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, members, 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
  • An inside look at Music for People's approach
  • Basic Concepts – Quality, not Quantity
  • What to Practice Most for soloing and accompaniment
  • A New Definition of Musicality - Be a Master of What You Can Control
  • Warming Up, Soloing, and Improvising with Others
  • Exploring Intervals
  • Exploring Rhythm
  • Exploring Scales and Patterns
  • Skills for Strings
  • Skills for Piano
  • Improvising in a variety of styles (Jazz, Blues, Gospel)
  • Learning via Recording
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

See Additional reviews of Return to Child.

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 to self-development, and an interview with Music for People's Artistic Director, David Darling, 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
  • Each One, Teach One
  • Hosting a Musical Gathering
  • Developing as a Leader of Improvisation Groups
  • Developing Session Skills, Organization Skills, and Communication Skills
  • Developing Personal Qualities – Full Spectrum Living
  • The Master Teacher Examples – Shadowing David and the Return of the Shadow
  • Are You Ready for Anything? MfP leaders share their experiences
  • The Finite and the Infinite – a four-part interview with David Darling
  • A Glossary of Group Facilitation Concepts
  • In-depth analysis of the basic MfP techniques
  • The Music for People Teaching Studio
  • Embedded Metaphors – Life Lessons from MfP classes
Part Three — Appendices
  • Watching Teachers “Return to Child" - behind the scenes at an MfP workshop
  • Developing School Residency Programs
  • A symbol system for notating workshop events, developed in cooperation with Village Music Circles
  • A comprehensive new index
  • Bibliography
  • About Music for People
  • About Music for People Co-Founders
  • History of Return to Child
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

New Tenth Anniversary Edition: 209 pages
$30 ($25 book, plus $5.00 S/H)

You can order Return to Child on the Music for People web site or complete the form below:

Return to Child Order Form
print and send to: Music for People, P.O. Box 397, Goshen, CT 06756
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Web: www.MusicForPeople.org
Email: mfp@MusicForPeople.org
P.O. Box 397, Goshen, CT 06756 USA
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Last Updated April 25, 2022.
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