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#954670 - 10/04/08 06:31 PM "All Cows Eat... Milk?"  
Joined: Sep 2008
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Kemerrit Offline
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Kemerrit  Offline
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Florida
I had another set of lessons today. Yeah, "All Cows Eat Milk" was a direct quote from one of my students while doing flash cards. LOL It made me laugh. :p

I have a 5 year old student (cute as a button!). She understands her fingering (thumb is 1, index is 2, ect)But can I teach her notes on the staff if she doesnt even know how to read yet? How do you convince a 5 year old that the musical alphabet stops at G and not Z?
Or should I focus on other concepts, like rhythm? Whats the best way to go about that?

Any advice from you "Piano Veterans" is appreciated smile

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#954671 - 10/04/08 06:48 PM Re: "All Cows Eat... Milk?"  
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Morodiene Offline
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I would start her out with pre-staff notation. This entails using finger numbers over quarter notes, then adding half notes and whole notes later on, which are not on a staff, but do move up an down the page accordingly. Many method books use this now, and then they also add the note names inside the noteheads (C, D, E, etc.). Prior to adding the staff.

As far as the musical alphabet, I would introduce that after having some pieces with just the finger numbers on pre-staff notation (a lot of method books will also start kids on the black keys first as well).


private piano/voice teacher FT

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#954672 - 10/04/08 07:46 PM Re: "All Cows Eat... Milk?"  
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Amy Boyack Offline
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My son learned to read music before he learned to read words. I started him with middle C and worked up from there. He just caught on. I didn't really give it much thought, just showed him the music, put his hands on the piano and showed him where the notes were for the first song. He caught on so fast. He had learned the first five songs in the book in the first lesson and was reading notes without the fingering numbers written by them. They weren't hard songs, they started with just C, then moved to C and D and then to C,D, and E, etc. I probably did it all wrong because I didn't study pedagogy in college, but it was fun and it worked for us.


Amy Boyack
part time piano and voice teacher
http://SisterSingers.com/blog
#954673 - 10/04/08 08:05 PM Re: "All Cows Eat... Milk?"  
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Gary D. Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by Amy Boyack:
My son learned to read music before he learned to read words. I started him with middle C and worked up from there. He just caught on. I didn't really give it much thought, just showed him the music, put his hands on the piano and showed him where the notes were for the first song. He caught on so fast. He had learned the first five songs in the book in the first lesson and was reading notes without the fingering numbers written by them. They weren't hard songs, they started with just C, then moved to C and D and then to C,D, and E, etc. I probably did it all wrong because I didn't study pedagogy in college, but it was fun and it worked for us.
I use a keyboard chart, once I designed myself. If a child can read the letters from A to G, we're ready to go. They learn to match notes on a page to the pictures of the notes on my chart, which have the letter names and key words that I use. Many young children will learn words as they are matching the letter. I have a parent in the room with us. The parent is the "home teacher". If the children are unable to read the words, letters are enough.

This involves teaching an adult along with a five year-old, and it's a lot more work, but it enables me to cover things much more quickly, and the little ones do learn to read.


Piano Teacher
#954674 - 10/04/08 08:07 PM Re: "All Cows Eat... Milk?"  
Joined: Jul 2007
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DoReMi Katie Offline
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DoReMi Katie  Offline
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Be sure she feels confident with the names of the keys right from the beginning. There are lots of little stories to help out with this. My favorite that I use with all my beginners, (young and older) goes something like:

Once upon a time there were two houses (the black key groups); the dog house and the people house. (dog house is the 2-black keys, people is 3-black keys.) Inside the dog house lived a cat (C). She had a best friend, the dog (D). They enjoyed doing a bunch of different things together, but there favorite thing was to eat (E). Right beside the dog house was the people house. This house had 2 doors, the front door (F) and the backdoor (B). The people living there liked to eat. (at this point I liked to ask the child to guess what these peoples' favorite food was.) Their most favorite was grapes (G) and second favorite was apples (A).
And they lived happily ever after! Now, let's look at the keys, and see how many neighbors are living on this "street". Then I have them find all the dogs in the neighborhood, and after they play all the D's, I ask them what kind of dog they'd like to have as a pet - a tiny little chihuahua at the top of the piano, or a huge doberman at the bottom.

It's also fun to play Simon Says using RH/LH, finger numbers and note names!


Full-time, independent piano instructor; church musician
MTNA, ISMTA, working towards NCTM!
#954675 - 10/04/08 08:34 PM Re: "All Cows Eat... Milk?"  
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Gary D. Offline
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(edit)


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#954676 - 10/04/08 08:47 PM Re: "All Cows Eat... Milk?"  
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sotto voce Offline
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Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
eek

¡Gaaaaary! ¡You got some splainin to do!

