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I recently had the chance to evaluate an “old school” technology with regard to learning a number of music educational terms and tasks: Cool Cat Cards Complete Music Reading Set. I have to say that I was impressed with their product(s).
Their complete set includes a number of music topics from simple music “basics” to a number of more advanced music topics:
- Music notes up to four octaves
- Note and rest values from whole notes through 32nd notes
- Articulation markings
- Accidental markings
- Dynamic markings
- Intervals from unison to 13ths including altered and unaltered variations
- Basic music terms, symbols, and tempo markings
- Major and minor key signatures
- Chords from tertiary to 6ths and 7ths in every key
I had a chance to work with some of the more “advanced” cards with a couple of beginning college music education students and we had a lot of fun working with them and using them. One of the nice things about these cards are that they are well typeset (visually appealing) and durable -unlike many other music flash cards that I’ve seen both on sale as individual items or included with some of the basic theory books.
One of the things that we struggle with as educators is finding effective ways to help us help our students recall and recognize specific facts, or concepts. Almost all long term learning must start with the recall of information (or in Bloom’s terminology the Knowledge Category of the cognitive domain).
While learning basic music terminology, at the basic level, is sometimes more of a rote type of learning, it is nonetheless the ESSENTIAL foundation to master before we can comprehend, apply, make judgements about, and transfer the concepts to other pools of our overall subject knowledge. I am constantly informing my beginning conduct students about the importance of being aware of all the basic terminology associated with score reading and the associated performance aspects of being a conductor. This acquisition of the these “basics” is no different than any music student starting to “read notes”, learn about intervals, or identify chord structures. Every type of learning aspect starts at the “knowledge” level and expands from there.
The variety of music flash cards offered by Cool Cat Cards not only covers a lot of music related materials, they are visually appealing, durable, portable, and open up a world of creative thinking to develop learning opportunities for aspiring musicians -all at a very reasonable price (and a 60 day money back guarantee).
In addition to offering the basic music sets they also offer card sets for guitar notes (come on! -be a REAL guitar hero!) and percussion rhythm styles. The percussion rhythms are particularly useful for the aspiring set drummer as they include a over 40 standard set rhythms including: Latin, African rhythms, jazz, and rock.
If you are looking for a durable, useful, and versatile classroom learning accessory these cards might be “old school” but they will get the proverbial “job done”. Whether your a teacher, parent of an aspiring musician, or an aspiring musician yourself -these cards are worth a look.
Cool Cat Cards may be found online here: http://www.music-flash-cards.com/
Joseph M. Pisano, Ph.D. is an industry innovator, education clinician and lecturer, trumpeter and conductor, and the creator of many education websites. He is currently the Vice President of Innovation and Engagement at Keystone Ridge Designs, Inc. After twenty-three years as a professor and administrator at Grove City College, he made the move into industry in 2018. As one of the youngest full professors in Grove City’s history, he served in various roles over his tenure including the Technical Director of the Pew Fine Arts Center, Assistant and Associate Chairs of Music and Music and Fine Arts, Director of Music and Fine Arts Technology, Director of Jazz Studies, Stage Manager, and he finished his tenure as the Director of Bands where he directed the college’s Symphonic Concert Band, Wind Ensemble, Marching Band, Pep Bands, and various small ensembles.
He been named a TI:ME Teacher of the Year, received the JEN Jazz Educator Award, the PA Citation of Excellence, and named a “member for life” of the PA Intercollegiate Bandmasters Association. He is a past Vice President of the Technology Institute for Music Educators, an associate member of the American Bandmasters Association, a past President of the PA Intercollegiate Bandmasters Association, and a member of various education and music honoraries. He has written for numerous publications including DCI Magazine, Teaching Music Magazine, and was the Educational Editor for In-Tune Monthly Magazine for eight years; he has contributed hundreds of articles to various publications. He is an active conductor, trumpeter, clinician, and educator. Find out more at his website jpisano.com.
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