The Childbloom Curriculum
aThe Childbloom Guitar Program uses a tested curriculum and structure that makes it easy and fun to teach a high-skill, classical guitar technique, music literacy and musicality to kids as young as 5.
The uniqueness of the materials allows a teacher to instruct children in groups. The Childbloom curriculum is notably successful with children five and up. There is an ensemble component that runs through the material from the very beginning. This allows the context for total musical development – from building the cognitive musical skills needed for artistry to integrating the adolescent’s social needs. Here is what one, non-affiliated, University teacher says about what he has seen:
“The Childbloom program is the most effective pedagogical curriculum I know. I have consistently witnessed outstanding young Childbloom guitarists who were not only musically superior in their ensemble/chamber music skills, but also fabulous soloists! Several have in fact, have been awarded generous scholarships to study at prestigious courses abroad. They are regularly featured on the NPR syndicated radio show, “From the Top,” and receive scholarships to prestigious music schools throughout the USA! The young artists trained in the Childbloom program are a step ahead of their peers in my opinion.” John McClellan Author, Producer, International Guitarist and Professor of Music, Webster University, St. Louis, Missouri
“Fun”damental Technique and Musicality
The first level of curriculum is a pre-literate program. The parts introduce a hierarchy of technical skill, so as the child learns the material, he or she is also developing left and right hand guitar skills. The music is arranged in parts so that the ensemble component is introduced to the student right from the start. We provide each student with audio materials and easy-to-read transcription of the music so parents can help at home. This is the level at which the student is introduced to the proper playing posture, positions of the left and right hand, rest stroke, free stroke motion with dyads and chords, arpeggio motion, thumb use, use of all left hand fingers in a static and moving posture and musical ideas.
All reading-ready Childbloom students undergo a step-by-step literacy program. First-position notes and fundamental rhythm combinations are performed with short solo and ensemble tunes. Ensemble play is continued with rounds and part music. Included are tunes common to the cultural literacy of the Americas. Fingering notation and rhythmic notation down to sixteenth notes and dotted rhythms are presented in this literacy step. In this program, more technical issues are introduced once the student is reading on multiple strings in a confident manner. The book culminates with learning music with multi-voice textures. A beautiful, “play-along” recording of the lessons are available to the parent through a download system.
We also provide a popular online flash-card application that engages the student to learn the notes quickly. This has been a great new development in 2019.
Once a student has learned basic literacy skills, the challenge is to develop more technical and advanced literacy knowledge. This part of the curriculum builds the student’s solo repertoire with carefully selected and beautiful music from the 16th century to the present. Unfortunately young students have nowhere to go to listen to the music that they can actually play, since concert music is beyond reach. Thus we provide audio files of the music they can play, perfectly performed, to accompany this series of tunes. No wonder its called “Tunes You Can Play.”
EXPANDED LITERACY THROUGH ENSEMBLE
In order to reinforce the students’ literacy skills and to provide ensemble experience, expansion ensemble music is presented. This work has music in 2, 3 and 4 parts. All the music is constructed to reinforce literacy and technical skill. This collection contains some of the most beautiful folk songs of the world and is perfect for recitals and public performances.
Playing duets are important for the advancing musician. We have a unique collection of original duets for the advanced Childbloom student.
This is an advanced collection of tunes for the student. Works from the Medieval to contemporary composers such as Dusan Bogdonavic, Frank Wallace and others are included. The Tunes You Can Play 2 audio files is another beautiful production. Students encounter more advanced techniques, literacy and higher-position reading.
This is an advanced collection of ensemble pieces for Childbloom students who have played for several years and contains arrangements of music from both folk and Art music traditions.
Besides the music from the Ensemble books, there is also a collection of music specially composed and arranged for 3, 4 and 5 guitars. Much of this music can be heard on www.youtube.com/childbloom. Many Childbloom Instructors form their own performing ensembles (often called “Bella Corda” groups). These ensembles are powerful tools to reinforce the skills of the advancing players and create an iconic culture of excellence in the Director’s Childbloom program. They also serve as a marketing vehicle to communicate the Program’s quality to the community.
The Austin Bella Corda Guitar Ensemble won the Guitar Foundation of America’s Youth International Ensemble competition in 2016 and the Hill Country Guitar Ensemble Festival Competition in 2019. Another Childbloom Group, the Chiara Stella Guitar Ensemble took 1st place in 2020.
Here are 6 dances (full score and parts) composed for advanced youth guitar ensemble. These were commissioned by a crowd funding campaign and are available for free download.
This is a system of reading rhythm. It presents a developmental process for playing and understanding rhythmic notation for the student in one AND two parts. From the simplest whole/half/quarter notation to mixed meter in two parts and syncopation, this book is the best work of its kind ever produced for developing guitarists!
THE ONLINE CHILDBLOOM LEARNING CLUB
In 2019 The Childbloom Curriculum was enhanced by the addition of a safe, deep-web online audio/video learning system . This system contains a course for preliterate students to hear the music they are learning. It also contains a course with over 200 practice videos based upon recent research in bio-mechanical learning. This allows students to learn with maximum efficiently. It also contains two amazing literacy apps: one to help beginner readers learn the notes in the 1st position and another to challenge the student to read in the upper positions. Included are lessons on theory, blues improvisation, duets and advanced solo material.