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Your Musical Child: Inspiring Kids to Play and Sing for Keeps.

Your Musical Child: Inspiring Kids to Play and Sing for Keeps, by Jessica Baron Turner. Hal Leonard Corporation (7777 W. Bluemound Rd., P.O. Box 13819 Milwaukee, WI 53213), 2004. 239 pp. $14.95.

This book is dynamite, it blasted away the stock answers I had developed over thirty years of piano teaching and gave me a new book to recommend to all who ask such questions as when a child should begin lessons, what instrument to choose, how to encourage regular practice and how to instill an enjoyment of music that will last a lifetime. Answers to these and many more difficult questions are contained in this 239-page book that deserves being read and reread by every music teacher and parent.

Besides being an excellent musician and experienced teacher, Jessica Baron Turner is, most helpfully, a remarkably creative parent who has developed practical strategies for bolstering confidence, inspiring good work habits, finding ideal teachers and easing anxiety. She provides comprehensive descriptions of the stages of musical development from birth to age 8, clear information about differing learning styles and ways to distinguish learning disabilities from sensory integration disorders. Much of her advice takes the form of questions and answers. To a father wanting to know how to deal with an emerging adolescent's terrible taste in music, she says, "It's not about the music, Dad. It's about her identity and her generation." Precisely.

Particularly impressive is the "Braid Model" of musical development that Turner originated. It explains why we can expect students at various points to let the instruction strand drop while concentrating on listening or self-discovery, realizing that instruction, though inactive, can be held in place by the other two. Nowhere have I seen a better rationale for students to take summer breaks or occasional sabbaticals. While it may sound risky to teachers, such an approach, implemented with the guidelines she suggests, broadens the concept of musical development and transforms seeming discontinuities into opportunities.

After providing succinct, sensible answers to virtually all the questions I've ever been asked about music stud> Turner appends a helpful resource section listing recordings, books, musical instruction programs, summer camps and organizations. I am recommending this book to all who want the best for their children.

Martha K. Smith, NCTM, Arlington, Virginia.
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Author:Smith, Martha K.
Publication:American Music Teacher
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Feb 1, 2005
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