An important aspect of the Integral Development Course of musical instruction involves the reading and the understanding of musical notation. In addressing this issue, we must consider the following question: what approach should be taken to ensure that the student, after internalizing the elements of music, will be capable of reading musical notation in a natural and focused way?
Given that musical notation can appear extremely abstract and even cause a mental block for the young learner, it is important to introduce it to the student in a way whereby they will perceive it as something natural and integral to the musical experience that they have already internalized. To do this, the following exercises are used:
- To internalize rhythmic values, the teacher performs a specific rhythm value repeatedly, while the students follow the value by walking around the classroom, marking the value out with their steps.
- The teacher performs a short rhythm while students listen with eyes closed. Then the teacher asks the students to describe what they imagined while listening. The teacher then asks the students to imagine a musical stave, so when that the teacher plays the rhythm again, students imagine placing the appropriate musical value on their “mental staves”. Having done this, each student then passes to a whiteboard with a stave to draw the value as they saw it on their stave in their minds. The objective of this exercise is to help each student to internalize musical notation, so that when they are required to write it they may do so with confidence and assurance. At the same time, this exercise helps students to read written music with a high level of concentration, focus and without the fear of making a mistake.
These exercises just have the objective of contribute to the world of written music in a creative and healthy way.
The physical posture of the students during classes is very important. They should maintain their backs straight and their feet firmly on the floor, as such posture increases their capacity for perception and concentration. The importance of breathing should also be acknowledged: before a piece of music or rhythm, the student must breath consciously, as this will help the student to consider the appropriate intention in the performance and to perceive that breathing and rest are fundamental elements of musical work.
After having participated in the group classes for determined period, students pass to the chamber program. This program, which is delivered with the same methodological basis as the group classes, is offered to children of 7 years of age or older who have begun learning a specific musical instrument. It is recommended that when students begin to learn a particular instrument they continue with the same musical methodology.
The course of group classes can be delivered in the following ways:
- A weekly class of 45 minutes during school year
- A summer course of 1 or 2 hours a day, a minimum of a one week duration
The cost of the course varies depending on the method of course delivery.
The requirements for the group classes are:
- A large and well-lit classroom
- Musical and percussion instruments
- A piano (if available)
- Minimum 4 children/maximum 10 per group
- The attendance of parents at an informative talk, prior to course initiation
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