Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 2 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

SEARCH
the Forums & Piano World

This custom search works much better than the built in one and allows searching older posts.
(ad 125) Sweetwater - Digital Keyboards & Other Gear
Digital Pianos at Sweetwater
(ad) Pianoteq
Latest Pianoteq add-on instrument: U4 upright piano
(ad) Pearl River
Pearl River Pianos
(ad) P B Guide
Acoustic & Digital Piano Guide
PianoSupplies.com (150)
Piano Accessories Music Related Gifts Piano Tuning Equipment Piano Moving Equipment
We now offer Gift Certificates in our online store!
(ad) Estonia Piano
Estonia Piano
Quick Links to Useful Stuff
Our Classified Ads
Find Piano Professionals-

*Piano Dealers - Piano Stores
*Piano Tuners
*Piano Teachers
*Piano Movers
*Piano Restorations
*Piano Manufacturers
*Organs

Quick Links:
*Advertise On Piano World
*Free Piano Newsletter
*Online Piano Recitals
*Piano Recitals Index
*Piano Accessories
* Buying a Piano
*Buying A Acoustic Piano
*Buying a Digital Piano
*Pianos for Sale
*Sell Your Piano
*How Old is My Piano?
*Piano Books
*Piano Art, Pictures, & Posters
*Directory/Site Map
*Contest
*Links
*Virtual Piano
*Music Word Search
*Piano Screen Saver
*Piano Videos
*Virtual Piano Chords
Page 1 of 4 1 2 3 4 >
Topic Options
#1430396 - 05/05/10 11:19 PM How much rote-teaching do you do?
NWL Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 83
One of the most alarming experiences with a student occurred recently, when I asked a student to sing back to me the melody she had just played. Usually we have a great time in lessons singing along, sometimes even making up funny lyrics to go along with the pieces, and she is never embarrassed to use her voice to sing in front of me. However, this time when I asked her to sing the melody she looked at me in absolute confusion--she had not heard the notes she had played, and had no idea even how to start singing this music.

This got me thinking.

So many students play with jerky rhythm, with uncorrected mistakes, or even pausing to scratch behind the ear at the most musically inopportune time. I have a hunch that many of my little ones NEVER hear what they are playing until they have the piece learned well enough to take their eyes off the score.

So I started teaching beginners by rote.

This was a big NO-NO in my college pedagogy course, but I've been teaching for ten years now, and decided to trust my instinct. Long story short--these students have made huge progress: they play with better posture, they play with better hand shape and coordinated arm movement, they play more musically, and they like it more. It's true, they can't recognize landmark G or F in isolation, but they CAN use the printed page as a sort of map for the music, seeing easily the direction and interval of the melodic motion. I think this sets a good foundation for teaching note-reading in its own way...

But I'm curious what you all think. How much teaching do you do by ear? It seems to me that many youngsters get started by watching older siblings play--Mozart is a good historical example--but I've also been told so many times NEVER to teach by rote, that it is crippling to the student's progress, etc. Looking forward to your responses!

Top
(ad) My Music Staff
Check out the new way to manage your music studio
#1430403 - 05/06/10 12:00 AM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: NWL]
Crayola Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/23/09
Posts: 299
Loc: Chicago, IL
I think it's a great idea! I myself learned by rote and that's what made me a pianist today. I don't think I would have ever learned well, had my teacher only used printed notes on a page.

Although I teach all my students to read from the beginning, we do a lot of exercises and imitations by rote. My main purpose is to develop technique such as arm/wrist motions, build coordination, and experience a variety of articulation right from the beginning. I usually don't teach repertoire by rote, although I do have some special needs students who learn best that way.

The only people who are against students learning by rote seem to be teachers who are frustrated by transfer students who can't read

As long as you are teaching them how to read along side with playing by ear, you're actually going to do them a great service.
_________________________
Independent Piano Teacher, NCTM
Member of MTNA and ISMTA

Top
#1430443 - 05/06/10 02:33 AM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: Crayola]
Elissa Milne Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/10
Posts: 1337
Loc: Sydney, NSW, Australia
Rote learning is the big undiscovered (or maybe it's an open) secret to learning to play the piano well - kids concentrate on what they are doing and the sounds they are making rather than being obsessed with being 'right' or naming the notes.

I'm really big on kids reading, but if the student can't play in flow then the reading is completely beside the point...... Rote learning is appropriate with all kinds of music, and it's only the music that is designed to teach reading that should be worked primarily from the page...... HERESY!!!
_________________________
Teacher, Composer, Writer, Speaker
Working with Hal Leonard, Alfred, Faber, and Australian Music Examination Board
Music in syllabuses by ABRSM, AMEB, Trinity Guildhall, ANZCA, NZMEB, and more
www.elissamilne.wordpress.com

Top
#1430470 - 05/06/10 05:54 AM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: Elissa Milne]
danshure Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/29/10
Posts: 347
Loc: Massachusetts
I agree (sometimes!). I usually use rote playing with kids that have a LOT of trouble following the notes, either because of learning style, skill, or just where their head is at on a given day. But I don't find that it's exclusively the best way to teach. Some of my students do much better with the music.

In the first few months of lessons I do a lot of copying games without any music or songs at all. I incorporate quite a bit of improv too, which really helps their movements.
_________________________
Go here ---> Piano Teaching Blog

Top
#1430501 - 05/06/10 08:59 AM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: danshure]
Phlebas Offline


Registered: 01/02/03
Posts: 4654
Loc: New York City
It would be interesting to hear how some teachers go about teaching a piece by rote - i.e. what is the procedure you use.

Top
#1430503 - 05/06/10 09:06 AM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: Phlebas]
Lollipop Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/09
Posts: 820
Loc: Georgia
Yes, I'm interested, too. I have a student who has a great ear, and who would prefer to learn by rote, but I generally insist he read the music. My fear is turning him into a trained monkey, who can imitate anything, but can't read notes or rhythms on his own.

The exception is if he is having trouble with a specific passage - namely rhythmic. (He has a great ear; no sense of rhythm. I have another student with a natural sense of rhythm, and no ear. If only I could merge them!) I also teach him certain fingerings (such as scales, chromatic scale, etc) by watching me, rather than trying to read it.

I'd love to hear more details on where you would use rote, and where you wouldn't.
_________________________
piano teacher

Top
#1430527 - 05/06/10 09:46 AM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: Lollipop]
danshure Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/29/10
Posts: 347
Loc: Massachusetts
In one instance I used rote with a 9 year old who, after a few minutes of trying a new song with the book, I could see we were beating a dead horse.

I took the book away, told him we were going to play a copying game (he didn't know I was just showing him the song he had been trying to learn, which lessened any frustration). I demonstrated it to him 2 measures at a time, having him repeat me a few times until I could tell he was comfortable with each part. He's allowed to watch me and listen. Then we assembled it 4 measures and then 8 measures, so he was playing correct notes, rhythm, articulation and dynamics all by memory.

It was a 16 measure song, but I only taught him 8 bars by rote. I pulled the book back in for the last 8 bars and he read them almost instantly, with no problems like before. He even seemed to enjoy the song, asking if he could try it a few more times.
_________________________
Go here ---> Piano Teaching Blog

Top
#1430642 - 05/06/10 01:02 PM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: danshure]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5418
Loc: Orange County, CA
I use very little rote teaching, and usually only at the beginning of method books. I want my students to read music off the page as soon as possible.

I am not against teaching by rote or "by ear," but I am against not teaching note reading. In order for students to play pieces well in the future, they must become fluent note readers. Just like reading English or any other languages in print--it is a skill that must be taught and developed to a certain fluency.

I've seen students who are the product of the "learn piano by rote" school. Their note-reading ability is 4 or 5 levels below the pieces they are being taught. I think that's the reason why many teachers avoid teaching by rote: You end up with students who play difficult music, but can't read music if their life depended on it.

Taking the analogy to languages one step further: You can teach a young child to memorize a poem by rote. But if the child never learns to sound out individual words (i.e., read), the child will never be able to read anything else.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

Top
#1430657 - 05/06/10 01:20 PM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: AZNpiano]
Smallpiano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/14/10
Posts: 270
Loc: California
I am very agree with AZN.
I teach student to read music on the first day of lesson.
I play along with them, so, they are using their "ears" too when using their "eyes" to read the music notes on the page.
At the end of the attempting a new piece, I usually play one time for them so that they know how the pieces sound like. So, that solve the problem that NWL stated:

Quote:
[/quote]I have a hunch that many of my little ones NEVER hear what they are playing until they have the piece learned well enough to take their eyes off the score.[quote]


10% of the time, I use rote too, only at certain part of the music that seems difficult to the students. For the rhythm part, if student cannot get it by reading, then they cannot get it. It doesn't matter how much I push them into reading rhythm. That is why I usually teach rhythm by rote and ask them to repeat after my clapping.
_________________________
English is my 4th languages, please excuse my grammar. Thanks

Top
#1430740 - 05/06/10 02:40 PM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: NWL]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3151
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: NWL


I have a hunch that many of my little ones NEVER hear what they are playing until they have the piece learned well enough to take their eyes off the score.

So I started teaching beginners by rote.


I think you're right. You have to learn to listen to yourself; I think it is the single biggest milestone in learning to play a brass instrument. Until you hear yourself you can't make the necessary adjustments.

Until you pointed it out I hadn't considered how much concentration being diluted hurts the hearing. Like driving when talking on the cell phone - you simply can't be as attentive, even hands free.

Sounds like maybe you've removed some "CPU overhead" and let them focus on what they need to. Very innovative!
_________________________
gotta go practice

Top
#1431265 - 05/07/10 06:21 AM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: Phlebas]
RonO Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/01/10
Posts: 115
Loc: New Zealand
Originally Posted By: Phlebas
It would be interesting to hear how some teachers go about teaching a piece by rote - i.e. what is the procedure you use.


