What is your main goal as a music teacher? The common answer would be to teach your students music…right? That’s close. An all-rounded music teacher’s goal is to musically educate their student. Just as we learn literacy to become literate with the language which we speak, being literate is also very important for any good musician.
Without knowledge of letters and words how would we be able to read, write, and speak? We wouldn’t! That’s also the case when it comes to music. Without music literacy you’ll find it difficult to read and play music and writing music in this case would be considered impossible.
Ultimately, a musician dream goal is to be at a level where they can simply look at a sheet of music and hear every single note in their head. Our Music Academy in Australia strongly believes in upholding a high standard of musical literacy amongst musicians, which is why today we’ve decided to provide with this completely free guide which will give you the essential tips for teaching music literacy to your students.
Keep reading to find out how we teach our students music literacy in fun and engaging methods.
Best ways for combining music literacy into lessons
There are a number of ways which you can use to combine music literacy into your music lessons which help you teach both music and literacy at the same time.
Mnemonics can be used to teach musical literacy from the names of notes, different clefs, rhythms, and much more.
A common mnemonic you may have heard of on when learning the treble clef is Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge and FACE, which are used to help memorize the name of the notes which fall on the spaces and lines of the music staff. Refer to the example below for a more visual understanding.
Names of foods or other common objects are commonly used as mnemonics for helping kids memorize the looks and sounds of notes. You can align the number rhythmic value of a sequence of notes and symbolize them with words which have the same number of syllables. A common example is shown below.
Don’t be scared of trying out different words and subjects. Ideally in the perfect scenario you should try to personalize the learning the student’s interests. For example, if a child happens to love soccer, then you should try to see if you can customize some of the learning activities to revolve around both music and soccer.
This way not only do you show the parents of student’s effort and personalization, but you will most definitely have the attention of your student for much longer.
Games to apply learning
Puzzles, memory, bingo, and quizzes are some of the basic ideas which you can start with. With music games you can have unlimited creatively and take things to the next level by designing your own custom games, once again preferably as personalized as possible.
Many studies have shown creative and fun games as a great way to encode learning, especially with children. You can use games to solidify each lessons learning. Here are a list of some of the best games, and how each game can help develop musical literacy:
The cup game
The cup game’s aim is to improve coordination and rhythmic skills.
1. Teach kids this cup rhythm pattern: clap twice, hit the cup three times, clap once, pick up and set down the cup, and switch hands while tapping. Practice without music.
2. Add music in 2/4 or 4/4 time. Kids should match the rhythm to the beat.
3. Encourage them to enjoy making music with cups. This simplified version is perfect for young children to learn rhythm in a fun and interactive way.
Musical chairs are a great way to improve hearing skills, as well as being able to align an action straight after hearing the music stop (coordination).
Try introducing a range of different styles of music whilst playing this game, making sure they are all happy and upbeat themed. With this game you can introduce children to different styles of music whilst also working on hearing skills
Musical alphabet scavenger hunt
Hide flashcards with musical notes (A, B, C, etc.) around the room. Kids search for the cards and arrange them in the correct order. This game will help you teach kids the musical alphabet in a fun manner. Later on, you can modify this game and use different rhythmic values, time signatures, or key signatures instead of the alphabet.
One conclusion which can be made is that when it comes to teaching music theory and skills, there’s a lot of room for creativity, especially when specifically looking at learning through games and activities.
Learn with the best music academy in Australia
You know now that music literacy and other musical skills and knowledge are crucial for a good musician, but the sad truth is that not many academy’s and instructors take this approach when it comes down to the real deal.
Fortunately, at Kia Music Academy we’ve solved this issue by taking what we call an “all rounded learning method”. This teaching method aims to combine all the different aspects needed for a good musician including theory, literacy, performance skills, and much more.
Our academy offers a range of different music lessons in Australia which include:
- Physical music lessons in Adelaide
- Online music lessons in Australia & around the world
- Personalized & group classes for adults and children
- Drum lessons
- Guitar lessons
- Piano lessons
Ready to explore the depths of an all rounded musician? Get started by booking your free lesson now!