Re: Japanese Bands
Posted by Brandon@TxB on 2/9/2018, 11:28 pm, in reply to "Japanese Bands"
All Japanese public elementary schools are 1st thru 6th grade. Meaning if you join band in 1st grade (age 6) you've already been playing for 5 years by the time you're in 6th grade (age 11). Obviously that's not the same 5-year experience as a Texan 11th grader who started in 6th grade, but you can expect their ability level to not be too different. It's not uncommon to hear a 10 year old who's in their 5th year of instruction on piano to already be starting to tackle Debussy, Rachmaninoff or Chopin for example if they've been practicing consistently and diligently. |
Most kids in your typical Japanese 小学校 (elementary school) band *don't* start in 1st grade, but you can rest assured they have a cadre of kids in those groups that did, and those senpai are the leaders. It's also not uncommon for Japanese students to switch instruments or for kids to quit band for a year and come back the next. They also can join at whatever grade they wish, though for larger instruments like Tuba, Euphonium, and Bari Sax, they switch kids from other instruments once they're big enough or start putting kids on them starting around 4th grade depending on the kid.
How do they memorize? For starters, even though band class is after school only, Japanese elementary schools are required to give 30 minutes of DAILY general music instruction (middle and high schools don't have this requirement). We only have once per week here in Texas, so their elementary kids are getting FIVE TIMES as much music instruction as ours are in grades 1-6. This means they're able to tackle recorders, melodica, orff, staff reading, music history, both European and their own traditions, and most importantly music theory and solfege, all before middle school. Plus little kids are super good at memorizing stuff...even better than many adults. With how little kids' brains work, I'd imagine the sheet music would only slow them down. They probably play it *better* memorized.
They also sing a lot in these music classes, and that's probably the most important factor. These kids have a very strong music foundation from their daily instruction and thus are able to learn more quickly in their after school band club.
: I've been watching Japanese elementary school
: kids play grade 6 literature on YouTube...
: memorized. How the hell do they do that?