Specially written music with a strong focus on the requirements of the very young
Most teachers will have a very good idea about what appeals to very young children. However, as adults, we often wrongly assume the reasons why certain pieces of music are more appealing than others. If a child is ready to admit ‘I like that piece because it sounds easy to play!’ it is easy to dismiss this answer as a rather negative response. In reality, what the child is telling us is that music is often too complex for their young minds. If they play a piece that has obvious patterns and is very repetitive they find it is easier to make sense of the music and will learn the piece more quickly. The complexities of music need to be dealt with, but the mind must be allowed to grow and develop first. Another answer that a few children are confident enough to admit to is ‘I like this piece because it sounds as if I am really playing!’ Children need to be aware of the progress they are making and will respond with enthusiasm to music that is easy to learn but demonstrates the extent of their playing skills.
When writing the music for Playing With Colour books I have focussed very much on appealing to the needs of young children. The pieces generally have simple basic structures but stretch the child technically. Generally the pieces remain within a five finger position, although positions move around the keyboard progressively. Extended hand positions are introduced in a very simple way by the thumb moving sideways and back again. In book 3 some pieces cover a range of four to five octaves but the hand positions still remain basically in five finger positions. This kind of security enables the child to learn how to move around the keyboard with ease and confidence.