Working with YOUNG Children. My TOP 10.
1. Build their confidence – Make every step simple and easy enough that they can achieve it. This confidence building is critical. No child wants to look bad. Make them look good by keeping it simple.
2. Involve parents – The more their parents get involved the greater your chance of success. Young children need help at home and if parents are not educated on what to do it is usually a recipe for failure.
3. Measure the progressive steps – Know what steps a child of a certain age is usually capable of. By reducing the guess work you have a much better chance of getting it right the first time.
4. Don’t put adult expectations on children – Don’t expect them to do too much early. The biggest mistake I see teachers making is giving them teenage/adult songs at age 7yo. That’s like asking a 7 year old to drive a car. Let them learn to walk first.
5. Make the lessons fun and play games – By making positive associations early young children are more likely to persist because they know they feel good after each lesson. Turn everything into a game.
6. Break up the lesson – Don’t stay on anyone topic too long. The attention span is usually short (but not always) so monitor their focus and change the topic if they begin to fade.
7. Finish on a high – Begin the lesson with something they are good at (build the confidence) then give them a challenge then back to what they are good at etc. Finish on their strength so they walk out feeling proud.
8. Avoid intimidating them – Don’t play too much early on. Get to know them first because if you start showing off some children can feel intimidated and think they have to play like you. Others will love it but test the water slowly.
9. Use analogies – Use analogies they understand. E.g. Learning to read. It takes time and practice… Don’t use adult analogies like learning to drive. Obvious I know but I see teachers do it ALL the time.
10. Point out the advantages – Point out to the parents the advantages of learning young. Ear training (sometimes perfect pitch). Compare to learning a language. Point out the research findings. See below.
“People who learned to play musical instruments as children process spoken language faster and more accurately than their non-musical counterparts as adults.”
— Stanford University research, published Nov. 17, 2005, USA Today