Principle discussion by MikeJenny


									                          March/April Transcript Contents
Thursday 3/31/11, “Oats, Peas, Beans” …………………………………………………………….. 2
       “Clickety Clack” ………………………….………………………………………………………….. 6
       “Rig a Jig, Jig” …….………………………………………………………………………………….. 11
       Before Break Lecture …………………………………………………………………………….. 12
       Music Teacher Breakout, “Looby Loo” …………………………………………………… 15
       Ending – Map Reading …………………………………………………………………………… 15
Friday, 4/1/11, “Round We Go” …………………………………………………………………………. 16
         Big, Long, Boring Lecture ………………………………………………………………………. 16
         Music Teacher Breakout, “Let’s Catch a Rooster” ………….…………………….. 22
                 “Hot Cross Buns”, “Farmer in the Dell” …………………………………….. 24
                 “I Wrote a Letter” …………………………………………………………………….. 25
         Ending – “Puncinella” ……………………………………………………………………………. 25
Saturday, 4/2/11, “Drunken Sailor” …………………………………………………………………… 26
       Lecture: “Learning” ……………………..……………………………………………………….. 27
               Double Doodling ………………………………………………………………………. 30
       1 Music Teacher Breakout, “Madman” ……………………………….………………. 33
               “Mary Had a Baby” ………………………………………………………………….. 34
       2nd Music Teacher Breakout, “Clickety Clack” ………………………………………. 38
       Comalya, “Darby Town”, “Bombalalom” ……………………………………………… 38

                                  Video References
       “Oats, Peas, Beans” (3) ………………………………………………………………………… 5
       “Clickety Clack” – Game to Hand Signs ……………….……………………………….. 8
       “Clickety Clack” Hand Signs ………………………………………………………………….. 9
       Perceptual ……………………………………………………………………………………………. 9
       “Clickety Clack” Back Map, “Clickety Clack” Paper Map ……………………….. 10
       “Rig a Jig, Jig” Secret Song ……………………………………………………………………. 11
       “Rig a Jig, Jig” Play, Doodle, Back Map …………………………………………………. 12
       “Let’s Catch a Rooster” Game, Hand Signs (2) ……………………………………… 22
       “Hot Cross Buns”, “Farmer in the Dell” (2) …………………………………………… 24
       “Puncinella” Game, “Puncinella” Tracks (2) …………………………………………. 25
       “Drunken Sailor” ………………………………………………………………………………….. 27
       Lecture: Mapping ………………..………………………………………………………………. 30
       “Madman” Game ………………………………………………………………………………… 33
       “Madman” Hand Signs ………………………………………………………………………… 34
       “Mary Had a Baby” Hand Signs ……………………………………………………………. 35
       “Mary Had a Baby” Form Book ……………………………………………………………. 37
       “Clickety Clack” (3) ………………………………………………………………………………. 38
       Comalya ………………………………………………………………………………………………. 38

                                     THURSDAY, 3/31/11
                                     “Oats, Peas, Beans”
                        *Please listen to “Thursday Opening” audio+
Come around here and listen to my secret song. *Randy taps on a participant’s back+.
Here it comes again. [Randy repeats] If you think you know, step back a little bit so that
others may hear. Here we go [Randy repeats]
I’ve heard it before.
That’s good! Your phonological development is on the way. That’s what Maryanne Wolf
discusses very profoundly in one of the most seminal books about the neurology of
reading. She makes a claim that I’ve never seen in all of the literature I’ve ever read in
music or reading. She says that the basis for reading is not visual, it’s auditory. There are
visual elements in it, but the first step in developing a competent reader is their
phonological development. We’re going to study that this week. Step in a little closer.
Phonologic development is predicated (though to my sorrow she doesn’t discuss it in
the book) on the thing she only hints at that we are big at is the whole background of
the development auditory memory of an auditory processing system. We’re really good
at that. I intend to make a case for it this week because this is when we get to take it
down on pen and paper.
What you see is no good if it doesn’t access what you’ve already experienced. The story
doesn’t exist on the page; the story exists in your head. If you can decode all the words
and you can’t put a story in your head you’re not literate.
In music you can name all the lines and spaces and know all the sharps and flats and
know all the key signatures and all that sort of stuff, but if you can’t read music and
make sound from it, it’s to no good.
This phonological development right here is (with us) built around the concept of the
secret song, which is nothing more than a child’s way of talking about auditory recall –
auditory memory *Randy repeats tapping on the participant’s back.+
Right now your mind is processing that sound at what we call the “Meta” level. It is
searching through all of the songs in the ETM repertoire that it knows. You’re having to
sort through all the songs you know and it’s decided, “Well, I’ve got all these ETM
songs” and it’s pushed away all the other stuff. It’s remarkable how your brain does
that. You’ve oriented yourself in a context and now you’re searching all of the songs you
think you remember.
In the process of this Meta level, it’s listening at the macro level for groupings of clusters
and phrases. This is what Dr. Wolf discusses in her book, Proust and the Squid, which I’m
going to try to inspire many of our staff to read.
She lists five matters that are critical for the child’s reading development. It begins with
a strong auditory background. She describes it as phonological development and not
just mere phonemic awareness. Rhyming and learning the names of sounds and phonics
are just a little part of it that should be built on top of a much broader and much longer

and much more stabilized entire auditory information processing system, where it turns
out that music and classroom music are completely wed.
A good music program should do that. It should have children deeply grounded in
auditory development.
I’ve been reading about this for two years so I’ve had two years to think it over. I’ve
been testing out my theories and watching children with a whole different set of eyes
before bringing it to you this spring. After all this time I can finally talk to you about it in
pretty clear terms.
You’re now grouping at the macro level. You’re listening to little clusters of sound. She
says this is the first thing little children have to do to know that clusters of sounds make
up words.
In our work we back up. We have whole clusters of sounds put together to make
phrases and they organize to make songs. Your brain right now is using these clusters of
sounds to hear if you can pick up something that you can attach words to. This is at the
macro level. The macro and the Meta levels interact with each other. Here it comes
again. [Randy repeats]
Does anybody kind of know, but not quite? That’s the macro level at work; it’s trying to
sort and clarify. How many of you for certain what it is? How many of you have
absolutely no idea what it is?
For you in the third category, I can help. We’re going to add the micro level and that’s
little, small dots of sound. This task is called “Auditory Figure-Ground”, taking a small
figure against a whole background of having to listen to it and for it. I have that skill in
me and I’m going to put a word in right now that will help, I hope. *Randy repeats
interjecting “beans”.+
What happened to you? It doesn’t matter whether it’s the Meta, the macro, or the
micro so long as auditory recall is the end result. If you got it at the Meta good for you, it
doesn’t make you smarter than the people who got it in the micro. If you get it at the
Meta (that’s the whole song) or the macro (that’s those phrases) (and by the way, that
middle one is the big enchilada. That’s where most of our work is done auditorily) or
micro (the little word that supports or helps it click in), it doesn’t matter how it happens
so long as the first step takes place. We call it auditory recall. In ETM, this auditory recall
is the second step of our curriculum.
The first step in our curriculum is singing and playing a bunch of songs in games and
they’re symbolic. Way back in the fall when you were trying to stabilize kids behavior
you were also acting symbolically with them. Words stand for movement and
movement stands for words. Anytime something stands for something else it’s a
If you want to get a child to learn to read you have to back up very often (particularly
with the struggling readers) and instead of just giving more of the same old stuff you
actually have to figure out how you get them to become symbolically able. It turns out

we’ve been at that task even though you didn’t know it from the very beginning of your
study in ETM whether it was 38 years ago like me or last fall like the brand new people
this year. Let me show you what I’m talking about.
If you think the last song was “Oats, Peas, Beans,” tell me what part of the song this is:
[Randy gestures with his hand] [First the farmer takes his ease+. He didn’t do that first,
by the way. First, the farmer doesn’t take his ease. But you get the main idea. You’re
seriation brain let you down. It didn’t get the seriation right, but you got the most
important matter over here in the right brain, which is the meaning. I know that this
means take your ease. Who care whether it’s first or not, right? We’ll get that later.
What part is this? [Randy stomps his foot] [Stomps his foot+ You’re very clever. What
part is this [Randy claps] [Claps his hands]. Movement stands for words and therefore
words stand for movement. This is very important because this involves both
hemispheres in creating meaning: the “how it operates” and the name for it.
The “what it is” is over here in the left hemisphere. How it functions is in the right brain.
This *left+ is the labeling brain. This brain by itself can’t tell you anything about how
things operate. Over here *right+, this one couldn’t possible label its way out of a paper
bag. Both are necessary for literacy. *End “Thursday Opening” audio+
                       *Please listen to “Oats, Peas, Beans” audio+
*All play “Oat, Peas, Beans” several times from a whole group standing circle.] May I
stop you for just a moment? I just have to say this at the risk of embarrassing this
person. I hope you watched Gina just now play, did you? I was thinking to myself if she
was in a first grade class right now and she wanted to at least get the children’s
attention long enough to try to sing the song with her, did you notice her body language
when she was playing? I thought it was compelling, didn’t you? You could just see the
story inside of her along the way. That was really good, Gina, congratulations. [Play
continues until all participants are involved.]
Make a circle real quick. I need ten volunteers. [Play begins again] Hey, I have a very
technical, very research-oriented term to share with you right now and I have a question
around it. How is our ‘with it-ness’ coming? Would you say we are way better with it this
turn or worse? [Better+ What is some evidence of that? Listen to the singing. If you’re
singing, what’s happening? The language is coming. What else? What about the
movement? It’s coming, isn’t it? We’re beginning to have it hook up. Are you beginning
to see how easy it is? As that happens, the whole room just kind of elevates. That ‘wit it-
ness’ is going to be really important to us so I want to make sure you have that very
technical term with you throughout the evening. [Continue playing]
Come. Say hello to your partner one more time. Good. Take your fingers and put them
right here. Listen to what I sing and watch what I do, then replicate it. [Randy begins
*Please see “Oats Doodling” video.+

