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Soft Mozart Education For Teachers And Parents
Does your child try to lick the piano keys and bash them with his fists? That's the way it's meant to be!–Hellene Hiner
Right at the beginning of the 21st Century, on 7th November 2001, another 'new system for teaching music,' using the piano, appeared. This was my system. I called it: Soft Way to Mozart. Many people think that the word Mozart was included in the name because I was suggesting that all children be taught from an early age. I cannot argue with that interpretation. The words: Soft way, of course are saying that computer software is part of this process.
However not many people realize, that the name of my system has a much deeper meaning, than just early music education and computer games.
I have used the word soft to convey another, more important meaning. It reveals to you the main idea behind my approach: gentle, not pushy or forceful teaching, designed to develop the unique potential each child has.
The phrase: the Way to Mozart, raises another question: Why the Way? Where are we going? Back to the 18th century? With computers in hand? What for??? There is a deep and hidden meaning in those words also. You're sure to find it out about while reading my book!
The presentation of the method took place in the city of Houston in USA. Very few people were aware that this event had taken place. There were not many involved in this occasion. The TV channels did not make a nuisance of themselves at the entrance of the school, where the idea was launched. There were no celebrities, or an orchestra, excitement or flashing cameras.
'New methods in teaching music' are probably as numerous as all the cats that are born on one day. It is even possible that the cats would be outnumbered. 'Is such an insignificant matter worth worrying about?' was probably the reaction of the journalists in Texas when they received their invitations to my presentation. It's likely they didn't even give them a second thought and just deleted them, like unwelcome spam.
In the meantime, in a small auditorium, I showed, those present, for the first time, the diagram shown below:
When they saw it, nobody in the hall exclaimed: 'The keys and the notes are a complete unit? You brought us here for THAT? It's a simple fact! I've known it since I was a little child!'
To the contrary this picture was received, on the whole, as something completely new. However, if you take a closer look at the picture, you will find nothing new in the keys or the position of the notes. The parts highlighted in green and the brown make it easier to see the relationship between the two. That is what makes it different.
At the same time the innovation itself–the method based on this drawing, was accepted by many, as something ordinary: another music teacher has come up with another idea. Cats are born less often.
It is hard to describe how often I heard similar expressions as I informed the world of my system. This was despite the fact that the suggested method, in essence, was based on how we learn the alphabet, our first readers, picture books and other text formats. Adepts of the old proven methods of learning immediately started to distance themselves from it.
Those who cried, "At last! Somebody has thought up a way to make musical notes user friendly," for some reason, were few and far between. Even though everyone is happy to make letters bigger when they are too small to read on tablets.
Many music professionals became defensive saying, 'Why does music have to be visual if you have a musical ear?'
'And what if one's pitch is not yet developed?' I asked
'Well if one does not have a musical ear, why learn music?' was the adamant reply of the professional music teachers.
It was then I took another tack and appealed to their curiosity. I asked, could you at least tell me:
Why are toddlers always putting their toys in their mouths?
Why do babies reach for a rattle when it is making a noise?
Why do kids love banging on the keyboard with both hands?
My opponents usually thinked for a while and then they come up with this argument:
And what have these questions got to do with teaching music???
This is when I have my moment! I have already learnt so much that was never taught to us in music schools. I was filled with the desire to share my knowledge. Of course, I found a lot of teachers and parents who wanted me to tell them about what I have managed to learn myself.
So gradually, my system became a school. I have taught teachers and the parents who have applied the knowledge that I have shared with my colleagues and friends. The school started to flourish, enriched by the experience of many people from different countries.
This helped me to improve the system, because the teachers and students were all different and the results were the same and as one might expect–successful.
Thanks to modern technology, I was able to gather a huge amount of invaluable information, connected with the musical development of beginners: photos, videos and statistics. This has all made my school specific, based on actual material and systemization.
For many years, I passed on my information to each person individually. I really enjoyed seeing how people experience a process of enlightenment, seeing learning from another angle and together we came to see the same things and we were on the same page.
Thinking outside the box can change so much. This is what happens when a ray of sunlight refracts and cuts into a body of water, into the deepest and darkest ocean.
You are used to thinking, that you live in a world of chaos and uncertainty, that you could never be sure that you would be 100% able to teach some child to play on a musical instrument, sing in tune or hear and differentiate sounds. When suddenly you understand that, the chaos has disappeared. In music education there is harmony, just as there is in the language of music. You are amazed and happy, even a bit disappointed, wishing that you had been able to see and understand it all before.
By positioning the staves vertically, two worlds have been united, that were previously thought of as separate and unconnected: the world of the keys and the world of the notes. This helps to highlight very important patterns about how we develop, which stages we go through and what we acquire on board when we are learning to play the piano.
It has long been my dream to write a book about how the program Soft Mozart can be put to best use. I can't wait any longer: my system is being used in schools and at home. I have not yet managed to tell you the most important thing about it. I really do not want my school to be distorted or my program to be misunderstood.
I will describe, in as much detail as possible, how the learning mechanism works. You can learn about your child and yourself as well while learning with the help of the Soft Mozart. My book is written for teachers and parents and even for officials (after all they too are people and they too have children)!
I am sure that while you are reading my book there will be times when you put your head in your hands and exclaim: 'Why didn't we think of that earlier?! It was just so obvious!' I did that often when I saw my system in action. This will be a proper response, because a new way of looking at simple things helps people make huge discoveries and makes the world a better place.
With love to all
To be continued...