The title of my thesis for my MA (Hons) I did a few years ago was called Playing with Understanding and understanding is really the crux of successful learning in music.
If a child comes from a family surrounded by all kinds of music and music making they will understand music as they understand basic language.
They become what teachers refer to as “talented”. What about the rest? They are not untalented they just have not had the opportunity to experience music in a creative way. Just think how early children start to make up their own stories. That is learning to use their language creatively.
To address part of this problem in music we must find ways to allow children to create with their musical learning.
As part of this I developed a series of tasks the kids call Chuppa Chupp Challenges. These are a series of stickers each one with a challenge in which the players are the creators of how their music is to be performed.
They may be asked to make up a tune just using the notes they know, or they may be asked to play a piece sadly and the same piece happily, play it to a parent and get them to guess which emotion they played. They have to take the piece they have learnt on their instrument and write words to it, turning it into a song, There is one where they are given a series of tasks to do in order, which if done, they will have learnt a new piece. Another important one is to play a scale correctly five times a practice session.
They then take the scale and work out a way of performing it using different rhythms they have made up. They may be asked to find a piece they are playing on YouTube and write a critique of it.
These tasks are never ending. So in my school, when you see a strange sticker on the left hand page of the practice book, know it is a Chuppa Chupp Challenge and is there to deepen your child’s understanding of music.
Just watch the children in this video as very young children discover they know and understand what all those strange symbols mean. Michiko Yurko, is showing children they understand the notation then miracles follow
St George Players