[Air doodling turns into back doodling and changes to pen and paper doodling.]
*Please see “Oats Paper Map 1” video+
[After maps are constructed, all trade maps.] How many of you upon receiving this map
instantly started scanning it to see what you can find? I use that kind of odd terminology
because I’d like you to think about something. If you were scanning at the very
beginning of it, what were you trying to find? What was going on in your mind’s eye as
you looked at that map? What were you trying to do? Can you think about it, obviate it,
and lift it to consciousness so we could figure out what’s going on?
You were looking for patterns. What kinds of patterns? Did you notice you were looking
for sections of the song that matched sections of the map? As I was going around the
room I saw many people trying to follow the map and they were singing the song in
their head trying to see if a little portion of the map matched a little chunk of the song.
Do you know the technical term for when you’re trying to match what you see with
something that you’re hearing? It’s called reading. Any time you are projecting sound in
the mind’s eye and trying to match it with any kind of visual prompt to reading or visa-
versa, if you’re looking at something and trying to match it with something that you can
hear, that process is known as reading.
I’ve been studying with some of the nation’s finest reading people over two or three
years. One of the things they always tell me is that readers always scan new material for
meaning. That process right now that you were undertaking is very meaningful. Your
looking at the map to try to see what fits is a habit that good readers begin to develop
early on. We would like to have it without tears. We would like to have it be a joyful
process. We would like it to be something that the child could manage without having
to strain and stress to get it.
How many of you think this map in front of you is doable? Do you think it’s possible? All
right, give her a go. Ready, here we go.
*Please see “Oats Paper Map 2” video+
How many of you nailed it first time? How many of you did not nail it the first time, but
know you will the second time? Who’s not even close but still in it? Give her a go. Ready
here we go.
Great! How many of you have a map you kind of enjoyed? Will you please compliment
the maker? Good, re-trade. Ready, here we go.
Can I ask you something? How many of you when you got the new map immediately
began looking for a little section where you could say, “Yep, I know exactly where that
part of the song is?” That’s also what good readers do. They look for the spots where
they know they can be successful and then they scaffold the new material on top of it.
We’re trying to develop successful reading habits in children (among a thousand other
things.) Do you want to go at it again? Ready, here we go. How many of you were
successful? We have a whole basket of Tootsie-Roll pops over there and if you were

successful, go get one. Right, that will never happen around me. Go ahead and trade
again. Ready, here we go. Immediately do it again.
How did it go? Good, trade back and get your own map back. Making that symbol,
following your own symbol, and following somebody else’s symbol are three different
but related neurological processes. They all deeply involve a highly sophisticated
auditory memory in inner hearing. Without it, it’s going to be virtually impossible to be
able to proceed to read music or words.
This realm whether it’s reading music or language or anything else has common ground
with foundational matters.
I’m pretty excited about this during this session because Maryanne Wolf writes about
things that I think every educator ought to try to understand. We’re going to take a look
at these developmental and curriculum matters this week, but before we do, please
now follow your own map. Ready here we go.
How did you do? Did it seem like a new map to you? I must say from where I’m standing
the maps look quite beautiful. Do it one last time. Ready here we go.
                                     “Clickety Clack”
                        *Please listen to “Auditory Recall” audio+
*Randy pats a secret song on a participant’s back+
Here it comes again. Again, this whole category is known as auditory recall. I want to ask
you something. What do I have to rely on in order to have any idea that the activity that
I’m about to engage in with all of you is worthy of the five minutes it’s going to take for
you to engage in? I have to have preparation for this time. I can’t just drop this out of
thin air. What has to happen? [You have to know the song+ That’s right, and when he
said knowing, what did he mean by that? It’s got to be in us so that we don’t have to use
much working memory to figure it out. The only working memory we want to use right
now is to be able to figure out what song it is.
But if we’re searching for a song that’s not deeply stored in memory, what’s going to
happen? Frustration is going to rise like the temperature, isn’t it? I have to have
reasonable remembrance when I worked with you at some time this year that we’ve
had enough of this that you might possibly remember, true? Otherwise, I’m really
messing with your head and that’s not a good idea.
Come in a little closer, would you? [Randy pats again] For those of you who think you
know it, tap it on somebody’s shoulder. Ready, here we go. If I promise to make this
interesting, would you agree to listen to me again?
Again: Dr. Wolf, Proust and the Squid. She suggests that the first of five steps in
developing a reading-able child is to live at the oral level, the hearing level, not the
visual one. The first real writing of this I have ever seen, so impressed and shocked was I
of this matter that I had to read the book twice and a half in order to feel confident
enough to talk to you about it.

She suggests that the foundation for this is built on an auditory memory that is replete.
She calls it phonological development: the ability to work with clusters; to know that
sounds can be clustered together to make, in her case, words.
I would agree with her entirely, but all I’m doing is suggesting for children who can’t get
that because she presumes (as most people do) that the child has a very well developed
auditory system to be able to do that.
Today some teacher (maybe in this room) might have put on the board “at” and then
put these letters, F, B, C, M, S, V, and R in front of that. That teacher wants these
children to take that little auditory figure (the consonant) and remember its sound
(auditory recall). Then she wants them to take that sound, combine it with the other
two letters to not only make a new word, but new meaning.
There is an ocean of presumption about the child’s auditory buildup to that and if the
child doesn’t have it, so far our curriculum answer has been to just do it more and more
and more and more. If the child still can’t do it, just give more of the same. If ultimately
they can’t get it, threaten the teacher with her job.
What if maybe it just requires that we back up a bit and look at what it takes to get to
that spot in the first place and build that? If the wall of the house keeps falling down
every time it’s put up, make an adjustment in the foundation. That’s what I’m talking
about. That’s what I’m suggesting to her. The ability to manage sound might be an
important precursor before the children get to that F, B, C, M…at.
And if it could be done joyfully and with the child saying, “Could we do that again?”
Wouldn’t that be nice? Because about ten of you walked up to me tonight to announce
how tired you are. Play a little bit and you’ll get to the matter that you want.
Here it comes again. *Patting+ What you’re doing right now is checking at the Meta level
what that song might be against all the songs that you know. Do you think it’s “Oats,
Peas, Beans?” *No+ Do you think it’s “Darby Town?” *No] How come? [It doesn’t sound
like it+ No, it doesn’t and here’s why: the clusters of sound don’t match “Darby Town”,
do they? The rhythm of “Darby Town” proceeds a little bit slower. This one’s pretty
quick, isn’t it?
We’re going to have you take a look at the Meta and the Macro level one more time
before we start this micro business because as soon as you get the micro on this one,
the bacon’s done. Ready, here we go.
Raise your hand if you think you know it. Raise your hand if you’re beyond caring. If you
don’t know, would you like a little clue? Ready, here we go. xxxxxx clack xxxxxx clack
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx clack.
It’s also helpful if the teacher who is working this has the skill development himself. By
the way, if that didn’t help, that means you didn’t know the song. Your ability to work
with the song right now is severely limited by what? Would you say that it’s severely
limited by your lack of vocabulary? The song is a vocabulary, true?

I want you to think about the number of children today in this nation’s schools who
were asked to read words and they do not have the spoken or aural vocabulary to
support it.
Ok, we’re going to play. All of you on the floor stay exactly where you are and spread
out six inches from each other. Planners, be with me. All of us are going to be engines.
Ready, here we go. Clickety, clickety clack; clickety, clickety clack; clickety, clickety,
clickety, clickety, clickety, clickety clack. Quick, hook up. You’re the caboose. Here we go.
*Please see video “Clickety Clack, Game to Hand Signs”+
[Each engine stopped by someone who became the caboose and the song repeated.]
Good. Unhook the train; you’re an engine now. Look to the person you’re closest to;
they’re the caboose. Say, “Come and join the train.” *Game repeats several more times
until everyone is involved.]
Switch! The caboose is now the engine and the engine is now the caboose. [Game
repeats] You two join up with another pair so you have a train of four. [Game repeats]
Switch! *Game repeats with “Switch!” interjected] Now you four find another four.
*Game repeats several times with “Switch!” interjected.+
Alright, we guessed the song, right? We played the game. What do you think we’ll do
now? [Map it] Well, you might think so, but not. Take your hands and come right over
Do what I do. [Randy demonstrates hand signs] Turn to a partner that looks very smart
and very nice. Here we go.
How many of you had a partner who knew exactly what they were doing? [Randy and
Felipe demonstrate] Try it. Here we go.
Is there a sound in that song that your hand kind of wants to find even though I wasn’t
showing it? Which one is it? Should your hand go up to find it or should your hand go
down to find it? How come it should go down?
What kind of question was that that I just asked? Conceptual, means not what it is, but
how it functions.
Perceptual just simply means that it is. When you followed me without having any idea
what to do, but are just trying memorize what to do and when to do it, you are being
perceptual. These are experiences where we know they are. A simple way to remember
it is – it is.
Conceptualization, however, answers a deeper question: how does it work? What’s its
point? What’s its purpose? When I asked you what direction you go to find that missing
sound, you said down. That means you have an understanding of how the sound
operates and how that sound within the song operates. This is nothing less than
studying the structure of sound itself. This is another auditory moment of how sounds

What makes you say “down?” Your ears heard “down.” What happens, however, if
there are three sets of ears in this room with perfect intelligence between them [End of
video “Clickety Clack, Game to Hand Signs”+ that didn’t hear the sound go down? What
shall do with them? It turns out that if your ears can’t hear it, you have your body to
help them out. The body is there to help create meaning.
*Please see video, “Clickety Clack Hand Signs”+
Watch Felipe and me. Ready here we go. [They demonstrate the hand signs while
everyone sings Clickety, clickety, clack; clickety, clickety, clack+ I’ll bet you can do that,
can’t you? By the way, if you have a grumpy partner, leave him. *All sing the song twice.+
How many of you saw the movie “Rain Man?” It’s about an adult male who is an autistic
savant. His savant is numbers. In particular, he’s a numeric savant with a big visual field.
He can scan a page and memorize it like a human computer. The problem is that can’t
dial a number from the page of the telephone directory he had just memorized. He
shuts down with actual emotional trauma because he has no idea how it functions.
What he sees and instantly stores in visual memory is perceptual. The way that you
know it’s not conceptual is that he can’t dial the number.
[Please see video, “Perceptual”+
Today there might have been in some very well-meaning but horribly misguided
household, a mother or a dad or a caregiver showing a flashcard to an 8 month-old
baby. Either through sign language or some kind of vocalic response, the child said the
words. This is entirely perceptual, he just memorized that. That brain is neither old
enough nor does it have nearly enough experience to understand what the word is.
Here’s the problem: that brain is going to mylinate. Throughout those thousands of
repetitions with that flashcard, that brain is going to mylinate that word with the visual
picture of those letters because while it’s myelinating over here, it should also be
myelinating the texture of a horse. It should be myelinating the smell of a horse, the
sound of a horse, the shape of a horse and the experience of a horse.
By the time this is fully mylinated through myriad repetitions of this flashcard, this part
of the brain is going to be literally shut out of the process. This brain is lazy. Once it’s
fully mylinated it says, “I got that. I don’t need any more.”
That’s why it’s real easy for a child today in the first grade to say, “One plus one is two.”
Somebody might be really proud of that. But we won’t know until they’re adding or
subtracting whether they really understand grouping. By the time they get to the 5 th
grade their opportunity to understand is very much too late – it’s closed.
In order for meaning to occur, what it is and how it functions have to be stored
together. This must occur before the child begins to work with abstractions for it. These
aren’t Randy’s rules; these are the brain’s rules.
Would you say that’s a huge proponent for preschool, then?

