Thursday, June 28, 2012

What Key Is This In?

   When I bring a few students together in a group lesson I like to start a conversation about musical theory. Yesterday I asked if anyone could explain key signature. 
   "It's your hand position."
   " It's the pattern of notes you play."
   " It's how many black keys there are." 

   It will take a few more discussions to fully understand it, but we tried in in a new way. It begins with the metaphor of a train and how it stops at different stations.

   The main station. Key of C is where the train begins. No passengers are aboard. It is five steps to the next station and there passenger F# takes a seat and stays for the whole ride.

   Five steps further along the track and we arrive at the station called D Major. When the passenger C# comes aboard F# takes his seat at the front of the train. Then it's five steps to the next station called A Major and so the train continues on. After using our feet to make the physical steps we travel around the circle of fifths until we arrive at F# Major, full train of passengers. Another day we can travel the other direction meeting passengers who are flats. Next week in our private lessons we will relate the train metaphor to the circle of fifths on their assignment pages. I hope it gives them another way to see Key Signatures.

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