Celebrating 30 years…early childhood music education at its’ best.

Wow, what a day! Just finished a marathon birthday party celebrating Music for Young Children’s 30th birthday party. There were approximately 100 kids with their parents and teachers from London, Ontario and surrounding areas. We spent an hour and a half together of drumming, singing, keyboard playing and music concept games. I don’t know about you, but my music lessons as a kid were never like this!

Music for Young Children (MYC) is a music educational program for young children. How young? Well, the keyboard level starts at 3 1/2 to 4.  The founder of the program is Frances Belodis. In the last 30 years her program has blossomed all over the world with over 900 teachers.

The MYC way is intent on teaching the elements of music at the introductory level that will build a solid music foundation for an entire lifetime. I’ve listed below some of the many building blocks built into the program.

*note reading – The MYC way is not to memorize a phrase like “every good boy deserves fudge” or “FACE”. Students learn note reading with stories, songs, and games that are a fundamental part of the program.

*sight reading – Sight reading is an extremely important, yet challenging part, of being a good musician. Students at MYC learn patterning to help with note reading from the very beginning. Patterns are reinforced weekly when analyzing songs. Patterns are reinforced with games and sight-reading exercises.

*singing – Singing is used to reinforce concepts and rhythms. Most children love to sing, so it’s an easy and enjoyable way to learn about music.

*solfege – Solfege is built right into the program. For those of you who don’t know what solfege is, it is hand signs that match the major scale….just think of The Sound of Music movie, and the famous song Do-Re-Mi by Julie Andrews. This song is all about solfege. MYC has terrific solfege songs for all levels. Children do actions mixed with solfege to build skills necessary for playing music by ear (without music).

*rhythm – There is an entire section in the MYC music books at each level geared to rhythm ensembles. Children learn how to play music together in mulitple parts.

*composition – Children at all ages write music in MYC. MYC teaches writing techniques that help the students put songs together for submission to a yearly worldwide composition festival.

*movement – In MYC we move! Students learn by moving!

*ear training – The ear is an important building block in the MYC family. An entire “listening” section is included in each MYC music book at each level. There is a weekly listening exercise.

*fingerplay techniques – Piano playing is about great fingers and hands. MYC knows this. From early on, fingerplay components help to build strong piano players.

*history – Yes, MYC teaches history! Children learn all about Beethoven and Bach and other famous composers! We play their songs and we learn about their lives!

*theory – This is probably the most phenomenal part of MYC in my opinion! I still can’t believe it when my 9-y-o students accomplish their Preliminary Rudiments exam with top honours. Students learn about major and minor intervals, rest replacement, circle of 5th’s, scale writing and terminology. Most piano teachers do not touch the elements of theory with their students until they reach the equivalent of Grade 5 piano.

*harmonizing a melody line – Last, but certainly not least, the children learn how to use left hand chord structures to harmonize with a melody line. As early as the first level, students start to learn “bridges” and “snowman chords” in I, IV and V7 degrees of most scales including C+, G+, D+, F+, a-, e- and in the higher levels B flat+, d- and g-. This goes hand-in-hand with ear training and solfege to show the children how to play familiar songs and engage them in the exploration of playing songs without the use of sheet music.

Well, I could go on and on…. If you want to learn about an MYC teacher in your area visit www.myc.com. If you are a music teacher and think this is the way you would like teach, then check out the teacher section at the same address!

Bye for now, would love to hear your comments!!