Resources for 5 year olds who love theory??

September 19, 2016 at 05:14 PM · Hello there! I was hoping that some of you who teach young students might be able to point me in the right direction here..

My little daughter is 5 and has been playing violin for a year and a half. She has a great teacher and they seem to make a great team. She is about to wrap up book 1 of Suzuki, plays with the local youth orchestra, and has played in several small groups. She also has played several songs as supplemental material. This part of her musical education seems to be going really well.

She also loves theory.. She started the Theory Time books in the spring and blew thru the primer and book 1. She is in book 2 but we've been trying to slow her down because the books are meant for older kiddos... our limitations being 1. she can't read fluently yet and 2. Her handwriting is decent but not refined enough to easily write the answers in the spots given. As a temporary transition out of her theory books for a bit, her teacher introduced her to an Etude book that we are using for her to write in her finger numbers to assist with reading the music. In this she is pretty close. She can follow the upbow/downbow and slur markings and "read" the music if her fingerings are written in.

She doesn't mind the fingering exercises, but she is still begging for theory. So what to do? Introduce key signatures? She has already signed off on bass and treble clef note reading. Re-do the first couple books as a review? Are there any resources geared towards a kindergartener that is more than just clap the beat? This is not my field of expertise and I am a little lost.

Thanks in advance for any ideas/experiences/insights.

Replies (7)

September 19, 2016 at 05:28 PM · My childhood Suzuki piano program taught basic theory -- key signatures / circle of fifths, scales (major, minor, and modes), intervals, and chord progressions -- to children as young as 3, using magnetic boards and magnetic notes, avoiding the problem of writing.

September 19, 2016 at 06:35 PM · The app "Notion" for the ipad may be of intrest to her.

My son, loves doodling around on that.

September 20, 2016 at 12:02 AM · You should let her go at her own pace. If she gets a little bit ahead of her age level, and ends up ultimately using materials written for older kids, then so what? You risk turning her off if you severely compromise her natural learning tempo and enthusiasm, and it would be a shame since so many student are so deficient in music theory. Perhaps assist her while she is studying with reading when necessary, and so what if her hand writing is a little messy? Get her some scratch paper and let her take breaks as needed.

September 20, 2016 at 04:29 AM · Craig, I think Lydia meant program as an educative class, it is true it is also a synonime for machine code, but it is not clear :)

September 20, 2016 at 09:40 AM · If her handwriting takes up more space than the books allow,you could photocopy/scan and enlarge the pages.

September 20, 2016 at 02:26 PM · Thanks! The magnet board idea is brilliant, I will definitely do this... and I think she will love it. I can definitely handle key signatures and intervals with her. I am going to have to learn chord progressions myself before I could attempt to help her with those.

Notion looks great, I bet she would enjoy that too.

Leischen, that is my concern... I really want to support her enjoyment for sure and not limit her if she is ready.. It is sometimes difficult to sort out really ready vs. wanting to be ready though.. Handwriting doesn't really bother me at all but it is frustrating for her. At least she is using her "music pencil" rather than a crayon now ;)

September 20, 2016 at 04:30 PM · Yes, Notion won't actively "teach" anything.

But, my son has taught himself quite a bit by noodling around and composing on that software the past couple of years.

Actually, he pretty much taught himself how to read music after getting this place mat a few years ago. He would take it over to the piano, and cross reference where the notes were, and next thing you know....

So, there's always that-- Mac'n'cheese & Mozart!



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