QUOTE(pitcher54 @ Jul 8 2012, 09:09 AM)
Experience has taught me that children find it really hard to read scales while they are playing them, and I have tried every method I can think of, including colour coding, so my students have been learning scales without printed music for many years. I simply write the scales as a row of letter names, with the right hand fingering above and the left hand fingering below.
For my current Grade 1 students I am trying an experiment: I give them the right hand finger pattern for C major (123 1234 123 12345) and ask them to play me a scale from Middle C going up. They pick this up very quickly, and after a couple of tries will also succeed going down. Same method for the left hand.
I then ask them to start on G, and to find the 'wrong' note. They soon get the idea, and can find the appropriate accidental. Same with D major. With F major they also have to figure out why the right hand fingering is different. All of this without any printed material at all, and great aural training too.
No, I haven't got to the harmonic minors yet. Watch this space!
This is more or less how I do it. Though I do incorporate (non-reding) theory in it from the beginning - gt the semitones in the right place etc.
They soon know what 3-4-3 means (it's where the turns are) and that for grade 1 only F in the RH is different.
For the minors, I don't go from the key-signature, becasue they've been using the minor mode for a long time, playing Dozen-a-Day exercises and dropping the 3rd note of the scale. I start from C major and go to C minor. Then I start them on D and ask if D all white notes sounds major or minor, and they raise the F# to make the major.
When we want octave minor scales, I start by showing them the tonic and the dominant, and suggest that if they're going to go up and then down again from the dominant, it's a bit of a haul to go up a whole tone only to come down again, and indeed DEFGABb AGFED sounds more "familiar" to them than using a B natural. Then I go down underneath the D and similarly suggest that just a semitone sounds more "connected" to the D. Yes, I know the reaons for this in harmonic theory are a little more complicated, but we're just learning to play them for the third time. Go up as far as the 6th, all the way down, just tip the 7th and back again - still sounds all right. Only when you go up or down through
the 6th and 7th do you get this snake-charmer effect. In D minor it's a recognisable leap across a chasm, so I call it the Mountain Goat (comes up again in g2 with G minor)
Usually they like that version, and I just show them the A minor harmonic as well, but I show them how they can "smooth out" that big gap to make a smoother melody
lift the 6th on the way up (gives you two black notes) and drop both the 6th and the 7th back down when you come down - 2 white notes. Escalator. Almost all of mine choose harmonic for D minor. Maybe 3 out of 5 choose the melodic for A minor. I've always shown them both forms of whatever minor scales we're using. I never do it startng from the key-signature, but look at finger patterns. We look at the key-signature a little after we've learnt the pattern.
Most pupils who come to me having already learnt have a scale book. I've never used one, in fact I''m not entirely sure how I wouold teach effectively using one. My recent 17yo grade 1 used one, and up to the last lesson he was vey confused about what was in which scale. It turned out he was practising them ervery day, but always from the book and always in the order printed, so he couldn't remember which was which when they were thrown at him in random order.