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Are all children musical?

(22 Posts)
earwig1 Mon 10-Dec-12 12:15:51

Hi, OP here! Fascinating, thanks. My DD was in tears recently after a brass recital disaster, although it wasn't her fault and she played well, but they are loud instruments and other people's mistakes made it sound terrible. Her friend, on the other hand, who took part and made it sound terrible, was really pleased with the performance as she couldn't hear anything wrong! I found this really sweet by the way, and told my DD to get a grip on the way home... she was really dramaticgrin

sonniebonnie Mon 26-Nov-12 10:34:55

Neither dh nor I are musical (even though we both had a couple of years of piano lessons as children) nor particularly enjoy music.
We have two children, one of which has had piano lessons for 3 years and has only just done gr 1 but really does not enjoy it much and plays quite 'mechanically' - he has other interests which he is very good at. We will probably let him stop having lessons and to focus his time more on the things he enjoys more.
Our dd, on the other hand, has reached gr 5 on piano and violin within 3 years and LOVES making music. She is helped by having perfect pitch and will spend hours playing, composing and she plays very musically.

So NO, in my experience not all children are naturally musical, just as not all children are naturally mathematical or good at languages. Thankfully, we all have different strengths and interests smile.

FastLoris Mon 26-Nov-12 10:27:20

Define musical.

pigsinmud Sun 25-Nov-12 20:33:00

My dh (musician) has always said he does not have much ( i say much, but he thinks he has some!) natural talent, but got there by hard work. He does not have perfect pitch. He is reading a book called Bounce - can't remember the author - which he is finding fascinating. It looks at the idea of natural talent or hard work. Author coming down firmly on side of hard work -10,000 hours practice before you are really good. I can see this with some sports and chess, but not sure about music, dance....

We have 4 dc. 1 & 3 do not seem to be particularly musical, but are both learning instruments. 2 has perfect pitch and appears to us to be naturally talented in music, but very lazy!

Dc4 (6) picked up a trumpet a few weeks ago and we were a bit wow! Now, dh is a trumpet player, so dc4 has obviously seen her dad playing, but she picked it up, put to her lips with a perfect embouchure. Dh said she's going to be good. She wants to practise all the time and seems naturally talented - perfect combination. He doesn't usually teach children until they have their adult front teeth, but has made an exception for her.

Fascinating debate. I would say I have a good ear, particularly when listening to trumpets!

As for children, surely they need exposure to music from the beginning - any music. If a child was brought up in a home where they never heard music and no-one ever sang with them - they wouldn't know how to be musical would they?

Dromedary Sun 25-Nov-12 19:16:45

I agree that some more musical than others. I think most people could get up to a certain level if they were prepared to work at it, but not to a high level (eg professional). Some people, even at at a low level, are simply a lot nicer to listen to - natural performers, put feeling into it, etc.

It's important to pick the right instrument - someone who doesn't have a good sense of pitch will struggle with a stringed instrument.

pianomama Sun 25-Nov-12 19:08:52

4 out of my 5 DC are tone deaf, 1 is gifted musician.
And when I say "tone deaf" - I do mean tone deaf. Family "Happy Birthday" chorus results in a fast evacuation of cats,dogs, earthworms and innocent passers by.

linoleum Fri 23-Nov-12 15:43:58

I think some people find music easier than others, in the same way that some people seem to have an aptitude for maths, or english etc. I'm not sure about the idea that people can be 'tone deaf' though - it was my understanding that this concept just doesn't exist in countries with tonal languages eg Chinese, because the ear has been trained from birth? Is this true?

orangeberries Fri 23-Nov-12 15:38:36

I think that there is a difference between being able to learn an instrument (which everyone should be able to do) and being musical.

For example my DS and DD both started learning the violin at the same time, and both practice the same amount. After a year, my DS has started grade 1 pieces but struggles a lot with finding the notes etc my DD is taking grade 1 next week but can play pretty much any grade 1/2 piece you put in front of her and the violin seems to be so natural to her. She can also pick up any instrument and produce a familiar tune on it!

It was a similar difference between my brother and I except the other way round!

lljkk Thu 22-Nov-12 20:16:54

I am inherently non musical. My definition of non-musical, anyway.

ByTheWay1 Thu 22-Nov-12 10:45:13

I would also assume they are inherently musical - most babies will babble in a sing-song way...

BUT not all children like to "perform" - once my youngest understood that she could learn piano for her own enjoyment she started playing and practising in earnest - she was worried she would HAVE to perform for others or we would make her take the exams.... she has taken exams - but at her own pace -

sometimes children make the assumption that if they take up music they will have to play in front of others... so they hold back.

