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Old 05-14-2016, 12:35 PM   #1
grant.harbison
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Default Teaching music basics to adults

Hey folks-- I'm pipe major of a street band in which a lot of the pipe corps do not have any formalized musical education. I, on the other hand, have a significant amount of musical education. However, as many of us know, musical proficiency is absolutely no guarantee of teaching skill. I often find myself unable to explain musical concepts effectively and was considering purchasing some music textbooks to assist me in this task. Any suggestions?
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Old 05-14-2016, 02:01 PM   #2
el gaitero
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Default Re: Teaching music basics to adults

Small nibbles over time add up to big bites. Assuming you and the cadre understand it's a longtime process and none are overnight phenoms...they need to get with it do their homework,practice ' perfectly' regularly....get goods grades...yada yada....just llike parents and pipeys always tell their kids.,

For starters... I make sure all have and understand the notes chart of values found in so many tutors....something I talk about often....and after a while students start parroting back.
For youngsters I liken note values to money ... $1 = a whole note, ...obviously then $.50 is a half note... Two $.25 quarters = a half... or two 1/8ths = a quarter....etc...you get the idea. So will they. For adults I might use a carpenters ruler as the analogy...1" = a whole note ...etc. Right down to 1/32nds. ( for money you'll have to explain it a bit more to kids...ie. no 12-1/2 cent coins I'm aware of.)

I won't mention,inter alia,the obvious overarching requirement to be shown over and over how to play every embellishment slowly and properly.....thats up to the PM.
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Old 05-16-2016, 07:02 AM   #3
oldsoldier
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Default Re: Teaching music basics to adults

As a student, with no musical background prior to piping, which started at age 37, I can attest that, at least for me, its STILL a struggle. Although I understand the concept, and can read notation fairly well, I still have issues with the time signatures. Unless I hear the tune, I usually cannot work it out. This is one thing I have struggled with for several years now. Although, I am now putting an honest effort into it, so, we will see. I think, sometimes, you simply come across students like me-we have a difficult time making sense of the timing. I have always done poorly in math, and think that may have something to do with it. Its not that I am deficient in a learning capacity at all-math was just never interesting to me, when I was young. So, I never cared about it. Now, I do-and am trying to apply it to life in general, and music in particular.
Anyway, thought I would offer that from a student perspective. Sometimes, its just the student
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Old 05-16-2016, 07:44 AM   #4
David
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Default Re: Teaching music basics to adults

Time sigs are best taught by playing tunes to illustrate the bounce and the swing. I use my whole body to teach rhythm and time sigs organically. Then I get the student to sing the tune. Time sigs are dead-simple if taught this way.Or using any other great methods.

Adults sometimes overthink what is organic and inherent. A piper's job is to get an audience tapping, clapping or weeping.

Adults are often inhibited about singing tunes and using the body as a rhythm aid.

Critically important for adults to stsy awsy from bands with poor teaching and support. Many would be shocked to hear a recording of what they really play on the march. Perfecting a small, feasible repertoire with classic tunes to illustrate all common time s first. Band later--if it nurtures adult playets decently.

Last edited by David; 05-16-2016 at 07:48 AM.
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Old 05-16-2016, 10:46 AM   #5
Tom MacKenzie
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Default Re: Teaching music basics to adults

youtube.com
e.g. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xsnR9AoSPTA

wikipedia.com
e.g. http://www.wikihow.com/Read-Music

are excellent resources for those that want to learn how to read music.

tomm
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Old 05-16-2016, 01:02 PM   #6
will granger
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Default Re: Teaching music basics to adults

Quote:
Originally Posted by oldsoldier View Post
As a student, with no musical background prior to piping, which started at age 37, I can attest that, at least for me, its STILL a struggle. Although I understand the concept, and can read notation fairly well, I still have issues with the time signatures. Unless I hear the tune, I usually cannot work it out. This is one thing I have struggled with for several years now. Although, I am now putting an honest effort into it, so, we will see. I think, sometimes, you simply come across students like me-we have a difficult time making sense of the timing. I have always done poorly in math, and think that may have something to do with it. Its not that I am deficient in a learning capacity at all-math was just never interesting to me, when I was young. So, I never cared about it. Now, I do-and am trying to apply it to life in general, and music in particular.
Anyway, thought I would offer that from a student perspective. Sometimes, its just the student
Your story sounds exactly like mine, but I started at age 50! I am slowly getting better, time signatures are beyond me until I hear the tune played. My instructor helps debut telling me which notes to cut and which ones to hold. That seems to click somewhere in my brain.
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Old 05-17-2016, 08:19 AM   #7
3D Piper
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Default Re: Teaching music basics to adults

I mostly teach kids but this method works well for anyone.
If you are mostly talking about teaching rhythms, I teach kids the 'pie' method. This is just to learn simple melody rhythms with no gracenotes or embelshments.
You sing and/or clap (adults don't sing) each syllable for each note or groupings to better understand their rhythm.

A quarter note to a whole note is a ' pie' (just say 'piiiiiiiieeee' longer for half and whole notes).

For duple time single beat divisions:
Two eighth notes are "ap-ple" (even)
A dotted eighth and sixteenth are "pump-kin" (longer "pump", shorter "kin")
A sixteenth and dotted eighth are "le-mon" (shorter 'le', longer 'mon')
A triplet is "blue-ber-ry" (all even over one beat)
Four sixteenths is "huck-le-ber-ry" (all even over one beat)
An eighth and two sixteenths is "straw-ber-ry" (longer 'straw', even 'ber-ry')
Two sixteenths and an eighth is "cho-co-late" (even 'cho-co', longer 'late')
etc.

I color the notes to match if needed (red for ap-ple, yellow for le-mon, etc).

Sometimes I let them come up with their own vocals.

I've had good luck with it, kids seem to have fun with it. If I put down new music they have never seen before, they can quickly decipher the melody rhythm.


-Matthew
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Old 05-20-2016, 09:18 AM   #8
grant.harbison
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Default Re: Teaching music basics to adults

Thanks everyone. I appreciate the viewpoints from teachers and students alike.
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Old 05-20-2016, 11:43 AM   #9
John Blunt
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Default Re: Teaching music basics to adults

I learned to read music in fifth grade (approx. age 11) in elementary school band. It has really helped when I started the pipes in my late 40's. Once the language and math of music is explained, the only choice from then on is to use the skills developed and not just hope that it (the skills) will come. Like any foreign language, if you don't use it, you lose it. Our instrument has many idiosyncratic challenges (I will mention embellishments), but the solid beat in marches and the actual physical act of marching can be a real help. Notes, dots & cuts, rhythms, etc., are all part of the learning to 'speak' the language of music. Memory aids (like the 'blueberry, strawberry, chocolate' vocables listed above <very clever>) can help to cement the skills into your head and hands. So long as we don't include piobaireachd.

JMB
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Old 05-24-2016, 09:28 AM   #10
piper Q
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Default Re: Teaching music basics to adults

One aspect that I've seen some students confuse is the differences between Tempo and Time.

We've moved through a few sessions where I would play the same tune at differing tempos. One student then grasped the notion fairly quickly.
He also noted how the change of tempo also changed the feel of the tune he was listening to.


Amazing Grace at a fast tempo as a party tune anyone? Or at a very slow tempo almost as a dirge? Arrrghhh.
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