etc. – might not have any recognizable connection in the students’ world. Nevertheless, through several of the strategies listed above, all students can have an entry point at which to be able to read music. A four-leveled system of rhythmic notation is possible to allow all students to be successful rhythmic readers. Before notation is even shown, the first musical skill that should

be introduced is steady beat. Steady beat can be learned and internal- ized through various ways, such as: playing on non-pitched percus- sion instruments, movement games, and body percussion. Never- theless, steady beat can be the primary introduction to introducing musical notation. While students are showcasing steady beat in a variety of ways, two icons can be introduced to represent this. A green Go sign, and a red Stop sign are the perfect representa- tions to begin rhythmic notation. Go and Stop are two icons that are cross-cultural, are represented in students’ day-to-day life, and can easily be related to from real-life experiences. Moreover, Go can represent a sound of something, while Stop can represent a sound of nothing. Music can be written just utilizing a Go and Stop sign. For example: students will clap one time on each Go sign, and say “shh” or make a quiet hand gesture, when they see the Stop sign. This is Level One of Rhythmic Notation. Afterwards, teachers can replace the Go sign with iconic images.

These images can represent specific actions the students should be able to do. For example: a clap sign means clap one time; a stomp sign means stomp one time; a hand drum sign means tap the drum one time. Similar to using Go and Stop, students are now using iconic images to communicate when to make a sound, while still utilizing the Stop sign when there is a sound of silence. By incorpo- rating more iconic images, more words or actions are being incor- porated into the musical vocabulary. This is Level Two of Rhythmic Notation. Once students have mastered this, the quarter note and quarter

rest can be introduced. Nevertheless, the quarter note can be colored green, while the quarter rest is colored red. By doing this, the origi- nal colors from Go and Stop are immediately connected into the no- tation values. Music can now be written using green quarter notes, and red quarter rests. As mentioned earlier, utilizing flashcards in a Pocket Chart is a simple, yet non-overstimulating, way of introduc- ing this. This is Level Three of Rhythmic Notation. Lastly, once students have mastered this, traditional black-and- white notation can be introduced. This would represent Level Four of Rhythmic Notation. Through this four-leveled system, students are able to begin with a basic foundation (Go and Stop), and work up through scaffolded levels to traditional notation. Nevertheless, for many special learners, color-coded notation might be the strategy where they can find the most success. In this case, different rhyth- mic values can be introduced using new colors. For example: eighth notes can be blue, sixteenth notes can be purple, half notes can be orange, etc. By using this differentiated system, all students are allowed to

have an opportunity for success. Some students might plateau at Level Two, while some students might reach Level Four. By pro- viding entry points into each level, students are allowed the oppor- tunity to be successful. As mentioned earlier, some students might only be able to speak the rhythms, while other students can play the rhythms. Each of these entry points allows an opportunity for stu-

MAY 2017

dent success. (Fig. 2) shows an example of the Four-Leveled Rhyth- mic Notation System.

(Fig. 2)

Wagner Approach To Melodic Literacy Similar to rhythmic notation, some students might find it chal-

lenging to read melodic notation. Melodic notation takes the note values found in rhythmic notation; however, now different pitches are applied. Students need to apply previous knowledge in order to be able to read, sing, and play melodic notation. Moreover, students are expected to understand the concept of melodic contour, such as recognizing when melodies go high and low. “With a corresponding association, letters are to syllables as dots are to musical notes. Pre- reading skills of following the rhythmic pulse of words in a song can be combined with ear training for steps and skills in a scale as well as for numerical drills.” (Sobol, 2008). Nevertheless, there are basic strategies that can be incorporated to help make melodic notation easier to connect with. As mentioned earlier, movement can be utilized to help students locate where the high and low sounds are found. Students can incorporate dancing scarves, or ribbon wands, to trace the melodic contour found in music. By using kinesthetic movement, students will incorporate muscle memory of the music, which will eventually translate to notation. In addition, students can use color-coding as well. While colors might be the foundational tool in Rhythmic Notation, they can be developed additionally in Melodic Notation. A four-leveled system of Melodic Notation can be incorporated to allow students to be successful. In a traditional major melodic scale, there are eight pitches

(from low do to high do). Moreover, we can connect the colors of the rainbow to go along with the different pitches. For example: do can always be red, mi can always be yellow, sol can always be blue. In addition, incorporating solfege syllables and Curwen hand signs can reinforce each pitch and its location around one-another. For students who are at the emergent level, just utilizing colors

can allow students to make music. Melodic notation can simply be written using colored circles, with the solfege syllable written inside. In this example, students simply have to match the color to the pitch found on their instrument. Moreover, matching colors or objects might be a skill that is listed on the students’ IEP. Music is now be- ing utilized as another way for a student to work on their basic skills.


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