Andrea B., Canada
I’ve just finished teaching honeydew with a group of 10-12 year olds and I would like to offer them some extra songs that they could play at home. I know some of you have a library of extra music and I’m thinking of starting something similar. I wondered if anyone could share with me a few of the most popular song choices that would be easy enough for them to handle. I’ve been on musicnotes.com searching, but not knowing what’s popular with them and finding songs that are easy enough is proving to be quite challenging for me.
Robin Keehn, Washington
I think that you should ask your students. I have a 10 year old and she has older siblings so her taste in music is quite a bit different from other 10 years olds I know! She enjoys Selina Gomez and Taylor Swift, especially. We have lots of students in our studio who love to play praise and worship music–songs are usually quite easy and easily available online (just search for free lead sheets).
One other thing that you could do if they cannot tell you what they listen to, grab their iPods and thumb through their music! I had to do this last week with a 13 year old boy. He could not tell me what he liked so I asked him if he had an iPod and if I could see it. Right away I was able to identify what he enjoyed and as I scrolled through his songs, named a few and found one that he wanted to work on.
There is a lot of free music online–like free lead sheets by genre. I was looking for some country music for someone recently and I found thousands of lead sheets on one website. There are so many great resources.
April H., Utah
I have learned the hard way that although I am so excited to show them that they can now play so many songs, that it isn’t always to their advantage. First of all, the accompaniament program offers some of that, so I would start that very soon. But, you have to remember where they are coming from. They already are playing a lot of songs- a new one every week. And giving too much too quickly can overwhelm them- let them enjoy going at this already fast pace.
With that being said, I have liked having “Songs for children” for my students for this reason, but haven’t done it with any that age- mine are all younger. I also think the book that you can either get online or from Simply music for $3.95 called “Get America Singing” has some good songs. Also, I have found this website that has TONS of songs: http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/ It also allows you to transpose it into an easier key with a click of a button.
But, when I say I learned this the hard way, I found that as soon as I gave my students these extra songs, it was the first time ever that I suddenly had a harder time getting them to play their foundation songs. I didn’t have this problem with the “Songs for Children”, but I did with other songs- especially songs on the radio. Because if they realize they can play “Apologize” by One Repulic, suddenly Dreams doesn’t sound very cool anymore. So, with my next groups I have decided to wait as long as possible to introduce any of this and it has been fine. They don’t realize they are missing anything, they are still excited about what they are learning, and they are moving forward quickly in the accompaniment program so that when the time comes, they will be able to add in this fun stuff, but have such a better foundation.
So, I know it is hard because you want them to realize this new skill they have, but I would hold off as long as possible! I am actually curious what other people have to say, maybe some have had good luck with this- introducing it earlier than I have and I would be open to that too!
Terah W., Kansas
I have found one of the best songs to go with the Honey Dew chord progressions! The girls especially are just thrilled and start playing with the accompaniment ideas almost without thinking! It is the song, “All I Ask of You” from Phantom of the Opera. They are amazed at the song being played with the ‘very same!’ chords as HD and if they have heard the song before are usually quite drawn to trying it out.
It’s a big opportunity to show them where they are headed without a big sales pitch; it’s right under their noses. Though I discovered this quite by accident and shared it out of plain enthusiasm on my part, it is now a fairly regular event or at least ‘demo’ when we start discussing the beauty of the Accompaniment program.
Ethel S., Arizona
We have had great success with the “Wee Sing” series. One problem that we are finding when we first introduce more accompaniments is that our students are not ready to assimilate all the info. that is on the page (music notation, lyrics, and the chords written over the music), so quite often we type the words on the page with the chords written above in the appropriate places. After some time (varies by student), they are then ready to add in these other visual elements.
We are having good success when we retype the sheets to only have the chords, or only the chords and words, introducing the the actual page with written notation later.
Mary R., Michigan
I also use Music of the Night from Phantom to reinforce use of black note triads—especially for those who are not Irish and not fond of Danny Boy!!
Original discussion started March 5, 2012