All posts tagged: london

Which came first: the rhythm or the melody?

Ah, the age-old question. The first time I realised that this was a matter of contention was when I was on a student placement (as a classroom teacher, not a music teacher). The music teacher was talking about how she never introduced pitch until Grade 3 (age 8), because children simply didn’t understand it before that. According to what she was saying, she only worked on rhythm with children in the first few years of school. Now, in her defense, she did in fact do a lot of singing with her students. What she really meant was that did not teach the western structures surrounding scales, melody and harmony. Was she right? At the time, I was horrified. And I have to say that I hope you’re a bit horrified too. Why, I wonder. You, as a music teacher yourself (or an enthusiast, anyway) will probably already have an answer. To state it plainly, to teach rhythm without any mention of melody, would be like telling a child to only eat the skin of an …

audio e guitars guitars music

What’s in a Resource?

Our shop has launched! And now that it has, we decided that it was time to explain how the resources at the music educator work. The aim of all music resources sold on this website is to make music teachers jobs easier, every day. With that in mind, let’s explore exactly how we are doing that! First of all, every resource we create comes with a ‘How to use this resource’ page. As a professional yourself, chances are you could always figure out how to use a worksheet, play a game or teach a lesson. But why should you spend that time working it out? This part of our resource tries to make your use of our resource as straightforward as possible. Secondly, when you use one of our resources that involve note reading (on a grand staff), that there is colour coding involved. This is purposefully entirely random. As so many people have differing associations, colours were chosen simply to support students who that would find the correspondence helpful. The simple work around is …

Why I Discourage Perfect Pitch

I’ll never forget the look that I shared with a friend of mine after one of our first University music tests. It wasn’t even a high stakes situation. It was simply a pre-assessment to determine what class we should join for our aural studies. As you learn really quickly in a music degree, it’s not about where you start, it’s about how hard you work to get where you want to go. So even though the test wasn’t easy, we all left free in the knowledge that it didn’t determine any of our final grades. We all went to get the obligatory midday coffee, and one student just couldn’t resist it. He had to have his moment of glory. “I know he didn’t ask for it, but on that final transcription, I included that it was in A Major, just to show that I knew it.” Now, to give context, many of the rest of us had struggled on the final task. It was 5 bars of piano music, with no key signature, time signature …

C or Do?

The title of this certainly is challenging to read. I can assure you that I do not mean ‘see or do’. The question I am asking is whether or not we call a note ‘C’ or ‘Do’, or anything else for that matter. This raises so many questions for people. We live in a world where we belong to schools of thought. Are you Kodaly trained, Orff trained, Suzuki trained? Or do those names make your eyes hurt? I have received extensive training in aural studies, sight singing and piano/music teaching. And what I have arrived at is that it is important to know what other people think, and why they think it. The programs I have listed have lasted for a reason; they are effective. So then why doesn’t everyone do it exactly the same way? The short answer to that is that music is a cultural product; it is intrinsically connected to language, communication and, in many cases, national identity. I learned the music notes as C,D,E all the way up to my …

Why singing?

I have been a piano teacher since I was 15 years old. Safe to say that my first students had to deal with my teething problems. But thankfully when I graduated school and moved, they graduated me, and got the variety we all need for a good music education. One of the regrets I have from that time is that I did not sing with my first students. Instead, I taught the way I had been taught, by playing scales, exercises and pieces. Now, more than a piano teacher, I consider myself a music teacher. Whenever you have a student, you are teaching the whole child. They might end up specialising in the instrument they happen to be studying, they might switch musical specialties, or they might pursue an entirely different career. So the question that needs to be asked is: what skills do you want to leave them with? That brings us around to singing. Apart from the fact that aural skills are part of every music examination, they are also an indispensable musical …