Inside a music lesson – it’s more than just sitting on the piano bench

Our music lessons are fun!

We not only want our students to learn how to play songs.  We also want them to understand the concepts of music theory which make it easier to transfer to other instruments.  Many of our students have started at the keyboard and then added other instruments like ukulele, guitar, recorder, flute and lap dulcimer to name a few.

In our Musicolor Method® curriculum, around the 3rd or 4th lesson, we introduce solfeggio, which was invented over 1000 years ago in Italy!  How crazy amazing is that?  Somehow, the French word Solfége has become more widely used.  Most people just know of it from the movie the Sound of Music where Julie Andrews teaches the children to sing using do – re – mi – fa – so, etc.

In our lessons we use the syllables, along with hand signs invented in the 1800’s by John Curwen along with the positions created by Zoltan Kodaly in the last century.  If you’ve never heard of them, it doesn’t matter, but they are iconic figures in music education.

Each student begins to use the solfege along with the hand signs to learn every new song going forward.  It helps to internalize the music through multiple modes:  visual, aural and kinesthetic.  And…it’s fun!

And they each go home with a fun poster to help them remember this along with some fun facts.

Here’s Lilah learning the first phrase of the old folk song Lightly Row.

 

Fun with Music Games For Learning Theory – Summer group classes

Summer Music Lessons 2013.

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I still have some availability for my Fun With Music Games for Learning Theory classes.  There is no prior experience necessary (for the beginner class) and it’s guaranteed to make music learning fun and memorable.

You know kids love games!  They instantly perk up at the slightest mention.  I so wish my music teachers knew about making games out of music theory.  It’s the fastest, funnest and most enjoyable way to learn some very abstract concepts.

In my private music lessons, I always use a game for the theory stuff.  Usually it’s just me and your child.

This summer, I’ve dedicated 2 afternoons for Music Games days – Tuesdays  for beginners and Thursdays for advanced.  This will let us enjoy the fun of a group playing the games – and learning at the same time. These classes are open to my current students as well as new ones who may have never even played an instrument.  No matter, it will be fun for all.

 

Music Theory can be fun when it's a game!
These girls are “thinking in thirds!”

What Are Music Games?

  • Here’s the core of what we’ll be learning through the fun and magic of games.  Advanced students will touch on these but go further faster.
  • Music alphabet – 7 letters – sequencing backwards, forwards, up, down and then skipping in intervals.  These girls are “thinking in thirds.”
  • Line and space notes – Learning the differences
  • Rhythm with Blue Jello words and symbols
  • Dictation – using numbers for pitches, developing listening skills
  • Solfege with Curwen hand signs – then Melodic Dictation and Melodic Bingo using solfege.
  • Grand staff – treble and bass clefs, pitch names, intervals
  • chords
  • And lots more!

I still have a few openings for both Beginner and Advanced.  Please note these are small groups of 6 students, so it will be fun for all!

Learning Rhythm using Stick Notation and Hand Signs. Plus really fun to say words!

 

Mark Your Calendars

Here’s the dates:

Tuesday Beginners – 4pm to 5:15pm ($45/each student/class)

July 9, 16, 23, 30 and Aug 6

Thursday Advanced – 4pm to 5:15pm ($45/each student/class)

July 11, 18, 25 and Aug 1, 8

Please contact me know if you are interested as soon as possible.

 

Teaching Kids How To Read Music Using Solfège, Hand Signs & Kinesthetic Learning

Learning Solfege with Curwen Hand Signs

Teaching young kids to read music is quite a challenge.  I approach through a long process of micro-steps.  It’s the reverse of peeling an onion.  It’s a layering technique of building up from tiny kernels of understanding, expanding outwards. The first lessons are always performance focused – get them excited about playing a song!  It’s fun and within reach to play a song in 5 minutes!  That is so awesome! Then over the course of many lessons, we explore basic concepts of music theory through a series of games.  One of these “games” is learning solfeggio (Italian pronunciation), also known as solfège (French pronunciation).  This is the system of pitches with words that was created in the eleventh century by a Benedictine monk, Guido de Arezzo.    

To make it easier, I always look for ways to engage other learning modalities besides visual or aural.  In this case, an Englishman by the name of John Curwen did this work in the 1800s by creating a system of hand signs to go with the solfège system.   This engages the brain to have another way of remembering these pitches.  Kids love it and it certainly is fun! Another great educator (and composer) the Hungarian Zoltan Kodàly took these hand signs and made it easier by associating a height with each sign to correlate the rising of the pitch with each syllable. In my lessons, I teach my students using 2 hands to make it even easier as it balances both left brain and right brain.  Plus it’s easier and more fun!  Did I mention that fun is important? I created a printout for my students that features…them(!) – to help remember these. You can download this here. Get Download

Learning Solfege with Curwen Hand Signs
Solfege is fun!

  Hopefully we’ll all be singing and signing at our next recital. Here’s a video from another teacher (who also produces wonderful educational tools which I use and heartily recommend.)   After internalizing these pitches and then connecting them with notes on the staff, reading music becomes connected with the aural, visual and kinesthetic.  It has become much easier to move into any standard method book after a few weeks of this.   [button link=”http://themusicolormethod.com/blog/” type=”big” newwindow=”yes”] Click here for more music teaching tips[/button]   http://youtu.be/zCbDD5kfp-g