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Topic Options
#939033 - 12/25/07 06:20 PM Re: Children with rhythm difficulties
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5924
Loc: Down Under
 Quote:
Originally posted by Crystalcolors:

By the way, she is tone-deaf. I just found out today. xxxxxx
[/b]
How did you find out that she is tone-deaf? I don't know what you understand by the term, but I would have thought tone-deaf means the inability to distinguish between different pitches - ie, on hearing two notes in succession, a truly tone-deaf person would be unable to tell if they were the same or different. I think that this condition is extremely rare. I myself have never met anyone with it. I have however come across plenty of kids who don't sing in tune, for many reasons. Sometimes people describe this as "tone-deaf" but it isn't. Teaching kids to find their voices and sing in tune is a whole other topic \:\)
_________________________
Du holde Kunst...

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#939034 - 12/26/07 12:09 PM Re: Children with rhythm difficulties
Crystalcolors Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/19/07
Posts: 37
Loc: Upstate, NY
Hi, currawong!
It is possible that I may not using the term accurately. Perhaps you can help me define more clearly.

In her adoptive mother's case, she stays on the same note the whole time, for the entire song. No up or down, just one horizontal line. She can't tell the pitch or note difference. Period.

This girl's case is very similar, meaning most of the time she stays on the same note. but she does go up and down, except that she's way off. It is more than just not being able to carry a tune.

It's not common to come across people with this sort of problem, but I have met several people of this kind. (I used to direct different choirs)

So is this called tone-deaf, or something else?
_________________________
Crystalcolors

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#939035 - 12/26/07 12:46 PM Re: Children with rhythm difficulties
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Crystal Colors,

I'm so glad to hear she is responding and enjoying the lesson more - Sousa and Mozart - great choices.

How did you determine "tone deaf"? Perhaps it is because of her tightness overall that she has not discovered her vocal apparatus for singing and has no ability or experience to pitch notes.

These suggestions take place over time - a month or two - in small segments - I believe if you will expose her to:
1) a one note sound to pitch too, and,
2) pitch, moving up one tone and back, then,
3)pitch, up, back to pitch,and down, and,
back to pitch would be good vocal preparation for her.

My counting system does not include "Quarter - Quarter". Mine is the one with;
TA = (quarter note) (One clap)
ti-ti = (2 eighth notes) (Two claps on one beat)
Half Note = (half note) (Two claps of TA)
Half Note Dot - (dotted half note) (Three claps)
Whole Note = Hold that whole note (4 claps of TA)

dotted ti, 1/16 note = (LONG-short)(Complete on one clap of TA)

dotted quarter, 1/8 note = (TA-i)(One clap of TA, one quick clap of "i". (You might prefer to say TA-ti)

You are helping us think about an important subject! I see that you are working with several with learning differences children.

One thing happened when one of my students was about 9 years old, her mother took her for riding lessons one summer - the child was previously arythmic since her first lesson at age 6. Immediately her responses changed, improved, and she could make steady beats and count accurately for the first time. She is now 13 and a 7th year of study pianist, and a percussionist at middle school, hoping to become a music education teacher.

There are applications outside of music that help the kids overcome challenges, or to improve upon responses.

What else keeps a steady beat? This things can be noticed: Windshield wipers, telephones (the "old" kind), minute hands of the clock, a dripping faucet. Etc. But the horse affects full body motion and brain. It would have to be done with safety factors, and the child would have to be willing. Perhaps even one time would make a difference.

Everybody, keep thinking, what will potentially help these children?

Betty

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#939036 - 12/26/07 05:05 PM Re: Children with rhythm difficulties
ClaraSchumann Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/25/05
Posts: 73
Hi Crystal,

Just wanted to chime in with the "quarter quarter half note thing." Pretty sure it was me who mentioned that in an earlier comment, but I didn't give appropriate credit. I learned this way of counting from a workshop by Mary Gae George. She and her late husband, Jon George, created the series Artistry at the Piano. You might want to check out Mary Gae's books and I believe she also has videos. She teaches rhythm using her entire body...very fun way to learn. Betty's system seems quite similar.

I'm glad you had a walla! moment using this idea with your student. I'll never forget the first time I tried it and could positively feel the magic in the room. And the best part was that the student could feel the energy too.

Betty...I love your story about riding lessons. That's a great idea!

One other thought about teaching rhythm...Kids like the telephone game, where each child has a rhythm card everyone can see. The teacher begins by "calling" someone's card and that student "calls" another card. They love this! You can also do this with one student by simply "calling" a measure in the music and seeing if they can find it.

This is a great thread. Please, everyone, share more ideas.

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#939037 - 12/26/07 11:16 PM Re: Children with rhythm difficulties
Amy J Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/19/07
Posts: 141
Loc: Kansas City, MO
 Quote:
Betty...I love your story about riding lessons. That's a great idea!
[/QB]
My daughter got better when she started riding horses, too, now that I think about it. Good thoughts, everyone!

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#939038 - 12/27/07 10:22 AM Re: Children with rhythm difficulties
Crystalcolors Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/19/07
Posts: 37
Loc: Upstate, NY
Oops! Sorry, Clara, I got confused. Yes, your method worked well. Even her mother noticed the difference. Thank you so very much! I'll check out Mary Gae videos. I was thinking of getting some kind of rhythm game video, but didn't know which one to get. Thanks for your recommendation.

And yes, I was thinking what I'll do to teach her 8th notes in the future, but Betty's idea will probably help her. I have learned how to count in my own language, but teaching my students in my language will probably make things more confusing! I need to learn more English! I am learning a lot, you guys!

