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Alan Green wrote:Not chords - teach the tune. Your student will need to develop some hand strength and coordination before embarking on chords, and is already familiar with the melody.
My score shows the melody to have a range of little more than one octave, but it's in 6 flats - Gb - so everything needs to be transposed up a semitone.
If the student doesn't know the alphabet yet, at least up to G, I tune their guitar to an open chord and we focus on rhythm. Even a four year old can strum and learn the basics of rhythm while making nice sounds. You can even use a slide - if you tune them to open G (quite reasonable for a half size guitar) they can follow the dots - the 5th fret gets you a C chord, the 7th fret a D. You can do hundreds of children's songs with those, and focus on building rhythm and counting.
I also bring in open power chords (E5, A5, D5) to get them used to controlling the pick
imalone wrote:It'd be interesting to know if children who start this way develop a different way of thinking about playing (though I see from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suzuki_method that there's probably already a lot of literature about it).
NoteBoat wrote:But there's also a reason we don't teach reading comprehension to toddlers. It's quite possible to 'speak' music without reading it - in fact, the vast majority of guitarists do that. While it's true that learning to read after you learn to play requires a step back, that doesn't seem to hinder children - perhaps because they are learning new things all the time, and consequently have a beginner's mindset to new skills. While an adult who can shred will often be bored silly (and frustrated!) by trying to tackle reading "Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star", children find joy in acquiring a new ability.
Over the years, the students I've had who most fluently read music were those who developed their musical reading ability at the same time as they were learning to read words. Both skills are the interpretation of written symbols, and they seem to support and supplement each other (much as bilingual ability is more pronounced in people who learned a second language early on). I have two students now who are 12; both started reading music at age 6. Both read fluently in all positions, and up to five accidentals in the key signature.
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