Playing RAV with your child

Did you know the RAV is a fantastic way to bond with children and teach them music? Today we'll learn how.
Whether you're a parent, older sibling, relative, teacher, babysitter, counselor, or interact with children in another capacity, music is a universal language that has the power to reach where words and traditional teaching methods cannot.
Research has proven music to be effective in promoting a child's intellectual, emotional, and social development - and there are few instruments easier or more rewarding to play for the young and musically untrained than the RAV Vast. Any scale can be used, and kids will find hours of enjoyment in figuring out new scales go together.

Let's look at some ways you can use your RAV in your home or classroom!
RAV's unique and room-filling qualities are an ideal way to command attention. Whether it's calling the rugrats for dinner, or getting them to pipe down for an announcement, think of the RAV as a bell. You could even teach them to associate different notes with different activities - for example, a high note could signal it's time to get up for school, and a low note to start getting ready for bed. Use your creativity!

The RAV's soothing tones can also be a great way to calm and quiet excited or anxious kids. Chances are, little Bob isn't going to start meditating, but he will feel calmer and more relaxed. Very helpful when you're trying to get the kids to stop chatting and finish breakfast or mediating an argument between two angry children.

The Vast, of course, excels as a musical tool. Safe, easy to play, and hard to damage, a RAV is every music teacher's dream. The drum's simplicity - just 8 to 10 notes, all in the same scale and sounding harmoniously with each other - makes it extremely accessible and will keep kids coming back again and again. Paste a sticker above each tongue to help them learn the notes and let them start improvising their own little pieces! The RAV has a warm, big sound, but it's not overly loud, so even a raucous group of youngsters should be quieter than on, let's say, bongos.
We recommend having a soft, light mallet (our mallets would do perfectly), as it's easier to get clear tones out for beginners and avoids sticky or dirty hands from any protective lubricant on the surface. But that can be part of the fun too! Just make sure it's securely situated to avoid rolling or tipping, and make sure you keep an eye out while they're playing.

Also, for those interested in multiple RAVs, we recommend buying scales that sound well together. Please see other articles on this blog explaining how to choose such scales.
But the RAV can help teach more than music. The possibilities are endless. Teach geography by using different world scales: Asian pentatonic, African pygmy, Celtic minor, Western major, Native American integral, Arabian Kurd. Teach the alphabet with different note names. Teach them vocabulary and spelling with the scale names! Use the RAV in fun math word problems.

The RAV is a great reward, too, after a busy day of learning or a particular achievement. Did your daughter finish her English assignment ahead of time? Time to play! Little Johnny got straight A's? His birthday gift: his first RAV! Too often, educators and parents focus on punishment or correction but positive reinforcement of good behavior tends to be a much more effective method over the long term.

Beyond specific applications, the RAV can be a great way to just relax with your child and build a strong and satisfying relationship. With a RAV, there's no music to read or advanced technique to learn, if you don't want to. Improvising with a child and creating a musical world just for the two of you - and maybe with a pet and stuffed animals as an audience - can be hours of fun. Or you can quietly read the newspaper while a more introspective child explores on their own. Rather than leave the child you're babysitting in the hands of a videogame or movie, why not give them something they can actively participate in? In an age of information and technology overload, the RAV stands out as a means of simple, soothing, and healthy recreation.
RAV Vast E Low Pygmy played by Pavel Sedlacek
These are just a few ideas for how the RAV could be an effective and enjoyable way to teach, bond with, and help children, whatever your role or vocation. Learning the RAV could inspire a gifted young musician for a lifetime, help a "problem" child find an outlet for difficult feelings, or be a shy kid's voice and way to communicate their ideas and be present in a gathering without having to speak.

So give them the gift of music. Let them march to the beat of their own drum...and RAV on.

The article is written by David Duan, all rights reserved, copyright 2018.
David Duan
Composer, cellist, and sound healer
A Dean's Recognition Award recipient and multiple concerto competition winner, he has performed around the world with a variety of ensembles and orchestras. A graduate of New York University and the Peabody Preparatory of the Johns Hopkins University, he lives in Maryland.

Please contact david.duan@nyu.edu for information, gigs, commissions, collaboration, and more.

Instagram: davidduan
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