Music for Young Children Method

Music for Young Children Method. System of teaching music to beginners between the ages of three and eight. It is a keyboard-based method that includes singing, solfège, rhythm, ear training, sight reading, theory, music history, and composition.

Music for Young Children Method

Music for Young Children Method. System of teaching music to beginners between the ages of three and eight. It is a keyboard-based method that includes singing, solfège, rhythm, ear training, sight reading, theory, music history, and composition. It was developed by Frances Balodis in Dartmouth, NS, in 1980. Weekly group lessons include both the parent and the child. Successful completion of the program requires the student to take Grade One piano and preliminary rudiments theory examinations with a recognized conservatory.

Background
Frances Balodis (b Frances Hindle, Alliston, Ont, 6 Feb 1949; BA (Queen's), M Ed (Acadia), ARCT (Royal Conservatory of Music), hon LCCM (Conservatory Canada), hon licentiate (Canadian National Conservatory of Music, 2005), taught music as an early childhood and remedial specialist. In 1980, realizing that there was a lack of significant Canadian beginner methods, Balodis created her own system, Music for Young Children (MYC), drawing from her own expertise and background. With her husband Gunars Balodis as business manager, MYC quickly became a nationally recognized method of music instruction.

Current Applications

The MYC program began in 1980 with 40 registered students in Dartmouth. By 1990, the method had worked with 40,000 students nationally with 300 MYC-trained teachers. The method is now used across Canada and in the US, New Zealand and South Korea, with a student enrolment of over 24,000.

MYC uses its own publications as teaching materials. These include Sunshines for ages 3-4; Sunbeams for ages 5-6; Moonbeams for ages 7-8; and Music Your Best Choice for teens and adults. Since composition is an important part of the program, there is an MYC composer package which includes the Young Composer's Notebook 1, 2, and 3 and MYC's Magnetic Music Board.

MYC insists on parent participation and promotes the philosophy that music education should be an enjoyable experience. The method accepts students at the young age of three, based on the Suzuki philosophy that young children are more adept and interested in learning.

MYC's popular keyboard method displays an unusual business-based acumen. For example, teachers are trained by MYC at the teacher's own cost, and they pay royalties to MYC on their MYC students; teachers must also use MYC publications as teaching materials.

MYC combines many popular methods of the 20th century, but its insistence on pushing too much theory on children too young may be its handicap. Critics note that while younger students are capable of learning basic music rudiments and composing techniques, their ability to understand and maintain that knowledge in the long term is questionable.

In 2001, Balodis was awarded the Avon Woman of Inspiration Award for Arts and Culture.


Further Reading

  • Russell, Paul. "New brand of piano lessons keeps kids at the keyboard," The Guardian (Brampton, Ont), 17 July 1985

    Welsh, Moira. "Music for Young Children: This music program is growing in popularity across the country," The Vanguard (Yarmouth, NS), 1 Nov 1985

    Kennedy, Janice. "Program is success story for teacher," Ottawa Citizen, 25 June 1990