Sing Up Members will have noticed that as part of our recent redesign of our website, we have integrated functionality to make it possible to view music notation on screen while in Whiteboard Mode.
It has long been our ambition to include this option in addition to the lyrics view mode because of how it can help pupils begin to become familiar with how musical notes are written. We have also received feedback from Ofsted in the past that it would be preferable for pupils to be viewing the notation rather than just the lyrics whenever possible. So, we’re excited to be able to share this functionality for you to use with your pupils now.
Even subliminally, without being formally taught to read music, pupils will begin to assimilate the underlying principles of how it works if they are regularly singing along to a song while viewing the notation. Much in the same way that when a parent reads to a young child they start to recognise letters, patterns, shapes of words and connect them to the words they hear, seeing the music notation will help to make the children’s minds more flexible to learning notation later. They will come to notice that the shape of the melody goes up and down on the stave and connect that to the aural experience of hearing that same melodic shape while they are singing. They will begin to recognise differences in the length of notes – that the unfilled notes are longer than the filled ones for example. And above all, just regular viewing of the notation will remove the unfamiliarity and strangeness of it, particularly if it is just a normal part of everyday singing from a young age.
Don’t worry that your pupils may not be able to read music yet, or may not have been formally taught to read it. Show it to them anyway, definitely for KS2 pupils, and with simpler songs, without too many words, show it to your KS1 pupils too. Building familiarity with the notation from an early age will help them begin to decode it later.