2 WAYS TO EXPLAIN THE ORDER OF THE MUSICAL NOTES ON THE STAVE TO PRESCHOOLERS (and my favorite one)
How to explain musical notes and the stave to my little music helpers?
When I started teaching music to kids, I wondered what would be the most helpful method to explain the concept of musical notes.
I had no experience, apart from the personal one – since I started on my own path in music.
The school had trained me to teach percussion instruments to children aged eight and up, but I never imagined that one day I would be working with children this young (2 to 6 years old).
One day I will also tell you how I got into this situation; if you think that would be an article you would like to read, leave me a message here on the site or on any other account.
You may be in a similar situation. I hope to help you with my article.
So here are the two methods that I discovered during this time:
THE 7 NOTES AS A POEM
When I was 6-7 years old, preschool music courses were offered in our musical profile state schools.
The songs were sung, and the order of musical notes was learned, like a poem: Do, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, La, Ti… I still remember the colored cubes placed on top of the blackboard in Mrs. Schrodt’s class, and because Do was the Red cube, the character I created around this note, after 30 years, has remained red. (If you want to know more about how I created this character, follow this article.)
There were basically two nursery rhyme songs; one in ascending note order and one going back to C. Studying what is done in the courses of my colleagues in America and Italy, I noticed that the same way of presenting the notes is still widely used, and I even followed this method at the beginning of my career. What did I notice?
The children needed to understand that each note has a different place on the keyboard and – most importantly – a different sound frequency. For them, it continues to represent only an order of various words, even though lately hundreds of nursery rhymes and songs have been composed and invented on this theme, with different gestures and movements suggesting the difference between the musical notes.
NOTES AS CHARACTERS, ONE BY ONE
Thus, I started an experiment with a group of preschoolers, for which I composed a song and wrote a little story for each musical note. Each character was designed with distinct physical characteristics and adapted to different emotional states.
These latter skills will also help in the mental development related to the expression and observation of emotions at this stage of the psychological and emotional development of the child. Thus I presented the musical notes one by one, of course, starting with “Mr. Do.”
I have yet to return to the classical method. However, the children fell in love with my characters (notes) while learning the name and position of each one on the portable, thanks to the texts.
I made it so that each song describes the story of the notes and their place on the lines and spaces.
I also published a book where you can find everything I am describing here. It took me a long time, but I did it!
You can download it all for a great price in this bundle on the Teachers Pay Teachers site or even in the Amazon bookstore.
What do you think is my favorite method?
You will think I chose the second method, where I present the notes individually.
Not quite, not exactly. The problem is not which of the two is more suitable, but when is it more suitable?
It would be a shame not to keep all the songs with musical notes in order, especially since many are very entertaining and children really like them. It’s just that these are part of a series of lessons that come after the one-by-one notes.
When the numbers are a clear concept, we can play with them. When colors are learned, we can recognize and distinguish them around us.
When we have a clear idea of the letters, we can think of words, sentences, and phrases.
Thus, teaching music to preschool-age children is not just about knowing which songs or elements to choose to use but when to do it.
First, we must know the component elements of a concept, and only then can we play with or explore the idea itself.