best regards,
Frances

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#950450 - 11/16/08 02:01 AM Re: Can (or should) composition be taught to an 8-yr old?  
Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 304
lotuscrystal Offline
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lotuscrystal  Offline
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Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 304
Melbourne, Australia
I currently teach an 8 year old female student 1 hour of piano, and 30 min. of composition each week...she would be my youngest 'composer' student, though there are others a little older. I'm a composer, as well as a performer, so teaching composition is not an issue for me, and I absolutely love being witness to, and guiding compositional talent in the young...I encourage any student towards composition, if they so much as voice a slight interest in it :)I believe that kind of level of creativity, as a desire to learn composition at such a young age, must be intrinsic, and I'm an advocator of any gift which may suggest one is born with an aptitude for it.

so Frances, best of luck with your daughter! smile

#950451 - 11/16/08 02:15 AM Re: Can (or should) composition be taught to an 8-yr old?  
Joined: Aug 2008
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Gary D. Offline
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Gary D.  Offline
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South Florida
Ah, if only I had an hour and a half to teach some talented kids instead of just 1/2 hour. (sigh)


Piano Teacher
#950452 - 11/16/08 02:35 AM Re: Can (or should) composition be taught to an 8-yr old?  
Joined: Jul 2008
Posts: 732
Nannerl Mozart Offline
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Nannerl Mozart  Offline
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Joined: Jul 2008
Posts: 732
Australia, Melbourne
do you ever go overtime Gary?

#950453 - 11/16/08 02:40 AM Re: Can (or should) composition be taught to an 8-yr old?  
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Gary D. Offline
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Gary D.  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2008
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South Florida
Quote
Originally posted by Rebekah.L:
do you ever go overtime Gary?
Yes, but normally only when someone comes early, when a student is absent, or after a lesson is supposed to end, when the next does not come.

I was much more free with extra time when I was younger. I'm not just in it for the money, but my age gives me less energy. I can't keep going as long as I used to. frown


Piano Teacher
#950454 - 11/16/08 03:17 AM Re: Can (or should) composition be taught to an 8-yr old?  
Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 304
lotuscrystal Offline
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lotuscrystal  Offline
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Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 304
Melbourne, Australia
Quote
Originally posted by Gary D.:
Ah, if only I had an hour and a half to teach some talented kids instead of just 1/2 hour. (sigh)
Believe me Gary, it's a luxury I'm only able to reserve for a few...and that means, it's a luxury for me too smile

#950455 - 11/16/08 03:29 AM Re: Can (or should) composition be taught to an 8-yr old?  
Joined: Aug 2008
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Gary D. Offline
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Gary D.  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2008
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South Florida
It's not about reserving time.

It's about the cost.

People don't even take an hour of time here. I would opt for two 1/3 lessons a week for any talented student, even a serious student.

It just doesn't happen where I live. It used to…


Piano Teacher
#950456 - 11/16/08 03:37 AM Re: Can (or should) composition be taught to an 8-yr old?  
Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 304
lotuscrystal Offline
Full Member
lotuscrystal  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 304
Melbourne, Australia
Look, as I said, it's a luxury for me too...to be honest, in my experience, it's only the asian students who have parents willing to devote such financial and practical dedication to their child's musical studies, with extended lesson times. Usually, these students aren't overloaded with extra-curricular events, like swimming, tennis, theatre, other sports...it's music and maybe an odd school tutor once a week, so these parents and students are very devoted to music studies. Just making an observation from my experience.

#950457 - 11/16/08 12:08 PM Re: Can (or should) composition be taught to an 8-yr old?  
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 4,534
Gyro Offline
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Gyro  Offline
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Another thing is that under no circumstances
should you switch from her present teacher.
In cases like this, the teacher is often
some seemingly unimpressive neighborhood
teacher, and so there is the tendency to
want to switch to a "better" teacher.
However, the current teacher is largely the
reason for the prodigious talent. Parents
have difficulty accepting this; they
feel that it must be their genes and
not the teacher, and that the talent
is independent of the teacher. So
they switch to some stuffed shirt with
big credentials and a big reputation, and an
ego to match, and this new teacher proceeds
to thoroughly destroy the student's talent.

So I would leave things exactly as they
are. Alas, but it is in human nature
to destroy what is outstanding. When we
see a beautiful flower, we can't resist
plucking it and putting in a container
filled with water, thereby destroying it.

#950458 - 11/16/08 12:19 PM Re: Can (or should) composition be taught to an 8-yr old?  
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 10,883
Piano*Dad Offline
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Piano*Dad  Offline
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Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 10,883
Williamsburg, VA
Why must you make this "point" to just about everyone who asks any question about their children's musical education. Do you not see that it is meaningless given the lack of information you have? Do you not see that you offer no criteria for when to switch that a reasonable person could use to evaluate their own personal case. Do you not see that your dogmatic insistence on this 'point' guarantees that any thinking person will discard everything you say.

Bah, why do I waste my time?

