Found in: Composition & Improvisation
Shari G., Colorado
As students work on compositions, is it ok for them to write notes in a Simply Music fashion to help them remember their pieces (starting notes, patterns, form, etc.)?
Cindy B., Illinois
When I began encouraging comp, I started to see students coming with a scrap of paper that they’d written down every single finger and/or note and they’d just play what the paper said!
Rather than forbid notes altogether, I’ve now gotten into the habit of praising the composition and then developing the assignment further by asking any student who did that to now transform their traditional notes into Simply Music notes. We might spend a few minutes talking about shapes and various note clues they’ve already seen in their lesson. It seems to bring a student into the self generative realm, and I remind them that their Notes clues don’t have to make any sense to anyone but them, just as Neil’s notes clues don’t until taught.
Julie T., Australia
My experience with students and their compositions is that most of the time they remember quite easily what they have composed. However regardless of whether they do or do not remember it easily, I always ask them to write some “Simply Music” notes on what they have created. I suggest they review the notes in their notes books and try to come up with a few learning clues e.g. melody diagrams, sentences, order, shape etc.
I believe that to not ask them to do this is to miss a valuable learning opportunity.
- It provides an opportunity for you as the teacher to once again talk about the way of thinking and learning that is at the heart of this method.
- By asking the student to do this for their own songs gives the message that this is something we do with all music learning (not just Neil’s songs)
- It places the student in the “generative” arena for writing notes – which is more powerful than me telling them!!
- You get to really see whether the student understands the learning tools e.g. melody diagram, order etc and can address specific ones as necessary.
- It provides an opportunity for the student to verbally describe their music – in the SM fashion. Verbalising thoughts is a powerful learning tool. I find that the better a student gets at verbalising what they are doing the easier it is for them to learn to play in general.
So definitely ask them to write Simply Music notes – it will provide lots of little golden moments of insight for both you and the student!!