Switching from One Rhythm Syllable System to Another: Helping Students Work Through The Transition

February 13, 2015

mister a music place

2011Symposium_1_2One of the challenges some music teachers face is sharing students with other music teachers. While it is great that a child might be in band, chorus, and or general music or other music offerings, if a child learns the same concept two or even three different ways, confusion can result. A music teacher must be aware of how his or her colleagues are teaching a concept, and either agree to teach using the same method, or reconcile the two or three methods so they become reinforcing and complementary instead of competing.

A case in point is how rhythm is taught. Throughout my career, I have noticed that the band teacher doesn’t always use the same rhythm syllables that I do. Many instrumental teachers use a system of counting the beat number followed by “and” for eighth notes and “e and a” for sixteenth notes. As a general music teacher…

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