Thursday, June 04, 2009

The Right Instrument for Your Child by Atarah Ben-Tovim and Douglas Boyd

This is a terrific book. It is full of common sense, which often seems to be me to be a bit lacking in the field of music. Sample quote:
If you feel, after the Readiness Test, that your child is not quite ready to to start formal lessons, it is always better to wait. But this waiting period does not have to be an empty one, for there is a suitable interim activity between playing at music and starting to learn an instrument properly. You can teach your child basic recorder technique.

Before you say "Who, me? But I can't..." the answer is that you can. If children of six or eight are capable of learning to play simple tunes on the recorder, it stands to reason that any adult can teach him- or herself, in order to teach the child.
They authors say that for each child there are three kinds of suitability that have to be considered. Are they physically suited to the instrument? Are they mentally suited to the instrument? Are they emotionally suited to the instrument? The advice is blunt and opinionated. I love the idea that there are trombone people and violin people, and they are very different. Here are some more excellent quotes:
The keywork on a modern flute may look complicated, but the golden rule with instruments is: the more complicated they are as machines, the easier they are to play.

Clarinet children tend to have different hobbies or interests and flit from one to another. They are bright and alert, whereas a flute child may seem dreamy and forgetful.

If your child is vaguely thinking of taking up the oboe, or the school is trying to persuade her to take it up and play in the orchestra, there is only one word of advice: Don't!

Oboists tend not to mix well but have one or two close friends.

Many slightly overweight children who do not have a lot of spare energy are very happy on the tuba.

Drummers are often thin, wiry. They often have a huge appetite but never seem to put on weight. They often have more stamina than larger, apparently stronger children.

More people have been musically crippled by the piano than by all the other instruments put together.

The required rapid eye movements and changes of focus [while playing the piano] demand quite good eyesight. This requirement is rarely borne in mind.

I think at this stage Michael is looking at an inca nose-flute and Marcus the tenor triangle.

1 comment:

kelly said...
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