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Author Topic: Music theory instruction videos for children (learning the space notes)  (Read 2728 times)
timpania
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« on: September 17, 2016, 05:59:42 PM »

I am starting a series of music instruction videos for children based on what I have learned teaching children piano for last 7 or so years.  I am starting with the space notes of both clefs, as my students tend to find it really hard to remember these.  The videos are free, and hopefully will help children to remember these notes (and take some of the pain out of learning to read music!). I am planning to add more videos on an ongoing basis.

I would be very grateful if you could take a look and give me some feedback:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vEDHpBoRxsw
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fq3LIOYFGrQ
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keypeg
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« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2017, 12:08:07 AM »

I enjoyed the artwork so much that I watched it several times just for the artwork.  Clearly presented with plenty of time to absorb.  When you show how to draw the bass clef, you do it minus the staff, and that I didn't like.  The bass clef starts with a fat dot right on the "F line" and that is important both for drawing it, and for knowing that it is the F clef.  The two free dots on either side is the other indication, of course.
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keypeg
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« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2017, 12:10:45 AM »

For drawing the treble clef, I'm wondering if there is more than one approach.  I learned to start with the fat dot on the bottom, which is at the spot where you have middle C, and the rise upward, doing the round swirl which swirls around the G line afterward.  You start with the swirl.  How have others learned to draw it?
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vaniii
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« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2017, 01:10:07 AM »

From a user experience stand point, I stopped watching when I had to read.

Children are still learning to read.

You are asking them to use a tool they are learning to master, to master a tool they do not know, yet.

Obstacle to over come an obstacle.

Even for an adult, this would be tiresome; please see, "death by powerpoint".

Rule 1 of marketing, know your audience.
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vaniii
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« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2017, 01:24:48 AM »

Reflecting.

Audio narrative would be better.

Understandable, you may not have a budget for animated graphics, but these complexes concepts can be explained in a way that even the most simple of people can understand them.

Kurzgesagt

http://www.youtube.com/user/Kurzgesagt/videos

Pick a random video, and watch it; you will see what I mean.
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vaniii
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« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2017, 01:35:34 AM »

Children have a need for a human or amphomorphic entity to imprint on.

Please see childrens TV programs since 1970.

Children do not like being left alone.  They have not developed independence, and need social iteration.

You video through its color pallet is very, adult.  Grey background, though differentiating the foreground text denotes isolation.  I commend your attempts, adding colorful text, but unfortunately from a child's perspective, it will not hold attention.

Primary colors would create striking contrast.  Black (background), White (text) for important information will give lasting imprinting of information.

See below for a mascot example.  Again, for a complex issue and discussion.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mPD5dUBFsps

---

Use the media cues for what they are used for.

Text for impact.
Images to explain.
Audio for narrative.


---

End note:  the content here is not the problem, but the presentation is.
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keypeg
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« Reply #6 on: February 03, 2017, 03:48:27 AM »

Reflecting.

Audio narrative would be better.

Understandable, you may not have a budget for animated graphics, but these complexes concepts can be explained in a way that even the most simple of people can understand them.

Kurzgesagt

http://www.youtube.com/user/Kurzgesagt/videos

Pick a random video, and watch it; you will see what I mean.
Kurz gesagt, eigentlich nicht. Wink  I tried to watch two of them until I couldn't stand it anymore.  The second one was "gravity is our prison".  The first one, I couldn't tell you what it was because it got all jumbled.  To begin with, the animations were so busy that they were distracting.  The topics themselves were clearly aimed at adults or older teens, with relatively high level vocabulary specialized to the topic. It moved rather quickly, but while trying to grasp what the speaker was saying, all this "stuff" was going on in the animations.  That "stuff" had nothing to do with the concept, so you had to erase the distraction from your mind.  Or.... you were distracted by the cute animations, which were telling a different story at a different level, and while being entertained, you lost what was being said.  That battle - to stay focused and follow - was exhausting.  It's like trying to concentrate while somebody is making funny faces at you while wearing a clown hat.

