Patterns in the Reference Book
Kylie S., Australia
Yesterday a coach asked me a question I really did not know the answer to fully. I promised I’d ask the ECL.
How important/crucial is it for students to fully understand the written patterns in the reference book and be able to explain them after they have learnt a song? How does it impact their learning/understanding down the track?
In my classes I use the patterns a lot to teach the song initially, but unless we revisit them regularly, the students often can’t explain them later on (weeks or months later). Should this be something we re-visit regularly so they explain it visually, or is having them to assist the initial learning enough?
Keen to hear about the patterns and how they might impact further learning…
Claude D., Canada
Yesterday, while teaching ”Dreams come true” to my mom, I noticed that the second sentence starts in a kind of opposite way than in the first one. (5L,3R in the first and 3L,1R in the second) Because I decided to teach it without naming the number of the fingers, the teaching end up noticing that similarity. 5 in the left end is the lower finger on the piano and 1 of the right hand also.
Well, I’ve been playing this song since a year!!
When we teach something we force ourselves to concentrate more than if we do it. And if we concentrate more, it will stay more in the memory. Also, if students learn differently and ask question, our brain goes deeper in the understanding of the song. I found it very interesting and this similarity was a big help for her to remember the beginning fingers of each of the two sentences.
You can have a look at ”The Learning Pyramid”. According to it, the retention goes to 75% by ”doing” something, compare to 10 % reading it. But if we teach it, the retention rate goes up to 90%.
So can we say the song and the pattern will stay for a longer time also? I guess yes.
Sheri R., California
Remaining aware of the patterns, shapes, sentences, etc. is central to being able to memorize music relatively easily (as compared to memorizing music by rote which requires hours, weeks, months, in other words, lots of repetition).
Whether one is learning a song from the page, by ear, from a you-tube tutorial, from a friend, etc. the tools acquired throughout the SM curriculum, including but not limited to the patterns, play a huge role and are foundational.
The first time I memorized a piece of music from the page (Bach’s Solfeggio), after having complete pieces through Level 5, was a huge revelation. What enabled me to memorize that two-page piece of music in one hour (unprecedented in my experience, literally “a quantum leap beyond anything I had ever imagined!”) was precisely the awareness of the patterns, etc. that initially enabled easy learning of the relatively advanced-sounding beginning pieces in the SM curriculum.
All over the page of music I saw snippets of Dreams Come True, Night Storm, etc. “Oh, look, that’s just an arpeggio, and look there, it’s five steps of sound, and wow, that right there is simply a triangle, etc. etc.”
If we are unaware of individual sounds our letters make our communication would be sorely compromised. Our ability to easily memorize ever increasingly advanced music is based on an awareness of how we learn the songs in the earliest levels.
So, keep those conversations alive as you move through the curriculum. For example, “name a strategy for learning that song–was it a pattern, was it a sentence, were there 5SS, etc.”
When I keep this skill alive students have a much easier time analyzing and identifying these ideas on a page for quicker memorization. When I forget the opposite result occurs, that is, struggles that could have been prevented were I more on top of making sure these conversations were a regular part of the lessons.
Thanks for the reminder, yet again, to keep these conversations alive!