Tenth Anniversary Edition!
Thousands of copies of Return to Child have circulated world-wide. Music for People's visionary work is preserved in its pages, along with the spirit of the founders, membrer, and participants. The mission and legacy: to promote a positive, encouraging approach to improvising and serve as a vital model of experiential education.
“Return to Child gently opened my eyes to Music for People's hugely positive, creative and humanistic attitude toward making music. Its inspirational structures teach how to access one's true self to create emotionally authentic performances.” — Eli Epstein, Horn Professor, New England Conservatory & Boston Conservatory
“David Darling believes that the most important music is your music. He has become the master of this path, enticing people into discovering the joys and rewards of making music together.” — Paul Winter, saxophonist, composer, Grammy® award winner
“Return to Child is one of the most important books on music anyone can own.” — Dr. Eric Edberg, DePauw University
“Every musician and teacher will savor the power and ease of music making with Return to Child.” — Don Campbell, author of The Mozart Effect
“The techniques in Return to Child go right to the source of improvisation. The book captures the simplicity and grace of David Darling's pathways to great music making.” — Barry Green, author of The Inner Game of Music and The Master of Music
Part One — Musicianship Skills
The first section of Return to Child brings the reader into the world of
Music for People improvisation workshops,
illustrating the techniques and games that have proven
effective for making free and powerful solos,
and for being a sensitive and supportive partner in ensembles.
“Return to Child is full of activities that are clear, concise, and easy to conceptualize.” — Julie Lyonn Lieberman, author of Planet Musician
For more information about Music for People, visit the Music for People Web Site.
The second section of the book is about leading
groups from a humanistic, inclusive point of view.
Music is the birthright of everyone,
and all combinations of experienced and inexperienced players can
make music together.
Return to Child tells how.
It provides a glossary of group leading terms,
with illustrations from common experiences that leaders encounter.
It includes suggestions for leaders to follow on their paths
and an interview with Music for People's Artistic Director,
that presents his philosophy of teaching.
“Return To Child is packed with a lifetime of personal learning, personal growth and personal leadership skills. It puts the reader into the heart and feeling of a Music for People workshop. For me personally, it is a great eye opener into the inner workings of the Music for People teaching process. Return to Child is both accessible to beginning beginner trainers and challenging to the advanced facilitator at the same time. The “Leaders Speak Out” section gives some of the most basic scenarios that challenge facilitators in any training, and the book offers multiple solutions and points of view to consider from a variety of senior trainers. It is the basic operating manual for anyone who is on the musical empowerment mission, and a powerful gift to your community.” — Arthur Hull, author of Drum Circle Spirit
“Return to Child contains a wonderful set of recipes for musical teamwork, and for finding the right balance between structure and spontaneity in free improvisation. Bravo!” — Stephen Nachmanovitch, author of Free Play: Improvisation in Life and Art
Part Two — Leadership Skills
Part Three — Appendices
The final section of the book gives examples of how people
are using Music for People techniques to transform how music
is taught in our schools and presented in our communities.
“Return to Child shows how to practice improvisation individually and collectively, how to teach such practice, and how to encourage it to flourish in the world.” — W.A. Mathieu, author of The Listening Book and Harmonic Experience
“Music for People is a community of players with a vision of holistic music education. Return to Child takes this vision of Music for Everyone into the world.” — Dr. David Rudge, SUNY Fredonia
Return to Child Order Form|
print and send to: Music for People, P.O. Box 397, Goshen, CT 06756
Please enclose check for $30 payable to
Music for People or
provide credit card information:
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