Monday, January 13, 2014

Music all around us (After school classes - part 4)


The fourth part of our family's after school experience is going to be about music education.

In Taiwan it seems that all children at one point of time take music classes. Usually they learn to play piano or violin, there are also those who go for percussion lessons or to a choir. Kids start early, at 4 or 5 years old. So it's not surprising that under some pressure from people aroud us our daughter has also started her music education quite early.

When we moved to Taiwan, Zosia has just turned 4 years old. Grandparents and aunts wanted her to start playing piano and so we signed her up for classes at one of the big-piano-teaching-chain-schools. Piano lessons were taught in a group setting, there was no way for the teacher to know who follows the lesson and who doesn't. Zosia's Chinese was not very good at that time so she had problems understanding the lessons. It was a real struggle, she didn't like it, I didn't like it, she didn't like practicing at home and I didn't like making her practice. Needless to say she didn't stay at that school very long. 

Soon after we found a small music class run by Connie Wang 王淑姿老師. Music in that class was taught with Kodaly method - voice was the first instrument to work with. Zosia has always loved singing and this class was letting her use her voice in a special way. She has completed all 8 years of classes at Kodaly. 

Beside singing in Kodaly, children also learn how to play recorder, read and compose music. They can also choose instrument classes. At the age of 6 Zosia started taking piano lessons. Practicing at home was a struggle and without practice there was no improvement. We didn't want to push her so after less than half a year we stopped the lessons.
Thinking that she became more mature and ready to take on an instrument, at 7 years old she tried to take piano lessons again - there still was no way that we could make her practice at home. It was obvious that playing and instrument is out of question for Zosia. Now Zosia can sing and can play by ear, but can not really play piano.

Jas started his music education very early, when he was still a toddler, he went to Mama Mia 親子館 (now Ania is also going there). It is a great place to start teaching your little one how to enjoy and make music. What makes it different to some other classes is that it is bilingual - Chinese-English. And the teachers are great!
After he finished his classes at Mama Mia it was time to decide what's next - should he go to Kodaly like Zosia did or should we find something different for him. Thanks to another homeschooling family we've found a very nice little music class for Jas. 

He started taking piano and music lessons with teacher Lin 林老師 when he was 5 years old. From day one he did not have problems practicing at home. There are of course times that he doesn't like a certain piece of music he is learning and doesn't want to practice it, but that doesn't happen very often. 

Over a year ago, Jas started taking saxophone lessons. He's doing great playing this instrument, he can play anything he hears, but ... is not enjoying playing the pieces that teacher gives him to practice.  Well ... I guess he just wants to jazz.

As you can see, we let our kids choose, we listen to them and don't push them to doing things they do not enjoy. 

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