Submitted by Pamela Rezach, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio

Idea posted January 15, 2002

As I tried to continue the flow of teaching during this week, I accidentally did something that turned out to "turn the light on" in the heads of several of my students concerning ta's and ti-ti's. Hurray!!

As I pointed to ta's on the board, I started moving my finger down and up on each ta as the students followed the ta's with their finger and said ta. Then, when we did the ti-ti's, I explained that the first ti was when our hands followed the ta downward and the second ti was the ta when moving up. Then... I got a piece of chalk and asked,

"How many pieces of chalk do you see?"


"Let's make this like the ta. Follow my finger as I 'trace' up and down the chalk while we say ta." They did. Then, I broke the chalk and said, "How many pieces of chalk do I now have?" Of course, several said two, but I said, "No, I have one piece of chalk that is broken."

I then compared that to the ta's and ti-ti's. "Ta's are like the one piece of chalk. Ti-ti's are like broken ta's." It worked. I could tell in their eyes they understood for the first time why two ti-ti notes received only one beat.

Also, by having their finger move down and then up the ta notes, they are not "cheating the length" of the ta. It seems to get them ready for patting their foot to the beat, which will in turn help them with band.