Written for music educators from K - 5 onwards, First Instruments is a practical guide to teaching musical ideas through the first instruments we develop in early childhood, laying the foundation for how the collective creativity the book presents can sustain a lifelong commitment to music-making: voice and hand gestures. Founded on the belief that all children are musical, the book gives music teachers the necessary tools to develop students' confident understanding of pitch relationships through improvisation and composition. Author Nicholas Bannan, a veteran pedagogue and children's choir director, accomplishes this in a classroom-tested system that combines Kodaly hand signs with extended use of physical motions that together result in deeply embodied musical knowledge. By participating in the book's many group exercises, students develop this knowledge that ultimately paves the way for acquisition and functional working knowledge of harmony that tends to elude most theory students. As Bannan shows, all effective music teaching needs to involve singing as the portal to a secure and transferable response to pitch. First Instruments encourages educators to draw on games, tasks, and activities in relation to their own curriculum planning. Marrying the development of fluent singing abilities with harmonic understandings, this approach supports musical creativity that is not dominated by the conventional features of a particular genre or style, but instead liberates the musical imagination and enables the exploration of musical styles from throughout history and all over the world.
No, that's not a misprint! Harmonic signing is a brilliant and original method for teaching singing and musicianship, based on our ancient, universal nature as human vocalizers and responders. From simple games and tasks to mastering Flamenco or the Phrygian mode, Bannan's rich, well-thought-out pedagogy avoids language and notation yet develops instinctive musicianship and expressivity through gesture and collective interaction. * Ellen Dissanayake, Affiliate Professor, School of Music, University of Washington, Seattle * Community and creativity lie at the heart of human musicality. In this new book, Bannan delivers an excellent guide for anyone interested in exploring the power of gesture to educate and develop diverse musical skills in young and old. * Alan R. Harvey, Emeritus Professor, The University of Western Australia, and author of Music, Evolution, and the Harmony of Souls * Bannan steps forward here with the first modern, comprehensive, and practical guide to the art, science, and history of music as an essentially vocal art. This is a mine of knowhow that will serve generations of young musicians, and the composers, performers, and researchers responsible for leading them from instinct to expertise. * Jonathan Dunsby, Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester *