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Kodaly methodology #2670003
08/23/17 10:11 AM
08/23/17 10:11 AM
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missbelle Offline OP
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slightly off topic,
but I have taken a part time music classroom teacher position at a very small Christian school, in addition to my home studio, plus lessons after school at another school.

The past two teachers were Kodaly certified, and thus had super secret society member only lesson plans that cannot be shared with little old me.

I have met each grade level twice now, and they cannot name solfege tones except Do and Mi, sometimes Sol, and are unsure of the Curwen hand symbols to match.
They do not recognize the Grand Staff.

For Recorder Karate, the past teacher warned me not to let them test on the pages with the notes written in, but that is how they practiced. (apparently until is was rote memorized.)

They never had composer studies, instrument recognition, hymns, and the fun rhythm instruments were kept under a cabinet. Students were thrilled that I put them on open shelving and that we have already used them, discussing beat vs rhythm. Apparently, that takes a year or so to teach in Kodaly?

Anyway,
my questions are-
Did the students just have a poor teacher?
Is Kodaly methodology the way to go and I am missing out?

I am trying to blend the new and the old- most notably with the Boomwhackers- my storage container has them with letter names, color-coordinating notes on the grand staff, and solfege tones all lined up.

We are a private school, and the director is happy. The parents I have met seem happy, and students pop into my room just for fun.

So, what I am doing, classic teaching of the grammar and appreciation of the language of music, with a lot of fun and movement, seems to be well received.

But, am I wrong in not following Kodaly? Does it really work?

Thoughts?

Thanks!

Hope all of you have a great fall!

Last edited by missbelle; 08/23/17 10:12 AM.

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Re: Kodaly methodology [Re: missbelle] #2670026
08/23/17 11:10 AM
08/23/17 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by missbelle
The past two teachers were Kodaly certified, and thus had super secret society member only lesson plans that cannot be shared with little old me.

A bit exaggerated, eh?? Your description sounds like a poor music program, rather than poor teachers. That's two very different things.

I'm not Kodaly-certified, but I certainly appropriated many of his ideas back in my days teaching choir. It's perfect for the group of kids I had.

If you have a group of kids with similar musical abilities, then go with Kodaly. Otherwise, the advanced kids will be bored out of their minds.


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Re: Kodaly methodology [Re: missbelle] #2671025
08/28/17 08:51 AM
08/28/17 08:51 AM
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missbelle Offline OP
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OP here-

well, I asked the previous teacher to come in and share a bit of her Scope and Sequence. There are NO lessons plans on the school pages. She said she told the principal that, but the principal must have forgotten.

She offered that I go to the website TeachersPayTeachers (hope that's allowed to mention on here?) and BUY various Kodaly lesson plans for $10-$15 a pop per concept.

(She is not on TpT. She just said that in our state, almost ALL the public schools use this methodology so some teachers put together specific plans to help out.)

My questions to her:

Q:
Does Kodaly help with staff reading?
Like, when a student moves to band or orchestra, are they prepared?

A: No. Those directors will have to teach how to hold the instrument and how it works and plays, as will as how to read on the staff. Kodaly mostly uses a three line staff, to teach steps and skips. No clefs.

Q:
I do not recognize most of these songs you are showing me. How do they help with cultural heritage if the parents do not know them, either?
A:
Well, my mom was a music teacher, so I know a lot of these. But, kids today do not listen to what their parents listen to, and we have to start somewhere! These songs, with only two or three pitches, are designed for children's voices. After a while, they like doing them. Especially when you add in games and cute pictures.

Q:
I asked a 5th grader, who was listed as the "best" recorder player, to identify treble G. He did not know the name of the clef, nor was he able to identify the note. When I said "G" he moved his fingers to waggle the three middle fingers. So, did he really learn the notes, or memorize the fingerings by rote? (B is one finger, A is two fingers, G is three fingers)
A:
I would say both. I am quite surprised at that, because "child" practiced, a lot! I never quizzed them on the staff, but I thought they knew, since they passed their karate belt tests without the note names written in.
Q:
Do you think he had it memorized?
A:
perhaps. I was rather busy at the time...

I looked over the method items she left me, and I will try to bridge ta to quarter, and steps to G and A. I will choose nursery rhymes and fun children's games for cultural heritage, with a touch of patriotic music. I have great resources collected from city orchestras that invite students to day time performances, and I am going to use that for music appreciation and listening skills.

She said she never got around to anything other that the Kodaly plans, and the school performances for parents to see.