I have been waiting for a response to this question as I also would like an answer.

Does the teacher and the student keep changing places on the bench? Does the teacher lean over in front of the student? Does the teacher play in a different octave? Do you use 2 pianos? Or what?

Ron
_________________________
Now I Love Music Practice

Top
#1431273 - 05/07/10 06:57 AM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: danshure]
danshure Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/29/10
Posts: 347
Loc: Massachusetts
Originally Posted By: RonO

I have been waiting for a response to this question as I also would like an answer.

Does the teacher and the student keep changing places on the bench? Does the teacher lean over in front of the student? Does the teacher play in a different octave? Do you use 2 pianos? Or what?


I thought I answered that above with...

Originally Posted By: danshure
In one instance I used rote with a 9 year old who, after a few minutes of trying a new song with the book, I could see we were beating a dead horse.

I took the book away, told him we were going to play a copying game (he didn't know I was just showing him the song he had been trying to learn, which lessened any frustration). I demonstrated it to him 2 measures at a time, having him repeat me a few times until I could tell he was comfortable with each part. He's allowed to watch me and listen. Then we assembled it 4 measures and then 8 measures, so he was playing correct notes, rhythm, articulation and dynamics all by memory.

It was a 16 measure song, but I only taught him 8 bars by rote. I pulled the book back in for the last 8 bars and he read them almost instantly, with no problems like before. He even seemed to enjoy the song, asking if he could try it a few more times.


But to further answer your more specific questions...

When I incorporate rote teaching, the student usually stays at the bench. I'll play the notes in the correct octave, reaching in from the side so the student can see fingerings and watch my basic movement. I do not use two pianos.
_________________________
Go here ---> Piano Teaching Blog

Top
#1431317 - 05/07/10 09:25 AM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: danshure]
Elissa Milne Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/10
Posts: 1337
Loc: Sydney, NSW, Australia
Or, a different approach, and maybe not strictly teaching by 'rote' but certainly not teaching from the page....

There's a piece of mine where the left hand plays the three black notes F sharp, G sharp and A sharp, while the right hand plays only the white notes B, D and F. When I teach this piece we do a lot of work first playing these two hand positions ascending - that's the only direction the right hand goes in the piece. We try it all the way from the bottom of the piano to the top.

Only then do we look at the page and, while there is some reading to do at this point, the student is completely confident of their notes in every register across the keyboard.

Another example would be where the same rhythm occurs throughout a piece. Before the book is ever opened the student learns to clap that rhythm, drum the rhythm, then play it in a variety of ways pertinent to the piece on the keyboard. Only once the gesture has been mastered is the music introduced.

Another time when 'rote' learning is useful is when 'reading' scores that are terribly modern in their layout. By breaking it down into what one actually needs to physically do - for example, 'play this note, then that one, then play those same notes again really quickly but very softly' (that kind of verbal description of what might look like complicated score-based instructions) - one quickly memorises the physical actions as actions, not notations, and can move straight into 'performing' rather than 'reading' the music.

The term 'rote' implies repetition, learning by copying without understanding.... But in the case of learning to play a musical instrument learning without a score when appropriate to the repertoire can produce brilliant performances while actually enhancing reading and enthusiasm for learning to read better.
_________________________
Teacher, Composer, Writer, Speaker
Working with Hal Leonard, Alfred, Faber, and Australian Music Examination Board
Music in syllabuses by ABRSM, AMEB, Trinity Guildhall, ANZCA, NZMEB, and more
www.elissamilne.wordpress.com

Top
#1431392 - 05/07/10 11:01 AM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: Elissa Milne]
NWL Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 83
How interesting to hear all of your explorations on the topic. I enjoyed reading all of your posts. Danshure's experience with teaching part of a piece by ear and allowing the student to learn the rest from the page is particularly interesting--it's as if a little bit of aural awareness unlocked the whole piece for the student. I will try this approach, it seems like a fabulous way to integrate "by ear" and "by eye" learning.

AZNPiano's comparison to language is apt--but I might be tempted to carry the analogy in a different direction. Just as we spend the first several years of speaking in our mother-tongue without reading a word, it might not hurt to delay the introduction of reading similarly in the study of music. Some students that read from the page sound as if they are reading a language they don't understand. Couldn't it help even more to teach all students the "language" of music before teaching them its notation? Perhaps we're not just "readers" of music but rather "actors" thereof--we need to understand the monologue before we can deliver it...

Thanks for the feedback. I too would be interested in the various ways many of you teach by ear.

Top
#1431719 - 05/07/10 06:33 PM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: danshure]
chasingrainbows Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/19/06
Posts: 1019
Loc: NJ
Originally Posted By: danshure
In one instance I used rote with a 9 year old who, after a few minutes of trying a new song with the book, I could see we were beating a dead horse.

I took the book away, told him we were going to play a copying game (he didn't know I was just showing him the song he had been trying to learn, which lessened any frustration). I demonstrated it to him 2 measures at a time, having him repeat me a few times until I could tell he was comfortable with each part. He's allowed to watch me and listen. Then we assembled it 4 measures and then 8 measures, so he was playing correct notes, rhythm, articulation and dynamics all by memory.

It was a 16 measure song, but I only taught him 8 bars by rote. I pulled the book back in for the last 8 bars and he read them almost instantly, with no problems like before. He even seemed to enjoy the song, asking if he could try it a few more times.


I used that same strategy for my 6 year old who is playing a Primer peice for a recital in two weeks. I picked the piece b/c he played it well. It has totally collapsed with each week approaching the recital. He can't get his left hand to come in on time, is holding notes too long, is reading wrong notes--none of which he did weeks ago. So I took the book away and just played the first measure and asked him to copy me, until I had played most of the piece for him that way, measure by measure. He played it correctly when the book went back up. I am going to use this more often with him. I generally have my young ones tap the rhythm, saying finger numbers, note names, counting, etc., as needed, before we attempt to play a new piece.

Top
#1431856 - 05/07/10 10:09 PM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: chasingrainbows]
Brinestone Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/06/10
Posts: 350
My students usually have at least one song they're learning by rote or by ear, or a combination of both (whereas they're usually learning five to eight by reading). I agree that reading is an essential skill for musicians to learn as well, but if I can teach my students to be able to pick out a melody by ear and put chords to it themselves, how much enjoyment will that bring to them and those around them? I know that most of my students will not go on to become serious musicians. Many will not last until high school. But that skill could stay with them.

I start off by teaching beginners a song section by section. As my students get more advanced, I start asking them to see if they can figure out what comes next. As they start to master picking out the melody, I teach chord theory and help them "play" with chords to find out what sounds right. I've played the melody before and instructed them to put the chords to it.

As for how I do it, as long as I know a song, I can play it without much trouble, at least the melody and often the chords too. So I play a group of notes an octave or two higher, and wait for the student to play it. If they get it right, we play it together. If not, I demonstrate again and point out where they missed. Then they try again. I usually make them do it a few times before adding on, and always instruct them to play it again immediately when they get home so they don't forget it. I usually do the rote portion of the lesson, if I do it at all on a given day, at the very end so they can do that.

The benefits are increased dexterity—kids can often play harder songs than they can read, so they practice moving their hands and using all their fingers early on—a greater sense of fun with music, and even better sight-reading skills because they use their ears in tandem with their eyes and brains.

I do have one student who has perfect pitch and can pick up pretty much anything by ear, given enough motivation. His reading skills are poor; he transferred to me hardly reading at all but able to play early intermediate stuff he'd picked up by ear from the Beatles and movies and stuff. As far as I know, no one taught him to do this, and his previous teacher didn't know he had perfect pitch, or never told him she knew.

I sometimes wonder if I'm doing the right thing with him, but I devote some time at every one of his lessons to teaching chord theory and to listening to whatever he's learned by ear that week. My opinion is that he is far more likely to become a member of a band, writing his own music or learning to play what the band's songwriter brings to their practices, than he is to become a concert pianist. He's very rock 'n' roll in personality and taste, and he's also taking percussion lessons and learning guitar from his grandpa.

Even if I utterly fail in teaching him to read music well, if I prepare him for that life and he goes in that direction, I'll feel like I succeeded. I hope to teach him both sets of skills, though, so he can be versatile.
_________________________
Piano teacher since 2008, member of NFMC

Top
#1431946 - 05/08/10 01:04 AM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: NWL]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4741
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: NWL
I have a hunch that many of my little ones NEVER hear what they are playing until they have the piece learned well enough to take their eyes off the score.

Question: what makes you assume that it is memory that causes people, even young ones, to hear what they are playing?

I see two independent things here. If I am working with an advanced students, I will immediately detect wrong notes, as they are playing, in things I could not begin to play from memory.

On the other hand, I'm absolutely sure there are people who play from memory very accurately who can't do what I do.

Playing brass, by the way, developed my awareness of pitch, not the piano. I'm a great believer in a second instrument or singing as a way to develop the ear.

I'm not sure what you mean by "rote".
_________________________
Piano Teacher

Top
#1432198 - 05/08/10 12:21 PM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: TimR]
Pogorelich. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 4526
Loc: in the past
I think before kids even START to learn reading, you need to teach them by ear. They need to learn solfege, need to be able to recognize I from V when you sing it to them. It makes everything so much better. And lots of exercises, like you sing something, and they sing it back. And when they start learning how to read, every time they get a new piece, start them off with making them sing it first. So THEY sing it - it works both ways, reading-wise and ear-wise.

I think it's true that people with better ears (people who can hear more things, or who have a very critical ear) end up being much better musicians.

