Unit 4 Putting it Together
Student are now learning new skills/tunes, earn their merit badges, and practice rhythms. The final step is to put all of these together. As students earn three of four belts they will have shown that they have a handle on their instrument and a sense of tonality, and rhythm. It is at this point where you can start introducing notation. You can start by presenting the songs they already know using solfege. An example is listed below.
As play Hot Cross Buns they will be able to make the connection to the sounds they know to the symbols they see on the page. The will have an easier time reading notes because they will have more of an understanding of what each pitch means making music reading much less arbitrary from a beginners eyes and ears.
When introducing this concept to students it's all about doing and less about explaining. For instance lesson 1 would play out as follows:
- Teacher: "Hello students everyone echo me with your voice, *teacher sings* "Mi, Re, Do"
- Students: "Mi Re Do"
- Teacher: "Now let me show you the fingerings for each one of those pitches on your instrument." *Teacher goes to each student and demonstrates the fingerings*
- Teacher: "Let's sing the pitches while moving our fingers"
- Student: *Moves fingers with sung pitches"
- Teacher: *Teacher shows students embouchure (The face position on each instrument to produce a tone with breath) "Now take a breath and put air through your instrument as you think the pitches "Mi Re Do" In your head"
- Student: *Plays pitches
From here the teacher can troubleshoot common issues.
- Student instrument isn't making sound - Check embouchure and quality of breath
- Correct pitch is not sounding at the correct time - Check fingerings and review solfege pitches
This completes the mini-course on "Closing the Gap Between Sound and Sight". After completing this course you now have the tools to create your own custom curriculum using the principles discussed in this course. I have found these methods to be very effective in my classroom. Not only did I find it increased music reading as the student progressed, but their enjoyment of year one on their instruments was shown to be much more enjoyable. It helps with retention and creates less of a gap in musical skill. Most importantly with this method students are able to better understand the language of music making their music education much more meaningful and impact.