Why I HATE the Alphabet Song

It always makes me cringe to hear a toddler, kindergardener, preschooler or other young child burst into the traditional “A, B, C…”.  Now, its not that I dislike kids singing, or off key tunes, its the song itself I dislike.

As a preschool teacher of six years, this song has no educational value.  Its not teaching children how their vowels sound, or what sound CAT starts with, its just a sing song chant with the letters names.  This can confuse a child who is just starting to identify letters and their sounds.  A doesn’t say Ay, it says aaaa. If you know anyone under five years of age, it can be quite a situation when they believe they are saying it right, and it can lead to problems in school when they start trying to learn phonetically and  C A T doesn’t read cat, it reads,  See-ay-tee.  Yes, I have seen this.  Or, worse even, they try to just memorize words.  So reading goes ” c…. a…. t….  Tap!”, where instead of reading phonetically, they assume the last sound is a whole word to fill in the blank.

Another problem, is the children tend to combine sounds together to make new letters (and I have heard four year olds arguing over this one).  When they get to the letter L in the song.  Example “H, I, J, K, LMNO, P”.  They tend to think that it is all one letter, and funnily enough they will say it with such a flourish that they can convince anyone.  But, again, its teaching the sounds incorrectly.

Now, there are other great songs that introduce children to the proper sounds (that go great flash cards and objects) such as A says Ah.  These I love hearing! Especially when they hit the letter h with Ha Ha Ha!

Now, yes I dislike the song, but only when it comes to people teaching children the alphabet with this song, or teaching this song before they understand their letters or sounds.  Good luck out there!

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10 Things I Learning from being an Ocarina Tutor

ocarina pic

So, a bit of a background, I love ocarinas and flute intstruments.  I decided since I have played for years that I would try and pass on my skills, tips and tricks onto other eager ocarina enthusiasts! But I learned a lot:

1) With a society that loves quick results, so many people seem to think it will take only a few lessons for awesome results.  It will take months or years to get amazing results, unfortunately.  This is something I try to explain to my students when we first begin, though most students will think that they can be the next rising star, and this is where most of the problems come from.

2) Most students are only attending to learn that ONE song, forgetting that there are skills, techniques, and that we have to learn those simple songs before we can melt out songs.

3) Everyone has a problem area.  Including myself!

4) To always prepare a variety of pieces for the student to choose from.

5) Yes, I have silly techniques, but yes, I know from my own flute lessons that they DO WORK! And you have to stick by them.

6) All students get frustrated, but it helps to show them the light at the end of the tunnel.

7) Eventually all students think they can do better than you, sometimes they just never show up again, sometimes they turn impatient, and sometimes, just sometimes, you get those special students who will stick through to the end…. and come back for more!

8) Take the chance for odd requests to grow your music stash!

9) Not all students can read music, and will need finger charts/tabs before it clicks in.  But making good notes with cheats can help them learn!

10) Not all students will come out victorious.  But if you can walk away learning something, and knowing they have gained at least ONE thing, hold your head high!