If you just start them off as clunking keys on the piano, it's meaningless and, like you said, they can't really hear much.
_________________________

'I want to invest my emotions only in music; it will never disappoint me or hurt me - it is a safe place to be.'

Top
#1432201 - 05/08/10 12:25 PM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: Gary D.]
landorrano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2457
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: Gary D.

I'm not sure what you mean by "rote".


Me too.

Top
#1432235 - 05/08/10 01:14 PM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: landorrano]
Minniemay Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/09
Posts: 1702
Loc: CA
Rote means teaching by ear and by imitation. No printed page.

I teach many things by rote. With beginning students (when they're ready), I will have them make their own map of the rote piece. It's really interesting to see what images they come up with.

I always teach technique by demonstration. I want complete awareness of the body and sound relationship.


Edited by Minniemay (05/08/10 01:16 PM)
_________________________
B.A., Piano, Piano Pegagogy, Music Ed.
M.M., Piano

Top
#1432315 - 05/08/10 03:04 PM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: Minniemay]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4741
Loc: South Florida
I never teach by rote. smile
_________________________
Piano Teacher

Top
#1432328 - 05/08/10 03:18 PM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: Gary D.]
Copake Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/27/08
Posts: 255
Loc: Columbia/Westchester Counties ...
I am not a piano teacher and I have no opinion on whether rote learning is good or bad. This thread simply reminded me of my very first piano lessons nearly sixty years ago.

I started taking piano lessons with a nun at a convent in our neighborhood. We didn't use music at first. All of the pieces were played on the black keys, not the white keys. My teacher would play a phrase on the piano and I would imitate what she played until I had it securely in memory. Then she proceeded to the next phrase. I would learn one or two pieces in this fashion and then go home to practice them until the next lesson.

After a few weeks in this manner I started learning to read sheet music (John Schaum and John Thompson courses).

Top
#1432354 - 05/08/10 03:52 PM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: Gary D.]
Pogorelich. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 4526
Loc: in the past
Originally Posted By: Gary D.
I never teach by rote. smile



You seem really happy about that.. how come?

I find that this method works best with kids.
_________________________

'I want to invest my emotions only in music; it will never disappoint me or hurt me - it is a safe place to be.'

Top
#1432373 - 05/08/10 04:10 PM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: Pogorelich.]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4741
Loc: South Florida
Every minute spent on rote, for me, is minute taken away from reading music, which is my focus.

But that's just *me*.
_________________________
Piano Teacher

Top
#1432378 - 05/08/10 04:15 PM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: Gary D.]
Pogorelich. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 4526
Loc: in the past
Yeah but don't you think reading and ear training should go hand in hand?
_________________________

'I want to invest my emotions only in music; it will never disappoint me or hurt me - it is a safe place to be.'

Top
#1432390 - 05/08/10 04:25 PM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: Pogorelich.]
Minniemay Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/09
Posts: 1702
Loc: CA
I sure do. Students need to be able to relate the ear/eye/hand. All of the pedagogy instruction I received supported this. Concepts must be established first in the ear, then the body, and then the eye. It is a very logical, solid progression.

Getting things in the ear establishes a frame of reference.
_________________________
B.A., Piano, Piano Pegagogy, Music Ed.
M.M., Piano

Top
#1432501 - 05/08/10 06:49 PM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: Minniemay]
NWL Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 83
Gary D., I suspect I was unclear. When the young student was unable to sing back what she had just played (accurately reading the score) she was STILL LOOKING AT THE MUSIC, which is what made it so alarming--without the help of the keyboard, she could not hear the music.

By rote, I mean by ear--we talk about steps and skips, up and down. We memorize. I do NOT mean that the student plays without understanding--to the contrary, we identify patterns and sequences when learning by ear that might escape notice when playing from the page.

The surprise for which I was totally unprepared was that some students actually started reading BETTER after learning a few pieces by ear...

By the way, I've only tried this approach with elementary level students so far.

Top
#1432627 - 05/08/10 10:10 PM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: Pogorelich.]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4741
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: AngelinaPogorelich
Yeah but don't you think reading and ear training should go hand in hand?

Yes, I do, but I don't have any magic bullet to make it happen. The development of the "ability to hear" remains a mystery to me. I had absolutely no training. I simply played, but I heard whole symphonies in my head before I took my first lesson. In fact, lessons were started for me late (age 8) because we had no piano. It was my attempt to sing things, to demonstrate what I had in my brain already, and my accurate pitch that finally got me lessons. Playing brass, starting at about age 11, gave me an incredible framework for what I apparently always had. For ear training, I would prefer my good students to get involved in choirs, orchestra and so on.

But please understand that I am telling you my personal experience. I'm very good at teaching people to read, and I taught brass very successfully for many years. I know that brass players absolutely *have* to develop an incredibly accurate pitch sense, because our lips do most of the work. Our fingers do almost nothing. If you can't hear a pitch you are about to play, in your head, you will miss it. This, by the way, is why you will hear more "clams" from French horn than any other instrument in the best of orchestras.

On the other hand, it should be possible for some people to be very accurate at the piano, even play musically, but not develop the ear very well *only* playing the piano.

My problem is time. I have so little. I go for reading first, and try to work as much of everything else as possible into the works, given the opportunity.
_________________________
Piano Teacher

Top
#1432683 - 05/09/10 12:02 AM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: NWL]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4741
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: NWL
Gary D., I suspect I was unclear. When the young student was unable to sing back what she had just played (accurately reading the score) she was STILL LOOKING AT THE MUSIC, which is what made it so alarming--without the help of the keyboard, she could not hear the music.

As I said elsewhere, how people learn to hear continues to baffle me.
Quote:

By rote, I mean by ear--we talk about steps and skips, up and down. We memorize. I do NOT mean that the student plays without understanding--to the contrary, we identify patterns and sequences when learning by ear that might escape notice when playing from the page.

Whatever way you accomplish getting your students to hear sounds good to me. smile
Quote:

The surprise for which I was totally unprepared was that some students actually started reading BETTER after learning a few pieces by ear...

By the way, I've only tried this approach with elementary level students so far.

To be honest, everything about how children learn remains a mystery to me. I go strictly on feel, meaning that I use what works for me and trust it without being able to explain to anyone else exactly what I do. So if what you are doing is working, I'd just trust it and go with it! wink
_________________________
Piano Teacher

Top
#1432777 - 05/09/10 04:26 AM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: NWL]
landorrano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2457
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: NWL
Gary D., I suspect I was unclear. When the young student was unable to sing back what she had just played (accurately reading the score) she was STILL LOOKING AT THE MUSIC, which is what made it so alarming--without the help of the keyboard, she could not hear the music.

By rote, I mean by ear--we talk about steps and skips, up and down. We memorize. I do NOT mean that the student plays without understanding--to the contrary, we identify patterns and sequences when learning by ear that might escape notice when playing from the page.

The surprise for which I was totally unprepared was that some students actually started reading BETTER after learning a few pieces by ear...



Gimme a S !

Gimme a o !

Gimme a L !

Gimme a F !

Gimme a È !

Gimme a G !

Gimme a E !

What's that spell? Solfège! One more time? Solfège !

This sounds like another job for Solfège Man!

Top
#1432780 - 05/09/10 04:32 AM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: Gary D.]
landorrano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2457
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: Gary D.
For ear training, I would prefer my good students to get involved in choirs, orchestra and so on.


Gosh oh gosh are you right. This ... and solfège !

Horn? Right-o ! ... plus solfège!

I really cannot fathom that learning to play an instrument ... especially the piano ... becomes an exercise in solitude.

Top
#1432785 - 05/09/10 04:41 AM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: Minniemay]
landorrano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2457
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: Minniemay
Concepts must be established first in the ear, then the body, and then the eye. It is a very logical, solid progression.


I cannot imagine what you mean to say. To me it appears not at all logical.

That concepts must be established first in the ear and then in the body, to me makes no sense at all.

It is producing, for example, "Do Ré mi ...", with the voice above all, that one appropriates the concept.

Top
#1432827 - 05/09/10 07:15 AM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: landorrano]
Elissa Milne Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/10
Posts: 1337
Loc: Sydney, NSW, Australia
I agree that sometimes the body owns the music prior to the ear - the experience is more visceral than aural. When we hear we don't simply hear with our ears..... This is how an amazing musician like Evelyn Glennie is possible. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IU3V6zNER4g
_________________________
Teacher, Composer, Writer, Speaker
Working with Hal Leonard, Alfred, Faber, and Australian Music Examination Board
Music in syllabuses by ABRSM, AMEB, Trinity Guildhall, ANZCA, NZMEB, and more
www.elissamilne.wordpress.com

Top
#1432841 - 05/09/10 08:01 AM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: keystring]
Elissa Milne Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/10
Posts: 1337
Loc: Sydney, NSW, Australia
I love that she's 12 years old and teaching her percussion teacher that there is more to listening than using your ears.....
_________________________
Teacher, Composer, Writer, Speaker
Working with Hal Leonard, Alfred, Faber, and Australian Music Examination Board
Music in syllabuses by ABRSM, AMEB, Trinity Guildhall, ANZCA, NZMEB, and more
www.elissamilne.wordpress.com

Top
#1432849 - 05/09/10 09:02 AM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: Elissa Milne]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11556
Loc: Canada
The idea of hearing through our bodies seems so straightforward since sound is vibration, yet who thinks of it? I love the fact that this same teacher took away the sticks and had her explore the instrument. And then, what she does with the music, from within. And, and.... it is so rich, this document! smile

Top
#1432857 - 05/09/10 09:30 AM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: Pogorelich.]
lilylady Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/17/05
Posts: 4977
Loc: boston north
I believe in teaching by reading music. But that involves more than reading notes. INTERVALS and DIRECTION, PHRASES instead of single notes etc.