I assume that the "prison gravity" thing was actually trying to teach about gravity.  But to make it "interesting" they had to create this secondary story line about being in prison and escape, "engage the emotions".  Well, please, either tell me an entertaining story about a prison escape, or teach me about gravity - make up your mind!

When I tutored students having problems in math at the gr. 9 - 10 level, I brought the text we had chosen, in lieu of the "entertaining" text using the "pyramid approach" that had been chosen by most schools during our educational reform here.  All the kids said the same thing "For heaven's sake - Why can't they just teach us the material straight out?!"  The books they had used this same entertaining formula.  You can't just teach about vectors: First you have to have to go to the circus and talk about elephants: then do some experiment with your friends.  

When I was in teacher's college we were told we had to compete with television and make things bright and exciting and fast.  And then everybody wondered about hyperactivity in the classroom.  What I appreciated especially in the OP's video was that it was CALM, RELAXING, and SLOW ENOUGH.  It reminded me of Rudolf Steiner's Waldorf schools.
-------------------------------
adding:  I've now tried to watch the other video about design.  That hyper voice, the pictures flashing around, the speaker interrupting himself to suddenly talk about being sick - irritating to the point I wanted to throw things.  I was not able to follow. 
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keypeg
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« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2017, 04:06:03 AM »

My two visits to a Waldorf school left a lifelong impression.  I found this article about "colour" - the Lazure - which may give some idea.
http://www.waldorftoday.com/2010/12/color-in-the-waldorf-school-van-james/
It is the opposite in every way to our television shows, bright busy and loud things - and for some reason the OP's animation reminded me of it, even if the fish was black and white.  Here is a picture of a chalkboard.

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keypeg
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« Reply #8 on: February 03, 2017, 04:12:37 AM »

I was tempted to delete my comments on the "kurzgesagt" videos.  What surprised me is the degree to which these videos irritated me.  That irritation came out in the tone of my post.
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lostinidlewonder
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« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2017, 04:19:44 AM »

I agree the video seems more for adult and not children since there is no one talking and I think kids like to see people (or a character) and hear them talk as vannii described really well.

I must be one of the most "unfun" teachers when it comes to recognizing your notes. I approach it with heaps and heaps of note naming/writing worksheets. I get my kids to practice writing words with music notes (and seeing what it sounds like on the piano) and for some make a game to see how many notes they can name or find on the piano within 1 minute and we keep a tally each week. I find kids generally hate reading notes at first and some can really put up resistance to complete their worksheets alone but if they do tonns of examples it becomes easier and they tend to not care so much.

Other approaches I use is to get them to memorize only the space notes and be able to adjust up and down the alphabet for the line notes. This is a good mental exercise for them too because saying the alphabet from a different point up and down can be tricky for little ones to become quick at. It is however a helpful mental exercise to train early on for their sight reading where we will notice notes being higher/lower by a certain amount of steps.

It is also very important if you are teaching piano to get the students to know where all the C's are, the middle C's in both clefs, the Cs within the stave and the double leger line C's. This helps students know between which two c's their notes are that they read, so they know where to play on the piano.

Bass clef and Treble clef should also be described in terms of the middle C. Most notes in the treble are above middle C, and most notes in the Bass are below middle C. Of course they can pass the middle C points but the point is that the majority of the notes are above it.

I get my students to construct the grand staff with the treble on top and bass on bottom, draw all line notes in one group, then all the spaces and additionally where all the C's are as I described above. This is something I expect all my students to be able to do no matter what level. For the very young kids sometimes you have to go through extra steps so they know how the notes go up and down the staff, exercises of them drawing the notes going up and down and how to create leger lines.
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keypeg
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« Reply #10 on: February 03, 2017, 04:30:04 AM »

This I agree with.
From a user experience stand point, I stopped watching when I had to read.

