The materials are in the testing and development stage. If you are interested in purchasing materials to test with your students feel free to contact me. I place small orders every few months and would be happy to add your order to mine. Please do so with the understanding that materials may change due to improvements in the curriculum. When the materials have been thoroughly tested I will sell them through this website or another online seller.
Why Byzantine Beginnings?
Byzantine Beginnings is a multi sensory, games based approach to teaching Byzantine chant and notation. Traditional methods of teaching chant are heavily auditory. Byzantine Beginnings adds visual, tactile, and spatial elements which makes learning easy and fun. Level 1 material should be available for purchase in the summer of 2016. The Curriculum Guide, lessons guides and videos are in the works and will be released around that time as well!
Here are some pictures that illustrate this multi sensory approach.
Students are playing Snake* to practice intervals without pitch using the Greek Letter Cards. They have already mastered intervals going up and down one and have moved on to mastering intervals going up two and down two.
*Snake is borrowed from Music Mind Games, used with permission
These students already have a solid foundation in the pitches in the diatonic scale and are working on mastering the pitches in the hard chromatic scale. They are looking for the two mode cards for the second mode: one with the apichima in parallage and one with the apichima in byzantine notation with the Greek phrase.
After they have found the mode cards associated with the hard chromatic scale they will play a game called "Oligon/Apostrophos" using the Ni Pa Vou Cards (the colorful cards in front). This game practices parallage on pitch. The variation that they will play allows them to go up or down one and do a jump from pa to dhi or dhi to pa.
The Ni Pa Vou cards provide a concrete/visual represention of pitch- Ni is red, Pa is orange, Vou is yellow and so on.
Students begin learning the apichimata in there first lesson as apichimata provide a key to pitch relationships. In this game students are practicing the apichimata with curwen hand signs both on parallage and with the Greek phrase. The colored bingo chips ("magic chips") correspond to the colors associated with pitch in the Ni Pa Vou Cards. After we chant the apichima on parallage and in Greek, they place the corresponding colored magic notes on the greek syllable. You can see An-nah-nes is a red chip, and then two orange chips. Once again, this tactile, visual representation really helps students solidify pitch relationships.
Here the student is practicing the most common interval symbols with the Parallage Phrases. These phrases start out very simply, using only the pitches Ni and Pa. This allows students to begin reading byzantine notation without stumbling on scale degrees or pitches. Her study of the scale with and without pitch is done along with this material and allows her to read incrementally harder phrases with ease.
Once she completes these phrases she will have a basic knowledge of the diatonic scale, pitch relationships, heirmologic apichimata, and sight reading. This allows her to begin learning real hymns in all eight modes at the next level.
Here the students are using magic notes to think through the parallage prior to chanting. The magic chips provide a visual and tactice element to a task that might otherwise be laborious. These students have mastered the Parallage Phrases and have begun their study of simple heirmologic verses in all 8 modes. Students chant the apichima and chant the phrase on parallage and text doing both ison and melody. After a few phrases they often no longer need to use the magic notes and can start chanting the phrase directly on parallage.