Alternative to Twinkle Sandwich?

Rachel Schott said: Sep 7, 2011
Rachel SchottViolin
Harrogate, TN
127 posts

While the analogy of bread-cheese-cheese-bread (or whatever) is cute, I’m not sure it has actually worked in the past. Listening is a huge part of the way I run the studio—families listen up to 3 hours a day, so that’s covered… I wonder if the sandwich would come together on it’s own if I just stayed out of the way and didn’t confuse them with this-is-the-section-you-should-play-now (blah, blah, blah).

Thoughts?

Barb said: Sep 7, 2011
Barb Ennis
Suzuki Association Member
Cello
678 posts

I have had students’ lightbulbs go on some weeks after I explain things a few times, as though it’s a revelation they came up with on their own. I think probably what I said didn’t sink in, but when they make the discovery themselves there is a bigger impact. Because the “blah, blah, blah” may sound exactly like that, I try to remember to lead the children to discovery by asking them questions like, “What do you notice about this part here?” or “Do you see these same notes anywhere else in this piece?” (For readers… “Hear” would be more appropriate for playing by ear, of course) But I think probably even without leading them, probably the sandwich would come together on its own for many if not most children. ???

Also, too many times I forget to check the child’s understanding …. just yesterday I had an 8 year old student who confused elbows for shoulders!

Barb
Music Teachers Helper—for individual teachers
Studio Helper—for entire music studios or schools

Irene Mitchell said: Sep 7, 2011
Irene Mitchell
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Dallas, TX
111 posts

If the sandwich is made out of bread,
peanut butter (’make it thick & sticky’),
jelly (’make it sparkly and gentle’),
bread
then the kids learn dynamics from lesson one.

unless, of course, they’re allergic to peanut butter.
then we go to meat/swiss cheese (holey, so softer)

Irene Mitchell

Mark said: Sep 13, 2011
 
Suzuki Association Member
20 posts

The trouble with teaching the Twinkle Sandwich is that for a young child the idea of musical form, even in its simplicity with Twinkle, is an abstract concept. Children of Twinkler age tend to better understand ideas that are concrete. I don’t teach the Sandwich idea until they have been studying for a full year, in grade 1 at school and have learned the variations thoroughly. Then I take 4 pieces of colored foam: 2 yellow ones cut to identical size and 2 red ones exactly half the size of the yellow ones. Then we make a literal sandwich and have endless fun exploring through singing and playing which foam pieces represent each part of Twinkle. Eventually, the “Blah, Blah” turns into “AHA!”

Paula Bird said: Sep 13, 2011
 
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Piano, Viola
Wimberley, TX
386 posts

Your method sounds great too, Mark, and another example of how many possibilities there are to teaching one concept.

Most children understand patterns and are introduced to this very early in primary education. So relating patterns to musical form doesn’t seem to be a problem, whether I use Twinkle sandwich or colors. Yes it’s an abstract idea, but many children do understand abstract ideas when related to something they know, hence the sandwich idea.

It works for me, but there are always several possible ways to enter a house: windows, doors, cellar. Wait! This is one of those abstract ideas, isn’t it? Darn! I thought I had it. :)

Paula E. Bird
TX State University
Wildflower Suzuki Studio
http://teachsuzuki.blogspot.com (blog)
http://teachsuzuki.com (podcast)

Grace said: Sep 13, 2011
 Violin
110 posts

My kids have a Melissa & Doug Cutting Food play set:
http://www.amazon.com/Melissa-Doug-Cutting-Food-Box/dp/B000GKD09C/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1315973702&sr=8-1

It comes with bread slices, so I stole them to make a Twinkle Sandwich teaching prop for my violin studio (I know, Mean Mom! I’m always trying to use my kids’ toys for my own teaching! :D ) I just cut out 2 yellow felt squares for the cheese. Then I wrote with black sharpie on the bread: A E 1 E / 3 2 1 A (in 2 lines) and on the cheese: E 3 2 1.

I think my students like it because it’s a toy. I think without a physical toy sandwich (like felt squares or foam squares) it gets too abstract. But with a toy sandwich they can see and touch, it can be a great teaching tool.

I also have a theory that a lot of kids make the mistake of playing the first cheese wrong because they are used to lifting off the their 3 fingers: 3 2 1 A everywhere else in the song (in the bread, after the 2nd cheese, in the bread), except for the only time you don’t go from “1 to A” automatically is between the 2 cheeses (E 3 2 1 E 3 2 1) so it helps to know that time is different. I don’t explain that to them or anything (WAY to complicated/confusing), but I’ve just noticed my students don’t make that mistake since I started using the sandwich.

Rachel Schott said: Sep 15, 2011
Rachel SchottViolin
Harrogate, TN
127 posts

Reading everyone’s posts is the highlight of my day. Thank you all.

My little ones dig patterns, find them easy, and can be relentless in their pursuit of them. However I am tending to agree with Mark that recognizing a pattern on paper, and being able to remember an 8 or 4 note series that goes with each section is a stretch. Especially given that the students tend to hear the “do sol la sol” and “fa mi re do” as two different things already.

