teaching kids

The lowdown on the Mississippi Sax. Just for Google, this section is about harmonicas.

teaching kids

Postby jbone1 » Sun Sep 04, 2011 12:43 pm

this is a hard one for me. i have a serious lack of formal background in music, most of what i know i know by repetition and don't even know what some of it is called. so communicating it to youngsters- one who is 7 and one who is 11- is a challenge.
i have recommended utube and the older one has been looking for some more easily assimilatable lessons there. the younger one is having health issues and has not been able to sit in for the past 2 saturdays. we just do a front porch sit-down for an hour or so of a saturday afternoon.
it's funny, from early on i always tossed the little paper that came with a new harmonica. now i wish i had one so i could teach myself "on top of old smokey" or whatever and then pass it along!
i am trying to keep it pretty simple lest i run the kids off. i told the 11 year old yesterday, "there are 10 holes on this harp and 20 notes. for now just see what you can make each note do by blowing or drawing hard and soft, using different hand technique, and generally get to know the instrument". her eyes didn't glaze over so that may have been a good suggestion.
i will say this. if you want to feel a bit smaller or more your right size, try teaching someone when you barely know what you're actually doing your own self!
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Re: teaching kids

Postby TC6969 » Sun Sep 04, 2011 1:37 pm

I've taught a lot of people including kids and I've found that instead of starting with a bunch of theory and technical stuff its best to just teach them a song right away.

I usually find out if they're southerners or if they're from "Up there" then teach them the first line of either Yankee Doodle or Dixie.

If you teach them right away that they CAN play and give them something they can take home and show their family and friends, they WILL be back!
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Re: teaching kids

Postby jbone1 » Tue Sep 06, 2011 10:42 am

that's a great idea! now all i have to do is make sure i actually know those tunes...
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Re: teaching kids

Postby TC6969 » Tue Sep 06, 2011 12:01 pm

You want me to TAB them out for ya? :lol:
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Re: teaching kids

Postby jeffl » Tue Sep 06, 2011 6:12 pm

I've never taught kids, but I've taught adults. My dad started teaching me when I was about 12. One thing that's necessary to do for adults is necessary in spades for kids: you gotta make it fun, and mix it up. Don't be too dry. With kids, I'd suggest making 'em explore the harp in unconventional ways: give 'em a taste of chugging, honking, drawing, huffing... all the fun stuff. They ain't gonna master it, but it'll give 'em a taste of what's coming.
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Re: teaching kids

Postby jbone1 » Tue Sep 20, 2011 3:11 am

so i found a version online of Amazing Grace. unfortunately it's tabbed in a root of D but Jo transposed it pretty well. we went through that one a few times, playing, leading, following, singing, or not, but all of us singing at one point, and the kids making an attempt at harp and singing both. it was pretty cool!

then we did "Heaven's Door", which went a bit better.

i'm teaching more by showing what i'm doing and trying to explain it, ie, hole 3 draw, hole 2 blow, etc etc. i'm also trying to remember as i'm playing to show if i'm blowing or drawing using my left hand,pointing either way as i play. it seems to be working a bit. i'm telling them about the obvious correlation between how one uses certain mouth muscles, tongue, throat, jaw, etc, to shape air in order to whistle, and how similar that is to playing harp. i told these kids the other day, they may actually learn something from me, maybe just enough to find a "real" teacher one day!
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Re: teaching kids

Postby jawbone60 » Mon Nov 21, 2011 4:34 am

so the whole teaching thing is teaching ME some things. 1) an 8 year old will lose interest pretty quick, especially since he lost his harp someplace. but i lent him one last time, and he's since gotten a new 3/4 guitar, which he will hopefully get a few lessons at the local music store and come back looking to learn more from both me and my wife! 2) i absolutely need my wife on guitar and also to guide the direction the whole thing goes. she has raised kids and i haven't, and she's also been a sub teacher sometimes in her professional life, so she knows so much more than i do about guiding people through lessons and keeping it fun and also full of content. 3) the detail of exactly how one plays even the simplest of phrase or part has to be broken down into a lot of details. every move, not just the draw and blow but tremolo, how to shape a note with the tongue, and so much more, has to be explained and demonstrated. but all of this serves to give me myself a new insight into how a thing is played, and how miraculous it is that so much gets done with such a small and fairly simple instrument!

i recommend that if you ever get the chance, do what you can to teach a kid some music!
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