The cross : At what age to start music education?
Beatrice Boisvieux: Hungarian pedagogue Zoltan Kodaly answered this question with mischief: “Nine months before the birth … of the mother” ! As a reminder that the unborn child distinguishes sounds from the mother’s womb but also that music is a matter of transmission from generation to generation. The Gypsies have understood this: tradition has it that they regularly play the same piece to the unborn child, a piece that they perform after birth to welcome the infant in a familiar environment. Later, the young child retains a skin-deep sensitivity. The garden is already there. To water it with music is to quench in this little being the thirst for joy, beauty, creativity. It is cultivating your capacity for wonder.
→ CRITICAL. Allegretto junior, a musical recreation
How can musical awakening sessions be beneficial?
BB: The young child is centered on himself. Playing musical games, forming a circle to the sound of a song, hitting in rhythm opens it to the other. Musical awakening is based on listening, that of other children, of instruments, of the sounds that surround us: the bird in the garden, the car in the street, the steps on the floor …
To be present to sounds is to be present to the world, it is to live fully! It has happened to me to make my students listen to a contemporary work interpreted exclusively with everyday objects, from the plate that is placed on the table to the friction of the knife on the rusk!
No need for an instrument to raise awareness of music?
BB: Our body alone offers a formidable instrument. You can clap your hands, stamp your feet or make your voice ring out. And this, very early: the babble of the infant is an attempt to communicate, a preparation for language but also, obviously, the immense pleasure of emitting new sounds.
What should the little child listen to?
BB: All ! The child does not have a priori. He will perhaps tell us that he does not like this or that music but we gain by making him discover very diverse genres (classical, traditional, variety…). Be careful not to turn up the volume too much because his hearing is more sensitive than ours. By making him listen from time to time to songs performed by children, which facilitates mimicry. And by sparing a privileged moment: how many times of very young pupils came themselves to snuggle up against me the time of a musical extract!
→ READ. Let the music !
When to start learning an instrument?
BB: As soon as the child expresses the desire. And without necessarily waiting for him to start music theory. Because the notion of pleasure and the beauty of the sound must prevail. The instrument must be a friend that you play with.
Precisely, many children or teenagers ask one day to stop the music …
BB: We must then analyze what is at play behind this request. Is the schedule too restrictive? Would we gain by changing teachers? To opt for a less demanding structure or one that relies more on collective practice? Would another instrument be more suitable? In all cases, it is important to start from the desire of the child and not from what we project on him.