Children are still learning to read.

You are asking them to use a tool they are learning to master, to master a tool they do not know, yet.

Obstacle to over come an obstacle.
(I entertained the idea that it was not necessarily targeted at children.)
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vaniii
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« Reply #11 on: February 03, 2017, 11:12:35 AM »

I was tempted to delete my comments on the "kurzgesagt" videos.  What surprised me is the degree to which these videos irritated me.  That irritation came out in the tone of my post.

Don't delete it, your argument is a valid counter point.

The videos are aimed at young adults, but you missed my point.  Content is not the issue, but presentation is.  In the videos listed, use of colour and audio; in the second video, the use of a mascot and little text.

For the record, I agree with you.  I have found the most productive way of teaching note reading is by teaching note reading, not something packaged as something else, particularly if the link is tenuous.  Even my youngest learners can identify notes because they understand that is the point of the interaction and are not trying to pursue an alternate agenda (playing a song they know, and only that).

I agree the video seems more for adult and not children since there is no one talking and I think kids like to see people (or a character) and hear them talk as vannii described really well.


I must be one of the most "unfun" teachers when it comes to recognizing your notes. I approach it with heaps and heaps of note naming/writing worksheets. I get my kids to practice writing words with music notes (and seeing what it sounds like on the piano) and for some make a game to see how many notes they can name or find on the piano within 1 minute and we keep a tally each week. I find kids generally hate reading notes at first and some can really put up resistance to complete their worksheets alone but if they do tonns of examples it becomes easier and they tend to not care so much.

Same really; children who “don’t get it” are usually not interested; the “don’t get it” is because they are not willing to take the new information in.  When we are talking about notes and identification, all you need is one or two concrete positions on a clef to understand the surrounding notes.  Unfortunately, because this does not conform to an agenda, they disregard the entire process. 

Some even get quite far, in terms of study, but then realise they needed what the previously disregarded.  Note identification.


I get my students to construct the grand staff with the treble on top and bass on bottom, draw all line notes in one group, then all the spaces and additionally where all the C's are as I described above. This is something I expect all my students to be able to do no matter what level. For the very young kids sometimes you have to go through extra steps so they know how the notes go up and down the staff, exercises of them drawing the notes going up and down and how to create leger lines.
Level and age is not a concern here, but motivation is.  If they want to learn it, they will; unfortunately, some students arrive with a ‘convince me’ attitude which means they are closed to learning from the start.

---
This morning I have just reviewed my posts from last night.  OP your efforts are commendable, and shows you care about what you do.   You asked for feedback, and so I gave you some from my perspective, please do not take offence.
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perfect_pitch
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« Reply #12 on: February 03, 2017, 12:30:44 PM »

You DO realise that this video was posted almost 5 months ago, and I'm pretty sure the only reason the original user posted it was to try and get views on their YouTube site, considering they haven't even logged in since posting that video.
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keypeg
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« Reply #13 on: February 03, 2017, 03:57:12 PM »

You DO realise that this video was posted almost 5 months ago, and I'm pretty sure the only reason the original user posted it was to try and get views on their YouTube site, considering they haven't even logged in since posting that video.

Why should that stop us from being interested, and discussing such concepts as presentation?
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keypeg
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« Reply #14 on: February 03, 2017, 04:18:10 PM »

It was late just before going to bed when I wrote last night.  So a bit less at a knee-jerk pace.

The original video:
- I did not necessarily see it for any age group, therefore not necessarily for children.  Plenty of adults and teens don't have the basics of reading.  I didn't consider age, period.
- Aesthetically I was drawn to the drawings.  I liked the texture of the pencil lines, the beauty of the drawings.  It made me watch several times over.  If I had needed to learn this information, these aesthetics would make a difference.
- It was a good pace for learning.  Basic information was presented in a simple way, and a repeated a number of different ways, which helps retain that information.  "not too much" and "not clutter" (a point made in the PowerPoint video btw).
- It built from one thing to the next in a way that made sense.  That made all of it easy to remember.

