Welcome back to Music Education Basics!
Today, we’re talking about what it means to develop language skills in music—namely, the importance of building a vocabulary of tonal and rhythm patterns, something you’ll hear me describe as the building blocks of music.
Tonal patterns are short, 2- to 5-note groups or phrases. Think of them like words: instead of reading and focusing on the individual letters that make up a word, our eye recognizes the group of letters together; we understand the letters within the context of the word.
The same is true in music: instead of focusing on individual notes, we want to help our students learn to read groups of notes as meaningful patterns.
The goal is to understand the notes within the context of the music.
Rhythm patterns are the same: short, 2- to 4-beat groups or phrases. It’s important to recognize them as patterns vs. reading individual note values.
How do we help our students learn this and build a musical vocabulary? We can start by immersing them in musical experiences, like the way we learn language. Remember, listening and responding comes before reading.
I share a few intentional ideas and some practical advice for putting this into practice in this lesson.
For show notes, click here.
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The Art of Music Teaching & Learning — A comprehensive online course for music educators in all types of settings. It's kind of like getting a mini-music education degree in only 8 weeks.
Free Rhythm Pattern Card Set — A set of 16 rhythm pattern cards featuring quarter notes, half notes, eighth notes, and quarter rests in duple meter.
Rhythm Pattern Card Set — Six rhythm pattern card sets featuring a total of 192 different patterns made up of quarter notes, half notes, eighth notes, sixteenth notes, and quarter rests in quadruple and triple meters (32 cards/set).
Tonal & Rhythm Pattern Card Set: Younger Elementary —Designed for Younger Elementary-age children (K-2nd grade), this collection includes two sets of printable tonal pattern cards (major and minor, 44 cards each) and two sets of printable rhythm pattern cards (quadruple and triple, 32 cards each).
Tonal & Rhythm Pattern Card Set: Older Elementary —Designed for Older Elementary-age children (3rd-5th grade), this collection includes two sets of printable tonal pattern cards (major and minor, 44 cards each) and four sets of printable rhythm pattern cards (quadruple and triple, 32 cards each).