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Larrie Dee
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How To Save Music Programs In Public Schools

Elective programs like art, music, and physical education made all the difference for me and my friends when I was growing up. The music department sponsored an event called the Hoedown when I was in elementary school, and it always turned out to be a great fundraising opportunity for the entire school. But because of space and funding issues, my old elementary school is threatening to axe the music department.

This story is all too common. If it upsets you as much as it does me, then don't sit back and let it happen--it's time to save the music! But you're just one person, you say? It doesn't matter. There are ways in which you can become active and make a difference in your community. Let me explain.

The first step is to become active with your local schools in any way possible. Public schools can always use more volunteers to help with activities and events. There are chaperones for field trips or participants in the school carnival needed year 'round. And don't think you have to be a parent to step in. Two of my good friends are long-standing volunteers at the elementary school we all went to together, and they're in their early twenties.

Taking an interest at such an early age is also a great way to get your peers interested in music advocacy. After all, you don't want all of these extracurricular programs to fade into the background before you even have children--then what will be left when they are ready for primary school?

Keep your eyes and ears open for music-related opportunities for the school choir, band, or orchestra. Music teachers can't be everywhere at once, so if you assist in finding field trips or performance opportunities, school officials can see that kids' participation is worthwhile and has tangible payoffs in the area.

If you have money to donate, then talk directly to instructors to find out what specific supplies they need. Do they require new instruments for underprivileged kids to play? Do they need enough sheet music for everyone in the class, or do they require traditional classroom supplies like dry erase markers? Find the need and then fill it.

Even if you're on a limited budget, you can find something to contribute. The same applies to other vital school programs like physical education and art. You can most likely afford a box of crayons or a new football.

Get involved with local non profit organizations to find out what they're doing. In Arizona, non profit groups have power to sway the school board and stretch donations even further. So don't wait for music programs in public schools to die. Do something about it today.

 


The Value of Learning a Musical Instrument

It is very important for everyone to have an outlet of some sort, particularly to alleviate stress. Athletics, art, and playing a musical instrument are all fantastic outlets for stress.

For most people who remember their teenage years may remember how truly challenging and stressful they really were! With all the many emotional and physical changes that occur during this ackward time in life can be difficult to deal with, to say the least.

For this reason, it is extremely important for teenagers to have an outlet! Being involved in sports, doing art, or playing guitar or drums are certainly better outlets than watching television or just listening to music. Mainly because the first three require right brain activity.

If you are a teenager, or a full grown adult, I encourage to find something that you enjoy to manage stress. We all know stress can take years off your life, and managing it is critically important!

If you are already involved in a sport, then good for you. If not, it may be difficult to break into one at this point. Most people who are excelling in a particular sport typically have been involved in it since elementary school. Given that fact, joining a team at this stage may be rather intimidating! But, that's not to say you can't get involved in a sport at your local YMCA.

They usually have something going on that is open to their members who simply just want to have fun and burn off some stress.

If you are involved in art, then again, good for you! It seems art is something one truly enjoys if he or she is good at it. Those who are not good at it typically will not stay with it for long. It's like anything, though... the better you are at something, the more you tend to enjoy it. And the reverse is true as well... the more you enjoy what you're doing, the better you will become at it.

Playing a musical instrument is in a different realm altogether. Opportunities abound practically for anyone that didn't have an interest as a child (as opposed to playing sports). And, unlike art, learning to play a musical instrument such as the drums, guitar, keyboard, or a wind instrument may open many doors of opportunity like possibly joining a rock band, jazz band, or a marching band. Also you may be able to participate in local theatre and competitions.

Learning to play a musical instrument is linked to improved coordination, higher concentration levels, improved language skills, improved social skills, improved memory skills, and higher test scores.

So, if athletics or art are activities you are not too excited about, give a musical instrument a try. There are schools and music teachers who offer lessons for people of any age and skill level. There are also numerous books that are self-teaching, which will give you basic instruction to help you get started.

 


Developing A Child's Musical Aptitude

Generally, most babies show a willingness to learn. Moreover, they are born with an enjoyment of hearing tones of all types. Before long they will be capable of recognizing the differences in sounds of their assorted rattles. They will get excited and their legs will move along with their interactive toys. Their hands will appear to be poised, as if they were reaching out to clutch their playthings.

Parents should recognize this infant type dance movement their child seems to be doing. They should develop their infant's brain with musical tones, sounds and rhythm from birth. In due time the child will reveal their ability to favourably react and reveal a love of music.

As the child ages, his or her interactive toys should be adjusted to match their maturity. A toddler, who is capable of sitting without falling, should be able to sit at a miniature toy piano. They will instinctively pound on the keyboard with their fists and laugh at the sounds. Many will merely use a finger or two on each of the keys. Assist them to listen to the various pitches they create when they touch a particular key. Show them that a piano has high sounds and deep sounds, depending on which side of the keyboard their little fingers touch.

Other instructional engaging toys that help a child to develop an eagerness to play a musical instrument are the hand held drums. Allow them to hear the various sounds that tom-toms make. Have them hit bongo drums lightly with their little fingers at a count of three. Indicate the distinctive sounds that each of the drums make. Allow them to strike them softly or bang on them with their clenched fist.

Buy a harmonica and play it along with your child. Keep time with the beat of the drums. Dance together keeping time to the music. Play an Indian type game and hop around the room. Purchase musical learning toys that you can play along with your child.

If you own a regulation size piano, or a keyboard, introduce it to your youngster early in life. Have them sit next to you as you play. Teach him or her about the fingering, tones, scales and the various sounds that occur the piano is played. Tell them how they can easily make each of the notes get louder or softer as they play.

Permit the child the freedom to roam. If he plays with one finger, to compare the sounds, do not stop them. Furthermore, do not yell or tell them in a harsh voice that they are banging.

As soon as he or she appears to be satisfied with the tones, show the way it is played by using the proper fingering. A middle C is in the centre. Indicate it to them and play the key. Move your hand to the right and show them yet another C key. Explain that every C key repeatedly contains one black key plus three whites.

Satisfy a child's intellect with learning toys. Teach him about sounds, tones and musical beats. Let them join in as you play. Indicate to them just how much you enjoy music yourself. Then permit him to discover his own musical uniqueness.

 




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