I am taking on a lot, but i want my oldest students, the 4th and 5th graders, to be able to read on the grand staff, to identify the famous composers and their music eras, to know what a trumpet looks and sounds like, how a violin plays, etc...how to sing, how to sight read, and to enjoy listening to various genres of music.

Is that too much?

So, aside from making great singers, what else sells Kodaly?

Thanks!

Piano lessons begin today after a two week break. I am ready to get back to what makes sense for me, and my piano students!





Last edited by missbelle; 08/28/17 08:51 AM.

Learning as I teach.
Re: Kodaly methodology [Re: missbelle] #2671049
08/28/17 10:38 AM
08/28/17 10:38 AM
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I'm surprised the previous teacher recommended paying that much money for lesson plans. I suppose it could save you that much money with the thinking that your time is money. It seems there should be some books explaining the methodology at some university libraries.

The rhythm counting system is widely used, and I will continue using it with my students at times.. Most of the kids learn it in school here, and the higher level choir my neice is in also uses Kodaly rhythms and solfege with the hand signs.

I'm not surprised your student didn'tknow what treble G was if you phrased it that way, or what a treble clef was. I'd take a guess that most of the students in my school recorder class wouldn't know the name of it. Nor would they know how to read bass clef, since the soprano recorders most have only play in treble clef. The tenor and alto recorders were given to those students who already played piano or were better at note reading. It does also seem easier on recorder to play the right notes without knowing the name. I've had piano students too who can play a note from the staff on the piano but struggle to name the note.


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Re: Kodaly methodology [Re: missbelle] #2671074
08/28/17 12:15 PM
08/28/17 12:15 PM
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Re: recorder, G = 3.
It's known in my neighbourhood that I play recorder, and one day two little girls holding their school recorders rang my doorbell and asked if I would play with them. I came out with my big tenor, and they wanted to play something they learned in public school. I harmonized with them, but suddenly they started to argue about whether the music went "2123 or 1213" or some number sequence like that. I realized that they had simply been taught to memorize long sequences of numbers. I have no idea whether this was taken from Kodaly or something else. In any case, for G you hold down 3 fingers to cover the top 3 holes.

A bit after that the mother of the one little girl asked me to give her lessons, and I gave one. This child was very musical. She had a book of beginner music with tunes made up of G to C, I think with numbers written to them. I tried to create the concept of sounds going up and down, and relating this to the recorder and also the notation. We sang ups and downs and she recognize higher and lower sounds. I sang the notes in her book while pointing up and down. I did "up and down" in the recorder in random notes. On recorder, you can visually see the "up, because as the pitch ascends, more and more holes are uncovered from the bottom up. Suddenly the lightbulb went off and she got really excited. At that point it moved into free exploration of creating higher and lower sounds on the recorder.

It's really too bad. This child was passionate about music, and sang beautifully, and the school had turned it into an "instant results for parental consumption" type of thing - possibly to be taught by someone who was not a musician but was on staff.

I've been told things about Kodaly, and also about Suzuki, by teachers who knew these systems well, and also understood music thoroughly and could teach them in a deep way. But I've also seen, with Suzuki, where it becomes a quick fix shallow formula. I understand that Kodaly has a fair bit more depth than that.

Re: Kodaly methodology [Re: Arghhh] #2671077
08/28/17 12:20 PM
08/28/17 12:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Arghhh
The tenor and alto recorders were given to those students who already played piano or were better at note reading.

Were these older students with bigger hands, or were they fancier recorders with more key thingies to cover the holes? I got my tenor at a church basement sale for $5.00 and it had originally been a school recorder (plastic). It has only holes which is fine for my adult hands - that said, my mother who played recorder since childhood could not handle it, and could just manage the alto.

Last edited by keystring; 08/28/17 12:21 PM.
Re: Kodaly methodology [Re: keystring] #2671080
08/28/17 12:45 PM
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I have average hands, I think. I can reach on my wood tenor (like yours a garage sale item, I think I paid $7.00.) I borrowed a higher quality one for a group and had carpal tunnel symptoms almost immediately. Tenor is not an ergonomic instrument. You might need pipe fingerings but I didn't know about them at the time.

I use a thumb loop on my alto. It's not historically accurate but helps greatly.

I have a garklein but have enough restraint not to play it in public. My favorite is the sopranino and that's annoying enough.