Huge? It’s the only proponent for preschool. The only proponent and the only job that
preschools have are to enrich experiences for children who don’t have enriched
experiences already; there is none other.
You are the “Sandbox Queens.” The rolling and the spinning and the water and the goo
and all that stuff and reading stories – that’s it; playing in the sandbox, playing with
bugs, growing plants, having stories read to them, rolling around, petting horses at the
petting zoo, walking in the snow and throwing snowballs, making mud pies, drawing
your name in the sand, all of it, that’s the only job.
Letting children scribble pictures. The best “take home turkey” you have at Thanksgiving
for a kindergartner in pre-school is the scribbled one, not the one that’s perfectly
colored in. There’s not an ounce of conceptualization in that turkey.
You’ll discover this weekend that the brain’s projection of its interior world is that early
effort to imitate writing, the brain’s not at all equipped to do it so the child scribbles.
That scribbling is the first projectile of the image making system that a child has at about
3, 3 ½, or 4 years of age.
We work with hand signs in music just like that. We just play with them. Our children
who work with this are the best hand singers in the world.
I have some horrible news for you music teachers. There is not a single, solitary ordering
to it at all. All we do is study the sounds that are in a song and our kids Sol-fa like
nobody’s business.
Jason Vlough is wrapping up his major as an advanced engineering student at Michigan
State University. He’s been offered a job by Boeing to develop plasma engines to help
send people to Mars if we ever decide to do it.
He started Sol-fa when he was 4. He decided that since he is finishing his degree early he
would audition at the School of Music just for a lark. They wanted to see his sight-
reading skills and so he stood there and he hand-sang an oratorio chorus line. He sight
read it for the first time and nailed it.
A guy walked up to him afterwards and said, “Where in the world did you learn to do
that?” He said, “I don’t remember. I can tell you that I played with these people, but I
can’t tell you when it happened. I’ve known this all my life.” The guy said, “Well, which
one did you learn first?” and Jason said, “I don’t know.”
That’s how it’s supposed to be. You’re not supposed to know when you learned it.
So just play with your partner, you’ll get this. Ready, here we go. [All sing again] How did
you do? Good, switch hands. [All sing. Repeated singing includes interjected switches.]
What’s the one thing the song has to be for working with the hand signs as it is when
you’re trying to map it? It has to be in you. You can’t be fiddling around with a lot of
working memory with the song. Good, now find a back, hurry, hurry.
*Please see videos “Clickety Clack Back Map” and “Clickety Paper Map”.+

Should Cindy be upset with you for talking so much? Why not? Because you’re talking
about the very thing we’re asking you to talk about. As you’re going to discover
throughout the weekend (the way we’ve been structuring things with the children) our
goal has been to inspire you to take this next big step and that is to plunge in with us to
the world of symbols. Nobody is more aware in the entire room than I am that this
doesn’t look like a single word that a kid will ever read and it sure as heck doesn’t look
like a musical score. That’s not the point. This is the beginning, however, of trying to
secure a strong, competent, and manageable legacy to launch children for literacy and
we owe you an explanation of the why and the how of it. I think at long last we’ve got it.
I want you to just enjoy it. If you’re a person who must have it look like music, calm
yourself. We’ll get there, I promise you. We won’t leave you bereft. Ready, here we go.
[All sing. After, everyone trades maps]
How many of you can say with moral certainty, “That part of the map is that part of the
song?” Prove it. Talk to a partner about it before we sing it for the first time about your
prediction. [All sing following their map]
Does anybody have a map where it’s very apparent that the person is paying attention
to the movement chunks? Do you remember we went forward and then we went
backward and then way forward again? Is there any inkling of that in the map itself? Go
get your own map back again.
Ready here we go. [Everyone sings their own map twice.]
                                         Rig a Jig, Jig
                           *Please listen to “Rig a Jig, Jig” audio+
*Please see video, “Rig a Jig, Jig Secret Song”+
*Quinn taps on a participant’s back.+ Shall we say what we’re doing now? What level of
reading development are we working at? We’re at the phonological level – that great
auditory background that we need – clusters of sounds. What’s happening right now?
We’re working at what level of that? This is the Meta level. You’re trying to figure out
what song this is against the backdrop of all of the songs.
The scaffolding underneath it is the macro level. In the macro, you’re looking for the
patterns of sound. Can you hear her hands even though you don’t know what the
patterns say yet? That’s literally our auditory system. Your working memory is actually
challenging your long-term memory to see if it can discern those patterns linguistically
and musically. Both systems are activated. Can I hear the words? Can I hear the melody?
You have both backdrops against which to operate now. Let’s hear it again.
[Quinn repeats] Think you might know? Is anybody kind of close but not exactly? Is
anybody just gleeful because you got it? Does anybody not know at all and wish to have
a little clue?
You know, I believe this time I’m not going to operate in the phonological realm, I think
I’m going to add something else.

Do you know what I love? Honestly, at the play level we could just laugh and go and
home and say, “Gosh, those guys really know how to play,” but I want you to think
about what’s really occurring here. So grounded is your awareness about what the song
is (for those of you who know) that anything else that isn’t it is laughable.
How do you feel about the grounding of an auditory system like that? Would you enjoy
teaching children that had that kind of auditory development? I’m suggesting to you
that nothing less is possible.
I was at a school today that featured all learning-challenged children. There were
children with Down syndrome. There were children with autism. There were children
with low functioning I.Qs. I saw six classes taught by an excellent teacher. Every class
was asked to identify a song and every class had at least four or five, sometimes six kids
who knew it like that.
Did they hear the whole tune?
Yes, they did and the person who was working did not hum it. It was done only in the
abstract with the hand patting on a back.
What song was it? *“Rig a jig, jig”] Ready, here we go.
Let’s check it. Just use your inner hearing. Here we go. We’re going to play.
[Please see “Rig Play, Doodle, Back Map” video.+
*George guided paper mapping “Rig a Jig, Jig.”+
                                  Before Break Lecture
                     *Please listen to “Before Break Lecture” audio+
Maryanne Wolf talks about two big developments and we’re going to position this on
the process of developing a symbolically-able child.
Phonologic development has to do with our ability to work with clusters of sounds. In
ETM, these clusters of sounds are very easy to identify, because we are always moving
to them. The first step in enabling the child to work with sound clusters is to get them to
move to it.
When we play a song experience game to 6th graders and we sing what shall we do with
a drunken sailor [etc], the last of those clusters is highlighted by the proprioceptive
system (the skeletal-muscular system) moving to the sound. The child stops and starts
the movement with that.
That happens when we play here we go Looby loo [etc]. You start moving the circle
when the song starts and you stop moving the circle when the song stops. That’s the
Meta level. In ETM we call those beginnings and endings the points of enclosure.
It isn’t long after that (when playing “Looby Loo”) that those little clusters begin to
occur. I put my hand in, a little phrase supported by movement. I take my hand out, I
give my hand a shake, shake, shake and I turn myself about.

High stepping horses [etc]; first the farmer sows his seed; Clickety, clickety clack. You can
go through the literature that you know and just ask yourself. Windy weather, windy
weather… replete over and over again.
The news that you should move to what you’re going to learn and what you need to
know and that one ought to enact what is to be read is scarcely news to the Richards
Institute and, frankly, neither is it news to any sensible educator. This is not brand new
information that just dropped out of the sky. This is the way our species is arranged to
do it. We haven’t deviated much from that norm until the last 20 years or so.
It is as though there has been a perfect storm of media rushing and pushing
competitively to do it better, early, more often, and to have more of it with the collapse
of the wisdom of child rearing that have come together. Now, suddenly, it seems like
something brand new.
Our species has actually been about this form of learning for as long as we’ve been in
existence. To return to it is something I have faith that we can do.
We know that when children struggle for meaning it’s because they don’t have
experience. Even with those profoundly challenged children I saw today, meaning is
there. When we played “Here We Are Together”, they knew what it was like to be next
to someone in a circle. When we played “The Penny Song” and the penny traveled
through the land, the seven kids with autism got it.
This movement to the sound is largely unconsidered. One of the reasons I’ve been trying
to give this such heft this year to the sensory experience of the child to prepare us for
this so that the notion of meaning and movement and enactment is not new to you just
tonight, but to parse this now and to help us understand that we’re literally learning
how to pay attention to sound through the movement. Starting and stopping with the
song and the all the interior structures is big.
The first step in developing this competency is learning how to organize sound. We do
this two ways in ETM. We move to the clusters of sound known as phrases in music. The
second is we move to the sounds of it. The Sol-fa is big because it helps us organize the
sound phonetically.
Sound is difficult to organize when it’s by itself. In Piaget terms we are literally taking
sound and turning it into concrete objects that we can play with.
Wolf describes the second step as the orthological development of the child. She says
that this is the stage in which the child learns that the symbol system that they are using
stands for these clusters of sound. That what visually I am encountering represents that
which I have not only heard, but in our work and in language development have
experienced. In other words, the letters cluster to stand for words.
I remember this as “see Spot run” tucked away in Iowa. I had the privilege of scribbling
for about 2½ years on pieces of paper trying out the letters with varying degrees of
success in a family that was reasonable interested in trying to help me but not

possessed by it. When I presented my scribbling they patted me on the head and said,
“That’s very nice, now run along.”
The good news about that is because my parents didn’t understand what was going on
and it didn’t look like anything they knew, so I got to do it over and over again and
nobody messed with me. It was exactly what I needed to do.
Early on for me and millions of children like me, those scribble drawings of representing
things were my first attempts to replicate writing. That scribble stood for something
though I could never remember what it stood for from one minute to the next. When I
labeled it I said it was one thing and if I needed to change it into something else, well I
That’s terribly important to the early symbolization of the child. This orthological
development has the child handling symbols early on that stand for those words they’ve
Enter Jean Piaget who said if you want a child to be symbol able, the symbols have to be
manageable by the child. This is what we’ve forgotten. We are being terribly ignorant
when we require that the symbols look like what an adult thinks they should look like.
The danger of having a conceptual mind in teaching a pre-conceptual or an early
conceptual mind is that the conceptual mind cannot remember what its pre-conceptual
period was like. It tends to want things in the way it thinks about it. That’s not how to
work with a pre-conceptual or early conceptual mind.
For us a map, very clearly, is that orthological first step. It is manageable because you
know the song and you made it. The opportunity to follow the language of the song that
you know that’s been put into you (I hope happily) hundreds and thousands of times
and to have that song live within you as a manageable object now interpret the first
orthological moment discovering that something can stand for that sound is an
experience we want wrapped in joy, wonder, exploration and motivation, not tears,
anxiety, hair tearing and threat of grade nor the necessity to reward just to get you to sit
still long enough do it.
I want you to think about the evening so far and answer yourself this question. Is the
majority of everything that has led up to and including tonight been largely a joyful
experience or one of anxiety and dread? If this has been all along, unknown to us,
secretly a rush to literacy, not just to stabilize the kid, what kind of a rush is it? What
kind of experience are we carrying the child toward? Is the child’s emotional accessing
of the early literacy as important as her skill development in literacy?
I was always very impressed with Lillian Katz at University of Illinois, Champagne. She
was “Queen of Reading” in the United States for years. I attended several lectures of
hers and in every lecture she said she was profoundly worried that the directions that
reading were taking in this country would lead children to be skill driven, but would
leave the children without the proclivity to read once they got them. She wanted both.
To have to have the skill at the expense of the “wanting to” was no good.

