Page 9 - 2018 June BMR
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Tuneful Teaching

            Cheryl Floyd, 2018 TBA Featured Clinician

              When our son Weston was 4 years  Row, Shark Song” (Jaws), and, yes,    Let’s face it. Young students are
            old, he started taking Suzuki piano  sometimes even the bass line to “Louie,  more likely to practice a tune than an
            lessons. This significant milestone  Louie!” To me this outcome became  exercise! Why? Its fun! They can relate
            had a tremendous impact on me and  more important than meticulously  to it. They can share it with others.
            recalibrated my approach to teaching  learning  expressionless  lines  from  a  In truth, familiar melodies are an
            our youngest students. You see, core  book or mastering the perfect Concert F.  integral part of the human experience.
            to the Suzuki philosophy is listening  In practice nearly all of                   They give us cultural
            to and learning familiar melodies,  this “tuneful learning”   At the convention,   identity and they are
            repetition, learning w/others and  took place before the   Cheryl will present     at the  epicenter  of
            parental engagement.              beginning book was          “Rehearsal           our musical comfort
              We  dutifully  listened  to  all  of  the  ever opened. Even   Strategies for    zone.
            “Twinkle”  variations,  “Go  Tell  Aunt  after instruction in the   the Young and the   A  beauty  of
            Rhody,” “French Song,” and so on in  book began, I found it   Restless” on         “tuneful  teaching”
            the car going to and from school each  beneficial to continue                      is the fact that you
            day. He then learned to play those same  some rote teaching.   July 26 at 1:30 p.m.   can put it in the
            pieces and many more on the piano. As   Let’s look at it   and “Picking Pieces     most   convenient,
            time went on we attended many studio  another  way.  Do  you   for Picky People” on    “user friendly” key
            recitals with the other Suzuki students  remember the first   July 27 at 1:30 p.m.   for each instrument.
            and Weston was always looking  tune you ever learned       She will also join      There is no need to
            forward to learning the next piece  on your instrument?   with Richard Floyd,      be  in  lock  step  with
            in the book! It was all about playing  I do! It was “Oats,    Frank Ticheli, and Dr.   everyone  playing
            songs and making music. The craft,  Peas, Beans, and Barley                        the   same   notes
            the technique, and the rhythms were  Grow.” It was in the    Tim Lautzenheiser     at the same time.
            simply an expectation for achieving  Silver Burdett Beginning    to present        Parallel fifths? No
            the ultimate goal and that goal being  Band Method. Why do     “Kindred Spirits” on   problem. Melodies in
            having fun and making music!      I remember? Thank       July 26 at 9:30 a.m.     3rds? Be my guest.
              Because of these early Suzuki  you to my teacher                                 Everyone is playing
            experiences I have come to believe  Vickie Cowles. She was a great singer,  a recognizable song. How cool is that!
            that it is both essential and priceless  an equally competent saxophone   There are other benefits that are
            for students to play familiar melodies  player and she made playing songs  only limited by your imagination and
            that their parents, siblings, and friends  fun. I also must confess that in 8th  creativity. I had a reluctant private
            recognize as soon as possible. Over  grade at Euless JH, my best friend  flute student who was struggling with
            time I concluded that it was important  and I wanted to drop choir. We loved  the top octave of the F concert scale.
            to me that when my students took their  band, but were no longer attracted to  It was always a challenge to get him
            instruments home for the first time that  the choir class. But, then one day we  to learn something. So, I taught him
            they could play several tunes by rote.  came to choir class and our teacher  to play “Snake Charmer” using third
            These needed to be songs that only use  passed out the Coca-Cola Song…you  octave D-E-F. He thought it was fun,
            3-5 notes. Some of the songs that have  know “I’d Like to Teach the World  he learned it and then could play the
            worked for me are: “Hot Cross Buns,”  to Sing”. Guess what? We stayed for  top octave of the F scare effortlessly.
            “Merrily We Roll Along,” “French Song,”   the rest of the year because we really  Through repetition of a melody, he
            “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” “Lightly  wanted to learn that song!       acquired the skill to be successful!

            Bandmasters Review • June 2018                    7                            Texas Bandmasters Association
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