We had our second Basic Chant Theory Class last week. At the beginning we focused on ear training using a new Anki deck that I made using visuals that go with my tetrachord cards. If you watch the video for the class you will hear my audio (with pitches that aren't completely accurate) but Nick Jones has graciously recorded each card. Here is the first deck with his recordings. I have been chanting with good chanters for four years now, and although my ear is better than it was, I think that I will benefit from these cards too.
Here's an overview of how the first ear training deck works. You will hear an audio and are prompted to "Describe what you hear." When you see the answer you are given a visual and will hear the audio again. Below is a sample of one of the visuals. The way the tetrachords are tilted show you whether the pitches ascend or descend. In this example you the upper diatonic tetrachord ascends from dhi to ni' and then the upper soft chromatic tetrachord descends from ni' to dhi. It's good to note that the distance from zo' to ni' is the same in both tetrachords.
After we went through the Anki deck I showed how to play a game (with multiple variations) to practice the scales on parallage. Then I taught some basics about martyrie. I created an Anki deck for martyrie as well, but we didn't use it in the class. There are three different levels of decks for martyrie. Beginners should learn the first deck. The second deck is to be used prior to when students study fthore. The third deck is the hardest and mimics the knowledge that you need if you start composing music.
If you'd like to watch the video for this class, you can find it on my You Tube page.
I have found a printer to print my materials in bulk. My goal this week is to get all of the files sent off to them so that they can get the proofs to me next week hopefully. I'm also planning to start recording videos for the level 1 materials. I tried doing a lot of recording in the spring but wasn't happy with the recordings--I learned a lot from them though.
I also printed some tetrachord cards at Kinko's to test out with my students. They will be used in level 1 for ear training and in level 2 & 3 to prepare for reading fthore.
Remember how I was alluding to a new material in my last post? I'm finally testing out a Beta version! I started teaching a new class on Monday nights on Google Hangouts Live. The materials that we are using will be used in Levels 1, 2 and 3. That's one of my favorite things about these materials---they can be used in many ways to practice skills at varying levels!
Above is one part of the new material that we used last night. I created this chart so that the lower and upper tetrachords are really obvious visually. It is also really obvious how the tetrachords in each scale are separated by the same interval.
Along with this chart we used a bride ruler (next to the lower tetrachord on the right) and a star ruler (it includes the star part and the bride below it which are next to the upper tetrachord and the dividing tone). We used these rulers to find common intervals. The bride represents a perfect fourth ("Here comes the bride") and the Star ruler represents a perfect fifth ("Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star). We used these rulers to figure out what intervals that each of the scales have in common. I find it is really helpful to know this information when sight reading.
After that we did some ear training exercises. Basically, I chanted a few examples on parallage and asked them to figure out what scale I used. Then a few people chanted an example as well. I wanted to do more but we ran out of time. I gave students some tetrachords just like the chart to cut out and I hope to use them in our next lesson. Before the next lesson I'm going to make some Anki decks (online spaced repetition flashcards) for ear training and we will test them out in the next lesson. Then students can use them on their own if they need more practice.
I'm only sharing the new materials with the people that are already in the class, but anyone can watch. After each class, the video will be uploaded to my YouTube channel. Here's the link from last week's class if you are interested.
Bulk Printing Update
In other news, I got quotes from 4 printers and have picked the printer that I'm going to use to order materials in bulk. My cousin's husband did the leg work for me and I'm so appreciative to him. I'll start working on sending them the files soon and then they'll have to send me the proofs. At this time I'm leaning towards not selling materials through my website. My time is limited and I want to focus on developing materials and teaching. Instead, I'm going to sell wholesale to some Orthodox bookstores and they are going to sell them retail for me. I'm so happy that this has become clear!
When the materials are available through the Orthodox Bookstores, I will let you know. It's hard to believe I've been working on this for 5 years!
On a more personal note, here's what I did this morning. I finished the path going around my herb garden (almost)! Next comes laying the paths in the center section. I also bought two dwarf pear trees that you can see in front of the fence. I think that I will plant them there to block the view of the road. The place where I'm taking the picture from is up about 2.5 feet from the herb garden and will have a sitting area. I don't really want to be able to see the traffic on our road.
I can't wait to start planting here. I'm going to put culinary, medicinal, and tea herbs in this garden as well as a few edibles (like kale, cabbage & onion). I hope to practice some permaculture under the pear trees. I'm not sure what to plant by the house, so if you have any suggestions, please share. I need to be able to paint the house so whatever it is can't be too big. But I would like to hide the foundation of the house. I plan to plant ornamenals in the upper sitting area. That way we can look out the french doors in our dining room a beautiful garden.
I have finally decided that the patio and dining set (with possible outdoor kitchen) will go on the back side of the house where it is closest to the kitchen. That will be a project for next year!
SAHM by day; ByzB curriculum developer by night. My career was in teaching: kindergarten, first grade, bilingual reading, Suzuki piano, and Music Mind Games. Now I paint icons and spend lots of time making materials on the computer. My greatest joy is directing my students in their learning. This blog documents the process and provides a space for my other ramblings as well.