That really hit me as a musician because we really struggle with that. To give the
children the skills to read music but to get them to really want to is hard and it’s an
uneven landscape.
I was really pleased when my kids drew their first maps in junior high school, believe it
or not, because every single kid in the room, whether the best musician or the worst
musician, the kid who could read music or the kid who never gave a rat’s “patootie”
about it were on a level playing field.
We had a boy in Cindy Teresi’s class yesterday who was a very poor reader among
children who were very good readers. This boy is very smart, he just doesn’t read well.
When they all mapped, this boy made a map that was perfectly follow-able and you
could not differentiate his ability to read at this juncture from anybody else’s.
For me, that’s a good place to start. If I’m trying to rescue a child from disaster in
reading ability, I want to make sure I’ve got their spirit along for the ride. If there’s
somebody over here that’s got it, I’ve discovered that the mapping only helps – it does
no harm. We’ll see you after break.
                                Music Teacher Breakout
                          *Please listen to “Looby Loo” audio.+

                                   THURSDAY ENDING
                                       Map Reading
                         *Please listen to “Map Reading” audio+

                                     FRIDAY, 4/1/11
                          “Round We Go” (“Skip to My Lou”)
                        *Please listen to “Round We Go” audio+
                                Big, Long, Boring Lecture
                   *Please listen to “Big, Long, Boring Lecture” audio+
I have a largely selfish question to start the evening and kind of wrap up my weekend.
Has our time together this year had any impact for you at all? Would you mind taking a
moment to say what it is, if it has?
Behavior has been better.
It has…yours or the children’s? That was a mean question, wasn’t it? But there is a
certain truth to it, isn’t there? When we modify, the children follow suit. That has
happened to me over the years.
I’ve been trying to recognize children’s enthusiasm for what it is. When they need to
keep dancing or they need to talk about what we’re doing, instead of saying “stop it” or
“Here’s what we’re doing”, they just need to experience and respond to it instead of just
being quiet.
Please keep in mind that the current studies are that 40% of your school day today (if
you’re a normal, typical classroom teacher) was spent in non-instructional language.
That time is the elephant in the room called behavior management.
One of the things that strike me in the last 38 years is that I believe the programs that
are developmental only, the ones that seek to study the development of the child, have
probably been rightly criticized for their inability (or unwillingness) to attack the
problem of parsing a body of knowledge into understandable chunks and ordering them
in a way that build that body of knowledge in the curriculum into a meaningful whole.
There is a place for that along the way for even the most developmental of these
programs. When Mary Broadel Lorton was developing “Math My Way”, she wanted it to
be quite developmental, but she was very interested in trying to figure out what you
had to do first. All of those manipulatives came about because sorting had to take place
I knew that when my brother and I fought over who had the most “Kix” in their
breakfast cereal. My dad would dump both bowels in the middle of the table and say, “1
for you and 1 for you; 2 for you and 2 for you; 3 for you and 3 for you” so I knew long
division because I had that lived experience of it. It wasn’t too hard for me to imagine
four bowels when you were dividing things into quarters.
It’s true in ETM, too. We have a curriculum. You have to play the song before you do
anything else with it. It seems like an odd way to start talking about a curriculum, but
we’re pretty good about stacking this up if you stay with us long enough.
On the other hand, the curriculum-only programs (and we’re certainly in the middle of
one of those phases of educational reform, which demand that curriculum be gotten by

children by whatever means) are also criticized for their inability and their unwillingness
to ask at what stage of a child’s development should a particular curricular activity
Is a 5 year-old brain ready for calculus? Years ago that would have brought a room to its
knees in laughter. Now there’s kind of a, well…. There was a time in my educational
history in which a 3 year-old being taught sight vocabulary, being forced to sit at a desk
and work with worksheets and being shown flashcards would have not been tolerated.
That school would have been shunned as inappropriate for children.
I think the current franticness about reading and children’s competencies about that are
poorly addressed by the curriculum-only programs. The evidences I have for that are
two-fold. Number one, I’m always asked by teachers, “What age? What grade?” If
curriculum orientation in education were adequate to the task, that question would
never be asked of me – you would know. If your training and background in
developmental maters were sufficient, you would never ask that.
The second matter is, is that as I watch curriculums being interacted with regard to the
children who can’t ever get it or the children who are slow to get it, the curriculum-only
movement’s response has been (as far as I can tell) to just do more of what the child
already can’t do. If that doesn’t work, do more. If that doesn’t work, do it louder. If that
still doesn’t work, then somehow threaten the teacher or tie compensation or job
security to it.
The next thirty years will see such a growth in understanding of the human brain that
this will very much seem like burning witches at the stake. We’re going to look back on
this period of educational history as a very dark time in which very good people were
asked to do very bad things. We have to come to grips with the fact that children’s
brains do come to us differently.
It’s against this backdrop that I really want to look at mapping. Nobody in the room is
more aware than I am that that map doesn’t look like a single note on the staff or have
anything to do with a word. But I’m going to open the door just a bit to suggest that in
medicine, for example, you would not stay with a doctor very long who gave you a
week’s worth of Erythromycin and that did not prove efficacious for you and you went
back to the doctor and he said, “Here, have a little more.” Three weeks later you went
back and he said, “Here, have more.” That would not be considered best practice
Something has to change structurally. The approach has to not be the same. There has
to be a different approach. I’m going to suggest to you that to immerse ourselves into
literacy is to begin to look at changing the approach.
To begin with, I’m astonished when I come here and when I go to Michigan and when go
to Texas, how, in the middle of the greatest recession I’ve ever seen and in the middle of
push down, press down curriculum, here’s a program that advocates three things that
are counterintuitive to both of those cultures.

Number one, we dress like a bunch of ragamuffins. We’re poor. We’re a non-profit
organization. But more importantly, we work with three things that are literally anti-
cultural in education: play, non-external rewards for children, and a symbol system that
doesn’t look at all like symbols and yet the room is filled with people. I don’t get the
impression that the vast majority of you are here for the CEUs or the college credit.
The vast majority of you seem to be interested in studying learning, which I think is an
absolutely remarkable, applaud able, laudable, we-ought-to-be-worshipping-at-your-
knees kind of thing…on a Friday night and in a reasonable hot room with not enough
food to go around.
It says to me some very important things and I think we owe you our very best
response. One of them is, there’s got to be a better way and there is and it is to look at
the development of the brain.
I want to say to you what Maryanne Wolf is saying in her words in Proust and the Squid.
She has five developmental phases in the development of reading and this is true for
reading period so, musicians, this isn’t as though reading music is going to be different
or that reading words is going to be different. This is how reading occurs.
The delicious part of this for me (as an ETM person) is that our constant attention over
these last years to language and music at the same time has really paid off beautifully
for us.
Do you think it was very smart of us to position ourselves and our work as heavily on
play as we did? That’s a pretty risky proposition. If it hadn’t been for the children, I
probably would have quit this 25 years ago. Until the last 4, 5, maybe 6 years, there was
not enough compelling interest in the teacher corps to have sustained me.
Play has been a very risky and a very difficult proposition for us. The management of the
child’s own behavior seems to be an almost novel, impossible thought (that a child
could and should be self-managing of her impulse and her behavior and her need) is
nearly unthinkable. When you suggest that a child can be and should be responsible for
her own motivation, and that she ought to be more focused and attentive, well, this is
just some special child and I couldn’t disagree more.
Do you think it was very smart of us to position ourselves so strongly on play? We did it,
really, as a desperation move. We wanted to get the songs in the kids so we could study
music in the early days. When play came along we had a whole bunch of classroom
teachers say, “You know what? When those children are playing they’re really getting
better at language and their behavior is a whole lot better than it used to be. Have you
ever studied that part of it?”
I remember the very first day saying, “No, and we don’t want to” because we didn’t
know anything about it. We played because the kids loved it and asked to do it again.
It’s a good way to work with kids because they can get Sol-fa and study it and you can
teach them all of the rhythm patterns and so on and so forth.

