STUDENT AGE CONSIDERATIONS
Age matching is important from a young person's perspective but one of the great things about music is that this become less important as musicality takes precedence. Groups are age matched quite closely because it is normally better this way, but when considering a group we are also considering how a band of young people might best work together.
The system we use is multi level - that means the whole group will be playing together at the same time on the same song or exercise, but can be playing level 1 to 4 - they are still in the band, but working at their own pace. This works well with siblings who join together and have wider ages because they tend to go home, talk about the class and bounce ideas off each other.
Newer beginner members might benefit by starting with a slightly younger group and because we have a flexible group change system they can move across to a more suitable age group when they have learnt the ropes and feel comfortable.
Ages around 4.5 to 8
For this group there are some overlaps between activities that suit pre-schoolers because they're great fun and educational, so scroll to the end to see more about the approach with under 4s (we're currently not teaching pre-schoolers but will be again soon).
This is still an extremely imaginative age where fun and games must be a component of activities, but where young people begin to develop more confidence in their abilities and scope as the perception and motor skills required for high function activities like music fall into place.
It is also a critical time for self-approval and self-definition and these considerations are all taken into account when delivering a music program to this age group, but the delivery is seamless to kids who see the whole thing as fun as they begin to develop genuine music ability.
Apart from games there is an emphasis on pitch and rhythm given the cognitive opportunities for this age group. The focus is on keyboard, drums and singing with a little guitar while they are deciding for themselves the direction they would like to take. Usually brass and woodwind are too difficult at this age and guitar is great but can be painful on little fingers and does not usually produce the right musical feedback for a young mind, so if students persevere with strings we follow their lead and let them play if they can hold the instrument and fret little scales properly.
Students this age love trying new things and love hi tech stuff and all courses and subjects are available to this age group including the high tech activities like audio and video so they particularly enjoy making original recordings and animations.
Around age 9 to 12
Pitching is still critical at this age, but accuracy and rhythmic independence begin to emerge as this group have much greater coordination and spatial ability than younger children, so it is an opportune time to work with rhythm, particularly on independently handed instruments like drums or piano.
They can also learn the components of music they will need if doing exams or simply to play well, such as pitching/aural, composition, reading, and advanced technique study.
This is also an age to specialise in an instrument and if interested to possibly consider tackling the harder range of instruments like saxophone, flute or clarinet.
Of course, all the fun things like learning songs and playful learning are very high on the agenda and students can choose songs they like from their favourites, and we will introduce some classics for their repertoire as well.
This can of course go into recording if they wish and students can make recordings of their work or music film clips for parents and friends and for their own record.
Ages 13 to 16
This is a dynamic learning age where young people can develop adult-like musical ability, perception and motor skills. It's still not too late to learn some important pitching skills and motor and sensory abilities are very defined.
They are also beginning to develop what will become the conceptual mind of an adult artist/musician should they continue studies.
13 to 16 is a complex age as their emerging teen/adult ego starts to peek through and they could be a child one minute and a young adult the next. How this relates to music learning is the delivery of the program, and while modelling a consistent routine and manner is required, a flexibility and understanding attitude is essential.
Students at this age may just want to have fun in music or to develop skills compatible with other studies they are doing at school and consequently, we would set the program to be open-ended but be a challenging interest.
However, just as tomorrow's young sports professionals would be training seriously at this age, so are students who are considering music as a career either academically or in performance, and so by request, a curriculum can be set that ensures higher level outcomes.
Early to mid teens are able to play with accuracy no matter what level they have achieved and they create some very high-level audio and video recordings or animations, indistinguishable in some cases from adult professional work.
17 TO ADULT
Late teens and adults come to the school for a variety of reasons from wanting to brush up on skills learnt earlier, to trying something new, to entering academic or professional studies. We can take students through to degree level at university or conservatorium level, or professional level to studio recording artist, or simply to learn an instrument for fun for the first time. We would usually discuss the requirements and build a program to suit the individual.
Musicians looking toward either advanced performance or professional endeavour have the opportunity to create custom built repertoire suited to them which would usually include a collection of sheet music charts of their repertoire to instruct other musicians who may perform with them, and a CD recording for their professional purposes, and even a music video clip if they require.
Pre-Schooler's Age 3 to 4
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Currently some mid 4 year olds are learning at the school but there are no specific classes for younger kids because of the new set up in response to covid. We will be starting pre school classes again as soon as we can. If your 4 year old is a little on the patient side - I know, that's a big ask - but if they are a little closer to 5 in age or wisdom then they can join with the (slightly) bigger kids.
We do specialise in early childhood learning and rapport so little kids and parents are very welcome at Maroubra Music School.
All the classes for all years are fun and playful but we are particularly aware of this magical age for little people where they can wonder at the colour and magic of music and take this magical spirit with them for their whole lives. Here they can experiment with sound at their own pace as the musical shapes and colours reveal the natural art in life.
It is also a very important cognitive time in a musician's life. As early (pre 5 years old) music learning is critical for the attainment of certain perception skills, particularly pitch coding, that become difficult to develop after this cognition period. It's a fun but skilled balancing act for a teacher to keep this in mind while making sure the little person is happy, exploring, and having heaps of fun.
We sing a lot at the piano with lots of songs little kids love from nursery rhymes, pop songs and movie themes they will all know.
ACTION and CHOREOGRAPHY
Kinesthetic co=ordination is very important for young people learning music so we learn simple choreography along with well-known songs that are exciting to do and reinforce the song arrangement. Kids love doing the actions and it helps them remember the song, as well as being great for coordination, and very cool!
PIANO and KEYBOARD
Piano is the central instrument kids should play at a young age because it is the only instrument that is genuinely in tune, so pitch development starts here. However, it is the layout of keyboard that makes it essential for learners - it is logical and the easiest to learn which means kids can focus on pitch and music rather than difficult mathematical problems you encounter with most instruments.
RHYTHM, DRUMS and PERCUSSION
Age and skill-based coordination and rhythm games are great for motor skills and cognition and the start of the development of musical timing.