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theory for young children


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#1 zwhe

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Posted 30 April 2018 - 20:14

Does anyone know of any good theory books for young children that are NOT aimed at pianists?

I have a 6 year old flute player who would find the bass clef confusing! It would be nice to have a colourful book for him instead of my collection of home-made worksheets/things printed from various sources.


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#2 adagiok5

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Posted 30 April 2018 - 22:11

The only option I could suggest is to use Theory Made Easy For Little Children by NG but to leave out the bass clef for now. I think that should be possible. There is a section in the first book on naming notes on the keyboard I think that maybe quite useful and fun for the pupil.
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#3 Ilewydh

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Posted 01 May 2018 - 06:41

I came across this years ago. Just checked to see if it was still available

https://www.amazon.c...y/dp/0570248140
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#4 Aquarelle

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Posted 01 May 2018 - 13:27

I came across this years ago. Just checked to see if it was still available

https://www.amazon.c...y/dp/0570248140

There is no "see inside " option on amazon but this book could be useful for my reorder and flute players. Can you tell us a bit about what's inside it, please?


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#5 Ilewydh

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Posted 01 May 2018 - 13:41


I came across this years ago. Just checked to see if it was still available

https://www.amazon.c...y/dp/0570248140

There is no "see inside " option on amazon but this book could be useful for my reorder and flute players. Can you tell us a bit about what's inside it, please?

Wow, so there isn't, nor on any other site either. It was about 7 years ago when I came across this and the bass clef version that from memory covered most of the ground of Grade one theory, missing the other clef. Being reminded of it I'm going to get a copy of each again and report back in the next few days.
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#6 The Great Sosso

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Posted 02 May 2018 - 09:22

I use Ng for my piano students and have just started my daughter (who is pre grade 1 flute and no piano experience) on the Ng grade 1 book.  It covers bass clef, and shows a piano keyboard but I have found that it has helped her to understand the method behind treble clef notation, by applying the same rules to the bass clef.  And, of course, the bass clef is just a continuation of the treble clef down five further lines.

 

Sometimes I rewrite the clefs as a G (treble) and an F (bass) with an arrow showing the line to which it refers.  The unfamiliar and squiggly shape of the clefs can really confuse children, but if you show that it is simply marking out a line and saying "this one's G" and "this one's F" to orientate you on the stave, then they might cope a bit better.

 

It's never occurred to me before that non-piano students might learn theory without reference to a keyboard.  How would you introduce tones and semitones?  Scales make more sense when you see them on a keyboard too.

 

TGS X


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#7 SheWhoDaresGins

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Posted 02 May 2018 - 13:25

I bought the Theory Made Easy for Little Children series for my daughter (8 years but she was 6 when she started); she plays wind and piano. And I actually work through the series myself, a grade or so ahead of her so that I can help her. She had started the series when, at the time, she was only learning Wind and I think the piano references within the book were helpful - things like tones and scales etc.

 

The only issue I would say is that there aren't any answers so if she does a lot of independent study, she won't know how she's getting on.  However, what they do have is heaps of practice of the same thing until it really sinks in. Sometimes my daughter really needs to go over and over a concept and sometimes she'll just try a few of the exercises and skip a page if she finds it easier. Forgive the pun, but this series of books have been instrumental in her managing to work her way up the theory ladder! 

 

I think the explanations are clear and helpful for little ones who may, at such a very young age, might be struggling with things that adults would take for granted, like fractions etc.   I would recommend them, even if you just use them to cherry pick the parts most helpful for a flute players.


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#8 Aquarelle

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Posted 03 May 2018 - 12:13

 

 

It's never occurred to me before that non-piano students might learn theory without reference to a keyboard.  How would you introduce tones and semitones?  Scales make more sense when you see them on a keyboard too.

 

TGS X

You can introduce semitones by ear - teaching pupils to hear them. It is more difficult to get the point across, I agree. but you can refer to the keyboard by using pictures.

 

My interest in treble clef only books is because I Class teach the recorder. So the vast majority of my little recorder players are not keyboard learners.


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#9 Cyrilla

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Posted 03 May 2018 - 22:27

I also teach semitones aurally.    If they are only taught theoretically, that's only part of the picture, isn't it?