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Re: Kodaly methodology [Re: TimR] #2671088
08/28/17 01:31 PM
08/28/17 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by TimR
I have average hands, I think. I can reach on my wood tenor (like yours a garage sale item, I think I paid $7.00.) I borrowed a higher quality one for a group and had carpal tunnel symptoms almost immediately. Tenor is not an ergonomic instrument. You might need pipe fingerings but I didn't know about them at the time.

I use a thumb loop on my alto. It's not historically accurate but helps greatly.

I have a garklein but have enough restraint not to play it in public. My favorite is the sopranino and that's annoying enough.

Over here they seem to teach recorder in grade 1 or 2. I cannot imagine a 7 year old being able to cover the holes of a tenor even if they had very stretchy hands, because the pads of your fingers also have to be fat enough.
The plastic tenor is brutal, with sharp edges to the holes which are quite wearing especially for the thumb.
(I've never heard of "pipe fingerings". Is this fingerings for the pipe?)

Re: Kodaly methodology [Re: keystring] #2671109
08/28/17 03:30 PM
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Originally Posted by keystring
(I've never heard of "pipe fingerings". Is this fingerings for the pipe?)


Pipe fingerings are a special case of fingering for instruments like bagpipes where your fingers just won't line up on the holes.

Most people's finger number 3 and 4 (piano number) are much longer than 2 and 5. To make them fall in a line you would have to curl 3 and 4, but this is awkward when you're reaching a long way with 2 and 5.

The solution is to use the pads at the tips to cover holes with your short fingers, and the pads between the joints to cover holes with the longer fingers. It sounds hard but it works. I think you use this on pennywhistle too.


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Re: Kodaly methodology [Re: missbelle] #2671282
08/29/17 10:36 AM
08/29/17 10:36 AM
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OP -- I don't know what those teachers were teaching but it is NOT the Kodaly I am familiar with. The students I get from the school system that uses Kodaly here are VERY literate - not only visually but aurally also. They are the only students I get that are rhythm literate.

They may be a little slower in actual note names as they relate everything the solfege way but by 4th ( when they get recorders here) that all evens out.


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Re: Kodaly methodology [Re: missbelle] #2671382
08/29/17 05:59 PM
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Keystring - the alto and tenor recorders didn't have any extra keys that I recall. We used then for Grades 5-8.


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Re: Kodaly methodology [Re: missbelle] #2671532
08/30/17 12:30 PM
08/30/17 12:30 PM
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missbelle Offline OP
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Thanks for the information!

I have taught recorder before, but with a Veterans Day performance soon, plus Christmas just around the corner, plus leading chapel, it will not be until second semester.

Yes, recorders are very good for "seeing" the rise and fall of the music, with how the holes are covered/uncovered. I am happy to have them! Will be ordering class sets soon enough...

I also have several autoharps that I unearthed from a school cabinet, unused for years. I think I can come up with several ways to use them!

And, yes, rote memory has a part in teaching music, (lyrics for young children that cannot read words, let alone music, notation above their level, etc...) . as does improvising.

But, I want my students to know more that just rhythm and rote memory, which is what it seems was mostly what they had.

I had 4th graders asking if they could play a game where they hide an object and try to guess who had it, signing a 2 note tune. That seems more of a K or 1st grade level, but they asked to do it this year, because they did it last year. Instead, I had them work on writing a patriotic rap ( I know...but I know my kids already!) for an upcoming performance- rhythm and rhyme, beat, movement, collaboration, team work, fun!

I am not going to get Kodaly certification, since I am not required to do so. I will incorporate what I can, and add in all sorts of other parts of music. I am bringing in a trumpet for Th and Fri classes, as we study marches and J.P. Sousa!

Any more info on Kodaly methodology, esp. if you have a classical method background, would be helpful.

Thanks!


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Re: Kodaly methodology [Re: missbelle] #2671539
08/30/17 12:55 PM
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Going off topic sort of again. About recorders. I don't like what I'm seeing about them school-wise. Kids come home from school around October and the courtyard reverberates with sharp ugly blasts of sound as they blow into these things. The recorder is seen as a "simple and easy instruments", not much more than a toy. In actual fact, to be able to play in tune requires some listening skills and breath control. Getting a lovely sound by finding the "sweet spot" in how much breath to use, while at the same time not compromising pitch (too much) is not a simple easy thing. Somebody who is actually musical get turned off by such a cavalier approach (to any instrument taught in public school). I'm glad we didn't have recorder in school, to be honest.