Ay ay ay ay ay ay ay ....

Steven

#954677 - 10/05/08 01:13 AM Re: "All Cows Eat... Milk?"  
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Gary D. Offline
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(edit)


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#954678 - 10/05/08 01:17 AM Re: "All Cows Eat... Milk?"  
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Gary D. Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by sotto voce:
eek

¡Gaaaaary! ¡You got some splainin to do!

Ay ay ay ay ay ay ay ....

Steven
**** and **** again

I have NO idea how this got here, and I removed it the moment I saw it.

For the record, I did enjoy hearing you play, and I will say that openly.

My excuse?

More swearing deleted, just turned 60 on the 3rd, apparently I'm losing my mind.

Again, SO SORRY (and very embarrassed),

Gary


Piano Teacher
#954679 - 10/05/08 01:53 AM Re: "All Cows Eat... Milk?"  
Joined: May 2007
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currawong Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by Gary D.:
just turned 60 on the 3rd, apparently I'm losing my mind.
Hey Gary, happy birthday! smile


Du holde Kunst...
#954680 - 10/05/08 02:44 AM Re: "All Cows Eat... Milk?"  
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Gary D. Offline
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Gary D.  Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by currawong:
Quote
Originally posted by Gary D.:
[b] just turned 60 on the 3rd, apparently I'm losing my mind.
Hey Gary, happy birthday! smile [/b]
Thanks. smile

Don't know how this fits into All Cows Eat Milk, but I see now that I had this thread open while writing to Steven, and I wasn't even part of this thread. frown

It should be All Cows Eat Grass, but in my case I need something the means Humble-Pie but starts with G. frown


Piano Teacher
#954681 - 10/05/08 10:10 AM Re: "All Cows Eat... Milk?"  
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Morodiene Offline
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Geriatric? Just kidding! We all make mistakes. laugh


private piano/voice teacher FT

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#954682 - 10/05/08 10:53 AM Re: "All Cows Eat... Milk?"  
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lilylady Offline
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boston north
Katie,

I love your story.

Did you make that up yourself or is it something that is going around these days that I had not yet heard of?

I shall certainly be using it!


"Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything."
#954683 - 10/05/08 11:14 AM Re: "All Cows Eat... Milk?"  
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sotto voce Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by Morodiene:
Geriatric? Just kidding! We all make mistakes. laugh
Absolutely, and for the record I immediately accepted Gary's kind apology.

And I must say (channeling Ed Grimley!) ... that I find that advancing age is awfully handy for hanging our slip-ups on. I'm just 52, but have already blamed a misstep or two of my own on a "senior moment"! smile

It's nice that there are some consolations in getting older, and we gotta take 'em where we find 'em.

Steven

#954684 - 10/05/08 03:08 PM Re: "All Cows Eat... Milk?"  
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Gyro Offline
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I am not a fan of the "every good boy does
fine," "F A C E," "good boys do fine always,"
"all cows eat grass," mnemonic. I think these
are insulting, even to young children:
this teaching at the level of
a dolt, and even young children pick up on
that. Moreover, some of the words in
these have strong connotations that
don't match what is being taught, for
example, the words "boy," "face," "always,"
"cows," "eat," and "grass." The imagery
associated with these particular words
is very distinct and does not mesh with
the music field. Thus, these actually
hinder rather than help the process in my view,
because the lines and spaces will from
them on be associated with things that
have nothing to do with music. (Furthermore,
two of these that are similar,
"every good..." and "good boys...," and
can be mixed up in the mind.)

What I would do instead is to stress the
nature of the keyboard with respect to
notation: the seven white keys from C to
B are repeated seven times on an 88-key
piano, from the bottom to the top of it,
each time at a higher pitch; the black
keys that these seven white keys surround
are in a repetitive pattern of 2's and
3's and also repeat the same pitches
seven times from the bottom to the top
of the keyboard, each time at a higher pitch;
there are actually only seven different
notes that are ever directly notated
in music, C D E F G A B; the five lines
and four spaces of the treble staff
represent these in the form,
E F G A B C D E F, with the first E
being the one two white keys up from
middle C; the five lines and four spaces
of the bass staff represent G A B C D E F G A,
with the first G being the one ten white
keys down from middle C; the black
keys are never directly notated in
music, but are indirectly indicated by
sharp and flat signs; there is no
symmetry to notation--the first line on
the bass is a G, while the first line
on the treble is an E--and so reading
the staffs has to be learned by rote
and repetitive practice.

