In a recent article, we compared learning to write music to how we all learned to read, write, and do math. One starts with the basic foundations, then as they learn more and more, they grow in their abilities to transfer and apply that knowledge. (If you haven’t read that article, read it here.) We teachers at Piano Central Studios are thrilled that you value music education and giving your child the wonderful gift of learning to play an instrument or sing!
While everyone learns math and writing, we understand that not everyone has the opportunity to learn music. When your child has a math question or English question, most likely you’ll be able to help them out. But when it comes to writing music, you are probably a bit lost if you yourself have not had a background in music. So what are some basic tips that are helpful in getting started with a new music composition?
First, understanding basic music theory is a must. Take a peek into your child’s music theory book or sightreading book. The books are filled with all the fundamentals that you and your child need to know about. And of course, you can always ask your teacher about what your child is learning in the lessons.
With some instruments, students are learning how to play by ear rather than looking at the music. This is a perfect chance for you to understand what your child is playing by you looking at the music. Learn along with your child, in fact, reading this article will really help you.
Second, listen to a variety of music. Listening to music will help the creative juices start to flow. In particular, listening to good classical music helps your child recognize how music in general works. Getting a good foundation of classical music is so important especially when they’re young.
Most likely as your child gets older, they’ll listen to their own music depending on their personality and preferences. Then, as so many of professional musicians have done, the popular songs that are in our society today can be played in a classical style. Do you know who the Piano Guys are? If you don’t (even if you do), watch this video or this video and see how this system of listening can help your child write beautiful music!
Third, get inspired. Here’s an idea for your beginning composer. Ask them to think about a season they love, a favorite holiday, something they like in school, how they feel, or an activity that they enjoy. Write down some words from what inspires your child. Then put some musical notes to go along with those words.
Your child’s teacher can help get the music down into proper format, as well as to help them in expanding their musical ideas, but it’s so helpful for the students to come with an idea and a starting point.
Fourth, and finally, write a musical story based on the music fundamentals, the type of music your child likes, and what inspires your child. Your student can actually physically write out a very short story, then add the music. Go ahead, have your child take a walk to think about a story. Fun fact: Beethoven actually would take walks before he would sit down to compose! And just as the Piano Guys and so many other musicians do, borrow ideas from others, but make your music your own.
January is Composition Month at PCS, culminating in our Composition Contest, and we can’t wait to see all of our students’ musical compositions that come in this year!
Learn more about how composing reinforces what students are learning at their music lessons here.