P1 - D5

Read and play at sight short, simple phrases at a regular pulse; begin to make links between sound and symbol

Play short, simple rhythmic/melodic patterns and ask learners to copy them.

Using flash cards, help learners to:

  • recognise different note values and their rests
  • clap, sing and play simple rhythmic/melodic patterns, maintaining a regular pulse, perhaps at different tempi
  • name notes and find them on the instrument (note recognition)
  • read and play simple dynamics
  • read and play staccato and legato

Presentation programs such as PowerPoint or Google Slides can be used to make flash cards to display on a tablet or interactive whiteboard. These have the advantage of being easily editable, so new rhythms and melodic patterns can be created as required by either the teacher or the learners.

The maxim ‘sound before symbol’ is as important now as ever. Reading notation is a means to making music, not an end in itself. Different forms of notation can be used, e.g. staff, graphic, as an aid to learning. Consider carefully whether notation is a help or hindrance in learning music from aural/oral traditions.

The overall aim is to help learners to develop instant recall of notes and rhythms, thus heightening musical memory. Help learners to gain enthusiasm for learning pieces, using notation when appropriate. Ensure that its use is encouraging rather than discouraging.

Devise a variety of games to explain staff notation to young beginners, e.g.:

  • use a large stave with movable notes (in the shape of small, furry toys)
  • space permitting, play ‘note jumping’: mark out five lines on the floor with masking tape and ask learners to step or jump between them, calling out the note names and perhaps singing them as well
  • play the ‘musical alphabet’ game: a learner says/sings a note name, the next learner says/sings the next one, and so on, up and down. Do the same missing out a note – G/B/D, etc.