Writing Rhythm and Graduated Levels of Difficulty
Carrie G., Arizona
I’m just diving in the Reading Rhythm Program, and I think it is no surprise that I have come to a bit of a problem understanding how to teach writing rhythms. It is no surprise since I’ve never written rhythms myself! I hope that it is understood that I am not questioning the presentation of the method, and am asking these questions in the spirit of understanding the process.
My questions/thoughts are:
- After the students have demonstrated that they have Masters Of Rhythm (MOR) (physically able to reproduce rhythms with ease, and automatically – receptive) we move onto beginning the writing process – generative.
- The next step presented on the video is to teach them how to write notes with a degree of informality (heads, stems then tails) and to begin processing that into the (Reference) Note Books.
- Then we move onto transcribing the rhythms … The next step is to have them verbally imitate rhythms and associate them with the concepts of groups of Singles, Doubles & Quads in small groups.
To me, associating the rhythm with the already established concept of S’s, D’s & Q’s seems to be a much easier step than the writing of these. And since it seems easier, then wouldn’t it be better to wait to teach writing the note heads until after they’ve already established a relationship with the letters S, D & Q?
I can understand that the reason we want them be writing notes as soon as possible, is so that we can establish a pattern of having regular writing projects. However, I wonder if students might just go off and try to write all these rhythms incorrectly and then get all confused. For instance, on the teacher training video, a “student” is asked to verbally imitate a rhythm and then is immediately asked to write it on the board. She does this with a certain amount of difficulty – probably much like I would. Is the way in which this is presented meant to be an illustration of the difference in our ease of being receptive as opposed to being generative, or is this how you would present this process to students? I am understanding it to be an illustration of the former.
I hope I am correct in assuming that, where my students are concerned, I would not jump from the physical replication of rhythms, to automatically asking them to generate, but rather, have them associate each rhythm with the letters S, D & Q BEFORE I teach them how to write notes.
Is this correct?
There are mechanics in the background of the method, that make up its architecture, and these I rarely talk about. But be rest assured, that I make sure that the learning process, whether it be the pieces themselves, the strategies involved, the acquisition and implementation of Base Tools etc., etc., are not designed to occur in graduated levels of difficulty. In fact it is specifically and deliberately designed to achieve the opposite of this.
Inherent in the architecture of the method, are the 6 components of Long-Term Relationships, (3 Qualities, 3 Quantities – Relationship Conversation), so that students can never avoid the experiential reality of being present to easier/harder, faster/slower, clear/unclear, problems/no problems etc., etc.
I realize that my response here is a brief and very partial answer to a very much larger conversation, but I want you to relate it to how much easier it is for students to learn Night Storm, as compared to Dreams Come True – this is by design.
As teachers, if you start subtle movements of the order of things, so that the method, unfolds in more graduated, progressively harder steps, then you actually begin dismantling the very framework and blue-print of the design components that you are not aware of, naturally, nor are the students. Even so, this is fundamental to contributing to one of the major reasons why the method is so successful.
The best thing to do….. is just stick to the Program. Discover how to find a mastery with what you’ve been given, and learn how to surrender to it.