As children come to learn more and more about how music is put together, they will begin to have new ears to hear any music. They add critical thinking skills to their musical experiences and will enjoy many kinds of music. They also come to understand and love music as they have hands on experiences creating their own music. They can have that experience through private lessons or by just doing some of the fun lessons that I will share.

The lessons will center on the Elements of Music: Beat, Rhythm, Style, Melody, Expression, Form, Timbre, Harmony, and Texture. You can watch as children become confidant at discussing these elements and hearing them in the music they listen to each day. They will enjoy using these elements to create their own music.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

RHYTHM LESSON 2: The Math of Music

The next step in using musical icons to teach long and short notes is to discover the mathematical relationships of the icons.  They will then better understand musical notation later when they come to realize the relationships there because they could SEE it and UNDERSTAND it in the icons.

For example, a whole note = 4 quarter notes.  This means that the length of time that you hold a whole note would be the same length of time that 4 quarter notes would use.  When you look at a whole note and a quarter note in notation that relationship is not obvious.  But when you look at the same comparison using the icons it is so easy to understand.

So for this lesson you just want the children to SEE these relationships by playing the game "How Many?"  

How many reds do you need to make a green?
How many reds do you need to make a blue?
How many reds make a yellow?
How many oranges make a red?
etc, etc. until they get the idea that there is a definite relationship between these icons. They will probably need to actually manipulate the icons to find their answers at first.  They will quickly be able to make the relationships visually without having to actually line them up and count them.

I use these icons with preschoolers through first grade.  In second grade we made the transition to musical notation and then in third grade the children learned to read music by playing recorders.  But even then, if the children were not understanding notation we could refer back to icons to get understanding.

Just a note here:  Reading music always needs to be tied to playing an instrument.  In the next rhythm lesson we will learn how to read and play icons with young children.

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