What sets the Land of Music® elementary music theory system apart?
How does it work in teaching the basics of music theory?
How does it teach so quickly and why is retention so long-lasting?
You’ll find the answers to these important questions and more in the following:
- In the Land of Music®, each basic element of music theory is personified. The notes, rests, dot, treble and bass clef signs, staffs, accidentals and more come to life in story and songs. Each character/concept is reinforced through activity sheets and coloring pages. Each song has movement and/or drama suggestions, allowing students to act out the character or concept. The learning is active and all learning styles are addressed in the materials: visual, auditory and kinesthetic.
- Personifying each symbol means that they have characteristics and experiences much like we do here in the “Land of People,” so students can relate to the stories and associate them to their own experiences. Because the information is associated in this way, it is interesting and memorable. Children pay better attention, learning happens more quickly, and retention is greatly increased. Learning by association is a time-tested method that produces results!
For example, there’s more to Quincy Quarter Note than just a cute illustration. He is a teenager and lives with his family in a songhouse. They all work together to build songhouses. They make people happy here in the Land of People. They have funny experiences and problems, just like we do. Quincy quarrels with his sisters just as one might find in the Land of People. Quincy has a pet bird, Pa-Pa Parrot the 32nd note pet. He plays baseball at Stan Musical Field. He has lots of friends. Some are musical symbols, such as his best friend Quinton Quarter Rest. Others are from the Instrument families, such as Tommy Trumpet and Boomer Bass Drum.
- To teach how a song is read, the construction of a song is compared with building a house in the Land of People. The Note Family builds songhouses and ships them to the Land of People, where they become songs. Each member of the Note Family builds songhouses. The notes make sure their type of note is used properly in the songhouses. For example, Ellie Eighth Note is responsible for putting all of the eighth notes in a songhouse. Other characters help build songhouses, such as the Rest Family and Little Dot. Sam (short for Samantha) and Stam staff make the different floors of the songhouse. Sam builds the upper floor and Stam the lower. Sir Mortimer Mouse is in charge of making the treble clef signs placed on Sam Staff’s floor. Sam and Stam sometimes must make steps above and below the floors of a songhouse (ledger lines). Just as we make steps to go higher or lower, they make steps to make pitches that are higher or lower. And the songhouses are divided into rooms, just like in our homes. A room is a measure and a wall is a bar line.
- To establish a clear understanding of time signatures and rhythm, the rhythmic value of a note is separated from the names of the lines and spaces they are placed upon to make the different pitches.
- The Note Family children and the Rest children go to school to learn how to count so they can build various types and styles of songhouses and fill each room with the correct number of beats or counts.
- A songhouse has a number at its front, just like homes in the Land of People. That number tells us how many beats are in each room of the songhouse and who the “beatsetter” of the song is. There is almost always a beatsetter in each songhouse and the Note Family has to know who the beatsetter is. The beatsetter is the note that will get one beat each time its note is seen in a songhouse. Depending on the orders the Note Family receives from songwriters in the Land of People, they may choose one of three characters to be the beatsetter. Most often, Quincy Quarter Note will be the beatsetter. When he is the beatsetter, the bottom number of the time signature will be a 4. If there is a large C, Quincy also is the beatsetter. When Quincy is the beatsetter, his quarter notes always get one beat or count each time they appear in a room. When the bottom number is 8, Ellie Eighth is the beatsetter. Helen Half Note is the beatsetter when her 2 is the bottom number of the time signature or when you see a ? as the time signature. Relating the bottom number to a character helps students remember what the bottom number means.
- The Note Family teaches how many counts or beats can be placed in each room by looking at the top number of a time signature. Each note knows its value in length as compared to other notes.
- The Note Family children also learn how to use their alphabet, which is much shorter than ours. It has only seven letters, so they just repeat it over and over. But it does start at the same place – on A. The Note Family alphabet is used to name the different lines and spaces, and it tells the notes what sound or pitch they will make when they are sitting on a certain line or space. The Note Family uses their alphabet to make musical sounds just as we use our alphabet to make words.
- The Accidental Triplets teach what an accidental does and how to understand and recognize the different key signatures.
- Spike Sourtone, the Sourtone Gang, and the Chord Construction Workers teach us about intervals, chords, harmonic and dissonant sounds.
- Each concept is taught sequentially, so young children are able to understand and build their foundation for music theory step-by-step.
- Students are also taught more advanced theory concepts, such as scales, intervals and chord structure, in simple language.
- Instruments, musical styles and music history are also included. Studying music history and styles gives students the opportunity to explore cultures and world history.
- The Land of Music® system combines music, drama, visual art and movement to teach children how to read, write and play music. It is the only system that so effectively combines all of the arts for this purpose. Current standards call for proficiency in all of the performing arts. How many elementary schools have drama and dance teachers? With the Land of Music®, these objectives are easily covered in the music classroom.
- For schools that do not have a music instructor, teachers of varying musical experience, including non-music classroom teachers, can teach this system effectively.