Outside Music from School
Melani M., Georgia
I have a class of 5 middle-schoolers who love music, and are trying to do every musical activity available to them. They are in Level 3. A couple of them are in the school band (actually an orchestra), and a couple of them are joining the “jazz” band as pianists. Now, they have been bringing me sheet music that they need to learn for school, and are asking me to teach it to them. We have not started reading pitch yet. We have done some reading rhythms. I am not sure how to handle this in a group situation. If it were a private lesson, we could just drop everything and start working on these pieces. But in a group, it would not be feasible to do this. Have you had anything similar happen in your classes? And, how would you deal with it? I don’t want to brush them off and say that we can only follow our curriculum. I don’t want to discourage their enthusiasm. And I’m pretty sure their parents are not willing to pay for additional private lessons to focus on their school music.
If anyone has encountered this situation, I would appreciate some advice.
Barbara M., New Jersey
This is challenging! I also ran into this situation. You want to encourage your students to play outside of lessons, but reading notes is not appropriate at this time. It would totally sidetrack the program.
I am fortunate that in one of the local districts, the middle school music teachers here had their children in Simply Music for a time and understand the process.
You may be able to give the music teachers information about SM; that we follow a specific curriculum on the way to reading music. Right now your students are developing a playlist of 30 to 40 songs across different genres of music. One of their abilities is ability to read from a lead sheet and play accompaniment patterns with RH chords and LH bass notes, but not the melody at this time.
Shanta H., Minnesota
Could you dissect and simplify the jazz pieces into chords and maybe a melody? Then it would be easier to teach to them in the context of accompaniment and the Jazz program without undermining the reading programs. You could potentially teach the melody in a playing based way– although if they’re reading Rhythm you’ll surely want to use it as a reading rhythm exercise too!
Ask Jennifer Lee if she has tips on converting sheet music into lead sheets, or if there are resources online for doing so too – She’s an awesome Jazz musician.
Original discussion started March 09, 2012