For one week I'm going to be teaching music at a vacation course for kids. How can I effectively teach the basics of music to kids aged 5-12? I know it's very little time. The coordinator wants them to be able to play 1 or 2 songs at the end of the week. I don't know how many kids there will be, but I'm estimating about 10. Is there any method out there that I could possibly use? I really don't have any experience teaching. I'll be mainly teaching piano, but I could also be teaching guitar, bass, or drums.

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    All 10 kids at once, or one at a time? How many hours a day will you have with them? What previous musical experience do they have? What style of music do you have in mind? What previous musical experience do you have? Are you talking about solo performances or group performances? Will there be a concert at the end? – slim Jul 4 '13 at 14:56
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    @slim They will be taught all at once. I will have half an hour for five days. They have most likely no musical background. The organizer is a Chistian so he wants the kids to play some praise/worship for kids. I started with the drums when I was 6. I then moved on the the piano when I was 8. The piano is my main instrument. I also started playing the guitar when I was 12. There will be a group performance at the end of the week. – Caleb Jul 4 '13 at 15:23
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    Knowing what instrumentation is available may help with answers to this,i.e. will each one have his own, could they share? – Tim Jul 4 '13 at 15:45
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    @Tim there is a drumset, a bass, 2 keyboards, and 3 guitars. – Caleb Jul 4 '13 at 16:10

I'm ignoring the organizer's desire, because nobody can learn to play an instrument in a week. The best you could do is give them all percussion instruments and have them bang along. Instead, try letting them organize it. See if they'd rather sing or make music. Then if you can get the raw materials, let them design their own instruments. Just coach them on rhythm and ensemble playing and see what comes out. I know a teacher who did something along those lines, and several kids invented and wrote out their own musical notation for "songs" they created.

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You have a total of 2.5 hours of contact time. Split into 5 sessions, so you'll lose some of that time just settling them down.

You have time to teach them to sing a song as a choir -- and barely time for that.

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  • @Caleb - agreed with slim here - you have so little time that your best bet would be to teach them to sing and maybe add some gestures as well. I would also add that if any of them already play instruments at least partly proficiently you can have them play simple accompaniment parts or rhythms instead. – jjmusicnotes Jul 4 '13 at 17:36
  • @jjmusicnotes Yeah I was thinking the same thing. I hope that there are some kids that play at least a little. – Caleb Jul 5 '13 at 12:29

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