“I Hope You Know That Says Sol-Mi-Do"
One of my Musikgarten® Keyboard 1 students bounced into my classroom and stopped to look at what I’d left on the chalkboard from a previous class. “I hope you know that says sol-mi-do,” he announced.
My reaction was two-fold: first, I could barely contain my laughter at his deadpan, matter-of-fact delivery; and second, I could barely contain my excitement at how quickly he noticed the melodic pattern and how sure of it he was.
Those of us who teach Early Childhood music classes know the value of tonal and rhythmic patterns as building blocks toward developing young children’s musical language and auditory and sight-reading skills. Further, music education researchers such as Edwin Gordon (Music Learning Theory) and John Feierabend (Conversational Solfege) also point to the importance of this foundation in developing improvisational and composition skills as students progress.
As I work with my Musikgarten Keyboard students, we keep returning to these basic, familiar patterns as we decode new pieces. Somehow a new piece doesn’t seem quite so overwhelming if we can find the patterns in it. One mother e-mailed me over our Holiday break to tell me about her daughter excitedly going through a piano book she had received from her aunt for Christmas – the little girl was looking at the music to find patterns and excitedly identifying the I, IV, and V7 chords, which we were working on in class. Mom, a self-proclaimed non-musician, admitted that she had no way of knowing whether or not her daughter was right but was very impressed at the ease at which the little girl was decoding what looked to mom like a Jackson Pollack painting. (When the little girl brought in her new piano book after the break, I verified that her harmonic analysis was correct!)
Musikgarten Keyboard classes not only offer children a great musical foundation but represent an ideal preparation for private piano lessons.
I love hearing the excitement in my students as they make these meaningful connections as if they are solving the latest mystery. As teachers, we should help all our students to be able to say, “I hope you know that’s…."
LuAnn Longenecker, Musikgarten Instructor