Thursday, February 17, 2011

A Problem of Sayings

“Every, Good, Bird, Does, Fly – All, Cars, Eat, Gas – Great, Big, Dogs, Fight, Animals – F, A, C, E,” Ah, the wonders of the desperate imagination. Who would have thought that I would be teaching others that cars eat gas? Yet, I find that I say this ridiculous saying more than nearly every other concept of piano while teaching. The problem is, when it comes to treble clefs and bass clefs, lines and spaces, and a host of notes from A to G, it just gets to be a little confusing for some.  I remember learning the sayings that would help me figure out my notes.  I seem to remember it working…well, most the time anyways…
Now as a teacher, I see these sayings in a whole new light. The fact of it is, after saying them for eleven years, they are just a way of life (in the musical world). I used to think it was sooooooo much fun to teach these sayings to my students. Then slowly, I began to despise them more and more. I first began to dislike them when I was told, “It’s not Every Good Bird Does Fly. It’s Every Good Boy Does Fine.” Sure, it wasn’t that big of a deal at the time, but the more I taught the more versions I heard.
All Cows Eat Grass. Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge.  Good Boys Do Fine Always.  I could name a few more, but I’ll spare you. I’ve come to realize that while these sayings may be helpful, they are equally confusing! And, what’s with all the sayings about “good boys”? How am I supposed to get the girls to memorize sayings about boys getting fudge and doing good and fine? J  I guess that’s the joy of imaginations gone wild. My sayings would probably be worse if I was given four or five letters and told to make a creative saying, for example, Farmers Always Cook Eggs… Ants Carry Extra Gravel…. Boy, is that original! You’ll never hear those at music school!
Anyways, it’s an adventure all in itself, and although it can be frustrating, it can also be very helpful. Besides, it has encouraged me to be creative. (Hehe) I even made up a little rhyme to help one of my piano students remember what word to spell for the treble clef spaces. “To find a treble space, spell the word face.” Hey, it seemed to work.
So now it’s your turn. Do you know any other note sayings than the ones I listed? Have you made up any of your own? Or do you have any funny stories about note saying experiences? Please share, because I would love to read them!

In Christ and For His Kingdom,

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Having been a student for so many years, I've heard plenty of sayings. What about the ones for remembering the order of sharps and flats?
Flats: Battle Ends and Down Goes Charles' Father. Sharps: Father Charles Goes Down and Ends Battle. Or if you don't like that one you could use Fat Cats Go Down Alleys Eating Bread. I definitely can relate to those sayings getting old. I remember wondering what fat cats had to do with piano anyway.
Generally I prefer to use guide notes and intervallic reading with my students, although I have thrown in a "Every Good Boy..." once in a while. I like having a way to be able to figure out what the notes are instead of trying to remember which saying goes with what set of lines and spaces. It can get really confusing. After a while though, it does get ingrained in you. I could quote those sayings in my sleep:-)

Wonder who thought up those things anyway?