But once in a while it is fun to teach by ear. I do that for some Xmas music for a break from reading.

Playing by ear is not the same as Rote.

One intelligently has to think of the next pitch tone when playing by ear. Up, down, how far? (more experienced can think of scale degree) And chord patterns.

There is one thing that I do teach to older students and adults by Rote early on in their lessons.

IN THE MOOD

They can usually learn that as soon as they have learned the 3 basic chords C F G.

It gets them 'playing' the piano immediately, concentrates on rhythm and coordination instead of reading. They also learn what chromatic means.

RH starts on E
LH plays the root note of each chord

C, C, F, C, G, F, chromatic ending C (and I write that out - think blues)

Try it - they usually love it!

To read it would take many more lessons!
_________________________
"Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything."

Top
#1432873 - 05/09/10 10:26 AM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: landorrano]
Minniemay Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/09
Posts: 1702
Loc: CA
Originally Posted By: landorrano
Originally Posted By: Minniemay
Concepts must be established first in the ear, then the body, and then the eye. It is a very logical, solid progression.


I cannot imagine what you mean to say. To me it appears not at all logical.

That concepts must be established first in the ear and then in the body, to me makes no sense at all.

It is producing, for example, "Do Ré mi ...", with the voice above all, that one appropriates the concept.



But one cannot reproduce what one has not adequately heard.
_________________________
B.A., Piano, Piano Pegagogy, Music Ed.
M.M., Piano

Top
#1432974 - 05/09/10 01:27 PM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: Gary D.]
Pogorelich. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 4526
Loc: in the past
Originally Posted By: Gary D.
Originally Posted By: AngelinaPogorelich
Yeah but don't you think reading and ear training should go hand in hand?

Yes, I do, but I don't have any magic bullet to make it happen. The development of the "ability to hear" remains a mystery to me. I had absolutely no training. I simply played, but I heard whole symphonies in my head before I took my first lesson. In fact, lessons were started for me late (age 8) because we had no piano. It was my attempt to sing things, to demonstrate what I had in my brain already, and my accurate pitch that finally got me lessons. Playing brass, starting at about age 11, gave me an incredible framework for what I apparently always had. For ear training, I would prefer my good students to get involved in choirs, orchestra and so on.

But please understand that I am telling you my personal experience. I'm very good at teaching people to read, and I taught brass very successfully for many years. I know that brass players absolutely *have* to develop an incredibly accurate pitch sense, because our lips do most of the work. Our fingers do almost nothing. If you can't hear a pitch you are about to play, in your head, you will miss it. This, by the way, is why you will hear more "clams" from French horn than any other instrument in the best of orchestras.

On the other hand, it should be possible for some people to be very accurate at the piano, even play musically, but not develop the ear very well *only* playing the piano.

My problem is time. I have so little. I go for reading first, and try to work as much of everything else as possible into the works, given the opportunity.


I had a lot of solfege training as a kid, and I think that really helps - you're right about the choir thing, it does wonders. But also for beginning students, I strongly think they should be encouraged to sing and HEAR what they play instead of clunking it on the piano first. I really think they should play by ear first and then read. For at least a month or so - they make a much better relation of sounds and the printed page than if you show them straight away where middle C is, and what all the notes are called. Also teach them about phrasing by singing. Rhythm by movement and clapping and all that.

Group lessons for beginner kids are a great, great idea... (combined with private though. Not JUST group)
_________________________

'I want to invest my emotions only in music; it will never disappoint me or hurt me - it is a safe place to be.'

Top
#1433004 - 05/09/10 02:13 PM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: Pogorelich.]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4741
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: AngelinaPogorelich

I had a lot of solfege training as a kid, and I think that really helps - you're right about the choir thing, it does wonders. But also for beginning students, I strongly think they should be encouraged to sing and HEAR what they play instead of clunking it on the piano first.

For ALL beginning students?

I don't recall beginning the piano "clunking" on it. I was fascinated from day one with the piano, and I read everything compulsively. For me the Great Adventure was looking at all the music that was around me (I inherited a lot of music from other family members), and if I found anything in any book that matched something I had heard on a recording or on the radio, I could not wait to try it. The one great flaw in what I did was that I had no one to monitor my self-exploration to head off physical problems, largely centered around faulty fingering, but not limited to that.

What I played was not by any means limited to what I had heard. I learned to make what was on the page happen, and by playing and playing and exploring, I developed the ability to hear what was on the page just by looking at it.

Memorization had NOTHING to do with the development of my ear. Rote playing had NOTHING to do with it. And, for the record, I loathe solfege. It gets in my way. In college, I skipped two years of sight-singing requirements by simply humming anything on the final test.

What really irritates me is the assumption that One Size Fits All. No doubt some people are greatly helped by solfege, but I refuse to think that I am unique in a way that precludes there being as many people who learn as I did as the way you did.

This most likely, in my opinion, means that some of your students connect with your way of teaching better than they would with mine, but I think the converse is also true.
Quote:

I really think they should play by ear first and then read.

And I don't. Plus teaching that way would drive me absolutely insane.
Quote:

For at least a month or so - they make a much better relation of sounds and the printed page than if you show them straight away where middle C is, and what all the notes are called. Also teach them about phrasing by singing. Rhythm by movement and clapping and all that.

Again, this is not my experience at all. Furthermore, I use a keyboard chart. The idea of making people learn the names of notes and memorize locations, before they begin exploring, seems counter-intuitive. I don't sing. I CAN, but it embarrasses me. My pitch is 100% accurate, but I don't like my voice. Some of my young students sing as they play, others would rather be shot than have to sing.
Quote:

Group lessons for beginner kids are a great, great idea... (combined with private though. Not JUST group)

Groups are nice, for many reasons, but now you are talking about kids who have the luxury of taking both. When I talk to people on this forum, I since a total disonnect stemming from the fact that the families I work with seem to have much less money than the students of other teachers here. In general, the parents of my better students are extremely polite, appreciative and considerate, but they are at best in the lower part of the economic spectrum and make sacrifices just for weekly 1/2 hour lessons.
_________________________
Piano Teacher

Top
#1433048 - 05/09/10 03:46 PM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: Gary D.]
landorrano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2457
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: Gary D.
And, for the record, I loathe solfege. It gets in my way.


That is clear from things that you have written in other threads.

But, I am wondering ... what do you mean by solfège? What gets in your way?

Originally Posted By: Gary D.
Some of my young students sing as they play, others would rather be shot than have to sing.


A kid who would rather be shot than sing? He's just dying to sing, but is afraid to start.

Top
#1433057 - 05/09/10 03:52 PM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: Minniemay]
landorrano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2457
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: Minniemay

But one cannot reproduce what one has not adequately heard.


I'm curious as to the practical implications of your point of view. In what way do you establish concepts in the ear?

Top
#1433058 - 05/09/10 03:52 PM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: Gary D.]
Pogorelich. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 4526
Loc: in the past
I guess your way would work too but I was only talking about kids who perhaps don't come from musical families. At my uni there's a free program for kids, which includes weekly 45 minute group lessons and a half our private lesson. It's part of the pedagogy grad program. These kids are mostly from non musical families but they progressed so well. Simply by doing music games at first and singing famous songs by solfege. They're introduced to solfege way before they know the abc names. Also they're introduced to rhythms before seeing how they look like on a page. And compared to my other students, who I started off with reading straight away, those kids learn things so much faster and appear to actually live through the music. Maybe you're lucky by having students who are musical so that reading is meaningful to them right away but I don't think that's the case with everybody.

I'm only basing my views on what I've seen and experienced. It's a big thing in Europe and I think it can work.. Certainly only if you're up for it though.
_________________________

'I want to invest my emotions only in music; it will never disappoint me or hurt me - it is a safe place to be.'

Top
#1433090 - 05/09/10 04:51 PM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: Pogorelich.]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11556
Loc: Canada
One thing I am curious about in regards to Solfege. The people who encountered it later on, seem to "translate" it into the concept they already know. Even when they talk about it, it seems foreign. Is it possible that when it is learned might make a difference? It is actually two different aspects of music and in the way I experienced it, the difference went beyond intervals vs. pitch. But would it work for music other than traditional Western music that is based on major and minor scales? What about kids growing up with Middle Eastern, Indian, or Oriental music.

Top
#1433156 - 05/09/10 06:29 PM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: landorrano]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4741
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: Gary D.
And, for the record, I loathe solfege. It gets in my way.

Originally Posted By: landorrano

That is clear from things that you have written in other threads.

But, I am wondering ... what do you mean by solfège? What gets in your way?

Fixed do is like singing weird syllables when I already have the pitches and names in my mind perfectly. I have to think of a name for sounds that are already in my head.

Moveable do, again, makes me ADD words or syllables to what I can already hear perfectly. They add nothing for me. They get in my way.

Originally Posted By: Gary D.
Some of my young students sing as they play, others would rather be shot than have to sing.

Originally Posted By: landorrano

A kid who would rather be shot than sing? He's just dying to sing, but is afraid to start.

I can imagine saying: "I want you to sing the melody. I know you told me you don't want to, but I know that you are secretly dying to sing."

In my world, that would not work for many kids. smile


Edited by Gary D. (05/09/10 06:31 PM)
_________________________
Piano Teacher

Top
#1433158 - 05/09/10 06:34 PM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: landorrano]
CebuKid Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/09
Posts: 1174
I find this thread very interesting because I've always wondered whether it was detrimental to learn by rote. My daughter learned some pretty advanced material - late level 2 type stuff within months - by both rote and using the score. She is only 7 and still catching up on the sight-reading. I'm proud to say she can easily sight read level 1 material now, so her sight reading isn't too far behind her playing ability.