Re: Kodaly methodology [Re: missbelle] #2671754
08/31/17 08:07 AM
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My own children were in elementary school in a very disadvantaged city.

Families were asked to contribute $2 each for recorder purchase but only a couple could afford it, so they announced they were going to cancel the recorder music segment. I donated recorders so the class could proceed, but I purchased the standard fingering (sometimes called Baroque) fingering recorders. The music teacher was only familiar with the simplified (sometimes called German) fingering so she taught them F with only one right hand finger down.

I then had to put up with my child practicing at home with one note of the scale more than a quarter step sharp. It was painful. I did try to help her with that but got "no, teacher said it's this way" and I didn't want to undermine the teacher.


gotta go practice
Re: Kodaly methodology [Re: TimR] #2672511
09/03/17 12:11 PM
09/03/17 12:11 PM
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Originally Posted by TimR
My own children were in elementary school in a very disadvantaged city.

Families were asked to contribute $2 each for recorder purchase but only a couple could afford it, so they announced they were going to cancel the recorder music segment. I donated recorders so the class could proceed, but I purchased the standard fingering (sometimes called Baroque) fingering recorders. The music teacher was only familiar with the simplified (sometimes called German) fingering so she taught them F with only one right hand finger down.

I then had to put up with my child practicing at home with one note of the scale more than a quarter step sharp. It was painful. I did try to help her with that but got "no, teacher said it's this way" and I didn't want to undermine the teacher.

TimR, what kind of "music teacher" is that? The point of anything is to get the correct sound. Maybe the teacher "is only familiar" with one fingering, but when you end up with the wrong note, you change it. I know exactly what you're talking about, because among my stash I have one which is the other kind. I had to learn the alternate fingering for F (or in the alto I guess that's Bb?) and sometimes when I switch recorders I'm using the wrong fingering and do a switcheroo. If I could do that as an untaught amateur (my first lessons in anything were far into adulthood), surely a teacher teaching music should bother.

Re: Kodaly methodology [Re: keystring] #2672524
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Originally Posted by keystring
TimR, what kind of "music teacher" is that?


One who was very very good at getting inner city kids involved and enthusiastic, but lacked some technical knowledge about the instrument. Probably she was taught the same way herself.


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Re: Kodaly methodology [Re: missbelle] #2677317
09/23/17 10:23 PM
09/23/17 10:23 PM
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OP here- with an update-

The older students were preparing to write their state rap, but I wanted to be sure they understood note values.

I drew a quarter note, and said, "you can call this:

One
Ta
qtr

It does not matter to me, as long as you understand that it is one beat."

I then drew two eighth notes. Most of the class happily said, "we know that one! It is Ta Ti!" (And, it sounded to me that the Ta part was held a bit longer)

I puzzled a moment and said, "hmmm...according to what I know from Kodaly, two eighths should be called Ti Ti." And they laughed out loud.

So I said, "let's call it two eighths and move on."

And we did.

I went home and scoured the internet. Two eighth notes ARE called Ti Ti. Unless you are following a French system I did locate. But, the Kodaly teacher books left in my class room were Ti Ti. I was so confused!!

I have NO idea what their teacher taught them last year. Most were still under the impression that 2 notes = 2 beats; 4 notes = 4 beats.
I blew their mind with a whole note followed by a measure of 8 eighth notes!

They asked if a rest needed to be counted. Many thought not, and they actually debated it for a bit.

When I gave them a "write out the rhythm I clap on your white board" a few of them started to draw staff lines, but only 3 lines. One girl was frustrated- "I don't know how to write music!" I said that this was rhythm. Just the clapping, not melody/lyrics/singing, no up and down, no pitches. I showed, again, examples on my board. She kind of got it. It was a long couple of days!

This is 5th grade. In many schools, they would be in band or orchestra now instead of general music.

We are still working on breathing and warm up exercises, singing posture, and what is a phrase.

Then I go off to piano lessons at another private school. Whew!

One boy, who attends public school while his sibling is at this school, gets to take piano lessons with me, only because sister is at the school. (payment, insurance...) He is a rank beginner.

He tells me, "today in music class we learned the note 'So'." (It may have been Mi)
"Great! I responded, "what can you tell me about it?"
"I don't know. You hold up your hand like this (weird contortion) and you just copy the teacher. I don't know what it means. And then we played this fun game about a dog and a bone. And my friend got picked but...blah blah... funny boy... distraction story"

And then we went back to piano.

