Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

Archive for Children

How To Get and Keep Kids Interested In Concert Music – Part Three

It has always seemed to me that there are two essentially different kinds of music. The first is what we might call “generational music”: the contemporary music we hear and sing and play while we’re growing up – music that represents our childhood; our innocence; our coming of age; our sexual awakening; our friends and our first loves and first heartbreaks. For me, that music – the music that can still transport me back to places otherwise forgotten – includes Peter, Paul, and Mary; the Beatles; Jimi Hendrix; Simon and Garfunkel; Led Zeppelin; Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young; Chicago; and Blood, Sweat and Tears. What this means is that every generation of younguns will have its own music. Our job as parents/adults is not to denigrate our children’s music (which can only prove to our kids that we are the doddering old fools they already believe us to be) but rather, to SUPPLEMENT their listening with the other kind of music, meaning EVERYTHING ELSE. By “everything else” I really do mean “everything else.” Tomorrow, let’s talk turkey about what constitutes “everything else”.

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How To Get and Keep Kids Interested In Concert Music – Part Two

In my previous entry I promised to hold forth on a subject of concern to many (if not most) of the visitors to this page, and that is how to get (and keep) our kids interested in concert music. Rather than dive right into the subject, I have been seized by the need to set the stage, to offer an “overture” in preparation of what (I hope) will be an extended discussion. Bear with me; we have as much time to discuss this stuff as we want. It has become something of a national pastime in the United States to bemoan the state of music education in the public schools. I regret, in particular, the demise of band and choral programs, programs that didn’t just teach kids how to play instruments and sing but, much more important, how to contribute (musically) to a larger community, the whole a thousand times greater than the sum of its parts. Having said that, I do not miss – not for a moment – the sorts of “music appreciation” classes I was subjected to as a child. If my experience in the public schools of Willingboro, New Jersey in the 1960’s is in any […]

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How To Get and Keep Kids Interested In Concert Music – Part One

My six year-old daughter Lillian is going to start piano lessons next week. Lily has been asking for lessons for a couple of years, but I am not a believer in starting kids too young, and to my mind four years old was way too young. (To my mind, no matter how good the teacher, a lesson is a lesson, and lessons demand responsibility, discipline, and practice. The vast majority of us will be responsibility-free exactly once in our lives: from birth through the age of six. Let kids be kids, I say. Responsibility, discipline, and practice – like gray hair, bad eyesight, and lousy knees – will all come in time, whether we want them or not.) Frankly, six is even a bit on the young side for me, but given, one, Lily’s ongoing interest in the piano (she “plays” all the time); two, we have two nice grands in the house (one of them a Steinway D); three, she hears the pianos being played all the time; and four, I’ve found her the right teacher (or so I think), well, I guess it’s time to start her up. For the first year or two I’m not going to […]

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