Lately, her teacher has more and more emphasized using the score and even during practice, she uses the score more so than she did as a beginner. (she has played for exactly 1 year).

Anyway, what do all you teachers think? Is it a good combination to use both rote methods, but still emphasize using the score and sight-reading?

This is the way I remember learning as a youngster. It served me well in my comeback to piano after a 27 year layoff. smile
_________________________
YouTube Channel
Scott Joplin Repertoire


Music washes away from the soul
the dust of everyday life.
- Berthold Auerbach



Top
#1433159 - 05/09/10 06:34 PM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: keystring]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4741
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: keystring
One thing I am curious about in regards to Solfege. The people who encountered it later on, seem to "translate" it into the concept they already know. Even when they talk about it, it seems foreign. Is it possible that when it is learned might make a difference? It is actually two different aspects of music and in the way I experienced it, the difference went beyond intervals vs. pitch. But would it work for music other than traditional Western music that is based on major and minor scales? What about kids growing up with Middle Eastern, Indian, or Oriental music.

I have the same questions. smile
_________________________
Piano Teacher

Top
#1433281 - 05/10/10 12:04 AM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: lilylady]
bolt Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/23/09
Posts: 186
In this thread and on this forum I often see "playing by rote" to mean "playing by ear" but they are really not the same thing at all.

Playing by rote means playing without understanding, like a trained monkey.

It's quite possible to play by ear and have good understanding.

It's also very possible to play from reading music without understanding.

I believe the best approach is to develop both ear playing and reading skills in parallel to equal ability. This will make the best all round musician.
_________________________
"There is more to this piano playing malarkey than meets the eye" - adultpianist

Top
#1433301 - 05/10/10 01:06 AM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: bolt]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4741
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: bolt

I believe the best approach is to develop both ear playing and reading skills in parallel to equal ability. This will make the best all round musician.

In a perfect world, every fine musician would become an excellent reader, learn to play solely by ear, for all the times we want to learn things that are not notated, compose and improvise.

In the real world, I suspect that all musicians are strongest in at least one of these areas, although there are some very talented people who seem to excel in all of them.

Reading, by itself, is nothing more the developing the ability to play what is on a page, as quickly and effortlessly as possible. I don't think any of us want students to *only* attain that. Debate is not so much what we hope people will achieve but how they can best achieve it.
_________________________
Piano Teacher

Top
#1433309 - 05/10/10 01:28 AM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: bolt]
Elissa Milne Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/10
Posts: 1337
Loc: Sydney, NSW, Australia
Originally Posted By: bolt
In this thread and on this forum I often see "playing by rote" to mean "playing by ear" but they are really not the same thing at all.

Playing by rote means playing without understanding, like a trained monkey.
Playing by rote might mean playing without understanding, but it is commonly used to mean playing by *copying* what someone else does - which is different by far to playing by ear, and does not necessarily imply brainlessness either....

Because western music is so notably score-based, and our educational focus has been about learning from the page (not just with piano) we tend to use the term 'learning by rote' to cover pretty much anything that doesn't originate in reading.

And of course, this is a woeful misuse of the term.

Teaching by demonstrating the physical actions required to perform a piece results in students with a better understanding of temporal structure than teaching from the page. Many technical issues never become problems when students are taught this way, because the student is focussed on copying the actions of the teacher, and the 'technique' is mastered first and foremost, rather than in arrears when something doesn't work. Teachers also focus more on piano playing as a physical skill when taking this approach, rather than piano playing as evidence of musical literacy......
_________________________
Teacher, Composer, Writer, Speaker
Working with Hal Leonard, Alfred, Faber, and Australian Music Examination Board
Music in syllabuses by ABRSM, AMEB, Trinity Guildhall, ANZCA, NZMEB, and more
www.elissamilne.wordpress.com

Top
#1433342 - 05/10/10 03:17 AM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: Gary D.]
landorrano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2457
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: Gary D.

I can imagine saying: "I want you to sing the melody. I know you told me you don't want to, but I know that you are secretly dying to sing."

In my world, that would not work for many kids. smile


What do you mean? They'd pull a knife on you and let you have it?

Seriously, if you did say that, just like that, just one time, with an expression of liking for the kid and a twinkle in your eye, just one time, the kid might not sing but he will be touched and his desire to sing will become stronger.

Anyway, I'm not trying to tell you that you should sing and do solfège, I think you understand that. I agree with what you say about reading, the trumpet, the orchestra.

It's just that, in the same spirit, I add solfège to the list.



Edited by landorrano (05/10/10 03:38 AM)

Top
#1433352 - 05/10/10 04:04 AM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: landorrano]
Elissa Milne Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/10
Posts: 1337
Loc: Sydney, NSW, Australia
It depends which age of student we are talking about, landorrano. Young students (6 years and under) would be fine with that approach, but kids aged say 10 and over - forget it!! Of course, there are always exceptions to every rule, but seriously, in cultures where public singing just isn't done it's pretty hard to get a child to take singing seriously.....unless they already feel confident as singers...
_________________________
Teacher, Composer, Writer, Speaker
Working with Hal Leonard, Alfred, Faber, and Australian Music Examination Board
Music in syllabuses by ABRSM, AMEB, Trinity Guildhall, ANZCA, NZMEB, and more
www.elissamilne.wordpress.com

Top
#1433364 - 05/10/10 04:39 AM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: Elissa Milne]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11556
Loc: Canada
Quote:
Playing by rote might mean playing without understanding

This leads me to an interesting question. Supposing someone learns the following in the beginning: Place hand in C position. When you see C on the page, press the note under your RH thumb. When you see two notes up, press the key that is two fingers over to the right. etc. Might that be considered "rote"?

Elissa - since your music often is not along traditional diatonic major and minor keys, I have a question about solfege. My thought is that it only would work in such music, and maybe also church modes. I can't see it fitting with anything else. Would that be right?

Top
#1433389 - 05/10/10 06:19 AM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: keystring]
Elissa Milne Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/10
Posts: 1337
Loc: Sydney, NSW, Australia
Hmm, interesting question... I am not an *expert* in solfege, so I hesitate to make a comprehensive answer, but I suspect solfege might struggle with a scale such as C Dflat E Fsharp G A Bflat C??? Landorrano? Am I mistaking the possibilities of solfege?

And on your first point, keystring, that's hilarious!!! Because you couldn't be more correct about the 'rote' playing that that represents!!! But it's hilarious because what you have written is both true and heretical (imo).....!!!! I will muse on this all night long!!!
_________________________
Teacher, Composer, Writer, Speaker
Working with Hal Leonard, Alfred, Faber, and Australian Music Examination Board
Music in syllabuses by ABRSM, AMEB, Trinity Guildhall, ANZCA, NZMEB, and more
www.elissamilne.wordpress.com

Top
#1433400 - 05/10/10 06:56 AM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: Gary D.]
Wizard of Oz Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/12/09
Posts: 873
Teach kids to play by ear first and read music later. The classical system is all messed up. Music is AURAL! You use your ears before anything.

Read this: http://www.treelight.com/music/playByEar.html

Top
#1433404 - 05/10/10 07:07 AM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: Gary D.]
Wizard of Oz Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/12/09
Posts: 873
Originally Posted By: Gary D.
Originally Posted By: keystring
One thing I am curious about in regards to Solfege. The people who encountered it later on, seem to "translate" it into the concept they already know. Even when they talk about it, it seems foreign. Is it possible that when it is learned might make a difference? It is actually two different aspects of music and in the way I experienced it, the difference went beyond intervals vs. pitch. But would it work for music other than traditional Western music that is based on major and minor scales? What about kids growing up with Middle Eastern, Indian, or Oriental music.

I have the same questions. smile


Solfege is just putting a word into a pitch. You still have 12 pitches or notes in all music.

I'm Asian and have been exposed to non-western music that uses scales beyond the major and minor.

With training the ear, you learn recognition of pitches in relation to a root note.

So say the root is C, you know how all the other 11 pitches sound in comparison. You hear a Db and you know it's a b2, or b3, or the #4 or the 7th...etc...even the same note can have a different context, like the #4 and b5, is F# or Gb but depending on the scale have different functions.

Listen to this guitar player, he's jazz based but mixes in plenty of Asian influenced sounds. It's still the same 12 notes that we all use.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-aDiQ7PTn8

Top
#1433405 - 05/10/10 07:09 AM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: Elissa Milne]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11556
Loc: Canada
I lived Solfege, and only that, for 40 years since childhood. For me it is tied to major and minor keys, and degree functions. "sol" is the dominant and has the feeling of the dominant even when there are no chords to give the hint. "Ti" is a note that is sung closer than a semitone to the tonic, and feels like the leading note. A Dom7 sounds like "so ti re fa" though theoretically it could be "do mi so (flat ti)" but it never would be, because function is embedded in the names. When I sing a melody, and that melody modulates, then the notes "rename" themselves as I sense their function. Thus, if a piece in C major modulates to G major, I will start naming G "do" even though I was calling it "sol". It is very handy in staying oriented in that kind of music. But those same characteristics would make it rather unhandy for anything that avoids tonality (tonicity?) or say a whole tone scale. Or how about the scale that goes along in minor thirds where any note could be the tonic?

If I can digress to written music and theory - still the topic of non-traditional scales and keys - something I've been thinking about for a while. When I did rudiments, we started with major and minor scales. Later we learned to write whole tone, octatonic (diminished), blues, and at the end - two ways of writing modes. I'm thinking that if music has changed I still would want to learn in that order. Why? Because the notation system was set up for the major/minor diatonic scales, and everything else requires an adjustment of that system (notation). If we're adjusting a system, shouldn't we learn the system we're adjusting first? So maybe this is ok, even if music has changed.