If I were to want to use this video as a study tool, I could easily go to a section I want to reinforce.  It was all presented with clarity, simplicity, and in a calm manner that allows for concentration.

2.  For the content.  "bass" with the fish.  That part definitely helps you remember the spelling of "bass" because of the repetition, and the striking humourous thing with the picture.  However, it also reinforces forever pronouncing it the wrong way. Wink  It's like "don't think of a pink elephant."  If you're told not to do something, that's what you'll remember, and end up doing.  b) The reader has to be familiar with that fish.  c) The reader must be an English speaker, who is familiar with that fish.
- I've already pointed out the weakness of "how to draw the bass clef".  It's position on the staff itself is an integral part of that clef.  In fact, in the whole video, the beginning dot isn't quite where it should be.  Since that dot is on the F line, this is a big deal.  It's hard to copy how to draw something by going from screen to paper.  That said, is it even necessary to learn to draw the bass clef, in order to read music on the bass clef?
- Personally I don't like the use of memnonics such as .... well, I've forgotten it already.  I know there are cows eating grass.  I do know the lines and spaces, so I'd have to work backward, which is pointless.  Even if memnonics work for you, you still have to chant the whole darn thing in order to get at the note name of the 5th line.  But if you like memnonics, it is presented in an easy to follow manner.

3.  About whether to teach reading music through this kind of approach in the first place: I tend to be with Lostinidlewonder on that one.  I have been studying with a teacher for a number of years now who has looked deeply into the nature of what reading piano music actually is, and from there has developed his way of teaching it in stages.  Because of that information, which has convinced me, I wouldn't do it in the way it's done in the video.  But then, I wouldn't do it in the way it's commonly presented in books either.  The video may be a step up from the books.

So these are my thoughts, written out. In terms of the OP, maybe he or she will show up at some point and that would be cool. Smiley
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keypeg
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« Reply #15 on: February 03, 2017, 04:58:15 PM »

Some general premises in education:

A number of principles are prevalent.  One is to "make things interesting" by presenting something beside the point.  For example, the textbook is teaching the formula for lines on a graph.  But the first three pages are about three buddies having rides on a ferris wheel, "because this age group loves ferris wheels".  Two more pages says to explore ferris wheel related things.  On the 10th page it finally introduces the formula for lines on a graph, but piecemeal.  Finally at the end of the chapter there is a summary.

I already knew that the above format is a disaster for a lot of what is called LD, which btw tends to involve highly intelligent individuals who may have problems processing in one area (i.e. dyslexics who visually jumble things), or have a more literal or global thinking style.  The "piecemeal" confuses the global thinkers.  What I didn't expect was that "ordinary" kids had a problem as well.  Their reaction is basically "Cut out the ferris wheel.  Teach what you are going to teach in a straightforward manner."  But our educational psychologists, who read and write textbooks and don't set foot in the classroom, are still stuck on this kind of model.

- I won't go into the "spiral approach" (I accidentally called it "pyramid" yesterday) because it doesn't apply hear.  But it, too, creates problems.

2.  In teacher's college in the early 1980's we were taught to compete with television, to stimulate and excite.  There were your bright primary colours, fast paced lessons, short periods of this followed by short periods of that.  Meanwhile we've got hyperactivity, "short attention span" problems, difficulty concentration - is it only due to video games and the like?  Two things hit me like a sledgehammer.  One was the postgraduate course I took on learning disabilities, which proposed a classroom with few distractions and exciting stimuli for certain learning disabilities.  The opposite of what we were told.  Next was our visit to a Waldorf school, attending a kindergarten class, and a grade 2 class.  It was calm, muted, relaxed, warm, relaxing -- the kids showed huge concentration.  Feedback by high school teachers was that kids from Waldorf had huge focus and did extremely well.

