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What can we do to create more interest in the fine arts in children under the age of 13 years old?

Mark V. Williams

As a professional musician who started his musical training at the age of 7, I am disturbed by the lack of interest in music and the arts of our younger generation today. When I began studying music, all of my friends were studying, too. It seemed to be the "thing to do"! However, that is not the case today.

Being one of several young musicians in my elementary and high schools, I had to COMPETE for the job of playing for the school shows, concerts, and providing accompaniment for competitions. However, there seems to be no students within the schools today, who are capable of providing these services. (My assumption is based on the number of schools that call on ME to provide accompaniment for their school shows, concerts, and competitions.)

What can we do to encourage our young children to explore the arts?

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curriculum and projects learning centers

Free online coloring and drawing tools website...

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Dear Artists,

This is focused on computer drawing and coloring tools that are free online at a website highly recommended by the American Federation of Teachers and Teachers.net Gazette:


It is very suitable for elementary school age children and upper levels as well...

I just used the "Color Donald Duck" example coloring tools and it was very easy to use and fun to do... (This one is pretty basic and certainly "proudly accomplishable" by most any youngster...

Of course I am 'old-fashioned enough' to suggest that these computer coloring and drawing tools can carry-over to hand-drawing and coloring skills and art projects as well...

Cartoons are virtually universal and highly popular with kids; that is how I began drawing 55 years ago...and still draw most everyday, today...


Private music teacher and parent of three students

I am involved in a

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I am involved in a newly-formed strategic planning group for our public school system. A question arose by some members who want to mandate fine arts and music instruction from K to 12. Is anyone aware of any school districts that do this, and what are the results?

Student, actor, writer

Trying to encourage younger

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Trying to encourage younger children to engage in activities that involve the fine arts can be a daunting task as you have noted. As a student I would suggest a very abstract style. Using games, extra-activities, and interpersonal interaction are the three best ways to reach them. One thing to be mindful of is the varying sensitivity levels that children may have. Hypothetically, Tommy may not mind getting it right off the bat, however Johnny may get frusterated with not having an adequete amount of personal attention that he may want to satisfy his need to know that he is doing it right. A good way to avoid that is to have maybe an older student or another staff member help with overseeing things like this (plus its a little stress of you too :]) Finally, make sure there is just the right amount of challenge to it. Don't make it so hard that too much thinking is involved. Alternitivly don't make it so easy that they lose interest. I hope I help in some way and or didn't repeat someone ^^; All the same, good luck in your endeavor and don't lose faith!

Canadian, parent, homeschooling, raised in public education

arts mentoring programs/other

social media and marketing manager of startup

Quote: www.elsistemausa.orgww

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Great leads Susan! Thank you!

Education and Outreach - Arts for Social Change Director

What you can do

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I'm choosing to respond to the core of your question as I interpret it, "What can I do to increase interest in music with younger students" If I've misinterpreted I apologize.

There are a few instruments that allow you to begin to teach the basics of reading and making music at a reasonable price point. The recorder is a melody instrument that is relatively inexpensive and requires the skill set necessary to read and create music. Drums are a rhythm instrument that is relatively inexpensive because most kids start with a practice pad and drum sticks. These simple experiences will find those students who are called to explore learning an instrument and hopefully increase the number of students in your band and orchestra classes. Teaching music theory in a way that allows children to compose engages them quickly and in a very real manner. I did a blog post on an online service that allowed users to make their own compositions.

In today's environment the challenge becomes how to integrate the experience so that children receive regular instruction. By working with classroom teachers and those responsible for specials there is a way to build comprehensive support for instrumental learning but it takes some work. Perhaps the children learn a recorder song associated with a history lesson and then use drum rhythms to support a PE lesson. The music teacher on staff will have to build the capacity of classroom teachers to support such an endeavor but its doable.

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