We weren’t very much interested in the peripheral (we thought), adjunct benefits of
play. The idea of a self-motivated child, I had never heard of and I didn’t care; I just
knew that the kids ought to be better behaved and when they played they were better
behaved. I had never heard of a person’s own locus of control for motivation.
We play and we sing and this week is about literacy. How does it emerge? We’re going
to take it right into the furthest reaches of literacy.
She suggests five arenas in which development takes place and we’re going to take a
look at two of them. I want to read to you what she says about this beforehand because
I think this is very compelling.
She says, *from page 112+ “Learning to read is a miraculous story filled with many
developmental processes that come together to give the child entry into the teeming
under life of a word usable by the child. Socrates and the ancient Indian scholars feared
that reading words, rather than hearing and speaking them, would prevent our ability to
know their many layers of meaning.” Think about that against the backdrop of not
having time to tell stories; not having time to have the children develop a rich
“In fact, early reading exposes – during the moment of acquisition – how many of the
multiple, older structures contribute to each layer as they all come together to form the
brain’s circuitry for reading.” Keep in mind that she is very clear in this book. Reading is
a learned behavior. We don’t have a genetic chip for it.
She’s right. We have a genetic chip for language because there are children who arrive
at language at age-common times. Between 8 months and 16 months, the growing child
emerges with the foundations of language that continue right up to 24 and 30 months.
Some children do delay slightly, but if they can begin to show up a little bit, we rest
easy. If they can’t, by the time they’re two we’re off to the speech and language
pathologists. We expect age arrival with this. That’s because we have a genetic chip for
It is the same we do when we expect children to sit up at a particular age or to crawl or
to roll or begin to take their first steps or begin to coo. These age appropriate matters
tell us one thing. The brain unfolds in neurologic stages as things take place.
If you try to get a one month-old to walk, it isn’t going to happen. We laugh at the idea,
don’t we? We don’t laugh very hard, though, at a 3 year-old trying to read.
An 8 month-old child shown a flashcard and given the hand sign for it – even if they
could do it, that’s not what they should be doing. What they should be doing is throwing
the banana, putting it on as hair gel, trying it on face cream, smearing it on your face,
dropping it on the floor, having you pick it up, dropping it on the floor again, having you
pick it up, dropping it on the floor again, having you pick it up again, mixing it with the
orange juice to see if oranges and bananas taste good together when smeared on your

She says, “Studying the development of early reading, therefore, allows us to peek into
the underpinnings of our species’ accomplishment, beginning with the interrelated
processes that prepared the child in the first five years.”
The first of these, she says, is “phonological development – how a child gradually learns
to hear, segment, and understand the small units of sound that make up words.”
By the way, that’s what you do when you play song experience games. That’s what you
did tonight when you played round and round and round we go. You heard units of
sound and as you moved, you segmented them. Some of you segmented the whole
song. Did you see the circles that sang round and round and round we go and they just
kept moving? They started when the song started and they stopped when the song
The attentiveness to those big movements is what I’m calling the Meta. If you can get
attuned to that you are on your way to developing an auditory presence second to
none. I wish you could have been a fly in the corner of every classroom we went to
today watching children developing auditory presence because of their singing and
playing. It was powerful.
She says, that they “segment, hear, and understand small units of sound.” I’m
suggesting scaffolding on top of this (this is not her, this is me and I’m trying to situate
this on ETM) with the first step of starting and stopping the whole song. Do you
remember working with the secret song? We’re trying to get the retrieval of a whole
auditory structure against the backdrop of a whole bunch of auditory structures.
This process is called “auditory recall.” It is reliant on fluid memory. I have previously
suggested to you that this business of multi-modal store in memory was so important to
us because the more modalities (auditory, visual, tactile, kinetic) in which the
information is stored, the higher the priority. You’re going to pay better attention and
focus better if you hear it, see it, say it, and do it than if you just hear it.
If you’re in front of a teacher who is a big, old talker like I am right now, your chances of
retaining that information are very low. If you add movement ever so slightly (like
moving your hands), you stand a better chance of remembering things. When you add
touch and seeing, your memory system prioritizes that information. If you get all four,
that receives the highest priority.
This is huge because what we want in memory is easy recall. That’s what fluid means,
it’s easy to recall.
How many of you ever tried to clap a secret song? Have you ever shown a kid a secret
song or part of a song? What almost always happens? When you start clapping it and
they get it, what happens? How good is their impulse control at that moment? They
have absolutely no courtesy, do they? They shout it out. That’s because memory, when
it succeeds, loves itself and it can’t stop expressing its knowledge.
How many of you have taken the next step and said, “Oh, that’s ‘Oats, Peas, Beans.’
What do we do now?” What do the kid’s say? “Let’s play it” and you say, “What do we

have to do?” What do they do? Do they just know the song? They know what the
movement is, don’t they? They’ll know exactly when to hook up and when not to and
they can show you what to do, true?
That’s because any one of these representations will beget all on account of dendrite
branching. That means that the child has interiorized it – it’s automatized. Piaget said
that before a child should ever read the arbitrary symbol or the letter or the word, he
ought to have this inside of him over and over and over again.
He also said that before reading, the child has to have it represented in their play life.
You have to be the tiger and the fireman and the pirate and so on.
How many of you kindergarten teachers let your children play during the day? What do
they do? [They make believe+ How deeply do they make believe? So much that you can’t
get them out. They go so deeply into that world you wonder if they’ll ever emerge.
Piaget said 4 to 7 is the child of the dream and this is the time for that representative
play. We do it all the time in ETM, but we do something that’s very interesting, we
hasten that development. We ask the child to take the song in and almost immediately
put it back out. We’re unusual in that regard.
We’re also unusual in that children won’t play when adults are around. We’re very
different in that we put the adult smack in the middle of this play theater. What’s even
more unusual is that it works.
So by the time we get to this auditory recall, we have a whole background of experience
interiorization of representation – hearing it, seeing it, and replicating it – putting it back
out so that knowing isn’t just knowing about.
                           *Please listen to “After Break” audio+
[Excerpts] We in ETM are very good at working with materials that are at the pre-
conceptual level of children who are emergent in developing intelligence and
conceptualization. The brain is not really ready to fully conceptualize until at least 7
years of age. It takes those first four years to gather the memory and it takes the next
four years to express it. That’s a pretty good way to think about it.
Those first four years need to be suffuse with play because that’s how memory is built
and stabilized (from the purely intellectual point of view.) It takes the next four years to
go inside that memory and dig around for a while on the part of the child to work in the
world of fantasy and to remember those images and put them back out in symbolic play.
Piaget and the neuroscientists have been quite clear about that. The first seven years
are pretty sacred for that.
When you try to teach children letters and words it’s going to be an uneven landscape.
Music educators often have trouble there because we don’t know what to do to help

                            Music Teacher’s Friday Breakout
               *Please listen to “Music Teacher’s Friday Breakout” audio+
                                “Let’s Catch a Rooster”
*Please see videos, “Let’s Catch a Rooster Game” and “Let’s Catch a Rooster Hand
[Audio excerpts] What do you suppose your visual and audio systems are cued for now
that I’ve asked you to do that? You’re looking for the parts that match up with what you
just practiced. You’ve bumped this up to working memory. This memory now has a hold
of it and it’s going to look for matches, which is just what you want. Ready here we go.
We’re at what’s called the perceptual level of learning. The perceptual level is nothing
more than just noticing that something exists.
Concepts have some unique qualities about them. They are perceptions that now have
an orientation and orientation has something to do with predictability. Being able to
predict that something is going to occur is an idea of a conception. If you conceptualize
what snow storms are and you know one is coming, you make preparation for it. You
are conceptualizing that weather pattern so you don’t get caught in the weather. It has
the second element of predictability. We can understand how it operates so we can
make a prediction.
This movement or shift in the brain from perception to conception is an entirely internal
One of the other evidences I have that the contemporary curriculum have no idea about
developmental matters is that the texts all say what concepts are to be taught.
Perception is not taught.
We teach to perception first. Our work is based on highly plentiful and integrated series
of perceptions.
Our profession probably understands this least of any because most of our pedagogies
are designed to set up the notion that you teach concepts and actually that’s not
We don’t teach concepts. We only set up a perceptual field that leads to
conceptualizing. For example, I’m going to ask you a perceptual question. Did you see
this? That’s an answer that simply says, “Yes, I noticed it” and I used the visual system to
do it. Here’s another perceptual question. Did you hear it?
Is this a perceptual or a conceptual question: Why do you suppose my hand is so high?
[Conceptual+ It’s conceptual because you’ve just taken what exists in declarative
knowledge (Did you see this?) and now you’re taking the right brain (the functioning
brain) and understanding how it operates. That’s what procedural knowledge is all
Perceptions lead to conceptions on two accounts. Number one, you just leave the
learner alone and they get it (and that happens more than we’re comfortable with).

It can also occur when you develop the art of asking small conceptual questions that are
appropriate to the learner’s development. For example, asking that question of you
educators just now is probably a little behind your conceptual development, but do you
think it would be behind that of a third grader? I was with third graders today and it’s
not at all behind them. In fact, it’s right on the edge of what they need to be doing in
order for them to develop understanding.
Put your hands right up here. How high is this in the song? [It’s the highest point+ I’m
sorry, I don’t agree. He’ll no longer sing, “cu.” So sorry, there’s a little note that’s higher.
But that’s a little snotty, isn’t it? The truth of the matter is the lay of the land has this
being just about the highest, doesn’t it? So we can be pretty confident that if we be
about as far as we can stretch, we’re going to be there.
Do you think that’s important? I do because I want children to know how this high and
low operates. We’re going to see it in another song tonight. This has to happen long
before we look at notes on a staff.
By the way, this work with the Sol-fa is called “bare bones.” We just take the highlights
of it. It outlines the clusters of sound and it’s phonologic. Can you hear it gathering
those sounds? Try it. He’ll no longer sing “cuck-a-ree, cuck-a-roo.” He’ll no longer sing
“cuck-a-ree, cuck-a-roo.” That’s the fun part, isn’t it?
How low should your hands go? Is that a perceptual or a conceptual question? Why is
that conceptual? It’s asking about the function, isn’t it?
I want you to really respect the process that’s going on here. One of the interesting
things about following those maps and following somebody else’s is that a very highly
developed auditory process is taking place.
In general, your memory is made of three components. Our memory functions tri-
laterally. We remember was just has occurred while we update what is occurring and
we make small projections about what is about to occur.
Effective music readers have to have the capacity to do this. While we’re reading and
working with sound, we make small predictions from what just occurred and it happens
in micro-seconds while we update ourselves about where we are.
It is virtually impossible for the mind to ever be in the present. Your mind is always in
the immediate past. In order to have mind (that’s what memory is), you have to deal
with what just occurred. It’s very immediate.
When we read we are literally conforming a complex process. We have to remember
what we just heard while we look at what is occurring and then we make mini
predictions about what is going to happen.
The evidence that you are acting conceptually when working with the hand signs is your
accuracy in getting there on time. It means your inner hearing has to race slightly ahead
of the present in order to get yourself ready for what’s going to occur.
So if the kids are behind that tells you something.

