FACT magazine – into a new music class

written by Dexter Sinewave

Something’s happening in the world of music-education, the kids are rebelling ! 6 year-olds are actually asking their parents if they can sign them to piano lessons. Schools are buying vinyl-pressing machines. Music-rooms are filled with new instruments, and 4 ft musicians are discussing post production. Something entirely different is now sprouting in our children societies.

Couple of years ago, a new music program started showing up in a few NYC schools. A series of digital-music interfaces revolutionized the way we perceive the music education field.  Kids have been exposed to sequencers, synths and mixers, which took their ability to express their own creativity to a whole other level.

A small company, came-up with a few simple, accessible  instrument and methods that allows children to experience the music-engagement in a hands-on immersive way.  The instruments, such as wooden drum-machines and effects modules, were introduced in the classrooms as a mean to let children step in the world of music production.

“Until now, young kids were exposed to music almost only in the form of listening” says Ayal Rosenberg, the head of the program. “The next step for them is usually to be encouraged by their parents at the age of 9-10 to “choose” a traditional instrument such as piano, guitar or drums. Then the music natural-selection will take place, and the talented ones,  or the ones with pushy enough parents, would continue to a life of hard, achievement-driven experience”
He claims that even a talented young musician has to endure this unforgiven road of practicing and proving themselves.

“The distance” Ayal says, “between our first encounter with music as kids, and the first time we actually create a piece of our own is too great”.

The idea behind this program is rather simple :

Experience is the best way a child can learn.
The faster kids will be able to “jam”, the deeper the experience go.

A few weeks ago, I went to see the new program in action in one of the schools in NYC. I saw 6 year-old kids record their own drum-loops and patch arpeggiators to effects. The looks on their faces were astonishing. You would think that they would address the instruments as toys, but they didn’t. The concentration and attention for details were mind boggling. The seriousness and the level of the conversation between one another, were so intense, it made me smile perhaps the biggest smile I have ever presented.

Now, as a music-snob, who spent 15 years learning to play the trumpet, and then fail miserably with my first album, I admit I was outraged. I was outraged by the idea of kids taking the “easy road” towards music making. Why on earth shouldn’t they go through the agonizing ordeal of being a musician. wouldn’t that make a shit-load of mediocre young musicians.
Then it hit me – it’s not about creating musicians, heck it’s not about music.

In our early years we learn through experience. Our thinking is always preceded by feeling. These new instruments and program, throw a child into a whirlpool of beats, melodies and exploration.
This immersive environment, simply engraves the abstractions of music and sound into the kids minds and souls.
This same practice is happening to them when they learn language. They are being surrounded by people talking and are being allowed from day one, to improvise and create. And what is a better comparison to music other than language.

I believe that this flip-on-the-back in the world of teaching music will eventually increase the need for children to reach-out to the traditional instruments. I predict that after experiencing music, they would be thirsty for more intricate instruments and forms of musical expressions.

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