This is the kind of background which influences my reactions, including on "presentation".  It is not just a matter of my own personal reactions.

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keypeg
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« Reply #16 on: February 03, 2017, 05:22:28 PM »

From "general premises" on to the:

Kurzgesagt videos
This time I watched through one video, and took notes.  I was also able to sit through the whole thing, and even enjoy it, after I got past the introduction.  I watched this one:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RVMZxH1TIIQ

It had a preamble of sorts that went on for 0:37 seconds.  The actual presentation started at that point, and this part was direct, straightforward, logical - the animations illustrated what was being taught, reinforcing it.  So my problem was actually with the 37 second introduction.  This fits with the educational trends I wrote about previously, which is why I wrote that first.

The first part is like the "ferris wheel" preamble "to make it interesting to this age group" before teaching linear equations.  Here students I helped were wishing the ferris wheel to the moon: get to the point - it's not interesting, it's confusing.

In that intro, we have two story lines again.  The animation is about these poor birds that are trapped in a prison.  We see them squeeze through the prison bars from an outside view - pictures flipping ever 3 seconds or so.  There are carton bubbles popping up from the birds such as "Why don't you try flying?" while one bird falls to the ground.  Emotion is evoked through tears.  MEANWHILE the narrator is talking abstractly that "We are prisoners on this earth." and presenting some first concepts of "energy deficit".  This to me is a poor presentation because you have totally different messages.  The video is not about birds wanting to escape prison.  In fact, the video isn't even about being prisoners on earth (an emotion-capturing device which is common in journalism - which I also tend to avoid).

I only managed to get through those 37 seconds by pausing frequently.  I also considered that the best way to get through the video would be via audio only, and not watching the animations.  Except that once in a while, an illustration came up that actually had to do with what was being taught.

I am stressing that this is exactly the kind of thing the students I have helped one-on-one universally complained about.

I finally figured out that the topic itself was generally about how rockets work to manage to get into outer space, and some premises of physics behind that.  It was not about the emotional premise of being "prisoners" on earth.  The poor birds in the other storyline never had a resolution so we're left hanging about the birds.  If you leave out the first 37 seconds you get a pretty good presentation.  In fact, an excellent one.

What I wrote goes together with the previous premises I wrote out.  Sorry for making it long, but for concepts like this, I don't know how it can be made short.  Wink

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keypeg
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« Reply #17 on: February 03, 2017, 05:40:26 PM »

Vanii, answering you directly (finally)
Don't delete it, your argument is a valid counter point.

The videos are aimed at young adults, but you missed my point.  Content is not the issue, but presentation is.  In the videos listed, use of colour and audio; in the second video, the use of a mascot and little text.
Presentation was also my main point.  It took me a lot of words to clarify what that means, because it comes from a fair amount of background - I hope you don't mind indulging me.
Colour and audio - got it.  I would agree that colour is more interesting and fun than shades of black and white.  In regards to audio - the OP's video did have audio, which was pleasant piano music as a background, but that audio had nothing to do with what was being presented.  In the least, why not have music in the bass clef, if presenting the bass clef -- maybe even creating a melody that emphasizes A,C,E,G at the moment that these notes are being presented as space notes.  But your point is - why not say what you rae presenting?
Quote
For the record, I agree with you.  I have found the most productive way of teaching note reading is by teaching note reading, not something packaged as something else, particularly if the link is tenuous.  Even my youngest learners can identify notes because they understand that is the point of the interaction and are not trying to pursue an alternate agenda (playing a song they know, and only that).
Agree. I've absorbed quite a few ideas on that.  Like for example that reading piano music is also a physical eye-hand coordination or fusing of two stimuli - that it can involve sound and vision - a host of approaches ... other than memorizing names of lines and spaces, memorizing names of notes on the piano, and then joining those two memorized things.  It's a huge topic by itself.
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