Saturday, November 8, 2014


How to teach it to children whose only exposure to music is me and what they hear on the radio. This is not a choir. These are all the 6th graders in my schools. Some I've had for 7 years, others are new this year. 

I am a firm believer in the Suzuki method. A child learns to speak before learning to read. I believe a child needs to be immersed in the sound of music before they can make music and finally read music.

My 6th graders are singing Auld Lang Syne. It's not a song they know. Maybe they have heard it rarely, but now, I want them to sing harmony to it. This is kind of how it went at each school.

I first sang the harmony only to them.
Then I sang it with the words projected.
We talked about word origins.
We talked about Scotland and Gaelic.
I sang it again with accompaniment.
I sang it again with children singing the melody.
I showed them the notation.
We navigated what I call our musical map.
They watched me sing it as I pointed to the notation.
They got the score with their part highighted.
They silently followed with their finger.
They helped each other find the repeat, 1st & 2nd endings.
They hummed along with me as I sang and they followed.
They got to sing along with me with the score.
We got into a circle with the score and sang it again.
Then we put away the music and sang it again.

We'll review this shortened process again the next time I see them in order for them to hear it again, follow the score and translate what they already know by hearing into what they are seeing.

And they will sound amazing and be proud of themselves.