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Happy or Sad: Ear Training for Kids

Ear Training for Kids

Lesson 25: Happy or Sad: Ear Traning for Kids
Playing the piano involves listening to oneself, and to others.Thus, one of the first fun tasks for a child is learning to listen. Ear training, as it is called in a music conservatory, is the first course a student must pass to be able to make use of all later courses.

For a child, this process must be simplified at first. Before ear training, we tend to listen unconsciously to music as it passes in and out, giving us pleasure, but not something we dissect and evaluate. As a first step in learning chords, I play various chords for children and ask them to assess the emotional quality.

Happy Or Sad
I play a silly, happy song and ask, “Happy or sad?” Some children answer right away and are certain, while others are at first baffled by the question. Most answer “happy,” but if the child is not sure, play another six happy tunes until they get the idea. Then play something slow and sad, in a minor key. Ask again, “Happy or sad?” Most kids will understand the difference, but you may have to work at it a bit.

One interesting peculiarity of the child’s ear is the range-specific evaluation they give to identical chords. If I play a sad chord in a high part of the piano, a child answers “Sad.” But if I play the same chord in a low register, 99% of children will reply “Angry.” You can’t beat a kid’s ear for honesty! I play rippling arpeggios based on various major and minor chords, and ask them to imagine rain. Is it happy or sad rain? Or birds, or fountains?

When they are secure with the difference between major (happy) and sad (minor) it is time to bring out the other two chord/emotional qualities, weird or mysterious (augmented chords) and scary or dangerous (diminished chords.)

Play a scary diminished seventh chord passage, low on the piano, and every child can immediately answer, “Scary! A monster!” Play it higher, and they will evaluate: “Scary but not so much.”

Different children have wildly varying abilities to make these finer distinctions. The principal job is to have them distinguish happy from sad and major from minor. With that skill in hand, they are ready to listen to themselves and to others, such as you. 

  (This title comes in two versions: Printed $19.95, and eBook $9.95)

 

COURSE ONE: TEACHING TOOLS

#1 TEACHING CHILDREN’S PIANO

#2 WHAT A CHILD SHOULD EXPECT FROM PIANO LESSONS

#3 WHAT IS FINGERING AND WHEN DO WE USE IT

#4 PIANO BY NUMBER AND OTHER STARTING METHODS

#5 THE FIRST PIANO LESSON

#6 MINUTE BY MINUTE PIANO LESSON

#7 TOYS AND ACCESSORIES FOR FUN PIANO LESSONS

#8 READING MUSIC FOR KIDS STEP BY STEP

#9 THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WORST AND BEST TEACHER

#10 A CHILD’S CLASSICAL MUSIC LISTENING LIST

COURSE TWO: TEACHING BACKGROUND

#11 A SHORT HISTORY OF THE PIANO

#12 A SHORT HISTORY OF PIANO METHODS

#13 A PLEASANT PIANO LESSON ATMOSPHERE

#14 ADVICE TO A YOUNG PIANO TEACHER

#15 WHY I TEACH PIANO

#16 A PIANO TEACHER’S EMOTIONS

#17 PACE AND CHILDREN’S PIANO LESSONS

#18 CHILDREN’S PIANO MOTOR SKILLS DEFINED BY AGE

#19 CHILDREN’S PIANO FINGERING OVERVIEW

#20 GUILT IS THE WRONG WAY TO BUY ATTENTION

COURSE THREE: PIANO GAMES

#21 FOURS, A PIANO COUNTING GAME

#22 THE PIANO DICE GAME

#23 PIANO HAND POSITION GAMES

#24 THE USE OF HUMOR IN PIANO LESSONS

#25 HAPPY OR SAD: EAR TRAINING FOR KIDS

#26 FOLLOW THE LEADER: VISUAL PIANO GAMES

#27 PIANO GAMES TO PLAY WHEN ALL GOES WRONG

#28 PRECURSOR SKILL PIANO GAMES

 

PIANO BY NUMBER

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