Video Demos

Seven middle school students walk the beats, clap and chant the rhythms, and shape the melodies, exploring all 6 skills taught in Introducing the Recorder and Music Theory

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Playing by Ear

5:25.  Learning a simple song without musical score can help students’ abilities to read music

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Transposing the Playing by Ear Piece

2:35.  Transposing the simple playing by ear song to learn about scale

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Sight Reading Compared with Playing by Ear Activities

5:25. Using playing by ear activities to improve sight reading

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Transposing the Sight Reading Piece

1:30.  Transposing a sight reading piece to learn more about scale

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Playing by Ear and Distorting

5:35.  Exploring the sound and mood of major and minor

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Technique Exercise in Major and Minor

1:50.  Developing facility and familiarity with scale and arpeggio

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Sight Reading with Heuristic

8:30.  Sight reading using a heuristic (learning process) to improve performance

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Ensemble Performing a Quodlibet

1:50.  Combining two different pieces to improve student independence

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Improvising

3:35.  Creating a melody to a poetry fragment to develop musicianship

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Note: in the interests of time, these short teaching sequences are limited to simpler pieces with no more than a 5-note melodic range.

This is page 68.  The heuristic used in the sight reading demo is at the bottom of the page.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What if the teacher doesn’t know the playing by ear songs? The playing by ear songs are scripted out in the teacher edition.

Where did this idea of movement (stepping, clapping, shaping) come from?  Does it work?  The processes of using physical movement to learn music have been around for more than 60 years, particularly in the work of Dalcroze (1865-1950), Orff (1895-1982), and Kodály (1882-1967).  Music teachers in many countries employ these techniques to teach their students the “deep structures” of music.

Why start with such simple music?  The organizing concept in Introducing the Recorder and Music Theory is scalar organization.  Beginning with three-note scales (DO, RE, and MI), progressing through pentatonic scales (DO, RE, MI, SO, LA and DO, me, FA, SO, te), and finally to five- and eight-note diatonic scales, I found that folk songs serendipitously also tended to increase in complexity of rhythms, meters, and the other musical concepts.  A “spiral” approach to learning, after Jerome Bruner, begins with an intellectually honest approach to the subject in which all of the fundamental elements of the subject are present from the very beginning.  The materials must be organized properly so that students can explore the entire world of music in even the simplest of pieces.  Organizing the book around increasingly complex scales made a spiral approach possible.

Can students really learn the entire major scale after playing with only five-notes of it?  Yes.  They have found the transition to an eight-note scale a simple matter.