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Little Kids Rock (but not just rock)

little kids rock - teacher and musician

In recent weeks, I’ve been looking at the Little Kids Rock method.  When Monday’s Radio 5 Live response to Nicola Benedetti’s comments featured Bryan Powell of LKR, my thoughts returned to this method.  As a quick summary, Little Kids Rock teaches pupils to play guitar, bass, keyboards and drums using an approach called ‘Music as a Second Language’; a hard-to-argue-with assumption that the process of learning music is closely related to that of language learning.  Linking to the Benedetti discussion, it does so exclusively through popular music.

On the Little Kids Rock FAQ page, the organisation addresses this mono-stylistic approach with the following:

“The music of Beethoven, the Beatles and Beyoncé all use the same basic notes and chords. Viewed through this lens, musical genre becomes a secondary consideration in education. A student who feels comfortable playing rock, funk or blues music will be well-equipped to begin studying other musical forms as their musicianship develops.”
This is a rather simple explanation but it’s essentially true – learning to make music will give you the ‘vocabulary’ needed to make music in other styles.  As Abigail D’Amore pointed out in her post on the topic, an approach-first, content-second attitude to music education can work wonders.  
I’m just wondering how other music teachers feel about this.  Do you find that pupils naturally start to explore different styles of music as they become more proficient musicians?  I’d love to hear your thoughts on Twitter or on the Facebook page.