#950459 - 11/16/08 03:52 PM Re: Can (or should) composition be taught to an 8-yr old?  
Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 753
pianoexcellence Offline
500 Post Club Member
pianoexcellence  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 753
Abbotsford, BC, Canada
Quote
Originally posted by Gyro:
Another thing is that under no circumstances
should you switch from her present teacher.
In cases like this, the teacher is often
some seemingly unimpressive neighborhood
teacher, and so there is the tendency to
want to switch to a "better" teacher.
However, the current teacher is largely the
reason for the prodigious talent. Parents
have difficulty accepting this; they
feel that it must be their genes and
not the teacher, and that the talent
is independent of the teacher. So
they switch to some stuffed shirt with
big credentials and a big reputation, and an
ego to match, and this new teacher proceeds
to thoroughly destroy the student's talent.

So I would leave things exactly as they
are. Alas, but it is in human nature
to destroy what is outstanding. When we
see a beautiful flower, we can't resist
plucking it and putting in a container
filled with water, thereby destroying it.
I do not share this experience.

In my music eduation, changing from a "neighborhood" teacher to a serious teacher with serious credentials was the most important step in my career.


Music is the surest path to excellence

Jeremy BA, ARCT, RMT
Pianoexcellence Tuning and Repairs
#950460 - 11/16/08 04:02 PM Re: Can (or should) composition be taught to an 8-yr old?  
Joined: Jun 2007
Posts: 4,896
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member
Betty Patnude  Offline
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Joined: Jun 2007
Posts: 4,896
Puyallup, Washington
Follow the lead of the child.....

#950461 - 11/16/08 07:25 PM Re: Can (or should) composition be taught to an 8-yr old?  
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 10,883
Piano*Dad Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Piano*Dad  Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 10,883
Williamsburg, VA
Quote
In my music eduation, changing from a "neighborhood" teacher to a serious teacher with serious credentials was the most important step in my career.
.... and this likely would be the case for the vast majority of successful musicians and music educators.

#950462 - 11/16/08 08:58 PM Re: Can (or should) composition be taught to an 8-yr old?  
Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 5,711
Gary D. Offline
5000 Post Club Member
Gary D.  Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 5,711
South Florida
Quote
Originally posted by Piano*Dad:
Quote
In my music eduation, changing from a "neighborhood" teacher to a serious teacher with serious credentials was the most important step in my career.
.... and this likely would be the case for the vast majority of successful musicians and music educators.
Which comes back to "fit", the right teacher for the right student. It doesn't always happen, but when it does it's magic.


Piano Teacher
#950463 - 11/16/08 11:50 PM Re: Can (or should) composition be taught to an 8-yr old?  
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 1,269
dumdumdiddle Offline
1000 Post Club Member
dumdumdiddle  Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 1,269
California
I incorporate improvisation and some composing in my group and private lessons. In the beginning, with very young students (4 and 5 year olds) I have them notate a simple melody using just the notes 'do, re, and mi' in any combination. They don't even have to play it on the piano, just draw the notes first, then play the melody. At first the songs consist of only whole notes; later on I'll help them decide to make them quarter or half notes, etc....

With my 1st/2nd graders I get them improvising first, by using 'question/answer'. I'll play a question on the piano, they play back anything in the 5-finger position that will end on the tonic. This becomes part of their regular routine so that when it's time to write a 'question/answer' melody, they can easily do it. I always give perimeters, though. So it's their creation, with guidance. The next step after creating the melody is then to figure out what kind of chords to use in the accompaniment: I stick with blocked I-IV-V7 chords first; then later we'll do broken chords, alberti bass, waltz bass, etc...

FJH has a series of composing books called 'The Music in Me'. I've used them as well.

I noticed that the OP lives in Washington state. If the student is taking lessons from an MTNA member, there are opportunities available for the budding composer: http://www.wsmta.net/student_programs.html


Music School Owner
Early Childhood Music Teacher/Group Piano Teacher/Private Piano Teacher
Member of MTAC and Guild
#950464 - 12/14/08 10:29 AM Re: Can (or should) composition be taught to an 8-yr old?  
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 431
musiclady Offline
Full Member
musiclady  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 431
Toronto, Canada
Of course! I've even taught composition to students as young as 4, for the younger ones with myself notating their pieces in conventional notation and the more experienced ones learning to write out the music for themselves, which they have had practice writing music through theory exercises. Some of my student's families have asked for advice on getting a notation program for home use on their computer, though usually I copy out their pieces onto my computer and print them which I then give to them.

Meri


Clarinet and Piano Teacher based out of Toronto, Canada.Web: http://donmillsmusicstudio.weebly.com
#950465 - 12/14/08 05:19 PM Re: Can (or should) composition be taught to an 8-yr old?  
Joined: Feb 2008
Posts: 498
Larisa Offline
Full Member
Larisa  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Feb 2008
Posts: 498
Philadelphia
I started taking composition lessons when I was 7, and my experience was very much like your daughter's - I'd scribble musical ideas on any scrap of paper, improvise for hours, whistle all the time (and before I learned to whistle, I hummed all the time). My parents would copy out my music for me more neatly than my own scribbles.

I would definitely recommend some composition lessons for your daughter. Maybe even group lessons, so she can meet other kids who compose. (I always liked to hear what everyone else was coming up with...)

Good luck!

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