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#1243867 - 08/05/09 10:04 AM Teaching fractions before teaching note values
toejamfutbol Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/04/09
Posts: 124
Loc: MI
I have several young students around the ages of six and seven. When I start to teach them the note values of quarters, halves, wholes, etc., most of them pick up on it without any problems. But lately I've had a few newer students who have issues remembering which notes get how many beats. I'm finding it difficult to explain since they don't even know fractions yet, or how to count money, which would make it a little easier since I could just say, "four quarters equal a dollar, just like four quarter notes equal one whole note," or something.

I found a little success in using the old standby pie method. The students love pretending that whole notes like to devour the WHOLE pie, whereas half notes only want two slices, and quarters don't like pie very much so they only eat one slice. When we get to rests, we are "resting" between the pie eating so we can save room for more.

This method seems to work okay but I was wondering if anyone else was having any issues with getting the basics stampted in little ones' memories. Any other suggestions or games?
_________________________
"Why should we be in such desperate haste to succeed, and in such desperate enterprises? If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured and far away." -Thoreau

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#1244065 - 08/05/09 01:57 PM Re: Teaching fractions before teaching note values [Re: toejamfutbol]
EDWARDIAN Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/16/09
Posts: 89
Loc: New York, USA
I love your pie imagery. I'll remember it when I have a student that needs it.

I've used - Hold the whole note longer - 4 beats - because it takes up the whole measure. Cut it in half (with the stem) and it's shorter. Color that in and it's even shorter, etc. as we go from note to note. The more ink, the shorter the note value.

For the half & whole rests, which can look exactly alike to a young student, I use - The whole rest has lots of energy (beats) so it can hang on the line to do chin-ups. The half rest has less energy (beats) so it needs to rest (sit) on the line.

Thanks again for the pie idea.

Joan
_________________________
Joan Edward

Private piano teacher, 20+ years
EDWARDIAN45@hotmail.com

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#1244195 - 08/05/09 05:43 PM Re: Teaching fractions before teaching note values [Re: EDWARDIAN]
Mrs.A Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/15/09
Posts: 155
I find teaching counting and finger numbers confusing for young students. Depending on the student, I teach -to count ½ notes 1-2, whole notes 1-2-3-4 and quarter 1,1,1,1 etc. I do this until finger numbers are well established. I don’t teach the fractions until time signatures are introduced.
_________________________
Piano Teacher.
Church Music Director.
Kindermusik Instructor.
Mom to four boys.


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#1244249 - 08/05/09 07:44 PM Re: Teaching fractions before teaching note values [Re: Mrs.A]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5834
Loc: Down Under
I use time-names for the little ones (Kodaly names, largely). I agree that fractions are confusing. Of course they would be - apart from the very concrete examples like pies, kids don't tend to do fractions mathematically until the age of 8,9,10, and for good reason.

As a matter of fact, and I think I've said this before, I think the whole fraction concept has enormous potential for confusion. Here down under we tend to use the English names (crotchet, quaver etc) and whereas you don't have that easy explanation for why the bottom number in 3/4 is actually 4, you also don't have those weird misunderstandings I have come across e.g. that a bar of 3/4 isn't a whole bar (a misunderstanding sometimes aided by calling it "three-quarter time"). (In other words, they think a time signature is a fraction)

I expect not many will agree with me on this smile but I'm ok with that. I avoid talking in mathematical terms for quite a long time, and I can do this because the names we use are not mathematical.
_________________________
Du holde Kunst...

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#1244305 - 08/05/09 09:05 PM Re: Teaching fractions before teaching note values [Re: EDWARDIAN]
toejamfutbol Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/04/09
Posts: 124
Loc: MI
Originally Posted By: EDWARDIAN
For the half & whole rests, which can look exactly alike to a young student, I use - The whole rest has lots of energy (beats) so it can hang on the line to do chin-ups. The half rest has less energy (beats) so it needs to rest (sit) on the line.

Thanks again for the pie idea.

Joan


The half and whole rests don't ever seem to be a problem, I just tell them that the WHOLE rests look like a HOLE in the ground, and the HALF rests look like little HATS. I've never had a student forget that after the first time they learned it, haha. But whether or not they actually remember how many beats each rest gets is another thing...

And no prob about the pie idea. It was kind of a spur of the moment idea that actually worked. smile
_________________________
"Why should we be in such desperate haste to succeed, and in such desperate enterprises? If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured and far away." -Thoreau

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#1244552 - 08/06/09 09:07 AM Re: Teaching fractions before teaching note values [Re: toejamfutbol]
Ebony and Ivory Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/14/05
Posts: 1179
Loc: Minnesota
I don't shy away from the fraction concept. For the littlest ones, we start with our hands.

Put your hand up, with all 4 fingers together (tuck thumb in back, toward palm). This is a whole note.
Push your 2nd and 3rd fingers apart (this is actually a lot of fun, because they usually can't do it and it ends up being a challenge for them to master). These are the half notes.
Spread all your fingers apart, those are quarter notes.

