I had a moment of clarity a few weeks ago while teaching at the Humber College Community Music School.
I was watching Kirk MacDonald work with a very young piano trio. Very young. The pianist was 11 years old. The drummer and bassist were 13-14 years old.
They were playing Recordame; it sounded really good.
But they weren’t playing as a group. They weren’t communicating or interacting. They weren’t listening to each other.
I thought: “One reason they’re not listening to each other is because they’re so young! They haven’t developed the necessary social skills. In a few years, when they’re older, they’ll possess these skills and apply them to making music. The group dynamic will be much healthier then.”
But then Kirk worked his magic. All of a sudden, they were playing together, listening, improvising, communicating and conversing. I was hearing a completely different ensemble. They sounded better than I thought possible for their ages. It was beautiful.
That’s when it hit me.
These kids were developing their social skills right in front of me! Through music, they were learning things that are relevant to every facet of their social lives. Putting kids in music ensembles aids learning and development more than I ever realized.
This is the future of music education!