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#26496 - 06/07/02 10:06 AM Re: Music Makers: At The Keyboard
arsnova02 Offline
Mainstay Member

Registered: 07/29/01
Posts: 908
Loc: St. Louis, MO
Hmmmm... I'll think about it... There's always a tax write-off...

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#26497 - 07/17/02 10:15 AM Re: Music Makers: At The Keyboard
John Offline
Star Member

Registered: 03/29/01
Posts: 2454
Loc: Bellingham, WA
I’ve just returned from an 18-hour workshop of MUSIC MAKERS: AT THE KEYBOARD (Year One), and wanted to share some of my experiences. Although I have NO IDEA as of now where I will set up groups, I am extremely motivated to secure a location and start group classes for beginning piano! Seeing this course taught by an expert teacher (Karen Haughey) and witnessing the enthusiasm of the children, dancing the dances, singing the songs, and playing all of the notation games was so helpful and inspiring! What is also exciting is the prospect of having PRIVATE students who have gone through this 2-year course. There are skills developed in the 4th book (Year 2 – 2nd semester) that I remember students at U of M’s Music School struggling with in freshman theory and sight-singing classes.

Here are some comparisons we studied between the stages of language development and music development. It is roughly sequential, but some aspects can be developed concurrently at every stage (for example - composing can be explored with pattern cards, long before the skill of writing music down is developed). This juxtaposition of music and language can be helpful to share with parents when teaching an aural approach to music literacy. Unlike traditional “rote” teaching, students are singing songs with tonal and rhythm languages (i.e.- with understanding) long before playing them, and they can find these patterns by ear through trial and error on the keyboard (with a little verbal guidance) without the need for a teacher to show them the patterns physically. I do think this differentiation is important to clarify for parents.

(This makes more sense in a table or graph…..it’s the best I could format).

1 ~ LANGUAGE & MUSIC - Hears and absorbs the sounds and rhythm of language. No language response or “limited” (babble). Children hear English for about 10,000 hours before they start to speak. This underscores the importance of parents playing good music for their infants and toddlers.

2 ~ LANGUAGE - Begins to imitate sounds – no comprehension.
MUSIC – Echoing patterns on a neutral syllable (like “bah”).

3 ~ LANGUAGE – Associates an object or person with a label (aurally). Accumulates a bank of words and meaning.
MUSIC – Echoing patterns using solfege or rhythm language.

4 ~ LANGUAGE - Aurally recognizes a familiar word when spoken in a phrase or sentence.
MUSIC – Aurally recognizes a familiar pattern within the context of a song or chant.

5 ~ LANGUAGE - Accumulates a bank of “sight-words” – isolated, familiar words that the child recognizes in their written form.
MUSIC – Seeing familiar patterns in notation.

6 ~ LANGUAGE – Visually recognizes a familiar word when written in a phrase or sentence.
MUSIC – Visually recognizes a familiar pattern within the context of a written song or chant.

7 ~ MUSIC & LANGUAGE – Visually can decipher unfamiliar words (phrases) by using what they’ve learned about familiar words (phrases).

8 ~ MUSIC & LANGUAGE - Composes with (writes) words/music sensibly, in complete phrases or sentences.

9 ~ MUSIC & LANGUAGE - Learns and can explain the rules of our written language; grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, etc. This is when theory should be introduced; theory should only explain what our bodies already “know”.

I’m definitely investing in more drums for my piano studio (I have small ones…I want the ones that go “Boooom”). I think this area needs more attention by all of us piano teachers. Drumming patterns LOOONG before reading them, esp. ones involving patterns like “Both-R-R” or “Both-R-R-R”, etc., etc., makes most coordination problems experiences later in piano study almost non-existent. Exploring the link between different kinds of touches and sound production is also a wonderful benefit to drumming, before trying it on the piano.