 

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#10 Splog

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Posted 04 May 2018 - 05:55

 

 

Sometimes I rewrite the clefs as a G (treble) and an F (bass) with an arrow showing the line to which it refers.  The unfamiliar and squiggly shape of the clefs can really confuse children, but if you show that it is simply marking out a line and saying "this one's G" and "this one's F" to orientate you on the stave, then they might cope a bit better.

 

I show the children the treble clef and ask them if they know what it is. Then I ask if they have ever heard it called anything else. I then ask if they have ever heard it called the G clef. Then I ask why do they think it would be called the G clef. Wait for the answer..... Always, someone rather hesitantly says "Because it looks like a G?" and occasionally someone says because it tells you where G is. I then explain that the treble clef is a squiggly old-fashioned G, and that it marks the position of the note G. (Same thing when we start bass clef)

 

I love doing this with them (borrowed from John Bertalot's book on teaching children to sightread) because they enjoy guessing an obscure answer and it turns out to be correct.


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#11 Ilewydh

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Posted 14 May 2018 - 09:12

 

I came across this years ago. Just checked to see if it was still available

https://www.amazon.c...y/dp/0570248140

There is no "see inside " option on amazon but this book could be useful for my reorder and flute players. Can you tell us a bit about what's inside it, please?

 

Only the bass clef version has arrived so far but this gives the general idea.  I hope it makes sense, I just tried going through the book and noting down some of the main features.  I tried to add a sample page but can't seem to do it.

 

It begins with introducing the notes in the bass clef and where on a keyboard it relates to Middle C, followed by naming the notes in the spaces and on the lines.  It then asks you to name and write notes in that clef.

It then goes into rhythms and rests.  The whole thing is interspersed with quizzes and questions on everything you’ve learned so far, and keeps returning to previously learned material as revision.

 

It uses English terminology but does mention, for example, that a semibreve is sometimes called a whole note.

You get lots of practice at writing notes and rests.  There is a revision part where you have to write tunes out, joining quavers and semiquavers correctly.

 

There are also opportunities to sing, clap or play tunes/rhythms.

 

It then goes on to accidentals and semitones and introduces new key signatures, G Major, F Major and D Major and introduces tonic triads and intervals, and all of the terms and signs that are introduced at grade 1.

 

At the end there are three classical pieces which you are asked questions about as well as giving the opportunity to clap or play the piece.


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#12 Aquarelle

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Posted 14 May 2018 - 09:43

Thank you llewydh. That's helpful.


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#13 just helen

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Posted 20 May 2018 - 15:16

I use john schaum's notespeller until it gets too difficult. It starts gradually by talking about lines and spaces. It gets a bit tricky towards the end but I often leave that part out in the case of very young children. The Fletcher theory papers are good too.
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#14 KTViola

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Posted 20 May 2018 - 21:17

 

 

It's never occurred to me before that non-piano students might learn theory without reference to a keyboard.  How would you introduce tones and semitones?  Scales make more sense when you see them on a keyboard too.

 

TGS X

 

Ah - a lot of keyboard players are baffled by us non-pianists (or at least teachers of non-pianists) and how we can possibly learn any theory without black & white keys to help us! wink.png  Tones and semitones are mostly straightforward to show on a stringed instrument too though. Fingers close together for semitones, spaced apart for tones. A bit more tricky when they change to the next string, but that's where the aural comes in. I often use the Hey Presto "Music theory for violinists" book as it is apparently unique in not assuming knowledge of a piano keyboard, bass clef or C major at an early stage!


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#15 zwhe

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Posted 20 May 2018 - 21:54

Thank you everyone - it seems there isn't anything written for woodwind out there! I guess I will have to keep writing it myself after all.

I really wish I could work out exactly what it is that he doesn't understand though - I've never had such difficulties with a child that can read and write! I have flash cards to arrange, games to play, worksheets but nothing goes in. He can match the notes in front of him and copy them without difficulty and knows its the noteheads not the sticks and that they can go on spaces or lines. Then we play a piece and he just guesses!

He has no problems with rhythm and reading note lengths, just pitch.


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