This fall I have continued to teach my two homeschooling students and have started to teach their 6 year old sister as well. In addition to this I have started teaching two more groups.
The first new group that I am teaching are 3 members of St. Willibrod's Antiochian Church in Holland, Mi. One of them has lots of chanting experience and reads western notation fluently and the other two have some music/foreign language background but not much experience chanting. We have had four lessons so far over Google Hangouts. They are moving through the materials much faster than my young students so at some point I will probably have trouble keeping up! Teaching over Hangouts isn't optimal but we are making it work.
The other new group is a group of kids at my church. They range from age 6-13ish and at our first class there were 10 kids. The plan is to meet once a month. At our first class I taught them the scale degrees with the Ni Pa Vou cards (and we played Fine) and they learned the Greek letters by playing Fat Snake. They were in two groups for these two games and then we all came together and did the first 15 phrases of the Parallage Phrases. The younger/new students stopped at phrase 10 and watched the older/experienced students do the rest. They did really well on the phrases and having 10 kids all at once was not any harder than having two!
I have also started sending out materials to chanters that will be testing the materials with their students. That has been a lot more work than I thought it would be (but isn't everything).
One of my goals with my new students this fall is to have them start learning the Apichimas from the first lesson. It is really important that students start this early so that they gain a solid understanding of how each mode relates to the others. Most beginning chanters struggle in services when they have to switch modes. My goal is that my students can do this easily--first in sticheraric melodies and then heirmologic.
My adult students have learned apichimas for Modes 1,3, and Plagal 4. For mode 1 they know it as "Ni, Pa, Pa" and "Ah-na-nes" but for Modes 3 and Plagal 4 they only know them as "Ni, Ga, Ga" and "Ni, Pa, Vou, Ni, Ni". This week was their first week with Mode 3 and Plagal 4 so next week I will probably teach them the Greek that goes with it. We played a game called Play or Pass going through those 3 apichimas and they did really well.
I haven't explained to them that these are only some of the Sticheraric Apichimas yet:) But they can tell you what an ison, oligon, apostrophos, kentema, elaphron, petaste, and kentemata are! I think a person can only learn so much Greek at a time. I will probably teach them Mode 4 Legatos apichima and them we will start testing out my newest material---Apichima Bingo. This is the very first draft of this material so we'll see what needs to be changed.
We started this lesson by playing Fine* with up 2 jumps again. It came back very quickly to them. Then we played Oligon/Apostrophos. They really liked this game and it was great practice for going up and down the scale quickly. Next, I got out the interval cards as I realized that we had been under utilizing them. I noticed the week before during Parallage practice that they were going pretty slow because they had to think about what the symbols meant.
I gave them a few new interval cards so that they had a card for all of the symbols that they have learned. We each put our set in order and then we combined them with an extra set so that there were four sets mixed up together. Then I showed them how to play war (I am searching for a new name for this game). Symbols whose intervals are farthest away from ison are high and intervals at the same level tie (up 2 and down 2). This game really aided their memories. We will probably play it again next week.
We had our second lesson this week and the girls were very enthusiastic. We had a lot of fun! We started out the lesson by reviewing the Greek letters and playing a new game for them:Snake*. Snake is slightly more difficult than Fat Snake*. To splay Snake, we mixed up the Greek Letter cards and then, starting with ni, went up the scale, starting over again once we reached zo. Once the Snake was done they pointed at the cards and said the scale until they got to the end of the snake. I forgot to have them say it backwards. Oops!
Since they have hardly any background knowledge about Byzantine chant, I started the lesson by giving a brief history lesson. I explained about the development of Byzantine chant within the Byzantine church and its roots in Greek music. I also explained how they would be learning a new musical language. I think that this is important for new students to understand. Byzantine chant is a specific musical language with its own sound that is particular to the Orthodox church. It has developed its own "alphabet" (all of the notation) and "grammar" (the system and rules of writing Byzantine music). I explained that in order to really know this new language, we would be learning the notation symbols and some Greek as well.
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.