Embracing Musical Freedom: A Book Review of "Feierabend Fundamentals" by Dr. John Feierabend

"Feierabend Fundamentals" by Dr. John Feierabend is a groundbreaking book that not only delves into the core principles of music education but also emphasizes child-centered learning in the realm of musical expression. As a self-employed music teacher, this is one of the foundational books on which I build my philosophy of teaching and basis for instruction. Dr. Feierabend, a distinguished figure in the field of music education, seamlessly intertwines his expertise with a refreshing perspective on fostering creativity, autonomy, and learner-centered expression.

One of the book's standout features is its comprehensive systems of teaching and learning fundamental musical concepts. Dr. Feierabend's approach is both scholarly and accessible, making it an ideal resource for educators, students, and anyone passionate about the art of music. Through engaging anecdotes and practical examples, he navigates readers through the essential building blocks of musical understanding, emphasizing creating a strong foundation for children by the age of 7 or 8.

However, what truly sets "Feierabend Fundamentals" apart is its emphasis on freedom in the musical journey. Dr. Feierabend passionately advocates for nurturing individual creativity and allowing learners, especially children, to find their unique voices within the framework of musical theory. He argues that true musical proficiency is not just about mastering notes and rhythms but also about cultivating a personal connection in creating with the art form, especially during the formative years of child development.

The book challenges traditional notions of musical education that may stifle creativity by promoting rigid structures and stifling conformity. Dr. Feierabend encourages readers to break free from these constraints through a structure that promotes individuality, fostering an environment where self-expression, particularly in a child-centered context, is not only welcomed but celebrated. In doing so, he empowers educators and parents to guide children in embracing their musical identities, fostering a sense of ownership over their artistic endeavors.

Dr. Feierabend's insights are not only informative but also inspiring, motivating readers to rethink their approach to teaching and learning music, particularly when working with young learners. The book is structured in a way that encourages reflection, providing thought-provoking prompts and exercises that prompt readers to apply the principles discussed, making it especially valuable for those involved in child-centered musical education. 

"Feierabend Fundamentals" is a must-read for educators, parents, and enthusiasts alike who seek to go beyond the confines of traditional music education, especially when working with children. Dr. Feierabend's advocacy for freedom, autonomy, and child-centered learning serves as a guiding light, encouraging readers to view music not just as a set of rules but as a boundless realm where individual creativity can flourish, particularly in the context of nurturing the next generation in what's known as his "30 year plan." As a result, this book stands as a comprehensive reference resource for those who need or want an all-in-one guide to Dr. Feierabend's philosophies and materials.

Amazon Favorites of a Music Teacher Mom

Amazon Favorites of a Music Teacher Mom
Today is Prime Big Deals Day!

Here are bunch of my favorite Amazon finds as a music teacher mom, most of which happen to be part of the deals today, too. I use these ALL the time in my home and teaching space.

1. Rubber Chicken! We play a game called chickens & foxes with ours, there's lots of other uses. My students named him drumstick, haha! He's also a great model of open tall vowels for choir.

2. Googly eye rings! I use these for arioso, small group singing, and conversations in song back & forth between students.

3. This super cozy nursing and maternity sweatshirt -- so nice for fall/winter days and for nursing baby discreetly!

4. This white noise sound machine has been the best. It's not too big, so great for traveling. And even has colors if you need a night light feature.

5. These footed pants were SO cozy when baby was tiny. 10/10 recommend, especially if you have a fall/winter baby! This is all my baby girl wore except for footies last winter.

6. A pickler triangle set -- this is a great toddler activity for those cold winter days where we're all cooped up inside because it's too cold to even play in the snow. I am getting one for my baby girl for Christmas.

7. Classroom instruments are a great way to engage students without breaking the bank. I typically own only 1-2 of each instrument and we grow in patience, social skills, waiting, turning taking, etc by only using one. Here are a few I found on sale today: cabasa set, rainbow streamers for expressive movement, wood block, guiros, juggling scarves, and more!

8. Non toxic crayons! Perfect for beginning babies who are going to put them in their mouth.

9. I am getting this busy board for my baby girl because a friend recommended it for long car rides (or air plane rides!).

10. This musician's journal I created -- fun colors! You have SO MANY notebooks you're writing in allll the time too? You're in good company.

11. So much silly fun with pop tubes!

There's more, but this is a great start. Happy shopping!

12 Benefits of Teaching Music to Toddlers

Teaching music to toddlers is incredibly beneficial for their overall development.
Here are several reasons why (if you're a parent or a music teacher, read on!):

1. Cognitive Development: 
   - Enhances Memory and Recall: Learning music involves memorizing patterns, melodies, and lyrics, which helps improve memory skills.
   - Develops Problem-Solving Skills: Figuring out rhythms, notes, and melodies encourages analytical thinking and problem-solving.

2. Language Development:
   - Expands Vocabulary: Through song lyrics, toddlers are exposed to a wider range of words and phrases.
   - Improves Pronunciation: Singing helps with speech development, enunciation, and pronunciation.
   - There's research that shows that being able to keep a steady beat actually helps with language development and future reading skills!

3. Motor Skills:
   - Fine Motor Skills: Playing instruments like drums, xylophones, or even simple hand clapping exercises fine motor skills.
   - Gross Motor Skills: Dancing and moving to music helps with coordination and balance. Crossing midline is very important for future motor planning, which clapping and other movements that are musical can help with (like keeping the beat activities I use with my early childhood classes!).

4. Emotional Expression:
   - Encourages Emotional Expression: Music provides an outlet for children to express their feelings, which can be particularly helpful for those who may not have the verbal skills to do so.
   - Music can help calm a worried or sad child.

5. Social Skills:
   - Promotes Cooperation: Group activities like singing in a choir or playing in an ensemble teach children how to work together towards a common goal. It teaches them how to start together with a group and builds teamwork.
   - Encourages Communication: Sharing musical experiences encourages interaction and communication among peers.

6. Mathematical Understanding:
   - Introduces Basic Math Concepts: Rhythm and beat introduce foundational mathematical concepts like counting, patterns, and divisions of time.

7. Cultural Appreciation:
   - Introduces Diversity: Music exposes toddlers to different cultures, traditions, and musical styles from around the world, fostering cultural appreciation and understanding.

8. Creativity and Imagination:
   - Fosters Creativity: Music allows for self-expression and encourages creativity as toddlers experiment with sounds and melodies.
   - Stimulates Imagination: Singing and playing with instruments can stimulate imaginative play. Arioso (a type of solo singing I use in my classes) is a great place to show this!).

9. Boosts Confidence and Self-Esteem:
   - Positive Reinforcement: Learning and performing music in front of an audience can boost a child's confidence and self-esteem. I have seen SO many students grow in this area in my time with them.

10. Stress Reduction and Relaxation:
    - Emotional Regulation: Music can have a calming effect, helping toddlers manage stress and anxiety. They can process sadness or learn to wait through songs too.

11. Foundation for Future Learning:
    - Prepares for Formal Education: Early exposure to music can provide a strong foundation for future music education and learning other subjects.

12. Enjoyment and Fun:
    - Promotes Happiness: Music is inherently enjoyable and brings joy to children's lives.

It's important to note that the benefits of teaching music to toddlers are maximized when it's approached in a fun, age-appropriate, and engaging way. Activities should be adapted to suit their developmental stage and interests, and should never feel like a chore. Ultimately, music offers a holistic approach to early childhood development, nurturing cognitive, emotional, and social skills in an enjoyable and enriching way.

If you're a parent looking to find classes for your toddler or baby, check out my offerings on my website menu above!