Hilary Crawford Teaching

Let me tell you a ‘story’…

September 28, 2015, by Hilary, category News

I love teaching through stories, my diploma students
through to my beginner and preschool pupils will all have learnt some concepts or principle through a story…

“We see with the eyes, but we see with the brain as well.
Seeing with the brain is often called imagination.”
Dr Oliver Sacks, renowned neurologist and author.

my-first-tunesNow that we teach music from an aural perspective, the ‘sound before the symbol’, pupils’ imaginations, I find, are more receptive. They are used to listening to the music as they play it, rather than being so engrossed in just reading the notes, and much more open to exploring the various sounds and features which make music come alive.

Just this week a young pupil was playing “On the Swing” from Barbara Kirkby-Mason’s “My First Tunes”…the piece is in 3/4 time but needs a 1-in-a-bar pulse to effectively describe the swaying motion of the swing. In the lesson this was proving difficult, so a story was called for..we took our imaginations on a trip to the playground, we felt the dizzy sensation of being on a roundabout, the ‘whee’ of the slide and the swaying of the swing, back and forth and higher and higher…and it worked! When we returned to the music, no teaching was necessary as the music ‘swayed’ very effectively with 1 beat per bar…the story and using imagination had transformed the playing of the piece!

Stories for pre-schoolers…

itsy-bitsyFor Early Childhood Music teachers, stories are a staple part of the lesson, whether sung from a story book, or even better, composed by the teacher.

I really recommend the illustrated story books by Iza Trapani…these are often based on nursery stories, but with a difference…one of my favourites is Itsy Bitsy Spider, and I use it when introducing the concepts of high and low to preschoolers (up the spout, down the spout..)!

Making up your own preschool story is an equally effective tool, as you can then adapt it to the exact needs of your preschool lesson.

I keep a diverse set of felt characters to hand, for illustrations and story boards and I always use a very simple formula for the story..(main character, then some difficulty he encounters, then the resolution)..with a musical concept tucked in somewhere..animalswe will have a lot of fun exploring and composing these in the DipLCM ECM course!

So whether you teach preschoolers, piano beginners or older students, stories are a very effective learning and aural tool.

Have a great teaching month and, if you have had great success using stories in your teaching, do join the conversation on Facebook.

So, what do you think ?

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