Chances are, if you are a musician, you were taught somewhere along the way, the names of the lines and spaces on the musical staff. Chances are also good that the teacher used some kind of mnemonic device, like "every good bird does fly" for the lines of the treble staff, and "face" for the … Continue reading Should We Be Teaching The Names of Lines and Spaces on the Musical Staff?
As originally conceived, solfege was a movable do system. Whatever pitch was the tonic would be assigned the syllable "do" and the other syllables, re, mi, fa, so, la, and ti followed upward by step. In today's usage, these movable do syllables are referred to as tonal syllables. They are called tonal syllables because they … Continue reading Fixed and Movable Do
In my post, Do You Really Know What A Key Signature Is? I made the point that we must not overlook the importance of audiation and teaching keyalities and tonalities aurally before teaching written key signatures. I mentioned singing and playing scales and arpeggios by ear in different keyalities and tonalities. Today, I would like to hone … Continue reading Working Aurally With Key Signatures
Today, I have two things on my mind. One is that while every child is entitled to a music education, no one is entitled to success; that has to be earned. I am a strong believer in the principle that the less one has to work for something, the less it will be valued. The … Continue reading Teaching Music Reading to Very Young Children
For the most part, my students love to sing. This almost always is a good thing, but it is not always so. If I don’t make sure I start them off singing in their head voices, many will practice singing incorrectly, getting better at poor singing and no better at good singing. I like to … Continue reading What’s an Effective Way to Teach A New Song?
When it comes to choosing a system of syllables to sing for teaching ear training and sight singing, there seems to be a consensus that moveable do, sometimes called functional solfege, is needed for teaching chord and tone functions. To be sure, moving do to wherever the tonic is does help a singer remember where … Continue reading Can Tone and Chord Functions Be Taught With Fixed Do?
Music teachers are often concerned with method. If you go to most music education conferences, you’ll find sessions on the Kodaly Method, the Dalcroze Method, Gordon Music Learning Theory, the Orff Method, Feierabend’s Conversational Solfege, the Suzuki Method, to name a few. Music teaching methods are like Protestant denominations: there are many of them, they … Continue reading Is There Madness in the Method?
The popularity and success of the Kodaly approach to teaching music in schools has resulted in a widespread practice of using songs and chants comprised of a minor third when beginning formal music education with young children. There is much to recommend this practice, including the ease with which a small interval can be sung, … Continue reading What Are The Best Pitch Combinations For Teaching Our Youngest Children Singing?
Why do you do anything the way you do? If your answer to this question is “because I’ve always done it that way,” or “because it works,” then you may be missing out on much greater success. Being a New Englander all my life, I have been very happy with the mantra, “If ain’t broke, … Continue reading Is There A Better Way?
We teachers live for the big payoff. The moment when the students connect the dots and finally "get it." This morning, I was able to enjoy moments like that with both of my 5th grade classes. Last week, they received printed music for the round Gaudeamus Hodie and worked independently at sight singing it with … Continue reading The Big Payoff