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The influence of music on young children

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Walter Carroll Walter Carroll

Walter Carroll lived from 1869 till 1955 in Manchester, England. He was a composer and a music teacher. He is especially known for his music for children, which he wrote for his two daughters Ida and Elsa.

He combined his music with poems. The poem and the music had the same rhythm. The children sang or recited the poem. In that way the right rhythm came naturally when they started to play the song even before they could read notes.

Walter Carroll was a progressive educationalist, whose starting point was that children learn easier if you stimulate different learning areas at the same time: musical, poetical and visual areas in this case.

He combined his music with poetry, for instance of Felicia Hemans and Walter Scott. And with beautiful drawings of artists like W. Heath Robinson and Arthur Rackham. Everything had to be of high quality.

About his music he said:

A piece of music should always mean something for the one who plays it and for the one who listens. But what is means exactly is never the same for different people. On that point music differs from painting.

When we see objects on a painting, we most often agree on what they are. Music leaves our thoughts more free. It can make us feel sad or happy, lonely, consoled. We say then that music influences our feelings. Some musical pieces do even more than that. They let us see pictures in our minds. And two different persons have two different pictures in mind, even if the music is the same.

When we play the piece The Coral Tree (from the book Water Sprites), or when we listen to a friend playing it, let us ask ourselves: What feeling does it evoke? Merriness or playfulness, or do you want to dance? And then let us continue and say: Which picture do we see in our minds when the piece is played? The rhythm, ta-téfé ta-té ta, will help us see it.

If you want to try which picture you see in your mind or what you feel
when you hear The Coral Tree, then click on my piano.

mitt piano

Sources:
Walter Carroll: Water Sprites – notes and suggestions for performance
Walter Carroll (wiki)

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