I have created the Do Re... ME! curriculum as a means to introduce children to the fundamentals of classical music; including rhythm, melody, harmony, tempo, dynamics, articulation, musical terms and notation. The goal of the Do, Re... Me! curriculum is to provide a musical experience that helps develop the physical, aural and mental skills that will help prepare these young children for future learning - musical and otherwise. The curriculum is designed to add new material each term, as the year progresses (cycling in different composers, musical genres and instrument families), while consistently repeating the materials already learned. Within the structured environment of the class, there is a lot of imitation, repetition, praise and encouragement. Skills and information such as pitch, pulse and rhythm-recognition are introduced through original songs, well loved nursery rhymes, gross and fine motor development games and other enjoyable activities in a way that helps to develop self-confidence. Through the repetition of the songs and rhymes specifically chosen for this program, there is a progressive layering of skills each week for the children. This constant repetition of materials creates thorough mastery, which in turn creates self-esteem, which then gives the children confidence to try the next layer/challenge.
In class, we use our bodies and voices, as well as various percussion instruments and engaging props, to feel, see and move to music. The children sing, shake, tap and drum to the beat; explore the instruments of the orchestra, including experiencing how to hold a bow and violin or cello; play rhythmic games and are exposed to different genres and styles of music and composers/artists. Finger strengthening and physical coordination activities are incorporated into the class, which is a great benefit if a student goes on to future instrumental study. Children will also benefit from exposure to some aspects of the Suzuki method in class, primarily the “Twinkle Rhythms” as well as some of the key beginner Suzuki songs.
The start of every Do Re... ME! class begins by singing the C major scale, with glockenspiel accompaniment, using solfege (do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, ti, do) syllables and the corresponding hand symbols developed by John Curwen, but popularized in their use in the Kodály method, which is an approach to music education that was developed in Hungary during the mid-twentieth century by Zoltan Kodaly. I like to use these hand signs with the children in order for them to “visualize” what the note or tone is doing. Is it going up? Is it going down? The association of the sound of the note, with the image and position of the sign, and the muscle memory of actually making the sign, creates a solid understanding of the scale (please see diagram below of the symbols).
The objective of this program is to make this first introduction to the wonderful world of classical music a joyful social experience. The benefits of, and skills which are acquired from, early exposure to music in a group setting are immeasurable. If, in time, the children go on to instrumental study, I hope that participation in this program will make their initial instrumental learning easier. However, as important as it is for me to give your children a music education, it is MOST important that they experience joy while doing so – and that is the ultimate goal.
Creator/Teacher Do Re... ME!