Making music has become now almost like a technology driven science. Even kids learning music are often forced to go through demanding practice schedules on professional quality musical instruments. One component of the music making experience has been heavily pushed to the back – and almost forgotten. FUN.
Playing and making music shouldn’t be a chore. Nor an annoying and tedious burden. Especially for children, who are supposed to develop a positive relationship with music, but often are exposed only to high academic demands from their music teachers and parents. No surprise, that many aspiring young musicians lose their interest, and only later in life some realize the negative impact of the loss of music.
But how to make music more enjoyable for young players? How to make it fun?
A very good response to these question could give a recently released book Make Music! A Kid’s Guide to Creating Rhythm, Playing with Sound, and Conducting and Composing Music from authors Norma Jean Haynes, Ann Sayre Wiseman and John Langstaff.
The title explains very well what this book is about. This is a new – 2019 edition of the 2003 book, in which the co-author Norma Jean Haynes included stories and perspective how music is used in diverse communities.
The book covers all possible ways how a child can get to make some sounds, which potentially can result in music. The seven main chapters cover:
• Body Music – how to use our and other bodies to listen to sounds and to make music
• Household Things – how to make music instruments from everyday objects and then perform for example a ‘Kitchen Concerto’
• Percussion – how to make beats and rhythms using instruments made from plastic and recycled materials
• Breath Music – how to make tones using vibrating air, whether it is our own breath, or the wind blowing through a window, including dandelion trumpets and a comb kazoo.
• The String Section – how to pluck, strum, or bow and get a musical sound.
• Instruments from the Workshop – this is about making a bit more sophisticated instruments with some help from adults. Included are rainsticks, tongue drums, window wind harp, kalimba and others.
• Creating Music – with all those funny instruments, even more funny thing is to try to make music. That includes ‘inventing’ a musical score, recording and sharing sounds, orchestrating, songwriting, making mixtapes, rap and hip hop.
Throughout the book a reader can find many interesting anecdotes about important musicians, instruments and also historical facts, that educate and entertain at the same time. Included are also other resources, explanations of musical terms, or interesting websites. For those little musicians, who are still learning how to read, there are large photos and 35 plans how to make instruments at home.
All together, on 144 pages, with just a minimum written text, a reader who makes it all the way through the book, can get a thorough, although a very basic understanding about what making music, and music in general, really is.
I have had a opportunity to read this book and to write this review, thanks to the website NetGalley. And I am absolutely convinced, that this book is a bare minimum, that every good kindergarten, elementary school and children caregiver, should have in their library, when offering any music related activities. This guide helps children better understand what it is about to make music, to have fun making sounds and to put together their own instruments.
Simple, funny and educational!