Local composer Jerald Simon has recently released the second songbook in his “Cool Songs for Cool Kids” series, which he wrote as a way to teach kids music theory by couching it in songs that are fun to play.
“It’s almost as if I’m tricking students into learning music theory,” said Simon with a laugh. “They just think they’re playing a cool song.”
Simon, who teaches more than 70 students, came up with the pieces by asking his students the kind of things they most enjoyed playing. He used those ideas to create music that each incorporated different elements of musical theory he wanted kids to learn, then had the students test them out.
“The first response out of all of them was always something along the lines of ‘This sounds cool,’” he said. “That’s where I got the name of the series from.”
Though his female students enjoy the pieces, they were specifically written to keep boys interested in sticking with piano lessons.
“Girls tend to be more motivated,” he said. “Especially through junior high, it’s just harder to get boys excited about the piano.”
For more information, please visit musicmotivation.com.