24/60 The Benefits of Teaching by Numbers/Letters

What!?! I hear you cry. Wasn’t the last post a diatribe against exactly this idea?

Err, but nothing is quite as black and white as it seems. For example, teaching little five-finger warm ups (here I am wearing my pianist hat again, but I am sure other teachers can adapt this.

One of the main many aims of instrumental teaching is developing independence and strength in fingers.

what is easier for a beginner to read? 1 2 3 4     5 4 3 2    1 2 3 4     5 4 3 2     1  or the notation?

Or    1 2 1 2 1       1 3 1 3 1        1 4 1 4 1        1 5 1 5 1  (while rapping “I like chocolate cake” or similar)

Or inviting children to make up their own “telephone number twisters” using the numbers 1 2 3 4 5

Or, at the end of their first term, when note reading is still in the early stages, teaching them

3 3 3     3 3 3     3 5 1 2  3        4 4 4 4     4 3 3 3     3 2 2 1    2      5   so that they have something to play on Christmas Day?

Or chanting E D C      E D C       CCCC   DDDD   E D C     while playing Hot Cross Buns?

Or improvising a tune using words like   EGG   CAB    FEED     BADGE as a starting point?

and look what I have just found….http://musicmattersblog.com/2006/11/27/a-music-spelling-bee/

We are engaged in the complicated process of connecting eyes – reading music, brains – processing the symbols on the page, muscles – activating the required fingers, ears – hearing the sounds, all at the same time. And, all at this same time, we want the experience to be enjoyable and successful and satisfying for the student.

It is well worth using every avenue that will lead to developing these skills! (But I am still a bit of an obsessive about learning to read music!)

 aliens for treble recorder     aliens for the descant recorder     aliens for clarinet players

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