Building Your Child’s Aural Foundation!

By Kathryn Brunner

One of my favorite aspects of teaching is watching the light bulb TURN ON in a child’s face!  The “Aha” moment! How does this happen?  How exactly does that light bulb turn on?

It starts with the aural foundation.

Listening + Language
Learning music is like learning a language!  We do it Sound-Before-Sight!  Little ears are listening even before they emerge into this world.  Author of more than 50 books, music researcher, Dr. Edwin Gordon, tells us that the first 18 months of life are the most crucial for developing and expanding a little one’s repertoire of sound.  After that, we continue to build upon the aural foundation laid.  As children continue to grow, his encouragement is to use an expansive vocabulary with our children, sing many songs, and incorporate solid musical training through early childhood, elementary, middle school and high school years.

Audiation + Imagination
Audiation is musical imagination. There was no adequate word in the music dictionary for musical imagination, so Dr. Gordon coined the term “Audiation.”  It describes the way you mentally hear and comprehend music when no physicalmusic is present.  It is also the conscious awareness of how to predict sounds and rhythms in the music you hear.  In Gordon’s research, it’s the foundation of musicianship! Gordon teaches that tonal and rhythm patterns are the words of music.

The more a child’s tonal and rhythmic vocabulary are built, the more a child will be able to explore the heights of his or her musical imagination!  A growing rhythmic and tonal vocabulary make it possible for the musical light bulb to turn on, so to speak, in a child’s mind!  This is how we build your child’s aural foundation and ensure a lifetime of musical success.

Why Is Music Important for Children?
“Music is unique to humans. Like the other arts, music is as basic as language to human development and existence. Through music a child gains insights into herself, into others, and into life itself. Perhaps most important, she is better able to develop and sustain her imagination. Without music, life would be bleak. Because a day does not pass without a child’s hearing or participating in some music, it is to a child’s advantage to understand music as thoroughly as she can. As a result, as she becomes older she will learn to appreciate, to listen to, and to partake in music that she herself believes to be good. Because of such cultural awareness, her life will have more meaning for her.” (From Gordon, Edwin E. A Music Learning Theory for Newborn and Young Children. Chicago: GIA Publications, 1990, pp. 2-3.).

In our beginning Music Makers at the Keyboard classes, we build upon the amazing research Dr. Gordon has provided for us. In fact, Musikgarten’s curriculum is largely based on his work.  Dr. Gordon is also responsible for coining the “du-de, du-de” rhythm language that many of you know from my studio!

Dr. Gordon passed away Friday, December 4, 2015 at the age of 88.  I write this post as a tribute to his legacy. I am grateful to be able to pass on the incredible benefits of his work in the studio.

For the love of music and the joy it brings us,

Kathryn Brunner

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