Quote:
But it's hilarious because what you have written is both true and heretical (imo).....!!!! I will muse on this all night long!!!

It strikes me more and more that music is an enigma. Somewhere some time I imagine some student asking "Which is it?" (about something) and the teacher saying "Both and neither."

Top
#1433407 - 05/10/10 07:12 AM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: Gary D.]
Wizard of Oz Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/12/09
Posts: 873
Originally Posted By: Gary D.
Originally Posted By: Gary D.
And, for the record, I loathe solfege. It gets in my way.

Originally Posted By: landorrano

That is clear from things that you have written in other threads.

But, I am wondering ... what do you mean by solfège? What gets in your way?

Fixed do is like singing weird syllables when I already have the pitches and names in my mind perfectly. I have to think of a name for sounds that are already in my head.

Moveable do, again, makes me ADD words or syllables to what I can already hear perfectly. They add nothing for me. They get in my way.

Originally Posted By: Gary D.
Some of my young students sing as they play, others would rather be shot than have to sing.

Originally Posted By: landorrano

A kid who would rather be shot than sing? He's just dying to sing, but is afraid to start.

I can imagine saying: "I want you to sing the melody. I know you told me you don't want to, but I know that you are secretly dying to sing."

In my world, that would not work for many kids. smile


Gary, sounds like you have perfect pitch, if you already know exactly what note it is as soon as you hear it. In that case solfege could be a hindrance and you can just go by the sound.

If you can hear a single note and know immediately that it's a G or Bb etc...then you probably were born with it.

Top
#1433411 - 05/10/10 07:18 AM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: Wizard of Oz]
Wizard of Oz Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/12/09
Posts: 873
Like I said, Solfege is just putting words for each pitch. You can just as easily sing the note sound instead. That's what I do. I can still figure what the tonic is.

If you listen to alot of jazz which can be modal and not adhere to one key, you can still sing and hear the changes to the melody.

Try the song Giant Steps by John Coltrane. Shifts tonal centres every few bars. Or Maiden Vogage, Dolphin Dance by Herbie Hancock. Or anything by Wayne Shorter.

Top
#1433416 - 05/10/10 07:24 AM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: Wizard of Oz]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11556
Loc: Canada
Quote:
Like I said, Solfege is just putting words for each pitch.

Fixed do solfege does that, but movable do doesn't. It ties in with functions in the way I learned it.
Quote:
Listen to this guitar player ...

The background given by the seated strings player (instrument is called?) seems to be along a penatonic scale and they seem to slip smaller tones in between. A few times it seems to go into quarter tontes. The pentatonic scale seems to always be the same one. Would that be right?

Quote:
If you listen to alot of jazz which can be modal and not adhere to one key, you can still sing and hear the changes to the melody.

Where it is modal, then it ties in with the old church modes, which can be thought of as a major (diatonic) scale but starting on a different starting note afaik. That would work, because we're back in that system.


Edited by keystring (05/10/10 07:27 AM)

Top
#1433418 - 05/10/10 07:30 AM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: keystring]
Wizard of Oz Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/12/09
Posts: 873
keystring, I was referring to movable do. I should clarify that it teaches the relationship between pitch, and not the sound for a pitch.

So, the "do" could be any note, and that it always refers to the tonic.

This is relative pitch.

For string instruments like guitar and that oriental stringed one, you can "bend" notes so it seems blurred. Unlike a piano where you can't.

It's probably a pentatonic scale, I haven't transcribed it...but the guitar player mixes in tons of asian sounds, the flats, b2, b3, b5, b7, basically the blues into his playing.

Top
#1433436 - 05/10/10 08:16 AM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: Elissa Milne]
landorrano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2457
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: Elissa Milne
It depends which age of student we are talking about, landorrano. Young students (6 years and under) would be fine with that approach, but kids aged say 10 and over - forget it!! Of course, there are always exceptions to every rule, but seriously, in cultures where public singing just isn't done it's pretty hard to get a child to take singing seriously.....unless they already feel confident as singers...


Saying "cultures ..." and then " ... where public singing just isn't done " is a contradiction, isn't it?

Anyways, all these kids of pioneers, born on wagon trains and raised by coyotes, fighting off the injuns, they may be kind of stiff at their piano lesson but then they sure do like doing air guitar and screetching electronic effects.

Top
#1433451 - 05/10/10 08:53 AM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: landorrano]
Elissa Milne Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/10
Posts: 1337
Loc: Sydney, NSW, Australia
Originally Posted By: landorrano
Originally Posted By: Elissa Milne
It depends which age of student we are talking about, landorrano. Young students (6 years and under) would be fine with that approach, but kids aged say 10 and over - forget it!! Of course, there are always exceptions to every rule, but seriously, in cultures where public singing just isn't done it's pretty hard to get a child to take singing seriously.....unless they already feel confident as singers...


Saying "cultures ..." and then " ... where public singing just isn't done " is a contradiction, isn't it?

Anyways, all these kids of pioneers, born on wagon trains and raised by coyotes, fighting off the injuns, they may be kind of stiff at their piano lesson but then they sure do like doing air guitar and screetching electronic effects.
Which country do you think I live in?
_________________________
Teacher, Composer, Writer, Speaker
Working with Hal Leonard, Alfred, Faber, and Australian Music Examination Board
Music in syllabuses by ABRSM, AMEB, Trinity Guildhall, ANZCA, NZMEB, and more
www.elissamilne.wordpress.com

Top
#1433495 - 05/10/10 10:21 AM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: Elissa Milne]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11556
Loc: Canada
Aren't all foreign countries the same? Australian coyote minus air guitar. Similar to the Canadian variety (ours yodels in bilingual solfege). Is especially responsive to rote training. (just too cute to resist)

Top
#1433827 - 05/10/10 06:29 PM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: Elissa Milne]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4741
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: Elissa Milne
Hmm, interesting question... I am not an *expert* in solfege, so I hesitate to make a comprehensive answer, but I suspect solfege might struggle with a scale such as C Dflat E Fsharp G A Bflat C??? Landorrano? Am I mistaking the possibilities of solfege?

I think that's a good example of where solfege does not work very well. Just yesterday I was looking through the Debussy preludes.

La terrasse des audiences du clair de lune, no. 7 from the second book, the first run there uses this set of notes, mostly descending:

D C# C B, Ab G Gb F, etc. I don't have score, and that spelling may be wrong. The key signature is 6 sharps, but because the pattern winds around, I remember that spelling being unusual. Regardless, such a pattern seems really easy to hear if we are not listening for something diatonic, but again I have no idea how solfege would get us there.
_________________________
Piano Teacher

Top
#1434076 - 05/11/10 12:50 AM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: Gary D.]
Pogorelich. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 4526
Loc: in the past
But why would you use solfege for something like Debussy? Of course it wouldn't work. But it can work very well for simple beginner pieces in C, F or G, etc. Not for anything complicated.

The only reason I know solfege (and only fixed) is because I never learned the abc method as a kid. I only knew C as Do, and Bb as Si bemol, unil I was about 14.

You're right that you don't really "need" solfege, but it's not evil.. and it can be useful if you know how to use it. It doesn't REALLY matter that much how the kids are singing, as long as they do it at some point.
_________________________

'I want to invest my emotions only in music; it will never disappoint me or hurt me - it is a safe place to be.'

Top
#1434085 - 05/11/10 01:06 AM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: Pogorelich.]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5899
Loc: Down Under
Originally Posted By: AngelinaPogorelich

The only reason I know solfege (and only fixed) is because I never learned the abc method as a kid. I only knew C as Do, and Bb as Si bemol, unil I was about 14.

You're right that you don't really "need" solfege, but it's not evil.. and it can be useful if you know how to use it. It doesn't REALLY matter that much how the kids are singing, as long as they do it at some point.
I basically agree with you, Angelina. Neither fixed nor movable solfa is a complete thing in itself. We all do some relative pitch training and some absolute pitch training, and as long as we don't try to simultaneously use the same syllables for two different purposes there should be no problem. In places where there is a tradition of movable do (like England and Australia), it just doesn't make sense to try to superimpose fixed do onto it. Similarly, it doesn't make sense to superimpose movable onto the French/etc system of fixed. We have to use different names for the different purposes.
In my opinion, anyway. smile
_________________________
Du holde Kunst...

Top
#1434128 - 05/11/10 03:11 AM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: Elissa Milne]
landorrano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2457
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: Elissa Milne
I suspect solfege might struggle with a scale such as C Dflat E Fsharp G A Bflat C???


Originally Posted By: Gary D.
Regardless, such a pattern seems really easy to hear if we are not listening for something diatonic, but again I have no idea how solfege would get us there.


Originally Posted By: AngelinaPogorelich
But why would you use solfege for something like Debussy? Of course it wouldn't work. But it can work very well for simple beginner pieces in C, F or G, etc. Not for anything complicated.


I don't follow. What does that mean, that solfège "works" or "doesn't work".

Top
#1434132 - 05/11/10 03:21 AM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: Pogorelich.]
landorrano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2457
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: AngelinaPogorelich

You're right that you don't really "need" solfege, but it's not evil.. and it can be useful if you know how to use it. It doesn't REALLY matter that much how the kids are singing, as long as they do it at some point.


What do you mean to say. That it doesn't matter if one sings "Sol si re sol" (fixed do) or "G B D G" or "Do mi sol do" (movable do) ?

I agree, if that is your point.

Is that your point?