They’re not conceptualizing, they’re simply imitating. They can’t possibly be
conceptualizing if they’re lagging behind because they’re still imitating. A lot of teachers
think their students are conceptualizing when they are really just imitating the teacher.
Imitating is really good. It’s the basic way we get our information. Our brain is set up to
be model dependent. *Continue “Let’s Catch a Rooster” with hand sings.+
What does the song have to be before we can work with the hand signs? [It has to be
interiorized+ That’s right, it has to be in us so that it’s available to be worked without
consuming lots of working memory.
I think we ought to hang on to play if for no other reason than it’s the most fluid, easy,
and effortless way to get the song in the kids for just this kind of study. The other thing I
like about this is they really know the songs. It turns out they stand a good chance of
liking the song, which is great if they’re going to be spending a lot of time studying it.
Randy, am I correct in thinking that play invigorates effort?
Yes, it does. Play, by definition, is an oriented interior locus of control. You can’t reward
play. Anything else isn’t play. *Repeat play+
[After Sol-fa work+ I’ll let you work on the designs of this. All I want you to bring to the
children is just the bare bones. It’s easy for the children to hear because it outlines these
big clusters of sound.
It turns out that what we’re instinctually doing with the children is exactly what
Maryanne Wolf is asking us to do except we’re doing it in movement. While you’re busy
playing with Sol-fa you are also helping alert the children’s auditory system. This just
inspires me.
                                     “Hot Cross Buns”
*All play “HCB” with Sol-fa hands.+*Please see “Hot Cross Buns Hand Signs” video+
[After play] This work eventually leads to notating notes on a staff. Not long before
those dots show up and much later than many music educators like, this must come
This background needs to be replete. If you work with kindergarten children who are
four and five years old, you can have some things like this with “Farmer”. When you get
done playing “Farmer in the Dell” I want you to play around with the Sol-fa.
                                  “The Farmer in the Dell”
I’d say, “Everyone, take your hands and rub them on your legs. Now, pick up a batch of
dirt and put it on your nose” and just play with it, go. The farmer in the dell….
That’s all you do, just let them know it exists. *All sing again+
*Please see “Farmer Hand Signs” video+
Look, it landed on my nose again. Did it yours? This time I think I’ll have it land on my
chin. The farmer in the dell, the farmer in…stop. Who did you wave at?

Now, why did I stop all of this serious music study to ask that question? What do the
kids want? Do they care whether they get the hand signs? Nine times out of ten, no;
what do they worry about? Who do I know? So, just take a moment and meet their
needs. Say, “Hi, everybody!” Ask them, “Who do you see?”
All right, here we go again. We’ll wave at them. Here we go…
And this might just as well be a cheer as here. They both highlight the high point of the
melody; that’s what we’re first looking at.
I don’t care if they know anything more about the Sol-fa than just that. You [Marie] used
to play “Are You Sleeping” with your young son and you just brought his fists together.
They are not going to conceptualize nor should they be asked to. They should not know
how the Sol-fa works, only to know that it exists.
                                     “I Wrote a Letter”
That’s also true in the first grade. How many of you know “I Wrote a Letter”? Have you
ever played it? Here’s what you do with your hands. [All play]
I like to say to the kids, “Ok, you do that.” Ready, here we go…
I got one person and that always happens with the kids. They don’t know the difference
between Loo-loo and Loo-loo like you do because they’re listening to the anacrusis
feeling so they’re going to be entirely model-dependent along the way. That’s why it’s
important for that to happen; so you can just play a trick and say, “I got you. Let’s see if I
can get you again.” *Repeat+ Rats, I didn’t get you. Try one more time. *Repeat]
This actually begins to help the kids conceptualize a little bit about how the sounds
operate. They won’t know everything there is to know about it.
The last blasphemous statement I want to make before we leave tonight is, there is no
ordering to the Sol-fa. This is a very big departure from Mary Helen’s writing. I changed
it and I have a reason for doing that which I’ll explain tomorrow. When we stopped
ordering it, it freed the children to learn it. We use it a lot in music, but not in pedagogy.
Let’s go to the big group.
                                       FRIDAY ENDING
                            *Please listen to “Puncinella” audio+
*Please see videos “Puncinella Game” and “Puncinella Tracks”+
*Everyone progressed from the line game to a circle game then finally to “Puncinella
Tracks for Reading”+
[Audio excerpts] When I play this with first graders, I ask them to see if they can find
Puncinella. I don’t mind reading like this at all because we’re playing it. Brooke Munson
has said she wants the children to read the pictures as well as the words. So, who’s
Puncinella in this one? [Chicken+ Or, as somebody said a duck and one little boy said, “I
can’t make up my mind” and a little girl said, “Let’s call it a ‘Chuck’!”

Literacy people have always said to me that one of the important matters about this
structure is that there is an interior rhyme. Kathy has always said to me that she wants
the children to say the rhyme. What are they? [Chair and hair] I want to be very clear,
that is not enough to teach children about rhyming: chair and hair. It has to be “Sit on
the chair” and “Pull out your hair.” The whole cluster has to be in place.
Just for the fun of it, is there any one of you who thinks maybe you can come up here
and put your finger right at the beginning of the song and follow it all the way to the end
and get there when we get there? Somebody come up in each group. [All continue]

                                     SATURDAY, 4/2/11
                                      “Drunken Sailor”
                         *Please listen to “Drunken Sailor” audio+
*Audio excerpts+ We’ve had three experiences of looking at the whole. Now it’s time, in
best teaching practice, to look at a little part and then we’ll put it back to the whole.
For the moment, look at this part of the song. What part is it? [Way, hey, up she rises] If
that movement produces that sound in your head, you are already acting symbolically.
Symbols are only symbols if they make present again that which they stand for. The
words have to stand for the movement and the movement stands for the words. You
don’t have to wait for the words to be symbolic. The moment you start playing, you are.
Piaget said that in the child’s early experience of symbolic behavior, the representations
that are projected out in the world must match the way the world was perceived in the
first place and that’s in the sensory system. Their symbolic play was their first step, not
reading words at three months. Even if they can, they shouldn’t.
The first thing children ought to do is play their knowledge, not read it. Parents, their
best work is not in front of the TV. They should be playing in your living room and
outside of the crib and it’s going to require that you stop doing something else and tend
The first representation must be in the same way the knowledge was gained in the first
place, through the sensory system: you enact it. Piaget suggested (and the
neurosciences completely support this) that the first representation is their symbolic
In our work it’s called the “R” cycle – the reciprocity cycle – take in, put out, take in, put
out. The problem is the taking in requires an alert and highly integrated perceptual
system. When you’re parked in front of a TV, that perceptual system is put at risk. Also,
if you’re over-attended or held too much, or cared too much so you don’t do things for
yourself, that’s at risk.
Even kids who are held too much by well-meaning but misunderstanding parents need
to have time on the floor to push up, roll over, or try to stand up. Helping them do this
actually weakens them.

Take your partner for a moment and see if the two of you can enact this: Way, hey and
up she rises. Stop! Now look to see if your partner is vigorous.
“Drunken Sailor is not about a person who is drunk – it’s metaphoric. In order for you to
understand what the song is about you must know something about the Bay of Fundy.
Now that you know this song, what kind of knowing do you have and how do you
describe it? It’s interiorized and automated, true? You can sing the song without a great
deal of working memory. You can focus on other things now because the song is in you.
Piaget said that in order for the child to create meaning, all those images that were
stored in the first seven years of a normal (though not typical) play life must be taken in
over and over and over again – interiorized so that working memory does not have to be
working at it.
It has been my greatest grief as I’ve traveled across the country seeing children asked to
read words which they don’t have a language for. The productive language of a child
must precede their reading. The productive reading of music has to be preceded by
music being put in them in the first place.
*Play proceeds to hand signs and to mapping.+*Please see video, “Drunken Sailor”+
                                      Lecture: Learning
                        *Please listen to “Lecture: Learning” audio+
As near as we can recollect it, the first use of the term genetic epistemology was coined
by Piaget in about 1955. Prior to the first MRI even being thought of, a whole group of
people were studying the developmental process of learning. To recap what we’ve been
looking at a bit this week, it is an appropriate matter.
Developmental-only people are probably rightly criticized for being touchy-feely when
we fail to understand that the body of knowledge really does have a breakdown – does
have a curriculum. That is important to try to understand and come to grips with so that
we can construct a reasonable approach to learning that body of knowledge throughout
a learning lifespan. When we especially can inspire people to learn for their lives, we are
possibly also at our best.
On the other side of the ledger, what is to be learned must have neural appropriate
possibilities. The neural age of a child does not always comport to the physical age. Not
all 5 year-olds in a kindergarten class present with the same neural possibility.
This was attempt to understanding how learning takes place. To try to distill an
embarrassing large body of knowledge to fit our experience this year, I want us to focus
on some small aspects of how it is we begin to be literate.
I told you earlier this morning that literacy always has to do with meaning. To mylinate a
series of responses by showing a child a flashcard with a word is to put meaning at risk.
When this picture of the letters is seen and the brain memorizes the picture and makes
a phonemic response by saying the word, hotwiring, what is called columnizing, takes
place. I’m literally drawing it like this because that’s how it works. It starts down here in

the brain stem in the recognition system and the hindbrain and literally, over time, is
bumped up to long-term memory so that when a person sees that they can say it.
[Randy draws music on the board, which everyone identifies.] Now sing this interval.
Here you go. The problem with your singing right now is that its function is left out.
In the development of new knowledge, function precedes labels. What it does and how
it operates actually has to be in front of its label. A baby in the high chair is not
supposed to learn the word first; it’s supposed to learn the banana first.
We as animals require sensory experience. If our children come to us without sufficient
experience they are at risk for meaning. Sensory experiences are not complete when
they are in front of computers and televisions. That’s a statement about neural reality.
Our work is grounded in experience first with an attempt to stabilize the child’s
emotional being. As you‘ve now discovered, we’re setting the stage for literacy while all
the time we’re worrying about their behavior. It’s a both/and world for us, which I am
quite proud of. To ask a teacher to be equipped to handle both is to empower that
This genetic epistemology went on to say some important things. The symbolic world of
the child is (luckily) generally had under the radar of the adult if they aren’t “jimmied”
with. Those of you with small children know they start being representative in their play.
They start becoming doctors and lawyers and nurses. This is because the brain has made
enormous gains in the first year of its life in memory. Its entire first year is spent loading
its memory, dendrite branching like mad and then it takes about three additional years
for that to stabilize.
Understand, teachers, that when neurologists use the term “stabilization”, think of it as
kind of catching up. It’s like you running a short distance very fast to find yourself
huffing and puffing and you have to spend some time for your body to catch up.
When this dendrite branching occurs in the first year, it takes time to catch up by doing
it again, and again, and again. You can read 30 books about it and at the end of the day
it’s still a mystery. The repetition has to happen for stabilizing to take place.
In ETM, input and outgo of this image system are simultaneous. The child learns “Oats,
Peas, Beans” while she’s putting it out. She’s taking it in while she’s putting it out.
Joseph Chilton Pearce writes profoundly about this. He describes this as the “R” cycle of
competence. He describes this as the child orienting in the “Earth period” – the sensory-
motor period of the child’s life. I think this is a very salient description of it.
The representational life of the child must be presented in the modalities in which the
images were stored in the first place. Another way of saying this: How did we get the
images in the first place? We experienced them through the sensory system. Get
comfortable with these modalities and use them when you explain your work.

