Are there any favourite games you like to play to reinforce rhythm for music? Back in 2009 I came across this video from Mario Ajero with the music students at Stephen F. Austin State University.
Music theory is closely linked to maths, and often people think of this subject as dry and pointless. However, you will see in the video below by ABRSM, that it is really helpful to understand the essentials of music theory when it comes to reading music notation and performing music.
You will see in the above video from the University students that this is filmed in America, and they use the maths term “fractions”, to explain the length of time to play the music notes. These terms, the “whole note”, the “half note”, “quarter note” and “eighth note” correlate to names we give them here in New Zealand/England. For example, we call the whole note a “semibreve”, the half note a “minim”, a quarter note a “crotchet” and an eighth note a “quaver”. Note that the term quaver is also a familiar brand name to a lot of children, as it’s on a yellow bag of crisps that is a popular savoury snack.
On the subject of food, I often like to use circles found in common food items, to demonstrate the fractions. So for example, for a whole note (semibreve) you could picture an entire pizza. Then for a half note (minim) you could picture cutting the pizza in half, so that you now have two large slices of pizza. Each of those pizza slices is a half note or minim. If we were to cut both of those pizza slices in half, this will now give us a total of four slices of pieces. Each of those four slices of pizza would be called a quarter note or crotchet. And if we cut those four pizza slices in half yet again, then we would end up with a total of eight slices of pizza – and each of those slices of pizza will now be known as an eight (or quaver).
Are there any other food items that you like to use to demonstrate fractions and lengths of time for music notes?
Horatio Spafford was a lawyer and Presbyterian who lived in Chicago, America. His wife Anna was Norwegian born, and together they had a large family. However tragedy struck when they lost several of their children. Spafford refused to give into self-pity after the loss of his four children at sea, and later his young son to fever. Spafford chose to keep faith and hope.
Spafford is most known for lyrics he wrote for the hymn called “It Is Well With My Soul”. It is said that Spafford wrote the lyrics to that hymn, at the time that he was in a boat, crossing the very waters where his deceased children had perished. There is a lovely video that tells the story of Spafford, and at 7.35mins into the video, you can listen to the Tabernacle choir singing the hymn “It Is Well with My Soul”.
The morale of this story, for Horatio and his wife Anna, is to “continue with the seed of service” and regardless of how awful and terrible things get, never give up. “The human spirit can rise above tragedy …. God’s love does shine in the darkness …. hope does heal the wounded soul”.
Later in life, the Spafford’s emigrated to Jerusalem to live, and they devoted the remainder of their years to charity work. And their work continues on today.