Top
#1434138 - 05/11/10 03:38 AM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: landorrano]
Elissa Milne Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/10
Posts: 1337
Loc: Sydney, NSW, Australia
Landorrano, how would you 'say' in solfege C Dflat E Fsharp G A Bflat C as a scale?
_________________________
Teacher, Composer, Writer, Speaker
Working with Hal Leonard, Alfred, Faber, and Australian Music Examination Board
Music in syllabuses by ABRSM, AMEB, Trinity Guildhall, ANZCA, NZMEB, and more
www.elissamilne.wordpress.com

Top
#1434191 - 05/11/10 05:54 AM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: Elissa Milne]
landorrano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2457
Loc: France
I still fail to see what problem you are trying to adresse. There may be something obvious to you that I simply am missing, like the pretty lady hidden in the optical illusion.

"Say in solfège"? You mean in the do-ré-mi nomenclature? If that is the question then the answer is evident, so I think that there is something else you are trying to answer.

Top
#1434202 - 05/11/10 06:12 AM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: landorrano]
Elissa Milne Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/10
Posts: 1337
Loc: Sydney, NSW, Australia
The evident answer obviously eludes some of us, and I am the chief amongst those eluded by that answer.

I don't have a problem that I am trying to address at all - it's just that I (maybe entirely mistakenly) have believed that solfege is *MORE* than simply an alternative nomenclature. Even if it is *ONLY* an alternative nomenclature I have no idea (not being even remotely expert in this field) how you would 'say' C Dflat E Fsharp G A Bflat C in solfege.

Maybe the problem I am trying to address is a chronic lack of exposure to fixed-do solfege.
_________________________
Teacher, Composer, Writer, Speaker
Working with Hal Leonard, Alfred, Faber, and Australian Music Examination Board
Music in syllabuses by ABRSM, AMEB, Trinity Guildhall, ANZCA, NZMEB, and more
www.elissamilne.wordpress.com

Top
#1434208 - 05/11/10 06:58 AM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: Elissa Milne]
ToriAnais Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/24/08
Posts: 244
Loc: Australia

Elissa, it would be do, ra, mi, fi, so, la, te, do.

The local music school that I get lots of transfers from ONLY teaches the note names as do re mi etc. So when they come to me and I refer to the note names as abcdefg they have no idea what I'm talking about. That really, really irks me. I think solfege should only be used in an aural/singing context. Also none of them can go "fa" and point to f, they have to count up from do, which is mighty annoying if I say a piece starts on ti. I try and get them to change asap over to abcdefg but it tends to take quite a while, and impacts not only playing but sightreading. Grrr....solfege...grumble grumble grumble...
_________________________
Piano teacher since August 2008.

Top
#1434210 - 05/11/10 07:17 AM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: ToriAnais]
Elissa Milne Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/10
Posts: 1337
Loc: Sydney, NSW, Australia
So..... (no pun intended).... re is D, ra is D flat... ri would be D sharp, I take it?

What's the logic then? B = ti but Bflat = te - does this mean B double flat would be ta? And that Eflat would be me?

I *so* should have caught up on this, like, 20 years ago.....

And - back to my original question - this means that fixed do is simply an alternate nomenclature, rather than expressing any relational/functional values, yes?
_________________________
Teacher, Composer, Writer, Speaker
Working with Hal Leonard, Alfred, Faber, and Australian Music Examination Board
Music in syllabuses by ABRSM, AMEB, Trinity Guildhall, ANZCA, NZMEB, and more
www.elissamilne.wordpress.com

Top
#1434212 - 05/11/10 07:18 AM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: Elissa Milne]
Elissa Milne Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/10
Posts: 1337
Loc: Sydney, NSW, Australia
And how annoying it must be for those raised with fixed do to listen to Do Re Mi in The Sound of Music, which is actually in B flat major......
_________________________
Teacher, Composer, Writer, Speaker
Working with Hal Leonard, Alfred, Faber, and Australian Music Examination Board
Music in syllabuses by ABRSM, AMEB, Trinity Guildhall, ANZCA, NZMEB, and more
www.elissamilne.wordpress.com

Top
#1434221 - 05/11/10 07:49 AM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: Elissa Milne]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11556
Loc: Canada
Quote:
this means that fixed do is simply an alternate nomenclature, rather than expressing any relational/functional values, yes?

In some parts of the world, fixed do is used, and when so, it is an alternative nomenclature. This is what Landorrano has learned, since the Latin-language countries use it. In bilingual Canada you hear both on the radio, and the RCM material is all bilingual, "Mozart A la Turca - A minor - La mineur".

Landorrano - how do you guys handle double flats?

MittsOff - what you are observing makes no sense. It sounds more as though these transfers were all taught in the same flawed manner. There are also people who count up from C to find F for the same reason. I know there are some "schools" (Yamaha?) that teach teachers to use solfege in some way. Could there be some common source for that confusion?

For "Fa" when the piece "starts on Ti", what are you asking? Are you asking for the note (fixed do) Fa? In that case, it shouldn't matter what it starts on. Fixed Do Fa is Fa is Fa. However, there is no Fa in Ti major: It's Fi since Ti major (B major) has an F#. Otoh, if it "starts on Ti" you haven't told me what kind of scale it is: major or minor.

If it "starts on Ti" (fixed) but you want movable do Fa, then you want the 4th degree note = Mi. Takes a second.

Movable Do assumes the traditional scales and their functions. Fixed Do doesn't.

Otoh, for alphabet names, what do you call a microtone that is a quarter tone between C and C# (Db)? There's a symbol for it, but what do you call it? wink


Edited by keystring (05/11/10 08:18 AM)
Edit Reason: who => what

Top
#1434227 - 05/11/10 08:00 AM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: Elissa Milne]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11556
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: Elissa Milne
And how annoying it must be for those raised with fixed do to listen to Do Re Mi in The Sound of Music, which is actually in B flat major......

I LOVE the way that is presented in the Sound of Music! smile It came out when I was a teen. Granted, it's traditional scales. But it even teaches some harmony theory. At some refrain, the kids start singing "do mi mi - mi so so (V) - re fa fa - la ti ti (a seventh starting on vii? or Ti as a passing note?) while Mary sings more slowly so that you get:

do mi mi So - mi so so Do
re fa fa La - la ti ti Fa
do mi mi So - mi so so Do
re fa fa La - la ti ti Ti
ends in Do Re Do With kids extending the Ti..., and a quick Ti Do! illustrating the leading note.

The words go "When you know the notes to sing / You can sing most anything!"
I absorbed that at about 10 years old. It's fantastic (in tradtional terms). I could go to the piano and play the harmony and melody from memory. Moreover, I could do it in any key without having learned a single note name.

Here it is, around 4:22 - though I dare say these days it does seem to drag on some.

see around 4:22


Edited by keystring (05/11/10 08:09 AM)

Top
#1434240 - 05/11/10 08:22 AM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: ToriAnais]
landorrano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2457
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: mitts_off

Elissa, it would be do, ra, mi, fi, so, la, te, do.


Hey wait a minute! That's your Queen's ursatz solfège, grafted on to her A-B-C nomenclature.

The notes of Elissa's scale are do, re bémol, mi, fa dièse, sol, la, si bémol, do. The scale would be sung "do ré mi fa sol la si do".

Top
#1434259 - 05/11/10 08:53 AM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: Elissa Milne]
landorrano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2457
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: Elissa Milne


And - back to my original question - this means that fixed do is simply an alternate nomenclature, rather than expressing any relational/functional values, yes?


It seems to me that you are confounding two things. One thing is called solfège,the other is not.

One is the system of nomenclature. This is not solfège.

The other is the pedagogical exercise of reading out loud from a score the notes, using the voice to simultaneously pronounce the name of each note and produce the tone. This is solfège.

The first, one could say is simply an alternative nomenclature. Although that formulation ... an alternative nomenclature ... I find rather weak. There is certainly a sense in which they are simply two different nomenclatures for the same thing. But the nomenclature also shapes the way one conceives that which one is naming.

For me first of the seven notes is DO. In your system, which is the first note: is it C or is it A? The scale of C for you is C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C. For me it is DO-RÈ-MI-FA-SOL-LA-SI-DO. The circle of fifths begins with DO. The armature with its bémols and dièses (sharps and flats) is established from this starting point, and finishes there as well.


Edited by landorrano (05/11/10 08:54 AM)

Top
#1434269 - 05/11/10 09:18 AM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: landorrano]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11556
Loc: Canada
I think by now I have learned about 3 ways of doing this, including singingA,B,C while being aware of the degrees/functions. That would go in the direction of what you have learned, Landorrano. I'm also beginning to see weaknesses in the movable do system, even though I have derived a lot of benefits from it.

Quote:
For me first of the seven notes is DO. ... For me it is DO-RÈ-MI-FA-SOL-LA-SI-DO. The circle of fifths begins with DO.


This is to elucidate an earlier question:

There is a problem if the system is too different, which was alluded to earlier. Elissa's scale still has seven notes. What if there is a different number of notes? For example, the Pentatonic scale has 5 notes. My mind simply wants to call them So La Do Re Mi and I sense it as a traditional scale with some notes left out. This still works.

But the octatonic scale has 8 notes and sometimes it is used in a way that avoids having any kind of Tonic. There is no Do, no "starting note". What shall we call the 8th note. Meanwhile the whole tone scale has only 6 notes, and it can also be used in atonal music (no Tonic). This is is Debussy's music, alluded to the other day. What do we call those 6 notes? If there is no Tonic, which is Do? Is there a circle of fifths in that music? For one thing, there is no perfect fifth.



Edited by keystring (05/11/10 09:19 AM)

Top
#1434312 - 05/11/10 10:11 AM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: landorrano]
Pogorelich. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 4526
Loc: in the past
Originally Posted By: landorrano
Originally Posted By: AngelinaPogorelich

You're right that you don't really "need" solfege, but it's not evil.. and it can be useful if you know how to use it. It doesn't REALLY matter that much how the kids are singing, as long as they do it at some point.


