Lead Me to Light Rhythm
Found in: Foundation Songs
Emily D., Ohio
On the TTM video, Neil tells us to have the students count out sentences 1-3 of Lead Me To Light, “1-2-3-4.” When I first learned this song, I thought, “That doesn’t seem right,” but did it that way anyhow. Now I’m going back through, preparing to teach it for the first time. The correct counting should be “1-&-2-&.” If you look at the music book, these notes are eighth notes, not quarter notes, which reminded me of why this didn’t feel right to begin with. Teaching it as “1-2-3-4” is especially confusing when you add the intro notes as “&-1-2-3-4.” The “&” has the same note value as the “1-2-3,” yet we’re treating it as if it doesn’t.
I’ve been in SM long enough now to know to trust when something is different than expected, yet this one just feels weird to me.
How do you all go about teaching this?
Robin Keehn, Washinton
I teach it exactly the way Neil presents it. “1-2-3-4 and 1-2-3-4” works perfectly well. In all my years of teaching Lead Me to Light, I have never had anyone question me or not understand. We are not relating the types of notes to the pattern. It is a pattern and should be taught just that way. Don’t refer to the music–not even for yourself 🙂 Harder said than done but you need to trust the method. It works.
You need to remember that we are not attempting to write a new code, and that is why things are always changing. An arrow up in one piece means something completely different than an arrow up in another piece. Counting to four may not really be counting at all–it may just be a pattern.
I hope that helps. Just trust and know that every single detail is intentional and purposeful. Looking back 10 years, I can see the amazing design that we’ve been given by Neil. It is remarkable and the results you will get with your students will be better than you can begin to imagine.
Ian M., Indiana
I think Neil is just counting events here – he’s not trying to provide a correct musical count. So you could, if it made more sense to you – or felt less weird – just replace the numbers with “boms”: bom bom bom bom, & bom bom bom bom, etc, keeping the “&” placement to hold the place where the right hand comes in before the left hand.
Which is what is happening with Reading Rhythm around this stage a well – we’re not teaching students to keep a strict count at this point. It’s more about getting the feel of things.
Mary D., California
As I understand it, Neil is basically creating a “lyric” to attach the rhythm to, rather than trying to create the actual rhythmic notation for the piece.
Sandy L., Nebraska
I think Mary is right in saying that Neil is using a lyric in Lead Me to Light. I look at it as counting events, though, not creating a rhythm. In some instances, like Ode to Joy in Level 1, we use a count to know when to play the left hand. In that particular instance, the count does match the rhythm, I believe. But, I think the purpose is still a lyric to guide the playing of the left hand. Another instance where the count does match the rhythm is in some of the 12-bar-blues songs where you count the LH events, often playing the RH chord on “one.”
I look at LMTL the same way, but without the rhythm element. What type of notes are being played, and what the “counting” would be in learning this the traditional way is completely different than the use of the counting in LMTL. The counting is used to tell you when to play the LH–on “one.” The way the rhythm is written is not relevant to students who are not, or should not be, learning the song from the music book at this point. I believe if you listen to the CD and watch the music on the written page, the song is played as written. The counting element in teaching this song is just as Mary said, a lyric. The “&” is just a part of constructing the sentences and indicates the introductory note. An introductory note does not have to be a shorter or longer note than the others. I think you will find the lyric useful in putting this song together if you do not try to connect a rhythm element to the lyric.