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Reading Readiness 4

Last new part of “Introducing G” is learning the concept of naming the alphabet  –up and down beginning with G, to find the names of other lines and spaces in a music staff.

Check out the video:  Introducing “Start With G”  which demonstrates finding the names for several additional lines/spaces.    Remember  —its the concept of including both lines and spaces while moving up and down in the alphabet that is the focus (not all the ABC names of lines/spaces)!

The pdf that goes with the video includes templates for making your own flashcards to continue drilling the concept here, as well as recognizing the second line in a staff as “G”.

Continuing to drill on the alphabet patterns, “G” and how to climb or descend the staff lines/spaces will ensure a solid foundation for future music reading.     Keep the drills short, and varied for fun.

Reading Readiness 3

Forwards and backwards in the musical alphabet conquered!      Now its time to connect the ABC’s with a musical staff.    I like to make a big deal out of the “G”.    Its easy to find on a treble clef staff because the clef circles around its line.    I add the colour “green” because  –well, you know, G is for green.    And I build up to it with a few reminders about written music.

The method is outlined in the “Introducing G” video found in the warm-up lists.    Its true, I could just point at the line and say  “This is G.”   But for children whose only exposure to written music is in school  (and that maybe only once a week), I find adding as many hooks for the mind and memory as possible helps ground the idea.    Knowing how to find “G” by looking for clues, gives a cornerstone for adding other letters to lines/spaces.

Eventually, hopefully, knowing the second line is “G”, just by looking at it will be yesterday’s news.   In Grade 3, there’s no pressure to learn everything at once, so add ideas with lots of repetition, explanation, and practice.

If your students have had access to Orff instruments, try asking them for the name of a musical instrument with a “G” written on it.

Next week:   adding more letters to the musical staff


Reading Readiness 2

“So-mi‘s” are for singers.                                                                     “A B C D E F G‘s” are for instruments                                    (including the human voice).

Weather is calling us outside, so this week’s songs are for marching or walking.    As you walk/march, try using the musical alphabet;   A B C D E F G A B …    forwards and backwards!

Going from A to G is easy for most of us.   Musicians also need to be able to go from G to A ;  G F E D C B A G F …     Students who have conquered the backwards musical alphabet will find it easier to learn how to read notes on the musical staff because music goes forward (up) and backward (down).

Begin by keeping a beat with your hand.    Name a musical alphabet letter    e.g.    “D”,  move your hand down for “C”, down again for “B”,  again for “A” and again for the hardest jump  “G”  etc.

In the beginning you may want to have a printed, vertical copy of the musical alphabet to help students name the moves.   Challenge your class by removing the written aid for a few trys.

Keep to the backwards alphabet for a few days and then, re-introduce the forwards alphabet as well.   Students now need to switch directions with the moving hand.    Include 3 or 4 letters before changing direction to make it easier to catch on.

Vary activity with walking as the letters are named.    Students walk forward with each letter going forward (up) in the alphabet, and backward for each letter going back (down) in the alphabet.    It will be difficult at first, but can be turned into a game students might play during recess.

Game:   Leader names the beginning letter  “E”.    Leader names an adjoining letter  e.g.   either  “F”  or   “D”.    Rest of players either take a step forward (for “F”)  or backward (for “D”).   Leader calls out any player who steps in the wrong direction.   Last person in gets to be the leader next time.

A little bit of time creating these patterns in student memories will have a big pay off for reading music.


Reading Readiness

So-mi‘s” are for singers.                                                                     “A B C D E F G‘s” are for instruments (including the human voice).

By Grade 3, most students will have seen, used and manipulated  rhythm symbols  (ta, ti-ti, etc.), melody shapes (either by connecting notes on a musical staff or by drawing shapes in the air or on paper  e.g.  roller coaster ride warm-ups), reading simple songs using solfa (so-mi-la) and seen at least a few of the songs they sing in standard musical form.

In Grade 4, students are going to be  confronted with  reading music notes on a 5-line staff using alphabetical names instead of solfa or rhythm names.

Now is the time to consolidate readiness for music reading.

Check here each week for reading readiness activities that may be included during lesson warm-up time or as a quick break between lesson activities.    A few extra minutes at the end of the lessons   — pull a reading readiness activity out from your music bag for extra practice.

Music Readiness 

The music reading alphabet goes   “A B C D E F G A B C”.               Try saying it.    Takes a bit of practice to go straight to “A” from “G” eh?

Introduce the idea of a musical alphabet.

Simple warm-up activity.    Using different beats (kept by tapping something), students say the musical alphabet, round and round, til a signal is given to stop.

Won’t take long to get the rhythm.    Vary the beginning letter,  e.g.  start with “D”    …

Keep tuned: Next Week ideas for tackling the backwards musical alphabet!