What do you mean to say. That it doesn't matter if one sings "Sol si re sol" (fixed do) or "G B D G" or "Do mi sol do" (movable do) ?

I agree, if that is your point.

Is that your point?


Yes.
_________________________

'I want to invest my emotions only in music; it will never disappoint me or hurt me - it is a safe place to be.'

Top
#1434315 - 05/11/10 10:13 AM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: landorrano]
Pogorelich. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 4526
Loc: in the past
Originally Posted By: landorrano

I don't follow. What does that mean, that solfège "works" or "doesn't work".


It's a way of saying wether something is a good method or isn't. For instance, it will be way too complicated to sing solfege with something like Debussy. Possible, but hard.
_________________________

'I want to invest my emotions only in music; it will never disappoint me or hurt me - it is a safe place to be.'

Top
#1434436 - 05/11/10 01:33 PM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: Pogorelich.]
landorrano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2457
Loc: France
I'm sorry, I still don't get the point, but it doesn't really matter.

There are obviously many things which cannot be "solfed", and you don't have to wait until Debussy to encounter them. Just take "Tartine au beurre" which has no new scales or tonal structure and try solfing those glissandos and those jumps.

In any case, solfège is a pedagogique methodology, the objective of which is not singing but reading. Reading as we read literature, with a cognition of the score that is not necessarily linked to playing a particular instrument.

Top
#1434521 - 05/11/10 03:31 PM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: landorrano]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11556
Loc: Canada
Quote:
Reading as we read literature, with a cognition of the score that is not necessarily linked to playing a particular instrument.

There is more than one way of approaching this, and probably more than one way is needed. Imagine a piece that consists of harmonies & disharmonies with no melodic line, for example. I do generally read music like one reads words, hearing it. But for some kinds of piano music that doesn't work.

Quote:
Just take "Tartine au beurre" which has no new scales or tonal structure and try solfing those glissandos and those jumps.

A glissando has a beginning and an end, which is the interval. Tartine de beurre [Mozart]

Listening to it:
The first glissandos each go up a full octave from Do to Do, Re to Re, Mi to Mi, with the phrase ending on Fa. This can, in fact, be solfed. Additionally, this has a melody (is singable) which is built along a standard major scale.

The Debussy uses a whole tone scale, consisting of 6 notes within the octave, instead of 7. That is the first problem. You also end up with no Dominant, and no circle of fifths. There is no perfect fifth anywhere from any note to any other note. That is part of the impossibility.


Edited by keystring (05/11/10 03:33 PM)
Edit Reason: shortened

Top
#1434540 - 05/11/10 03:56 PM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: keystring]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11556
Loc: Canada
Elissa - having stumbled on this - isn't there a pure physicality to this such as you mentioned? "rote" or not, in pure motion?
A different Tartine (Butterbrot)

Top
#1434590 - 05/11/10 05:00 PM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: Pogorelich.]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4741
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: AngelinaPogorelich
But why would you use solfege for something like Debussy? Of course it wouldn't work. But it can work very well for simple beginner pieces in C, F or G, etc. Not for anything complicated.

My point is that a system that ONLY is practical for music that is mainly major and minor scales, or modes was useless to me because it had built-in limitations that I can't live with.
Quote:

The only reason I know solfege (and only fixed) is because I never learned the abc method as a kid. I only knew C as Do, and Bb as Si bemol, unil I was about 14.

That's not what I think of as solfege. To me, that is just another way of naming of notes. For instance, B=Si and flat=bemol.

My questions are about the usefulness of *moveable do*, which is quite a different matter.
_________________________
Piano Teacher

Top
#1434617 - 05/11/10 05:28 PM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: Gary D.]
landorrano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2457
Loc: France
By the way, solfège exercise is best done standing, and beating out the measure with the right hand.

In any case, getting back to the question at hand, the famous "rote-teaching", what NWL describes here ...

Originally Posted By: NWL


By rote, I mean by ear--we talk about steps and skips, up and down. We memorize. I do NOT mean that the student plays without understanding--to the contrary, we identify patterns and sequences when learning by ear that might escape notice when playing from the page.


is effectively a solfège exercise.

Are you still there, NWL, or have you flown the coop? Are you saying the note names and singing the tones ? Or just doing scat?

Top
#1434646 - 05/11/10 05:53 PM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: landorrano]
Elissa Milne Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/10
Posts: 1337
Loc: Sydney, NSW, Australia
Landorrano, could you say that solfege is effectively an exercise in rote learning then?
_________________________
Teacher, Composer, Writer, Speaker
Working with Hal Leonard, Alfred, Faber, and Australian Music Examination Board
Music in syllabuses by ABRSM, AMEB, Trinity Guildhall, ANZCA, NZMEB, and more
www.elissamilne.wordpress.com

Top
#1434937 - 05/12/10 03:21 AM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: Elissa Milne]
landorrano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2457
Loc: France
Well, I'm still baffled by this term "rote learning".

The axis of solfège is reading.

Solfège is the study of the elements permitting to read, write, play or sing a musical score. It is to be distinguished from the learning of an instrument or of singing.

While it is evident that the study of an instrument in the context of written music involves many elements of solfège, all the more so in countries where teaching is done privately and individually, solfège is not the same as the study of an instrument.

The archtypical solfège exercise is singing the names of notes from a score, while standing and beating out the measure with the right hand. This is part of solfège, but solfège is not limited to these exercises.

There are many types of exercises: reading out loud the names of the notes without singing them; beating rhythms from a score; visual recognition of intervals; aural recognition of intervals; rhythmic dictations; tonal dictations; rhythmic and tonal dictations; written transposition; aural transposition. In group solfège classes: singing (solfing) polyphonic voices; singing in canon, beating out polyrhythms or rhythms in canon. And so on, and so on.

The point is to form musically literacy; the ultimate objective of solfège is to be able to hear a written musical work without other support than, shall I say, one's mind's ear.

This "rote learning" then, is, insofar as it is a ruse aimed at learning reading, certainly in the spirit of solfège. But to say that solfège is "rote learning" is false because solfège is not limited to the sort of exercises that you are speaking as "rote learning".

That said, I can't swallow this term "rote learning".


Edited by landorrano (05/12/10 06:31 AM)

Top
#1434948 - 05/12/10 03:51 AM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: landorrano]
landorrano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2457
Loc: France
In the book of solfège exercises "Solfège des Solfèges" by Danhauser, Lavignac and Lemoine, level 1B, the table of contents of exercises:

Do major
4/4 = C: Whole notes and rests
Half notes and rests
Whole notes and half notes
Quarter notes and rests
Whole notes and quarter notes
Half notes and quarter notes
Whole notes, half notes and quarter notes
EIghth notes and rests
Whole notes and eighth notes
Quarter notes and eighth notes
Whole notes, half notes, quarter notes and eighth notes
3/4
2/2 = C\
2/4
Dotted half notes and dotted quarter notes
Sixteenth notes
3/8
6/8
The triplet
The syncope
Sharp
Flat
A minor
G major
E minor
F major
D minor
D major
B minor
B-flat major
G minor
F-clef

Top
#1435838 - 05/13/10 02:42 PM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: landorrano]
Smallpiano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/14/10
Posts: 270
Loc: California
Quote:
[/quote]A minor
G major
E minor
F major
D minor
D major
B minor
B-flat major
G minor
F-clef[quote]


shouldn't this be translate as
la minor
sol major
etc....

in Solfege book?


Edited by small piano (05/13/10 02:44 PM)
_________________________
English is my 4th languages, please excuse my grammar. Thanks

Top
#1435903 - 05/13/10 04:17 PM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: Smallpiano]
landorrano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2457
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: small piano

shouldn't this be translate as
la minor
sol major
etc....

in Solfege book?


Apparently, in English speaking countries the solfège syllables are used only during the solfège exercises. One will say "sing the C-scale" and then sing "do-re-mi ...".

Top
#1435914 - 05/13/10 04:29 PM Re: How much rote-teaching do you do? [Re: landorrano]
Smallpiano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/14/10
Posts: 270
Loc: California
Thanks, now I understand
_________________________
English is my 4th languages, please excuse my grammar. Thanks

Top
Page 1 of 4 1 2 3 4 >

Moderator:  Ken Knapp 
What's Hot!!
LAST CALL - Piano Newsletter Ideas!
-------------------
HOW TO POST PICTURES on the Piano Forums
-------------------
Sharing is Caring!
About the Buttons
-------------------
Forums Rules & Help
-------------------
ADVERTISE
on Piano World

The world's most popular piano web site.
Ad (Seiler/Knabe)
Seiler Pianos
(ad) HAILUN Pianos
Hailun Pianos - Click for More
Sheet Music
(PW is an affiliate)
Sheet Music Plus Featured Sale
(125ad) Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
(ad) Lindeblad Piano
Lindeblad Piano Restoration
Who's Online
121 registered (ajames, 36251, Almaviva, 45 invisible), 1737 Guests and 19 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Stats
75498 Members
42 Forums
156124 Topics
2292662 Posts

Max Online: 15252 @ 03/21/10 11:39 PM
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Halloween Fantasy and Tag! - student level pieces
by Axtremus
57 minutes 26 seconds ago
Halloween Fantasy
by Axtremus
Today at 08:56 AM
Visited Yamaha's Flagship Store Today
by biasa199
Today at 08:53 AM
Tag!
by Axtremus
Today at 08:53 AM
Things are not working out for me
by Teodor
Today at 08:45 AM
(ads by Google)

Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
| Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World | Donate | Link to Us | Classifieds |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter | Press Room |


copyright 1997 - 2014 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission