Using Joanne Jones’ Tools and Strategies list
Found in: Playing-Based Methodology
Marilyn V., Iowa
Some time back, one of our colleagues [Joanne Jones] put together the attached list of simply music Tools and Strategies. It has become one of my most important tools as a simply music teacher. The list has been introduced to all of my current students and will be presented to new students as they begin their journey. It really is the “nuts and bolts” of LAWOL (Learning a Way of Learning). I have it in an acrylic holder and placed directly on top of my piano for constant referral as I am teaching.
Say you are planning to hang a picture on the wall….do you use your thumb to, unsuccessfully and painfully, attempt to press the nail in the wall? Of course not, you need the right tool to accomplish the task as quickly and efficiently as possible. The metaphor clearly states to students the importance of using the tools and strategies….it makes learning to play piano easier, more quickly understood and better retained. It’s a no brainer…why would a student be reluctant to speak their directions out loud if it makes playing piano easier? Why would they speed ahead or resist marking their playlist if they want to learn piano as quickly and with as much ease as possible? To me, the analogy of the hammer and the nail is such a vivid example of the foolishness of trying to complete a task without using the proper tool.
In presenting a new song, I deliberately use terms from the Tools and Strategies list while physically gesturing towards the list. I may ask a student to explain which T & S (everything needs an acronym, doesn’t it?) are used in a playlist song or have them recreate the visual cues on the whiteboard. I might ask what other songs use similar learning strategies. As students create compositions, I encourage them to consider which of the T&S they are using. Learning an arrangement is a great place to insert T& S as there is lots of cross pollination. I want the T& S to be prominent in their minds.
I’m thinking of purchasing a small home tool box and creating laminated cutouts of the various tools and strategies as a visual aid for my young students. Then I could have them draw out a “tool” from our musical “tool box” and describe how it is used, etc.
Many thanks to the colleague who created this list! I plan to add STP (single thought process) and MTP (multiple thought process) to the list. Are there others that you think of that would helpful as well?
Cheryl G., Pennsylvania
Here’s a few more, some of which are related to what’s already listed:
TOP MIDDLE BOTTOM
CHORD PROGRESSION (12 BAR BLUES) /HARMONY DIAGRAM
BLACK/WHITE (RELATED TO ORDER, SHAPE, VISUAL IMAGE)
MELODY DIAGRAM (ODE, SLEEPING)
HUMPTY DUMPTY RHYTHM
Joanne J., Australia
I am glad you are finding the list so helpful and putting it in a holder on top of the piano is such a great idea Marilyn – I am going to copy that idea!
I can’t believe that I didn’t have STP’s on the original list as it is always on my lips – just shows you how easy it is to for something to become so natural that we can forget to note it on such a list!! It is now on the top of the Strategies section – thank you!
With some amendments, following is the list for any new teachers who might like it and looking forward to any new suggestions that might be made – as I suggested originally this is a work in progress and there will always be ways to improve on it. I think it is important to keep it as concise/short as possible, if it is too big, it becomes unwieldy and seem like too much effort to take on board. I have also blocked some into another colour – this signifies that they appear after level 3. I believe this helps to make it look easier to use ie only having to know the black ones at first.
TOOLS AND STRATEGIES:
SPEAKING DIRECTIONS OUT LOUD – UP/DOWN/STAY/M to T etc
5/5 FOR FINGERING
FRAGMENTING – PROCESSING TINY SECTIONS & ADDING ON
MOVING UP OR DOWN SCALE
‘PAINTING A PICTURE/S’ WITH EACH PIECE
STRATEGIES (How to Apply the ‘Tools’)
SINGLE THOUGHT PROCESS – STP
MULTI SENSORY LAYERING
SAYING INSTRUCTIONS TO SELF LOUDLY – POWER OF SPOKEN WORD
CONTROLLING THE EVENTS – CTE
PULLING BACK ONTO ‘DESK TOP’
PROGRESSING IN MICRO STEPS
IDENTIFY BASIC RHYTHM: COUNT UP TO ___ USING ___
IDENTIFY KEY SIGNATURE
ORDER OF b’s – BEAD
#’s – FCGD
IDENTIFY WHAT IS THE SAME – RHYTHM/NOTES