I still am not understanding why we can't just call a spade a spade, and keep it the same across the board- for piano, choir, band, whatever.

Any more thoughts?




Last edited by missbelle; 09/23/17 10:24 PM.

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Re: Kodaly methodology [Re: missbelle] #2677355
09/24/17 05:29 AM
09/24/17 05:29 AM
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Originally Posted by missbelle
Any more thoughts?

You should be glad your fifth graders are getting any music instruction. Some lousy districts cut the arts a long time ago. When I was working at the school district, K-5 music instruction was optional, and only for kids who were proficient in English and Math. We music teachers traveled from school to school. Some classes (strings, mostly) had only 3 kids! Orchestra at one time was down to a string quartet. Fortunately, only one of us was teaching outside our area of expertise.

A couple of K-5 teachers took it upon themselves to teach music as part of the curriculum. One lady moved her own upright piano into her 3rd grade classroom. I taught the middle grades, and I can tell you that none of my incoming students could read music. When the district decided to cut our department even deeper, five of us packed up and left at the same time, and now they have band teachers trying to teach choir and orchestra. Ha!

And yet, if you go a couple of school districts to the east, you get high schools that have four orchestras, including one that flies across the country to play at festivals. Different demographics, different priorities.


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Re: Kodaly methodology [Re: missbelle] #2677374
09/24/17 09:44 AM
09/24/17 09:44 AM
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My impressions and thoughts:
There is what music is, and there are systems for teaching it. A system is a tool, just like a textbook is a tool. The person who teaches a subject must not only have a thorough grasp of that subject, but be able to take it apart for themselves in a way that they will be able to present it in a way that it becomes understandable for the students. In other words, the teacher's understanding comes first, the tools (system or textbook) comes second in that order. That is my first premise.

You now come to the phenomenon that "systems" get cobbled together for people who end up teaching that they must follow and is designed so that even those who don't understand the subject can "teach" it .... or those who cobbled together the system don't really understand the subject matter, but they're administrators and will impose it anyway. The kids will go through all the steps laid out in the manual, but since it's all done robotically by someone at the head who doesn't understand or doesn't care, what they get out of it is largely meaningless. You then inherit these kids.

Those are two general ideas that relate to each other. That's the general premise.

To specifics:

Quote
.... I then drew two eighth notes. Most of the class happily said, "we know that one! It is Ta Ti!" (And, it sounded to me that the Ta part was held a bit longer)

The Ta's and the Ti's are a system for bringing forth concepts, and may be a tool to help practically in working with music. I'm familiar with the system. But it looks like the system was used blindly, and in fact it seems that in your description in general that they system became more important than understanding (maybe there was no understanding) and you've inherited a mess!

I taught theory once, and got my insights that way. You're dealing with time, and there are several different concepts:
* the relative values of notes. Quarter notes last twice as long as eighth notes, and half as long as half notes (= relative). If your music has a half note in the LH, and two quarter notes in the RH, you must know to hold the half note for the duration of both quarter notes, because you have grasped that relationship. This is "relativity". Whether your signature is 4/4, 3/8, 2/2, this still holds true.
* time signature. This gives us a regular underlying rhythm, as a basic concepts. But also, the concept of beat comes in here. A misteaching often occurs around this, where students are initially taught that "the quarter note is a beat" for the first concept (relativity), all must is in 4/4 and 3/4 time, and then suddenly in */8 time or */2 time, the beat is no longer defined by the quarter note. That is why distinguishing these two are important
* beat. related to time signature. When we figure out complicated rhythms in written music, we can be free to divide up the notes in a gazillion ways to figure it all out, via the first concept (relative value of notes). You might base yourself on the eighth note, quarter note, or sixteenth note value to work things out. You're not working with beats at that moment, and should know that.

Those are the underlying premises that we need to understand. It won't be presented to students in such a convoluted abstract way. But we have to be aware of it.

Your students are mixed up in some kind of fundamental way, and the different concepts seem to be mixed and jumbled together. When I remediated academically for kids who were having problems, often we had to go back to square one and untangle the mess, unlearning and relearning. You can't build on top of mislearned basic concepts.

Re: Kodaly methodology [Re: AZNpiano] #2677375
09/24/17 09:46 AM
09/24/17 09:46 AM
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 17,146
Canada
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
keystring  Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 17,146
Canada
Originally Posted by AZNpiano
You should be glad your fifth graders are getting any music instruction.

But if it's taught wrong, is it instruction, and is it really better than nothing?

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