Horse back riding is a wonderful idea! Outgoing as she is, she'll probably get excited about the idea. (Whether she's brave enough to get on the animal for real is another story, though) I don't know if her mom will be apt to it or not, especially if it involves a lot of $$. But I will suggest it to her anyway.

And thanks, Betty, for your advice on vocal training. You know, that's what I was thinking. She doesn't seem to have been exposed to music in the past (I really don't know much about her background, so I'm just guessing), and she's mentally physically not awaken to music yet. It seems impossible not to be exposed, though, because music is everywhere (restaurants, stores, schools, TV...); even if you don't want to hear, it's there. And the next thing you know, you're singing along. I am discovering that not all people absorb what they hear.

Let me ask you a question. In America, in public schools, do they teach music to all students? I don't mean bands and stuff that you have to sign up for. I'm talking about mandatory music classes starting grade 1 to teach them basics. It's probably different from school district to school district, but in general, what do they do for music education? Is every student given the opportunity to learn the basics? Or at least learn songs?
_________________________
Crystalcolors

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#939039 - 12/27/07 01:13 PM Re: Children with rhythm difficulties
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Crystalcolors,

I appreciate all that I'm reading in your topic, great postings everyone! Off to a great start!

I want to remind you that anything you try that does not work well today needs to come back up again at a later date. Don't dismiss anything - it's time may still come.

I would suggest that you write everything you are doing down - you have a good base here with your Piano Forum postings.

And, just coming to mind as I type, is the use of a videocamera - to show this young lady herself at the piano - playing something. She needs to see her whole body, and then focus on her upper torso, arms, close up of hand, and finally when she smiles, get that on camera.
I don't know if you feel comfortable doing that or not, but it should build self-awareness for her. She may not have a picture of herself.

A mirror placed for viewing from the side, might help. You know her best. Or, a small hand mirror for her to look at her face when she is happy related to making music. A photo?

I don't know how you would want to do it, but you have the idea.

Also, you might have a chart for each individual student where they paste in a star for their attendance. They could have another chart at home that shows they practiced...doesn't have to have all the dates and minutes and stuff, just a collection place to show piano time. Maybe a piece of blank manuscript paper where a musical sticker gets pasted on it.

And, I have e-mailed with Mary Gae George several times, from December 6th, 2006 thru June 2007, she is a delightful person. I very much appreciated her interest and concern about questions I asked her.

If you simply - not long - tell her how many students you are working with who have learning challenges, she may respond with some ideas for you.

Mary Gae George, NCTM
www.ArtistryAlliance.net
mg@ArtistryAlliance.net (emailing Mary Gae)

"Artistry at the Piano" are the books by Jon George. There is also a newsletter. See the website.

Best wishes in your endeavors, Crystalcolors!

Betty

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#939040 - 12/27/07 07:28 PM Re: Children with rhythm difficulties
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5924
Loc: Down Under
 Quote:
Originally posted by Crystalcolors:
In her adoptive mother's case, she stays on the same note the whole time, for the entire song. No up or down, just one horizontal line. She can't tell the pitch or note difference. Period.
This girl's case is very similar, meaning most of the time she stays on the same note. but she does go up and down, except that she's way off. It is more than just not being able to carry a tune.
It's not common to come across people with this sort of problem, but I have met several people of this kind. (I used to direct different choirs)
So is this called tone-deaf, or something else? [/b]
I too have come across this with choirs, children and adults. The adults are used to calling themselves "tone-deaf". They are sometimes referred to as "droners" - that is, droning away on one note. However, with the children at least, in every case I worked with, I found improvement. It wasn't that they couldn't hear the differences between pitches, they just couldn't reproduce them with their vocal apparatus because they didn't know how. They were "singing" just as they speak, at the pitch they speak, and this was considerably lower than the pitch they were being asked to sing. It's a long topic, but ways to start include finding what pitch their one note is and working from there, as Betty was mentioning, and also helping them find the potential of their voice by high and low vocal sounds (a bit like sirens). It's hard for us to realise sometimes that some people just simply haven't had the musical input in their early years that we have had.
I would define tone-deaf as being unable to perceive differences in pitch. Whether a person can sing them is a different thing. I would be surprised if your little girl or her adoptive mother could not say "same" or "different" after hearing two notes. (and they may even need some practice before they realise what the question means!) But if they couldn't do this, then by my definition this is tone-deaf.
So don't give up \:\) . I really admire the effort you're prepared to put in here.

And just a little word about rhythm. Make sure you start with her rhythm. That is, asking her to clap/march/sway along with an established rhythm is the second step. The first is to ask her to clap/march/sway/whatever and reinforce what she does by playing music, or clapping along with her, so that she gets the connection more easily. It's the same principle as finding the one note she can sing and working from there. Good luck!
_________________________
Du holde Kunst...

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#939041 - 12/28/07 01:13 PM Re: Children with rhythm difficulties
Crystalcolors Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/19/07
Posts: 37
Loc: Upstate, NY
Thank you, Betty, for Mary Gae's info. I will certainly check out her site.

I don't have a video camera, but I'll see what I can do. Attendance stickers! Which reminds me. There is one student who has a very tardy father who has all kinds of excuse to miss the lesson. She wants to come, but her father is just so inconsistent. Anyway, that's another topic. Attendance chart on the wall may wake up this tardy father!

Thanks, currawong, for defining "tone-deaf". I think this girl can improve, if I take time to train her. Perhaps once her rhythm issue is settled (thank you for your suggestion), we'll do that. Yikes! 45 minutes is not enough!
_________________________
Crystalcolors

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