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Music should be fun: That’s one of music educator Robby Schechter’s core beliefs. It sounds uncontroversial. But too many parents, Schechter says, drag their children to private lessons where kids practice boring drills and are asked to master sight-reading. Schechter, who is the founder of Musical Life Denver, comments, “That’s really not a good recipe to get kids learning. It’s impossible without the parent guiding them the whole way, and soon it becomes a frustration point.”
So when Schechter started Musical Life Denver — a music school located on South Broadway in Englewood — he vowed to teach lessons and classes in which the pulsating heartbeat of making music would be having fun. This May, Musical Life Denver is restarting KidzRock, group classes for students between the ages of four and seven, which have been put on pause since October.
KidzRock will put small classes of five to seven students together. Right off the bat, students will learn how to play rhythms, practice together as a band, and perform simple songs. Kids will also have the opportunity to try out different instruments each week, so they can get a feel for different sounds and textures. Schechter believes that this method of getting kids grooving immediately is more likely to generate a lifelong love for music. Every couple of months, kids get to go on stage and show off their musical achievements at concerts.
Schechter also hopes that KidzRock will serve as a fulfilling social gathering space for kids who have been denied opportunities to socialize over the past year. In KidzRock, students “get to play with others and make friends,” he says. “Making music by yourself can be fun and rewarding, but there’s something just so satisfying about everybody making music together in time.”
Beyond teaching kids the nuts and bolts of how to play their instruments and how to play together in time, Schechter likes integrating activities that encourage free play and experimentation. On breaks from band practice, Schechter likes to ask kids what they want to name their band. Sometimes, he’ll ask them to make music with an open-ended prompt, like “What does angry feel like?” Schechter wants kids to build confidence in their abilities to improvise.
“Music makes life better, and we want students to have it in their life. So we want to make sure we’re teaching them how to live with music in their life,” Schechter says.
KidzRock relaunches this May with weekly classes on Saturday mornings. For more information, visit Musical Life Denver’s website.
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