Sunday, June 11, 2006

Book of Music

The last few days have been spent in recovery from a terrible head cold. Kitty Bill, Einstein, and I have been down for the count. Sunburst and Moonshine, on the other hand, have been bursting with energy-- so much energy in fact that Sunburst, after working on her Book of Music, put on her fanciest dress and decided to convene with the fairies 10 feet high up in the tree. It wasn't the highest she has ever climbed, ask all the anxious homeschooling moms in Austin, Texas. At the Valentine's party last year she must have topped 18 feet in a massive and sturdy oak tree. But this tree in our backyard is no oak, nor is it the icon of all things sturdy. The branch broke and Sunburst fell. Ten feet. Down. And landed on her back.

It knocked the wind right out of her, and her neck has been stiff and sore, but luckily she was more frightened than hurt. Nothing is broken but her faith in trees, and that will repair itself in time. Plus she got her fancy dress dirty, and I made her put it in the hamper. That was pretty much the nail in her coffin. With all the sneezing and coughing and tree-falling, I carted our injured chipmunk off to the local wildlife rescue center. There is only so much rehab a sick mom can do.

But what of that Book of Music Sunburst is making?

She is loving the idea of "owning" her music. I gave her xerox copies of the songs she has already learned on her flute. She cut them out and has begun pasting them into a new main lesson book. She wants to write in the song titles, herself, and this makes sense because she has different names for them than perhaps their proper names. For example, David Darcy's "Thumb Song" she calls "Deedle Dum."

What really makes sense is the owning. Sunburst does this when she draws a picture from a story I've told her. She did this for each letter of the alphabet-- she owned them because she wrote them down, the letter and accompanying picture. She owned the numbers as she learned them by putting them into her book. She owned the stories we told through form drawing by drawing down the forms. And she can retell them and relive them by opening a book.

Now she gets to do this with her music. Surely, the songs already live inside of her. I suppose I could have had her draw a picture for each song, but giving her the picture of the song itself, the notes on the bar, was what she truly wanted. She wanted to be like her Dad, who has music books all over the house. And this activity fit her need precisely.

She has also begun to transfer these flute songs onto a keyboard (set to piano sound.) She's not reading the music but only taking the sounds and trying to recreate them on the keyboard. It's not as easy as all that, since there are only seven notes on her flute and a multitude of black and ivory keys to choose from. But it's interesting and captivating, and she's doing a fairly decent job of it. The songs are recognizable albeit creative.

Our neighbor next door, the pipe organist, gives piano lessons to children. Sunburst is eager to try, and we'll let her follow that dream this summer. It won't usurp her flute lessons. Sunburst has a thick attachment to her flute, and we'll continue learning new pentatonic songs as the opportunities arise this summer. Perhaps the exercises and songs she learns on piano she will attempt to transfer to the flute.

In any case, I'm hoping it will keep her out of the trees for a few more days.

* I realize the songs appear illegible. That's a slight of computer trick, since they are not my songs. They were written by the wise David Darcy and are included in his wonderful booklet, Playing the Pentatonic Flute and Recorder. You can find him online HERE.
Feel free to use a song I did write, "Robin Red," in your own homeschooling endeavors. You can find the music HERE.

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