These issues of the Early Childhood Connections by the Early Childhood Music and Movement Association (ECMMA) were also recommended for teachers of young children:

Vol. 2 - #2 (Early Childhood Development)
Vol. 2 - #4 (Music and Infancy)
Vol. 3 - #4 (Music Literacy)
Vol. 6 - #6 (Music & Movement Giants of the 20th Century)
Vol. 8 - #1 (Building the Bridge Between Early Childhood and Beginning Piano)

All are $10-12 and available by calling 336-272-5303

Well, this post is long enough.

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#26498 - 07/17/02 10:28 AM Re: Music Makers: At The Keyboard
Jalapeño Offline
Star Member

Registered: 11/04/00
Posts: 5712
Does Musikgarden make you exclusively use their curriculum? I got turned off by Kindermusik because of their insistence that you use only their books & teach their way. I like the freedom & flexibility of adding my own touches. I don't want to feel like I'm in a straight jacket.

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#26499 - 07/17/02 11:40 AM Re: Music Makers: At The Keyboard
dlinder Offline
Mainstay Member

Registered: 03/11/01
Posts: 689
Loc: Ohio
John, thank you for taking the time to put all that down in words. I wasn't able to attend the seminar in NJ this year, but I'm really wanting to. Maybe next year.
The drumming thing makes sense to me. I only have one drum and other rhythm instruments that I've used for tapping out the rhythm of a piece before playing it on the piano, but the LH, RH, together coordination and practicing the different touches make perfect sense! I have a 5 yr. old boy that will love it, too!
Actually, I wouldn't be above trying it out on an adult that needs help in these areas!!

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#26500 - 07/17/02 11:45 AM Re: Music Makers: At The Keyboard
John Offline
Star Member

Registered: 03/29/01
Posts: 2454
Loc: Bellingham, WA
Hal, (if I'm Du-de can I call you "Hal"?) :p , Musikgarten wants you to use their curriculum (natch), but they are always stressing how the teacher him or herself has to be constantly assessing the group's readiness for each activity and adapting the lesson plans as needed. In other words.....we're allowed to think! :p

Assignments are also individualized to provide just the right challenge each week for each child. My own feeling about MG's curriculum is that there is very little to "change" overall, but there are many possiblities for adding personal touches. I have already added my own "thangs" to the course, mainly consisting of more variety of physical gestures at the keyboard.

It's best to think of this group course as a bridge between early childhood classes and formal private study. Even if a child does very little home practice, he or she will have experiences that are "planting seeds" for future musical development.

OH NO! I'M SOUNDING LIKE A MG REP! I am not, and I really had no plans to teach groups and become a licensed MG teacher before taking this workshop.....(that's still pending). All I can say is that I am even more convinced about teaching beginners in groups ONLY, using materials such as MG's that were created specifically for children and how they learn music most effectively and naturally. I can also say that now that I use approaches based on the work of Gordon, Orff, Kodaly, etc., etc., there is no turning back to the more "traditional" ways I used to teach music and piano. I really feel like I've found my "nitch", and want to consider teaching some of the classes that precede MMK and get into more early childhood "pre-piano" teaching. I simply love it!

Hopefully teachers who read this thread will be inspired to look into this AND other ways of teaching music through the piano, make their own discoveries and shape their own curriculums, and NOT view one teacher's enthusiam for a specific book or CD as a comment on or a challenge to their own methods and philosophies. :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

THAT WOULD JUST BE SILLY, EH? :p :p :p

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#26501 - 07/17/02 11:57 AM Re: Music Makers: At The Keyboard
John Offline
Star Member

Registered: 03/29/01
Posts: 2454
Loc: Bellingham, WA
Deedra, quick ideas on drumming:

Start with the microbeat (small), change to macro (big), then try alternating hands on the micro and macrobeats. Always change when appropiate after 4-8 measures (or whatever matches the phrase structure of the recording). This is also a great way to introduce future songs well before playing them.

