Time for More Music Audio Use
Found in: Reading
Sandy L., Nebraska
Could someone address the use of the audio with TFMM? I know the students’ initial instructions for the song are supposed to come from the page, and that training is so well presented in the TTM. However, I can’t seem to find where to fit the audio in.
With playing-based songs–foundation levels–I encourage them to listen to the entire audio as soon as they get it and as often as they like, hearing songs before they learn them. They also play along with the audio. But with TFMM, should I restrict audio listening until they have learned the song, so that their ear is not involved in the process when they are initially sourcing from the page?
Along those same lines, should I not demonstrate the song in class before we learn it, unlike foundation where I generally do demonstrate the song first? I have one student who picks up songs so quickly just by watching the first demo! I felt so guilty one time when I made a mistake in the demo and she actually had to unlearn that mistake in her own practice, just from seeing me do it once.
Gordon Harvey, Australia
I mostly use the audio as a confirmation aid for students once they’ve learned the piece. Have they got the rhythm right? Are all the notes correct? They can check by listening to the audio. They may not need to for all pieces, but it’s nice to have it available when you see it’s necessary.
Also, playing along with the audio is still legitimate, because (for me at least) that’s done after the initial learning process is completed. In other words, the student has learned the ‘what to do’ and they are using the audio to help with the ‘how to do it’. The ‘what to do’ is about notes, fingering, hand co-ordination etc, which we have sourced from the page in the case of TFMM, but playing at the right tempo, evenly and expressively mostly happens after we’ve finished that stage. So the play-along function of the audio remains the same.
Obviously the audio is something you’ll use with some discretion. There will be some students who rely too much on their ear and skim over the reading. You should make sure those students are not using the audio until the piece is thoroughly learned from the page, if at all.
As for demonstrating a new piece in class, you might do that sometimes, especially in the case of more advanced pieces in the book. Play it once to give them a sense of the character of the song and get them motivated, and if there’s a difficult passage (such as the later sections of August), you can have a closer look at it in class – after all, don’t most teachers who teach reading-based methods do that all the time? If you have the sense that a student will struggle more than necessary with some segment, you might even have them listen to the audio a few times during practice.
On the other hand, for many pieces it’s great not to help them at all, and see what they come back with the following week. If they’ve got something wrong, no problem, address it in class and allow them if necessary to use the audio to help unlearn whatever they’ve gotten wrong.