ZZZenAgain Thu 22-Nov-12 10:19:11

yes, I would assume that all children are inherently musical. If you catch them in time and teach them in a way they respond to, and if they are given the time and encouragement to practise effectively, they will develop that musicality. Perhaps the difference is that some dc understand things in music so much faster. If you have one dc who sees and understands something so fast it is almost immediate, and another who will take a lot longer to click on to the same point, you might think one is musical and the other is not. We also tend to like the things which come to us easily and make us feel that we are good at them. Probably that is the only real difference.

maggiethecat Wed 21-Nov-12 20:45:11

Pugs, I wish you could sit and have a word with my dd - she doesn't get it that she needs to break the music down into very small sections and repeat playing until it's near perfect. She's fortunate to have very good hearing and sight reads well - so with that combination she feels that she can just play through. She usually does a good job but could be so much better if she broke it down.

UptoapointLordCopper Tue 20-Nov-12 21:45:11

I think the question is only relevant if you are trying to formulate some policy for the general population. When it comes to meeting individual children/pupil you assume they can learn. Hence my position, since I'm unlikely to be formulating policies for the general population, is the same as that of Suzuki, that all children can learn music to a good standard.

How high that standard is would be condition upon what pugsandseals says. Indeed learning to practise is the key.

Theas18 Tue 20-Nov-12 19:22:21

Gosh pugsandseals totally with you in the " learning to practice" that seems o hard as its all pain and very delayed gain.

pugsandseals Mon 19-Nov-12 22:59:41

2 things I am trying to explain.

1 that few people truly learn to practice, which means breaking down the component parts & playing maybe only 3 notes over & over again. Playing a piece through from beginning to end is not practice! This is playing.
2 True musical training from birth involves lots of pitch & rhythm training - normally Kodaly & Dalcroze based as in high qualiity baby music groups.

I am not saying that people cannot be naturally musical without these aspects, but that these particular types of teaching can create a musical child where natural talent is perhaps less clear.

If children were either musical or not & it couldn't be taught, peripatetic teachers would have a very easy life only ever sitting back & listening to their talented pupils. Believe me, teaching an instrument is a very hard job because we teach musical skills to all of our pupils to help them achieve their potential!

Theas18 Mon 19-Nov-12 21:47:59

Dunno. I tend towards agreeing with your 2nd mate - every child benefits from music even f it's not their thing.
However with a Lotif music around them more children would go further and enjoy it more. At DH school they all sing from nursery to year 6. Years 3-6 learn recorder and many play instruments.

DeWe Mon 19-Nov-12 21:31:35

Pugs my db was exposed to "high quality music from birth.

And practiced hard for years. He still didn't progress above grade 1 in violin because he couldn't hear when the notes were wrong at all, and he wouldn't realise he was wrong, and if he did then he couldn't correct. The only thing he did okay in exams were scales, because with practice he could just about get them on the way up. On the way down was not good.

Me and db had exactly the same opportunities, if anything he had more than me because I was already playing. I am okay on the music front. Nothing to shout about, but I can hold a tune, and say if a note's wrong. He can't do either.

pugsandseals Mon 19-Nov-12 16:15:21

Any child has the potential to be musical if they are taught how from a young enough age.
Parents should expose their babies to high quality music from birth including high quality music classes if they wish the child to become musical.

If they eventually chose to take up an instrument, they will also need to learn how to practice which is an art in itself. Everyone would say my brother is not musical. I disagree, he just didn't learn how to practice. A skill which takes a great deal of patience!

Anyone can get to grade 5 with a good teacher & plenty of practice.

Startail Mon 19-Nov-12 11:43:37

No both can hold a tune and sing pop songs etc.

But it's only DD1 who takes it further, passing singing exams and tearing off to any available choir.

DD2 plays Hockey

DeWe Mon 19-Nov-12 11:02:32

I don't think the singing in tune is a total guide. Dh couldn't sing in tune until he was about 13yo and he's very musical with perfect pitch.

However my db learnt the violin. My dm paid out for lots of musical lessons over the years. He didn't pass beyond his grade 1 in 14 years. He's tone deaf and didn't realise.

I think same as anything else. Most people are fine. Some people are musical, some people are very musical, some people are not musical at all. However for anyone, practice and doing it will help.

shoobidoo Mon 19-Nov-12 06:58:14

No! Both my dd and ds started learning the piano aged 6. My dd is now 10 and has always loved making music, composes little pieces and has done gr 5 on both piano and violin (with distinction). She is very musical.
Ds, on the other hand, has always played quite mechanically and only just done gr 1 in the piano and will probably quit soon. He is much less musical and more interested in other things.

earwig1 Sun 18-Nov-12 20:43:45

Two music teachers I know, two opinions... one says everybody is musical as a child, the other that some are, some aren't, even though everyone would benefit from some kind of music education. I can see that some of my children's friends sing out of tune and are not aware, while my kids (and other friends) sing perfectly in tune... WDYT?

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