The Playground

The Simply Music blog

From Neil Moore

Found in: Neil Moore

In the last edition of The Playground I wrote about the impact and possibility of creating a “whole-of-life” program – whereby students of any age, prenatal through to elders, could have access to a developmentally appropriate music education program. The completeness of providing something such as this is integral to creating a world where everyone plays.

In the last couple of weeks I received two separate emails. One was from the mother of a child who, at age 7, began using the Simply Music Online program.

Here’s an edited excerpt of that email:

“My daughter (Mandi) started your Learn-at-Home Program when she was 7. We took our time and she finished at 9. At 8, she came in second at the county fair talent show, singing and playing the keyboard. At 9, she came in first at the county fair singing and playing the keyboard. Then she bought a ukulele. She was able to start playing immediately because of her knowledge of chords.

Now, at 10 years old, her YouTube videos are popular. She plays the ukulele the most, but some are piano or drums. Considering the feedback she has received, it is possible that she may have a career in the music industry. Thanks for the great foundation that Simply Music laid.” Randi Hutchingson (mother of Mandi)

When I watched Mandi’s video on her YouTube channel, I was struck by the freedom and ease with which she played. When watching her play, it is clear that she has so much fun. It’s also clear to me that this is a child who will easily create an environment where her own children will be immersed in the love, and joy and fun of making music.

Here are two links to songs that Mandi is playing.

The day after Randi wrote to me, I received another email.  This one was from the mother of a young girl, Claire, who began music as an infant in the wonderful, Kindermusik program. My wife, Cathy, was her first music teacher. Claire started with Cathy when she was six months old and continued her music classes until she was almost six. Claire’s mother, Kate, wanted Cathy to see how powerful a role music continues to play in Claire’s life. Claire, with her family, have now moved to New York, and Claire participates in music making with a remarkable musician, Jon Samson. Jon’s view is that although many people are looking for “lessons” in a particular instrument, co-creative music hinges on music being a universal language. He encourages the exploration of multiple instruments. Through improvisation, students begin to understand dynamics, and the connection between music and emotion. This encompasses creativity, self-esteem, expression, body awareness and social interaction.

The song you are about to see is Claire’s first “composition”. More accurately, it is an improvisation, because of the fact that there was no preparation prior to it being recorded. The music, the melody, the phrasing, the lyrics – yes, everything!! – was completely improvised at the exact moment of recording.

As was the case with Mandi’s playing, once again with Claire, I hear how heartfelt her music is. It’s such a powerful and natural self-expression of who she is.

Here are links to two of her pieces:

I’m excited about contributing to a world where everyone plays – where everyone experiences music as a natural self-expression.  I predict that in the immediate years to come, we will establish an entirely new relationship with recreational music making. Actually, I prefer to call it creational music making because it more accurately declares that which we all have within – an infinite ability to create.

Here’s to a future filled with music, self-expression and creativity.

Neil Moore
Founder and Executive Director
Simply Music International