Saturday, April 6, 2013

Sound Thinking- A great resource for beginning and veteran teachers alike!

Sound Thinking: Developing Musical Literacy by Philip Tacka and Micheal Houlahan has been an invaluable resource for the past year (when I got it for Christmas!).  This book is a Kodaly-centered resource that gives you all the information you could ever need to teach K-grade 4 (and slightly beyond- check out volume 2 for an expansion).

The book is split into 3 parts:

Part 1 is Setting Up a Kodaly-Based Program, with the chapters The Kodlay Concept, Sequencing and Lesson Planning, and Teaching Songs.  This gives you all the background you would need to have a successful Kodaly-based program.   These chapters give you a background on the concept, how to prepare, present, practice and evaluate the different musical concepts we teacher and hints on ways to teach songs not only to young students, but older beginners as well.  It outlines how to map your curriculum and organize your song collection so that you always know where your students were, what they are currently working on, and where they are going next.

Even if you are not a Kodaly teacher (though I LOVE it- it really makes sense to me!) the 2nd and 3rd parts have great ideas for teaching Kindergarten comparatives (fast/ slow, loud/ quiet, high/ low, etc) as well as teaching beginning and advanced rhythm and melodic elements.  Part II centers around beginning elements- rhythms such as ta and ti-ti, quarter rest, and simple meter- and melodic elements including s-m and la.  It also gives ideas for beginning part work and simple cannons students can do in 1st and 2nd grade.   Part III expands into the pentatonic scale (even extended with low la and low so) and explains how to teach more advanced rhythms with 16th note patterns.  The songs are true folk songs that students love to sing and play.

 The book gives activity ideas, song ideas, and a great sequence to use so your students are getting a musical education that is fun and is logical to make it easier for their little brains to understand.  There are sample lessons, ideas to let students experience new ideas visually, physically, and aurally, as well as a great song index.  Every page has a new idea to help you teach your students, making it FUN!  Each activity is fully explained with visuals and and step by step instructions.

While this book has enough ideas to give a new teacher a wealth of information it also has ideas that veteran teachers would greatly benefit from, making the music education you are giving your students the joy it should be.  As Kodaly said:
            Teach music and singing at school in such a way that it is not a torture, 
            but a joy for the pupil; instill a thirst for finer music in him, a thirst 
            which will last for a lifetime.  Music must not be approached from its 
            intellectual, rational side, nor should it be conveyed to the child as a 
            system of algebraic symbols, or as the secret writing of a language with 
            which he has no connection... Often a single experience will open the 
            young soul to music for a whole lifetime. This experience cannot be left 
           to chance, it is the duty of the school to provide it. 

Check out the book here or here

1 comment:

  1. Have you read their book, "Kodaly Today"? If so, did you find this one you blogged about more helpful? Which volume did you get or did you get both?