Book 1 starts with the introduction of five pitches. There are adequate whole rests that offer recovery time between the notes. The rests diminish to the point that there are several series of eight successive whole notes.
Whole rests are an important part of the early lines. These whole rests allow recovery time and add to student success. They also give you a chance to interject directives to students.
Most students feel they have really practiced when they have played through a song three times! Inexperienced music students generally do not have the ability to take a challenging song, break it down into manageable parts, practice them, and then reassemble the song. In Book One they read eight or nine different lines of music that gradually build the skills necessary to successfully play the song. The students actually have effective practice routines written out for them. This is a great help in those first several months of learning.
Band Directors who have used Book One say that it has helped improve their beginners' sight-reading skills, and the kids sound good playing from the book, so they enjoy it!
Additionally, students feel successful because they are able to progress through many lines and pages. When you sound good while moving at a nice pace through varying material, there is a very positive psychological effect. You know the old saying: Nothing breeds success like success.
Foot tapping and counting are emphasized.
There are also many lines of common note patterns and rhythms that students enjoy playing while building reading and performance skills.
As range expands, there are exercises that slowly ascend and descend without difficult rhythms to further complicate the new task.
Diagrams of dotted quarter note rhythms, similar to what you write on the board, are right there in the book. This will help your classroom instruction carry over into home practice.
Short chromatic exercises aid in playing and reading chromatic passages. These lines, which start with just two notes, help make learning a chromatic scale a very manageable task that you can easily spread out over time. It is much more effective at building reading skills than practicing chromatic passages from the fingering chart only.
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