Ted's teaching tips;Parting Shots

24th April 1998 at 01:00
Music is a wonderful international language. It is brilliantly taught in Hungary, where the composers Bart"k and Kod ly collected folk songs for all ages of children.

Music making Who in the class plays what instrument? Can you get every single child to play together, even if some simply tap out the rhythm or use comb and paper? That is the joy of the folk music shown in the picture.

Folk music Does anyone know any folk music? What about sea shanties ("Whatshall we do with the drunken sailor?"), children's songs ("Sing a song of sixpence"), carols ("God rest ye merry gentlemen")? Play some British and American folk music. Find classical music with folk themes. Mahler, as a child, played folk music on the accordion. Beethoven used it, as did Dvoyr k, and children love his "New World" Symphony (no. 9 in E minor), full of American folk themes. Some Beatles and Rolling Stones songs are folk rock.

Science and music "Sound" is an exciting topic. Get a guitar, pluck the string and feel it vibrate. Measure the string; put your finger exactly half way. You have doubled the frequency of vibration, so the note is an octave higher. Try a third of the way: doh - soh (ask Julie Andrews!). Make "harmonics" (high overtones): touch the string lightly at these points, pluck it with your other hand, removing your finger quickly as you do.

Ted Wragg is professor of education at Exeter University

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