Written by Gary Ewer, from “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” website:
Occasionally when I adjudicate at music festivals, I am given the pleasant “task” of assessing musical works composed by young children. Happily, these types of events are non-competetive, and so it gives me an opportunity to help young musicians with their writing by showing them the great things about their music, and how to make it even better.
Young children love to create! Whether drawing, painting, dancing, singing, acting… they love to explore the outermost reaches of their imagination.
Even if you feel that you don’t have a strong musical background, you can help a young child in your life discover their musical abilities.
Here are some tips for helping young children now to become successful singer-songwriters:
- Get them singing. Read the bios of famous singer-songwriters: Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, and so many others… and you’ll find that most of them were singing at a very young age, usually in their church choirs. Singing church melodies gives a young person a good grounding in melodic structure, and singing with others helps them to tune properly. If not church, most schools and communities have choirs they can sing in.
- Give them some basic music theory. A basic understanding of how music works, with the modest ability to read and write it, will help them become literate musicians. Many musicians make it without theory, but giving your child that ability helps them to understand more of the musical world around them.
- Get them a quality musical instrument. They may be a child, but they deserve something good to play on. Buying them a beat up guitar with no ability to produce a good sound would discourage anyone. And don’t wait for long… there are good instruments out there that they can be playing even before the age of 5.
- Encourage them to make up songs, and resist the temptation to “fix” their music. They need to explore their creative mind without being told that there is a right way and a wrong way. With time and experience, their music will become more and more structured.
- Listen to their music. Encourage them to stage little concerts for you and your family. And as always, accentuate the positive!
- Play good quality music for them, and don’t just stick to one genre. Find music that you like, and play recordings for them. Even if jazz is your thing, you need to know that there is great country music out there. There are lots of people to help you compile playlists of great music from the Classical, Country, Jazz, Folk and Rock world if you need the help.
As a child becomes more and more active in the world of music, you’ll see that their music keeps getting better. And the more they listen to great music, the better their own musical endeavours become. Children are great imitators, and so you need to provide them excellent music to model.
Do you have other ideas for getting children into the world of songwriting? I’d love to have your comments.
Gary Ewer’s songwriting e-books can get you writing the songs you’ve always known you could write. Read more about those songwriting e-books here.