I use paper notes to place on their fingers so they can see the relationship of the fingers to the counting. (A big circle sits on the knuckle side of the fingers for the whole, smaller white circles with stems sit on 1st, 2nd and 3rd, 4th, and smallest black notes sit on each finger for quarter notes).

I hope that makes sense, it's hard to describe smile I find that anything they can see is more helpful than imagining it.

But the kids love it, and they get it.
Oh, and I use "hat" and "hole" too. I draw a stick man on the staff, he "walks" across the staff until he falls in.
_________________________
It is better to be kind than to be right.

Professional private piano teacher since 1994.

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#1244559 - 08/06/09 09:15 AM Re: Teaching fractions before teaching note values [Re: Ebony and Ivory]
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13706
Loc: Iowa City, IA
I never deal in fractions. Quarter notes get 1 beat, half notes get 2 beats, etc...

When students hit 4th-5th grade and study fractions (and operations with fractions), I enlighten them, and they're usually excited about the epiphany.

I hesitate to talk about fractions too much because all kinds of difficult questions come up. A half note is half of a whole note, but what is a whole note whole of? Not a whole measure - a whole measure is a dotted half in 3/4 time. Is a quarter note 1 quarter of a measure? Not always. And what do we really mean by a quarter of a whole note? 1/4 the time? Not always, because a staccato quarter note could be 1/10 the length of a tenuto whole note.

It's all a bit abstract, so I tend to let it go unless asked.
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

www.pianoped.com
www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed

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#1244563 - 08/06/09 09:23 AM Re: Teaching fractions before teaching note values [Re: Kreisler]
Ebony and Ivory Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/14/05
Posts: 1179
Loc: Minnesota
Originally Posted By: Kreisler
I never deal in fractions. Quarter notes get 1 beat, half notes get 2 beats, etc...

Oh no Kreisler! You're "one of them" ACK!!

No I'm just kidding, but I stay away from saying that simply because I have had too many transfer kids come in thinking at "quarter notes get one beat". Then we have to start over and explain how the quarter note relates to the rest of the notes, say in 6/8 time.

I know you teach them that later, but apparently some don't. wink
Wasn't there just a thread on this very thing not too long ago?
_________________________
It is better to be kind than to be right.

Professional private piano teacher since 1994.

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#1244763 - 08/06/09 01:16 PM Re: Teaching fractions before teaching note values [Re: Ebony and Ivory]
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13706
Loc: Iowa City, IA
6/8 is always a bit problematic.

When teachers say that the top note is the number of beats and the bottom note is the note that gets the beat, they get it wrong, too. 6/8 has two beats, and each beat is a dotted-quarter note.

I just tell students that the time signature tells you how many of what are in each measure. 4/4 = four quarter notes. 6/8 = six eighth notes. And after students have a good handle on 2/4, 3/4, and 4/4 time, I simply introduce 6/8 by rote and later explain that 6/8 is a little funny - we have two beats, but the beats are a little extra long, so instead of two quarter note beats, we put dots on them.

My students have an understanding that the "rules" in music are a little bit weird and don't always make sense.
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

www.pianoped.com
www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed

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#1244964 - 08/06/09 07:04 PM Re: Teaching fractions before teaching note values [Re: Kreisler]
musiclady Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/19/05
Posts: 431
Loc: Toronto, Canada
Some of my students like word cues for rhythms, though I often use unit counting (which BTW helps when you play/teach music with odd meters), one of them really likes the walk-running rhythms in the Faber 2A book. I used to use rhythm warmups with my beginning clarinet students when I first started teaching, we'd go through 2 or 3 rhythms a week and identify them in the pieces, and am considering doing that again. Though I initially learned through 1 e + a but have found some systems are helpful at certain times.

Meri
_________________________
Clarinet and Piano Teacher based out of Toronto, Canada.Web: http://donmillsmusicstudio.weebly.com

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#1244980 - 08/06/09 07:15 PM Re: Teaching fractions before teaching note values [Re: Kreisler]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5834
Loc: Down Under
Originally Posted By: Kreisler
And after students have a good handle on 2/4, 3/4, and 4/4 time, I simply introduce 6/8 by rote and later explain that 6/8 is a little funny - we have two beats, but the beats are a little extra long, so instead of two quarter note beats, we put dots on them.
That's pretty well how I introduce 6/8 too. I don't find the Kodaly time-names work quite so well for compound time, so I use little phrases for the commonly used patterns: humpty dumpty, tiddely pom, humpty pom, etc smile
_________________________
Du holde Kunst...

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#1244987 - 08/06/09 07:19 PM Re: Teaching fractions before teaching note values [Re: currawong]
jotur Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 5283
Loc: Santa Fe, NM
[quote=currawongso I use little phrases for the commonly used patterns: humpty dumpty, tiddely pom, humpty pom, etc smile [/quote]

We use "jiggety jiggety jiggety jig" for - jigs, in 6/8 smile

Cathy
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