Thursday, September 2, 2010

Unplugging the Music

The i-pod is out of juice. The electricity has not made it to this town. There are no stereos or wi-fi. How do we get the music?

While having a fun experience of my lifetime with my family this summer hiking the Inca Trail (and a brief overnight with a sweet family on Lake Titicaca) in Peru, I had this really cool experience of spending time in places with out any plugs! Was there music? Yes, of course, YES!!

Actually, my teenager daughter's i-pods seemed to last for days without running out of juice; the people, however, who lived in these sweet car-less communities did not have such accessories. It was inspiring to experience how these communities made the music themselves: singing, playing quena & zampoa pan flutes, drums and small Peruvian guitars. As an early childhood educator who gets most my vital nutrients from live-music making, I was in HEAVEN!! We even happened upon one of the many multi-day festivals that involved entire groups of people in song, dance and quena flute/drum ensemble which I believe was the most juicy part of the trip.

For young children, live music making is a vital for them to develop through primary music development, rhythmically and tonally. In class, we repeatedly share how important it is to make music with our children. Families love playing CD's as there are great arrangements for even the adult ears; jazz numbers, sassy blues songs, and rockin' folk numbers. While children can get great exposure to a plethora of genres' and multi-cultural music by listening to CDs, this is not a substitute for making the music on your own. My music mentor, Lili Levinowitz, Ph.D. professes that "children get their disposition to be a music-maker, from the important role models in their lives, their parents"; we just need to make music with them!

I am guessing that if we were raising our children on Lake Titicaca (or along the way to Machu Picchu ), it would be silly to have a Music Together class because life would be like a Music Together class! In the meanwhile, it is SO fun to get to MAKE the music with families each week. Keep singing with your kids!

Kathy Rowe M.A. Music Education and Center Director for Music Together in Phoenix

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