These modalities must be alert and at the ready, rehearsed and ready to use to create a
learning-able child. If I were asked to describe them I could and they would include
children who are supposedly developmentally delayed.
I’ve been in classrooms this week that spanned the spectrum of learning potential. I
have seen in every last one of those classrooms the child who presented with autism on
one hand to the Mozart genius on the other.
We want this up and functioning so that the images get stored completely.
[Bill] If a child has had his images and experiences be violent or emotionally terrible to
begin with, should that mean his representational play reflects that?
“Should” is a very unusual word; might and very often do.
So is stifling them bad?
No, but it’s threatening. When your input is attached to violence, your output can also
be attached to violence. That’s the image system from which you operate. It’s not a
mystery that a lot of our kids want to shoot. More troubling, however, is that when
violence is present, the suppression of the ability to get the images in the first place is at
risk. A suppressed system is not an open system, it’s a reactive system. Reactive
Detachment Disorder is almost always one of the outcomes.
Piaget and the neuroscientists were very big on examining this period because the
child’s symbolic behavior was manageable. The first symbols they manage are becoming
a dog and a cat and a rabbit. We don’t give that enough importance.
When you play the “Farmer in the Dell” and the child pretends to be the farmer or the
wife or the child, and so on, or the child pretends to be Sally going around the sun, the
moon, and the chimney pot, or pretends to be the farmer in “Oats, Peas, Beans,” this
representation system is activated.
The next step in this is the scribbling that Piaget thought was so very important. In our
work (ETM) this scribbling – this self-motivated symbol – is the map. We’ve represented
the song in play, we’re interiorized it and automated it so that working memory doesn’t
have to manage it, and now that map has to come.
For those of you who are trying to teach children to read music, this is a step for you
along the way and its gift is it allows the child to make manageable sound. Our children
have a horrible time managing sound. Their auditory memories are neither long nor
Our nation and most of our teachers prefer visualizing. If you’re a visual preference
person you are obligated to practice and develop a regard for children’s auditory
Maryanne Wolf says that learning and reading are not a visual matter. That’s what the
phonological development of the child is: learning how to listen to clusters. We work
with the secret songs for this reason.

This presenting the song again is a big part of it. When that happens, you map it. If you
know the song and you map it, you’ll see this awareness of the groupings of sound. You
can see it in the maps.
The next step in this process is realizing that the symbols that I’m using represent these
clusters of sounds. They are best had when they are first not the symbols that are 2, 3, 4
steps abstracted away but are close to me. They are the ones that come from inside of
me first. This isn’t wasted time. This is neurologically stabilizing time.
It turns out that when we work with children who have reading problems in language
even as late as 4th, 5th, or 6th grade they can get some gains with this system because this
auditory and visual system gets re-stabilized. It isn’t until 12 years of age that the door
really begins to close on that possibility. The older they get, the less chance there is to
I have great hope for elementary level teachers because no place in all of education has
such a wide range of neurological presentation. Pre-K to 6 is a nuclear explosion of
challenge in this.
When you map, get piles of paper around the room. Have markers at the ready. Use
“Mr. Sketch” because they’re non-toxic and they smell and when children stuff them in
their mouths they won’t die.
I get my mapping paper at Bekins moving company. They sell it by the thousand-weight.
I just wondered how young you would do the mapping.
Kindergarten, as soon as they can hold a pen. But they have to have the song automated
We stopped mapping for a while because children wanted to write their names or draw
pictures. That’s evidence that there’s too much left-brain work going on, because all
their maps had to look like something or it wasn’t a good one. They would write their
names or draw a picture and that’s not paying attention to the song.
                                     Double Doodling
Gayle Dennison of Brain Gym is very concerned about the horizon field of vision and the
lack of scan and in particular the peripheral vision of scan on the part of children in
terms of connecting the two hemispheres of the brain.
*Please see “Mapping” video+
 They want bi-lateral movement so Gayle, a visual artist, in what she calls “Double
Doodling,” wants three things to happen when you put your fingers together: from the
middle out in mirror fashion; from the outside, in; and two fingers that cross the mid-
line like in “lazy 8s.” This has importance in the neural system.
Take your non-dominant finger and take your favorite finger and show little sections of
the song, Earlye in the morning. Now I say to them, “Do what I just did, go.” *All sing
following Randy’s double doodling model.+

Now erase it because I’m not trying to teach them how to map. We want both the
spatial hemisphere and the seriational hemisphere to be equally involved.
The beauty of this child’s play is that when these images are being projected in the
world, the picture and the functioning of it is held in the spatial arena. The labeling of it
and the name for it are held in the left-brain and both are necessary to create meaning.
That’s why this representational play and the enacting of it in the sensory world is
That child in the highchair who is myelinating that word and is being shown the
flashcard is not activating both hemispheres; she’s just activating the one that labels. A
little bit of the picture one is coming along, but it’s not the picture that does anything.
It’s just a picture that’s not attached to any kind of modality input and so meaning is at
Play solves that. The representation of the child’s image world in representative play
solves that. The map solves it. You’re organizing the sound and you’re doing it by using
the spatial arena that is represented. We wanted a pre-spatial arena to be re-involved
and this solved that.
So when you first start mapping play with this don’t put anything yet on paper. Just take
two or three weeks to play with those little chunks. Those chunks are phonological. It’s
perfectly possible for us to do it.
When you sing earlye in the morning you’re representing symbolically in the orthological
development that which has been grouped in your movement. What shall we do with a
drunken sailor? How did you become aware of that grouping of sound today? You
moved to it. What shall we do with a drunken sailor? What about that grouping? You
moved to it. What shall we do with a drunken sailor earlye in the morning? Which of
those three is the longest? [The last one] You cannot only hear it, but you moved to it
that way.
So when you pre-map with the children, take a chunk of it. What shall we do with a
drunken sailor early in the morning? Then I say, “Do that, go!” *All repeat+ Then I say,
“Erase it” because I don’t want the children to think they have to memorize it. Those
left-brained kids are going to want to memorize, aren’t they? Rather than memorize, I
want them to make their own and I want them to think of more possibilities.
When you map, I want you to map with three or four children at a time and not the
whole class. Sit them in front of you, have them map in the air and look for maps that
are productive. That’s what we did in your class the other day, wasn’t it? Can you say
anything about it?
It was wonderful. I really enjoyed seeing what you were looking for and having the
children really feel special, too. They got to go and be the mappers and the kids, then,
can join in and be the singers and then trace the maps that those children made.
Cindy, stand up and tell us what we did it the other day in Loomis.

We chose five kids and they were the ones who went out and mapped and the other
children went around and supported them in their mapping.
They just gathered around the pieces of paper.
[Cindy] They sing for the mapper. The mapper follows their map a few times and then
takes it to the next person in the circle and that person would follow the map that they
had seen being made. They would then talk about how they were following it and how
they followed it different from the person who had mapped it. Then they would turn it
over to another person in the circle so that all people who were gathered around the
making of the map where now having a turn in following that map. The conversations
that happened around that lifted up the mapmaker. The conversation was about how
this part represents. How do I make it so that my following matches what you have
represented this song in this paper?
[The first participant] The least productive, barely emerging reader in my third grade
class was one of the most successful mappers. You made him feel like the King of the
Block that day.
He’s now known as the boy who won’t give up.
When the first five kids make their map, they follow it first. The other children who have
been sitting around map singing for them, they get to try if they want to.
There are questions now, yes?
When would you do the single doodling as opposed to the double?
At the end of their experience. I’d have them double and work with this before asking
them to work with their dominant finger.
[Cindy] And even when the mapper was working on making their map we would have
them take two fingers. Even after they had done all that in the air, we would still have
them use two fingers to practice on their paper before they would draw their map.
Finally they get to their dominant finger, does that make sense?
Would you have used your “Tracks For Reading” books?
Either, or; the map in the Tracks book doesn’t influence their mapping at all. It just
guides their reading.
You said you follow the map first?
Not the teacher, the kid who made the map follows it. The mapmaker follows it and
then other people follow it.
Were five children chosen at random?
At random, yes, and I want you to do the same thing. I want you to look for productive
maps. Here’s what I mean by that. Everyone, take your finger and make something for
what shall we do with a drunken sailor. Ready, here we go. [All sing with air doodle.]

Do you know what? If you put that on paper I could follow that. Let’s look for others.
Ready, here we go. By gosh, I could follow that one. I could follow that one, too.
What do you suppose immediately happens around the room. Yeah, productive maps
spring up everywhere, so you just take five.
What was really clarifying, Randy, for some children was that they were kind of doing a
lot of this and your comment was…
I said, “There were a lot of loops in there and those were interesting. I think there are so
many, if you put them on paper I might not be able to follow all of those, so why don’t
you think about how many loops you would like to have so that we could really follow it
at the end.” That helps get things organized and simplified.
I teach Kindergarten. What can I do to get them ready for mapping?
Play and sing.
Would you use the books at all with them?
Yes, after they’ve played and sung the songs, those books are perfectly available just to
be read like a storybook, but it’s predicated on their playing and singing extensively.
Then those five maps are collected up. The children all come back and we look for five
more that are productive and they go map and everybody goes to help. You may not get
it all done in one day, but it’s pretty important everybody gets a chance.
We’re going to stop right there. If you undertake this much after you’ve played and sung
with the children, all will be well.
Does the size of the paper matter?
Yes, I think it does. The size has to be fairly big. 8½ by 11, I suppose, does work. I think it
helps the children be expressive, though, if you can use bigger paper.
                             Saturday Music Teacher Breakout
                  *Please listen to “1st Music Teacher’s Breakout” audio.+
                   *Quinn starts and Randy finishes playing “Madman”+
*Please see “Madman game” video+
[Excerpts] You can solve about 20% of your classroom management problems by having
the kids sit closer to you. Even if you have 38,000 desks in the room, I’ve never met a
teacher who couldn’t get done what she wanted to do. Ultimately, if the teacher wants
it done it happens, so I encourage you to spend ten minutes a day with the children just
like this. Just find a corner, clean it up and move on.
By the way, if you’re kind of cynical and sarcastic, play will never work for you. Please
don’t use our materials. They are to be used by people who are open to children and
showing kindness to kids. I want you to make huge demands on behavior and you do it

