Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Scales & arpeggios

My 6-year old currently struggles to read, letter-by-letter. Consequently, he doesn't get the emotional impact of the text. Whereas, I can just let the letters pass and I get it. I found an analogy to music.

When I first learned to play an instrument (piano), it made sense to me as an 8-year old that one would somehow need to provide directions, i.e., the written music - probably not intuitively, afterall I'd spent my whole life seeing my mom play the piano. I could read words by that time, but learning to read music proved very difficult, to get both the bass & treble clef going at the same time. It was (and to a great extent still is) like reading two different books at the exact same time.

Later in life, when I finally pursued wind instruments, and fell in love with music as a hobbyist musician, I finally learned to read music, not just notes.

The same child has recently fallen in love with playing on my electric keyboard (a residual tool from singing in a choir and struggling to overcome hearing my own voice on/off pitch). The other day, while he was playing around with it, I reached over and started playing a scale while concurrently singing it. He was astonished, but promptly remembered the scene in The Aristocats, where one of the kittens is practicing singing her "scales and arpeggios" while the mom-cat plays the piano.

So far, Jr.Gopher#1 seems much more fluent reading in German than English. I think I'll need to check the availability of more German-language kids books to entice him to enjoy reading. Unfortunately, all of the sources for them domestically are really expensive - - and the trans-Atlantic shipping prices from amazon.de are horrifically high since they don't do surface shipping. I guess I'll need to ship it free deutsche-domestically to OmaGopher and have her ship it to us cheaply. sigh ...
.

4 comments:

Peter T said...

This year, the Geman school has given some book recommendations and a link where to buy the books: "The library committee will place your German book order through globalbooks.de, which will waive shipping charges to our school and in addition donate a portion of all orders back to the school!" Look in the last Elternbrief.

ccyager said...

What a GREAT way to get your kids interested in music! I love it! Did Jr. Gopher #1 then want to learn the scale so he could sing it too?

Gopher MPH said...

Jr.Gopher #1 drew a diagram of a long series of circles, some black, some white. It was an explanation to Jr.#2 how to play the song they were listening to. No, not composition, but at least transcription. Had it been Jr.Gopher#2, I would have mailed it to his godfather, Dr.Nuke, a musician-on-the-side.

ccyager said...

Interesting that jr. Gopher #1 transcribed the sounds into an image -- a series of circles. It also helps to ask what the music reminds him of -- a storm? A forest? A battlefield? Whatever. Then see if he wants to draw a picture of it and create a story to go with the picture. One of the amazing things that most musicians have in common is what I call the story approach to music -- as they listen to a piece of music, their mind creates a story to go with it, the imagination stimulated by the sound.....

Both your boys have great imaginations, I'm sure!