Teaching musical notation through colour is not a new concept and has been used successfully to teach children all sorts of instruments. It is most useful in teaching young children, as colours, rather than the lines and spaces on a stave, are easier for a child to quickly identify.
Children at the age of three can identify most if not all of the basic colours and are stimulated by colourful play activities. By relating colour to musical sound, children are able to confidently take their first steps towards understanding musical notation.
Using coloured instruments like bells, glockenspiels and boomwhackers engages their sense of play and imagination, and by playing along to colours children learn that musical sounds have specific visual representations that do not change.
At the age of five or six, children are ready to be introduced to the musical stave. Continuing to reinforce their knowledge of sounds and colour, children can now learn that notes have a specific place, and that this place determines which note is played or sang.
At this age, non colour coded instruments like recorders, ukuleles and even the piano and violin can be introduced. In the early stages of learning, colours can be used to help children learn the positioning of the musical alphabet on the specific instrument but are gradually removed.
By the age of eight, students use colours as a means of understanding chord structures and progression and to quickly express their own musical ideas before transferring them onto the stave.
Check out the video below to see colours in action.
By teaching through colour, we help children avoid some of the common problems associated with early instrumental learning. These problems include:
- Note reading avoidance and heavy reliance on teacher demonstration and intervention.
- Practice avoidance and incorrect practicing due to lack of understanding of either note reading or note positions on an instrument.
- Finger number dependence – a common problem for children who learn the piano via method books only.
Let your child experience for themselves the joy of music learning through colours. Why not visit one of our community events or even sign up for a prelude season?
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