by not being mean to them. If you play with them on one hand and scold them on the
other you put them in a vise grip they cannot escape form.
That’s why I’m mad at that school. They’re trying to play “Looby Loo” with children and
then punishing them if they put their foot in when somebody says “hand”, so you have
seven kids in the room crying while they’re playing “Looby Loo” – shame on you.
If that’s your world as a teacher, get another job. We can be demanding of children, but
we’re not mean about it.
*Please see “Madman Hand Signs” video+
*After “Poof, poof, poof”+ If you want to be technical (from a pedagogical point of view)
Bernard says in his book, “Start high, and then go low.” That way you blend the
registers. You also teach children to blend upper register singing with lower register
singing. It’s very important that children sing in their upper register, so you must watch
the pitch where you start the song so that they’re in a vocal register that doesn’t lock
them into low register sound.
                                    “Mary Had a Baby”
The games for our songs are hand signals. There aren’t too many of them. I’ve taken
some of the songs that we don’t have much movement to and have created play with
the hand signs. There is a very important matter about our work that is different from
music education pedagogy and that is there is no ordering of the Sol-fa.
This is based on the neurosciences that say learning is more like a spider web than it is a
ladder. If you want to read about this, go buy any book by David Sousa. He says, “Try
though you might, the child is going to learn what the child is going to learn.”
Mary Helen Richards, when she first constructed ETM was scaffolding her work on
Zoltan Kodaly. Kodaly said that the first interval ought to be So-mi because that’s what
the Hungarian language does.
English language doesn’t do that. “Ta-dum” is prevalent and it rises. So Mary Helen said
you must teach the rising fourth first: the farmer in the dell. There is a slight problem,
though: the next phrase is not a rising fourth – the farmer in the dell – but it still has the
She also said another aspect of our language is our sentences trail off at the end when
we make declarative sentences. We listen to beginnings of sentences because we load
meaning at the beginning and we load them at the end as well.
In our speech, when you make a declarative sentence your voice descends. A common
tonal structure is “Hot Cross Buns”. Sally go ‘round the chimney pot every afternoon.
There’s just a bunch of them. When I was working with her early on, this is what we did
with kids.
But as sure as I tried to teach some kids “mi, re, do” and “so, do” there was some kid
saying, “I like the middle part of that song. What do you do with that part?”

Toward the end of Mary Helen’s Life, when I was kind of out on my own, I decided to
venture out to see what I could do as I was tired of trying to harness the kids. I decided
to switch it around and see what songs the kids were interested in. Based on my studies
in neuroscience, I decided instead of trying to teach them in an ordered fashion, I would
be happy with the spider web order of things and turn our attention toward the study of
sound on its heel. I backed up and didn’t work with the Sol-fa right off the bat. I worked
with secret songs.
We started working with the secret songs first before we taught the Sol-fa. I worked
with the Solfege by working with the songs. We take a musicological approach. We take
the songs that the children know and love. I’ve taught the teachers how to work with
the Sol-fa out of it.
We’ve tried this for fifteen years now and it turns out we were right. Our children learn
Sol-fa like a language and we just do it by playing with songs that they like. All you have
to do is learn a song and learn how to work with the Sol-fa out of it and they’ll know
how it works.
*Please see “’Mary Had a Baby’ Hand Signs” video+
*After playing “Mary Had a Baby”+ Many of you ask me how you work with children who
are under-motivated without scolding them. I just showed you one technique: build to
You want to start to have the direction and the energy of the class flow toward
bigheadedness. Those two were bigheaded, true or false? When I say, “Look at those
two!” it says to the rest of the room, this is who he gives his energy to, not to the six
children over here committing homicide. When you make that type of statement 30% of
your discipline problems will disappear.
Who else can do that? Please show us. People keep a-coming and the train done gone. I
want you to keep the “show us” brisk; it has to go fast. Who else? Who else? These two,
and who knew that those two would ever get anything right! It’s particularly helpful if
you make statements like, “Oh, my gosh! It’s even boys!” For those of you women, I
can’t tell you how happy we are when you tell us that.
Let’s make it harder. Put your hand on your knee and close your eyes. *All sing+.
We said at the beginning of the year if you want to stabilize a classroom, what’s the first
relationship you have to establish? [The adult/child] How have I done it? [We’re all
watching you right now+ Why? Why are you watching me? There’s intellectual challenge
afoot, isn’t there?
I got the behavior managed by setting up an intellectual music challenge for you. I said
there would be a surprise for you. What was the critical element to keep it a surprise?
This is where a lot of teachers blow it badly. You don’t show them ahead of time.
The problem with orientation in ladder teaching is that most of the people who work
with that want to know what to do next. If you’re going to work with error correction,
you have to learn how to elaborate.
I just showed you an elaboration technique. We’re practicing the same thing we just did,
we’ve just changed it up a little bit. That challenge can be very stabilizing.
By the way, how many of you had a partner who was very helpful to you? Thank them
for their work. I want you to find a partner who is just dumber than a box of rocks now.
[After more play] Medium, lower, lowest; you two figure out medium, lower, lowest. By
the way, was that a perceptual or a conceptual question? Conceptual, that’s right. We’re
taking what we’ve notice and now understanding how it operates.
We did this with Janet’s children yesterday for about 20 minutes. They couldn’t wait to
have about 20 ideas for medium, lower, lowest, which pleased me because every time
they’d try to move away they’d say, “Wait, wait, wait, wait, we’ve got another idea.”
They’re rehearsing and begging to do it over again.
I want to tell you a nasty little story. I’m highly critical of this teacher. He was hired in
1971 to teach music in the middle of Nebraska. This nitwit, for some reason, had no
notion that because he was hired to teach music, the children had a right to an aesthetic
education, so he taught music by threat his very first year because he was scared and
ignorant and had no idea what to do with their behavior, so he just shouted.
Suddenly it dawned on him to have the delivery of the education be in concert with the
nature of art itself. Music is supposed to be an aesthetic experience, not a competitive
one, not a “one up” one, not a snotty one, not an I’m-better-than-you-are one. It’s
supposed to lead people to the very essence of beauty itself.
It’s not supposed to be exclusive. It’s supposed to be available to all humankind. That
includes the people living today in Goldwater Memorial Hospital on Roosevelt Island,
New York who will never walk a day in their lives and never breathe on their own and
never move their bodies. It’s for them. It’s for the child with autism on Thursday.
An aesthetic education is to be made available everywhere; not for the people who can
afford it; not even for the people who back it. It’s supposed to be available for the
people who don’t think it’s worth two hoots and a holler.
It’s supposed to be available for the father of the child at a school here in the San Juan
District who sent a fifth grade child to school that cusses in the classroom and gets away
with it. It’s supposed to be available for parents who “lawyer up.” It’s supposed to be
available for abusers and prisoners. It’s to be made available for everybody.
Boy, did that guy have his comeuppance on the very first day of school when an eighth
grade boy said a very horrible thing and slammed the door and broke the glass window.
Instead of the supervisor supporting the teacher, he supported the kid. He told the
teacher, “Well, I guess you’re not interesting yet. That’s how come the kid’s
misbehaving. If you get interesting, maybe you can help solve the behavior.”
You know who the teacher was, don’t you? Best thing that ever happened to me. Don’t
you be afraid to be interesting. If you aren’t, learn how. Don’t be a wimp. I’m counting
on you.

*After singing “Mary Had a Baby” as a 7-part round] What age would you have them sing
a round?
I don’t ask what age, because I see 6th graders who can’t and I know 3rd graders who
can. I think you have to ask what brain. I think you must have a brain that has a very
strong auditory development. I work with the secret songs. They have to present by
being able to work with the secret songs without much teacher support.
Before I sing songs in rounds, I sing songs in partners. It would be more likely for me to
be singing “Hot Cross Buns” *high so, low so version+ and I wrote a letter to my love
before I sing rounds because those two textures help weak auditory children. American
children are auditory wimps except for a very select few. So I would begin there. If they
can do that petty well, I would try a song in rounds.
How about this? *All sing “Johnny, Get Your Haircut” and then add “Come and Follow
Me”.+ Contrasting textures helps children listen.
Is that easier than a round?
I think it is because I can trace a whole melody here. Never forget that singers are
melody people. Even when we sing our parts in choirs, we sing our parts as a melody.
They’re better off tracing those chunks.
This gets back to that phonologic matter. If we can sing those chunks first, then we can
parse other parts of it. I don’t even pick ostinatos out of the songs because they so
closely match the melody. I find that the children track to that part of the song. When
the children sing the song while they hear the ostinato, they un-track from the song and
go to it.
In terms of making this work, singing in tune has to occur for the beauty to come
through. There are some music education philosophies that say you wait to do that first.
How do you address this in terms of their in-tune singing?
I think the ability to sing in-tune comes along with this business of auditory tracking.
Instead of worrying about singing in tune, I want to build a substructure for auditory
sharpness. It turns out that people who listen better sing in tune better and I don’t have
to spend so much time correcting.
I have spent way too much time at choral festivals trying to sing in-tune, because the
voice mechanism itself is pretty locked up and there just isn’t enough of this whole
auditory development to support it. If they’d had this kind of background I wouldn’t
have to spend so much time on it.
Chris Rise would be the person to talk to about that. She works with kids in middle
school whose voices are changing. We’ve literally had kids singing two octaves low jump
up an octave in about a month. They just play and sing. She doesn’t have to provide
voice instruction.
*Instruction proceeds to “Mary Had a Baby” form book.+ *Please see video, “Mary Form

                               2nd Music Teacher’s Breakout
                  *Please listen to “2nd Music Teacher’s Breakout” audio+
                                         “Clickety Clack”
*All play “Clickety Clack”] [Excerpts]
One of you is going to be the track with your arm and I’ll show you what to do with little
children. If you’re the engine, use firm touch. I saw one of the finest examples of
moderate to firm touch with Jim Parr, over here, the other day. Don’t make this light
and ticklish. Tickling is very dissociative to the central nervous system. Make the touch
moderate to heavy.
Do you see how firm his touch is? Use firm touch when you’re working with kids.
The teacher always does with the children. Children do not do this together. Gather the
kids around you and you just give one turn after another. Take about ten turns and quit
the song for the day.
The kids who didn’t get a turn, you say *Maybe next time] No, that torments them. You
never say that. Don’t say, “Maybe next time.” You say, “Do you know what? There are
more turns in this hand and when you come back, it might be you.” Be very profound
about it and make them wait; it’s called delayed gratification and our culture has nearly
none of it left. Switch roles.
*Please see videos, “Clickety Rhythm,” Clickety Hand Signs,” and “Clickety Symbolize”+
                                     SATURDAY ENDING
                             *Please listen to “Comalya” audio+
                              “Darby Town”, “Bombalalom”
                               *Please see “Comlaya” video+


To top