Where the Music Begins!
The Harmony Road Philosophy
Westside Music School follows the Harmony Road Music Philosophy. We believe that this method of providing music lessons is the most effective available. All of our music instructors are qualified in teaching the Harmony Road method for piano lessons, keyboard lessons and violin lessons.
The Harmony Road Music Course
The Harmony Road Curriculum provides a holistic approach to music instruction. We hope that music will become a natural part of the student’s daily life. Children experience musical concepts and absorb patterning through ear training, singing, and rhythmic activities. As skills grow, students will become comfortable with note reading and keyboard performance areas. Strong singing skills will enhance the student’s total musical development.
It is very important for parents, teachers and students to work together. Please feel free to ask questions and share ideas!
How can parents help?
- Regular attendance is very important to keep the learning continuity strong. Being on time is also important. If you must miss a class please call ahead and leave a message for your music teacher so she can make a tape or send your assignment. Call the office to arrange to make-up in another class.
- Try to make arrangements for younger siblings to stay at home. The music classes should be a special time the parent and child can share. In case an occasional situation arises necessitating an older or younger sibling accompanying the parent and student to music class, the sibling needs to be under direct supervision of the parent at all times.
- When your music teacher is giving directions try not to repeat them to your child. It creates a noisy environment and doesn’t encourage students to listen and focus.
- This is a music class for parents and children. You will be learning music, too. It often requires patience on the part of students as well as parents! RELAX and enjoy your keyboard, violin or piano lesson. Activities will be repeated and reinforced, and there will be adequate time to achieve our goals.
- Let your teacher do the disciplining. He or she will ask for your assistance if needed.
- Keep a positive attitude. Children will have good and bad days (just as we do!) A positive, enthusiastic attitude will help keep the learning experience enjoyable.
- Create a good setting for home activities, providing a quiet place and encouraging daily music sessions. Start with short time periods, doing varied activities as in class. Increase the time as the child’s focus and skills grow.
- When assisting children with keyboard playing, please do not push the child’s fingers on the keys. Point to the key a little above where the finger will play if your help is needed. Strong solfege singing will soon eliminate the need for pointing.
The Learning Process
The Harmony Road Philosophy stresses learning by doing. Imitative singing - by copy, by ear with hints, by ear - helps develop pitch and learn melodic patterns. Repetition is critical to develop musical memory. Short patterns will soon become a part of longer phrases. Phrases will become songs!
The voice is our first and most musical instrument! When patterns are heard by the ear, sung by the voice (the “inside music teacher”), then played with singing on the keyboard, a wonderful circle of musical learning is achieved.
Solfege Singing is the musical language that opens the ears, frees the voice, and enhances all keyboard playing. Students may develop “inner hearing” which enables them to compose and memorize music.
Rhythmic Development: The first goal is to keep a steady pulse or beat. The group experience helps children develop a feeling for pulse.
How we learn rhythms:
- By copy clapping - to learn patterns
- Ostinato patterns - for independence
- Chant with rhythm syllables (“tahn”, “ta-ta”, etc.)
- Learn proper use of rhythm instruments.
Keyboard brings music from the ear, through the voice to the finger. The keyboard at first serves as the “outside music teacher”, helping connect ears, eyes, fingers, and minds.
- To develop a good understanding of keyboard geography.
- To gain good tactile and visual awareness.
- To relate pitch and melodic patterns to the keyboard.
- (First semester) To play melodies smoothly, with simple harmonies for older classes.
Reading experiences will be developed in an appropriate manner for specific age groups. First reading development for younger classes will be through sight-singing activities and reading games. Young students should internalize patterns, then read them. Older students can experience this internalization - but will obviously be expected to sight play sooner because of their experience with other reading activities.
All reading should be approached in patterns. Go from the known to the unknown! Reinforce with writing activities and quick, fun drills.
The most important of all - enthusiasm and enjoyment!
Children will grow with music - and we want their lives and yours to be enriched by sharing and learning!