Before we being talking about music theory for kids, I have a small confession to make: I am one of the few people on this earth that actually loves music theory. There, I said it and now we can move on. Perhaps I am completely mistaken and there are millions out there but I doubt it. Music loving folk may be roaming the streets in droves for all I know. However, in my experience, I have come across few that truly enjoyed music theory.
I guess music theory is akin to the grammatical rules of a specific language. Not exactly a necessity to speaking it fluently, yet surely of tremendous value once writing becomes involved. Which brings me to my topic in this post. Teaching music theory to kids is a very valuable skill. One that will give them two major skills and tools. First, the ability to write and create their own music should they choose to. Secondly, and just as valuable, making it possible to appreciate music at a higher level possible.
What is Music Theory?
According to Wikipedia, Music theory is the study of the practices and possibilities of music. The Oxford Companion to Music describes three interrelated uses of the term "music theory." Basically the three uses in a nutshell are:
- The first is what is otherwise called "rudiments", currently taught as the elements of notation, of key signatures, of time signatures, of rhythmic notation, and so on.
- The second is the study of writings about music from ancient times onwards.
- The third is an area of current musicological study that seeks to define processes and general principles in music.
So that takes care of the formal definition, however, it leaves it what to do when it comes to practical music theory for kids? I am here to tell you that not only can it be fun, but you will be giving them a fluency in a language that they will read and write for the rest of their lives. What if they write the next hit song, film score or broadway sensation like Hamilton? That is the power that music theory holds.
Your First Lesson
Below you'll find a simple music theory lesson. Don't worry about understanding all the details such as what a scale even is. The important thing is to learn that music has only seven letters and then they repeat, regardless of what note you start on. This example is of a C Major Scale. It's notes are C D E F G A B C and on and on. See if you can figure out what the answers are to the five questions below.
Practical Music Theory for Kids
We may look at all this and simply ask, how do we offer some music theory for kids an students? The answer is simple: the same way we would any other language, a little bit at a time. That is why I designed Color Me Mozart to slowly introduce musical concepts a little at a time. That way it won't seem overwhelming and kids can absorb concepts gradually and naturally. I even wanted parents and teachers to be able to learn music theory as well even if they've never studied music before.
Music theory, in practice, is very simple. For instance, you may not know it already, but most pop songs that you love on the radio consist of about 4 or 5 chords. Some only have 3! How great would it be to know what those chords are when you're young to try and write a song of your own?
4 Chord songs include: Someone Like You, Forever Young, Hey Soul Sister, Let it Be, No One, and the list goes on and on. The reason I bring this up is because music theory, including chords and scales is not only about being able to play Beethoven. Don't get me wrong, Beethoven is incredible, but we wanted to bring the basic founding concepts of music to your home and classroom.
Melodies are created with just a few notes. A simple 7 note scale can produce thousands of amazing melodies. Learning the 7 notes in a scale is not only easy but essential in late creating your own melodies. We want kids to create music, not simply play. Learning how to read and write the language of music is essential for this skill to develop.
Where To Go From Here
If you want to begin your journey of music with your kids, we want to be your solution. Click here for our Little Mozart Music Set and get started today. It includes everything you need to bring music education into your home and classroom. And the best part is that we're with you every step of the way. We're here for any help you may need along the way. Music is for life.