The DaCapo Music Foundation

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The DaCapo Approach

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Background

DaCapo's dynamic music education programme draws on the methods of Kodaly and Dalcroze Eurhythmics. See here for more information.

Starting Young

Children benefit from starting music-making when they are very young with activities that are suitable for the age group. Research shows that musical activities contribute to a vast array of developments, emotional, cognitive and social. The activities we use allow pupils to develop their musicianship skills without the added difficulty of the technical demands of the instrument.

Maintaining Musicianship

Once children have started learning an instrument we maintain a high level of musicianship. All of the children who learn with us play in ensembles. Our Integrated Music Programme ensures that children gain a sophisticated level of musical understanding.

Singing whilst accompanying oneself by using movement or percussion stretches pupils beyond what they will be achieving on their instrument in terms of musical content, ability to listen and tune to one another and multi-tasking as they are required to demonstrate (play and sing) two or more parts at once.

Our Philosophy

We do not single out musically talented individuals but use our expertise to equip everyone with the tools to enjoy and explore music to the depth they would like, and to stretch them to the extent of their individual ability. We have a philosophy of being open, accessible, flexible and creative, which goes for our administration and general outlook as well as our approach to music – so please get in touch if you have any questions or to let us know what you think!

Exams & Performance

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Exams

This section is with reference to individual lessons because exams do not usually apply to group or school classroom teaching.

Exams are not a necessary part of learning an instrument but can serve a useful purpose, particularly as schools or universities sometimes request proof of ability as part of their entrance requirements. Therefore, it is left to pupils, parents and teacher to decide whether an exam is appropriate. As an organisation DaCapo takes a neutral stance, aware of the potential advantages and disadvantages to the individual pupil. Going through an exam can be a worthwhile process, but it is rarely a focus at DaCapo.

Performance

Regular performances, either at a Family Music Centre or at school in assemblies or concerts give incentives for preparing pieces without the pain of being judged for what is performed, and hopefully without inviting too much nervousness. We aim to build confident and relaxed performers who focus on their current and future achievements, not on one single event as being indicative of their musical ability or inner musical life.

Practice and Progress

We try to think what is realistic for a child to be doing with their music-making at home. We think about the family’s daily routine and working parents, siblings and other after-school activities. We also consider how much a parent can realistically help their child. Some will have musical expertise, some won’t and it is important to recognise this.

It also different for each age group; the youngest children cannot realistically ‘practice’ but they can try to show you what they have been doing in the lesson. Older children can be left to work on things and then perhaps perform for you when they are ready.

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Children can make lots of progress with their music-making without endless practice. These are suggestions to help you make the most of music learning at home: 

* get the instrument out and make it available 

* make a space in the house for it to happen 

* ask your children to show you what they did in their lesson 

* ask the teacher for advice on tuning the instrument 

* help when your child can’t remember what to do (use a notebook) 

* accompany them if you can – maybe sing along. 

We are aiming for happy children and non-stressed parents. A guilt free zone! Our philosophy is that the more children enjoy their lesson at DaCapo, the more likely they are to play at home. 

Further Reading

Visit out Wordpress Blog to read articles published by DaCapo and articles which we feel are relevant to our ethos and approach.

DaCapo publications:

Explaining the DaCapo Approach

Practice. Music's bug bear.

Exams. How do we measure musical ability?

Ensuring Musical Progress

Communication and Language

Non DaCapo publications:

Sense of rhythm could hold key to overcoming dyslexia-News -TES connect

Is pianistic perfection all it's cracked up to be? - The Guardian.

Little influence on tooth position from playing a wind instrument

The power of music - Susan Hallam

Music has the power to shape a child's mind - The Independent


The DaCapo Music Foundation

Head Office c/o Wren Academy

Hilton Avenue, North Finchley

London, N12 9HB. 

Tel: 07342 134924

Saturday Music Centre based at Wren Academy, N12

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