Teaching music or just about any subject is entirely about the STUDENTS. There is a huge difference between a performer and a teacher. Most often, when a teacher is highly skilled, he/she loses the reason for doing things. Why are we singing? Why are we using instruments to accompany the singing of our students? What role does sophisticated strumming or performance play in the overall musicality of young children?
How do we teach accompanied singing to our students so that it is supportive of their oral language development and beginning sense of steady beat in music?
During the initial phase of learning the songs, students are supposed to hear simple steady beat patterns on any instrument so that they can play along (with their body or own instrument) without being overwhelmed by hearing complex patterns that they cannot grasp at this time. For teachers who are not musically trained, strumming or playing the chord once would already give students a sense of harmonic changes within the song. Asking students to take note of the syllables where you are playing would contribute to the development of their phonological awareness. This can be happening unconsciously, but can be taught explicitly later on as they become more familiar with the words of the song. Teachers who perform live would have more opportunities for students to develop literacy and musical skills.
The video tutorial below shows an overview of how a teacher can learn to play and accompany his/her students given the series of chord progressions.
In any given musical piece, teachers can:
1. Learn the chord positions first before getting excited with the strumming or playing
the entire song. This is an important pre-requisite. Without mastery of the positions,
switching chords in steady beat would be impossible. Students will only grasp what
steady beat is if we ourselves have a strong sense of it.
2. Switch on TIME (ensuring that you are switching with the appropriate syllable)
- One of the most important thing to take note of: chords should be ALIGNED
with the syllable (usually the accented ones)
3. Keep the strumming or accompaniment patterns simple in the beginning, so you yourselves and your young learners can focus on what they need to hear and learn.
Our focus when we teach: STUDENTS