Look ahead in whatever method books you are using, and anticipate all coordination "issues" by drumming those patterns sequentially. Most methods will introduce a LH holding a note or interval for 3-4 counts with a quarter note RH melody, so that is a great combo to start with initially. Look for alternating hand patterns that repeat, or when hands go from both playing together to individually. You could print these out if you'd like, but be sure to have the child EXPERIENCE these patterns for a while successfully before using any notation. If you have FINALE, e-mail me privately and I'll send you more "stuff".

OK. Time for live music by Lake Washington, Farmer's Market, and a Mocha.

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#26502 - 07/17/02 12:56 PM Re: Music Makers: At The Keyboard
alidoremi Offline
Star Member

Registered: 03/11/02
Posts: 2120
Loc: California
 Quote:
By John: All I can say is that I am even more convinced about teaching beginners in groups ONLY, using materials such as MG's that were created specifically for children and how they learn music most effectively and naturally.
[

Amen, Amen, and Amen!! Once you've taught children this way it's almost impossible to go back to the "traditional" way of teaching. It's like you feel you would be compromising your values and and cheating them out of a total musical experience.

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#26503 - 07/17/02 02:14 PM Re: Music Makers: At The Keyboard
Jalapeño Offline
Star Member

Registered: 11/04/00
Posts: 5712
I'm not after teaching young children (or anyone else, for that matter) the traditional way. I prefer to custom tailor instruction to fit each individual student's needs. The reason I asked about the flexibility of MG is because when I ordered the Kindermusik program & read that they expect you to teach strictly from their books & not alter the curricula in any way, I got turned off. Plus after sending me the info. pack, they kept calling me on the phone & e-mailing me about teaching Kindermusik. :rolleyes: I kept ignoring the messages until they finally got the hint that I wasn't interested. I don't like the idea of being limited to a certain set of books. It just seems, well, unAmerican!

I'm much more interested in teaching private lessons than I am in teaching group lessons, primarily because I don't particularly like working with big groups of hot-wired, high-strung preschoolers. I prefer one-on-one, or perhaps dyad, instruction.

[ July 17, 2002: Message edited by: Jalapeño ]

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#26504 - 07/17/02 03:25 PM Re: Music Makers: At The Keyboard
alidoremi Offline
Star Member

Registered: 03/11/02
Posts: 2120
Loc: California
 Quote:
By John:
I’m definitely investing in more drums for my piano studio (I have small ones…I want the ones that go “Boooom”). I think this area needs more attention by all of us piano teachers. Drumming patterns LOOONG before reading them, esp. ones involving patterns like “Both-R-R” or “Both-R-R-R”, etc., etc., makes most coordination problems experiences later in piano study almost non-existent.


This is an excellent point and goes along with the concept of having studentsfeel the rhythm first, before we should expect them to play rhythmically. And I've found that kids that experience these types of drum activities (as well as using other rhythm instruments) develop an "inner rhythm" that is just AWESOME. I've had about 6 students that started lessons at age 4-5, and now, a few years later, they jump into band at school and can easily do percussion. The band teachers comment that they are just a "natural" at drums, or that they completely skipped beginning band and are at the next level. Considering what a terrible time I had as a child learning how to count rhythm, I never cease to be amazed at these kids.

The rhythm excercise of using both-r-r-r with drums, or a drum in one hand, tambourine in the other, etc... is great for teaching "hands together" at the piano. It's also good for teaching dotted rhythm (LH straight quarter notes, against a RH dotted pattern).

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#26505 - 07/17/02 04:00 PM Re: Music Makers: At The Keyboard
Jalapeño Offline
Star Member

Registered: 11/04/00
Posts: 5712
I use a small set of drums in my studio. They're just the run-of-the-mill Playskool drums you buy at Toys 'R Us. I'm thinking of buying a lollipop drum, but am wondering how older students would feel using something like that. Perhaps bongo drums would be better?

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