That's the way I'd teach it: "put your
rt. thumb on the white key two keys
up from middle C; that is represented
by the first line on the treble staff;
with your thumb remaining on the E,
play the next white key up with the
second finger; that is represented on
the treble by the first space"; etc.
(The student also gets to associate the
lines and spaces with the actual tones
this way.)

#954685 - 10/05/08 05:07 PM Re: "All Cows Eat... Milk?"  
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dsch Offline
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florida
This topic reminded me of that Mozart study:

cows that listen to Mozart give more milk--
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/w...e-milk-yield-on-spanish-farm-448855.html

#954686 - 10/05/08 09:39 PM Re: "All Cows Eat... Milk?"  
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Betty Patnude Offline
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Betty Patnude  Offline
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Puyallup, Washington
Sotto voce, said: "I find that advancing age is awfully handy for hanging our slip-ups on. I'm just 52, but have already blamed a misstep or two of my own on a "senior moment"!"

Ho, ho, I am older, and can blame missteps on senior moments, which I'm beginning to notice senior motention more than ever. You'd think it would work the opposite that the older you got you might have more of them, but you wouldn't notice them. Anyway, I was hoping for that.

I just signed off on another and my typing brain (I caught it in time and changed it) combined what I was trying to say

Good luck,

Betty

and wrote instead

"Buck"

To me that was an eek

#954687 - 10/06/08 04:15 AM Re: "All Cows Eat... Milk?"  
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Gary D. Offline
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Gary D.  Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by Gyro:
I am not a fan of the "every good boy does
fine," "F A C E," "good boys do fine always,"
"all cows eat grass," mnemonic. I think these
are insulting, even to young children:
You are making an assumption that a good teacher can't afford to make, that all other people will learn best the way you do. smile

You are right that "good boys do fine always" is a problem, since it duplicates the words "good", "boy" and "fine".

There are advantages to words that you have not even considered. They may be and sometimes are linked, in the beginning, to specific keys. Thus "fine" is linked to the top line of the treble clef and only to the key that corresponds to it.

But "fight" is linked only to fourth line "F", in the bass clef, and only to that key.

Small children don't ever seem offended by the idea that "Cows Eat Grass" is useful, in the beginning, for remembering a C chord.

Same with Big Fight Grass or Cows Fight Animals. If anything, they have fun with the silliness of the possible sentences, but that also helps the link.

However, there are many ways to link keys to letters to notation, and even young children who think very mathematically will find other ways to imprint the necessary information. As teachers it is our role to help all the little people find the best solutions for them.

So no words for little Gyros. smile


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#954688 - 10/06/08 05:33 AM Re: "All Cows Eat... Milk?"  
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Chris H. Offline
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UK.
I have to say there is some logic in what Gyro said. I have never liked using these words/rhymes to teach the notes on the stave. Younger children in particular can find them very confusing and they also fail to relate the movement of pitch to the musical alphabet.

I like the thread title. It remends me of an 'audition' question a freind of mine uses. He will ask prospective students:

'What do cows drink?'....

If they answer, 'MILK', he would think twice about taking them on!


Pianist and piano teacher.
#954689 - 10/06/08 11:48 AM Re: "All Cows Eat... Milk?"  
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sotto voce Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by Chris H.:
I have to say there is some logic in what Gyro said. I have never liked using these words/rhymes to teach the notes on the stave. Younger children in particular can find them very confusing and they also fail to relate the movement of pitch to the musical alphabet.
As neither teacher nor student, I hadn't realized that the phrases that turn the patterns into acronyms were used as teaching devices. I thought they were mnemonic aids to refer to in event of a memory lapse.

Steven

#954690 - 10/06/08 02:07 PM Re: "All Cows Eat... Milk?"  
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horatiodreamt Offline
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Well, what about "Oh mares eat oats and does eat oats but little lambs eat ivy!"

#954691 - 10/06/08 06:09 PM Re: "All Cows Eat... Milk?"  
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Gary D. Offline
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Gary D.  Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by sotto voce:
As neither teacher nor student, I hadn't realized that the phrases that turn the patterns into acronyms were used as teaching devices. I thought they were mnemonic aids to refer to in event of a memory lapse.

Steven
I can only speak for myself. I use any crutch, trick, short-cut or anything else you want to call it to get people reading notes as fast as possible.

Since all these things are crutches, you don't want to use them unless people need them, and many don't. In fact, I'd say that for many they just get in the way.

And even if people need them, for whatever reason, you still get rid of them as soon as possible.

I don't think good readers even think about note names while playing. I certainly don't. smile


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