Keroppi I’m wondering if the simple act of reading the sharpie numbers is why the rogue open A has disappeared? I’ve had a resident toy sandwich in my studio for years (without the notes actually written on it) and my students have always made the mistake you speak of.

Rachel Schott said: Sep 15, 2011
Rachel SchottViolin
Harrogate, TN
127 posts

Okay, this is how I believe most beginners actually perceive Twinkle:
A E F# E
D C# B A
E
D C# B (STOP!)
E
D C# B A
E F# E
D C# B A

or, more realistically:

A E 1 E
3 2 1 A
E (put my first finger down on E and wait for the teacher to say warningly “nooo…”)
3 2 1 (wait for the teacher to say “remember there’s no open A in cheese!”)
E (wait for teacher to say, “no, you have one more cheese before you go before f#)
3 2 1 A
(wait for the teacher to say “Hurry now, on to E because you already started the bread!)
E 1 E
3 2 1 (look at the teacher, and if her face says “Good!” then play A because we’re finished. If her eyebrows are up, then there must be another section so I’ll go to E and see what happens.)

;-)

Rebecca said: Sep 15, 2011
Rebecca SchiblerViolin, Viola
24 posts

Rachel you made me laugh- that visual is so true.

I teach Twinkle A as “parts”- Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, corresponding to the lines in the book. (I don’t teach the kids from the book, but that helps for the parents at home.) I teach them in that order, with one week for Part 1 and 2, typically, and then a third week for Part 3. Then, we spend an entire week playing the parts separately using cards; I call it Twinkle Poker to make it fun (all 4 aces for part one, duces for part 2, threes for part three, mix them up and draw/play).

Although that is a month of Twinkle A, when we put it together the fifth week, we can usually get through 2-3 of the other variations that day with no problem, because they easily adapt the new variations to the Parts, and we’re through the variations “learning” stage the next week and start long bow Twinkle. Since I’ve started teaching it this way, I’ve had fewer memory problems- I think most kids can remember 1-2-3/3-1-2 in their minds. I personally found the Twinkle Sandwich metaphor confusing, so I haven’t used it much.

“Music exists for the purpose of growing an admirable heart.” -Dr. Suzuki

Rachel Schott said: Sep 15, 2011
Rachel SchottViolin
Harrogate, TN
127 posts

Becky, I’m intrigued! But how do your “parts” line up with the book? Is this what you mean?

part 1 = A E F# E
part 2 = D C# B A
part 3 = E D C# B

I’m beginning to see the light…

Rebecca said: Sep 15, 2011
Rebecca SchiblerViolin, Viola
24 posts

That’s it exactly! When I teach the new variations, then, I can say “Now do Part 1 with Variation B” and most kids figure it out on their first try and can get through Variation B/C/D/E pretty much on their own.

“Music exists for the purpose of growing an admirable heart.” -Dr. Suzuki

Laurel said: Sep 19, 2011
Laurel MacCullochViolin
Langley, BC
120 posts

I don’t do the “sandwich”; instead I tell them there is an Apple part (A E F# E D C# B A) and a Banana part (E D C# B). We do a lot of work with these before putting them together—listening & identifying, singing, playing.

I also use some of my kids’ old Duplo blocks and put them together in a stack—red, yellow, yellow, red (apple, banana, banana, apple). Once they know the parts separately, they can see the colour they’re supposed to play next.

I also like these because I can refer to them in future songs—the Gossec Gavotte has an apple, banana, cherry and dragonfruit part. And once they get older you can label the parts A, B, C and D with less confusion.

Laurel

Jennifer Visick said: Sep 20, 2011
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
998 posts

If you use the Apple and Banana parts, then for twinkle, you can have a banana split… (slice the banana section down the middle and it’s the same on both sides). Because really, the B section is not two B sections. It’s not long enough to be 2 B sections… It’s one section that happens to have two similar halves.

Rachel Schott said: Sep 20, 2011
Rachel SchottViolin
Harrogate, TN
127 posts

Regardless of method, Twinklers seem to ‘get’ the other Variations without much help.

By Gossec (indeed, much earlier!) I am inclined to give a cute food analogy for the sections…but I am trending toward less explanation and more subtle instruction as they are just getting underway.

I will keep you all posted as I work toward fruit-cheese-ham-bread-icecream-less Twinklers. :)

Alissa said: Sep 28, 2011
Alissa Rieb
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki in the Schools, Viola
61 posts

I went back to this thread because my second grade classes (mixed cellos and violins) are working on Twinkle. We use the Learning Together book which nicely prints the music in the sections (for the parents). These are slightly older beginners so the parts, in our case Bun Burger Burger Bun works well. My younger kids mainly learn it four notes at a time, no nicknames.

Here’s my related question: What do you do when teaching the part going from open to 3/4? Put down 3/4 alone, walk up to it putting down all fingers in turn or block all the fingers at once? Why?

I’ve always done independent 3/4 unless they do block of their own volition, but wanna check in as teaching cello and violin in the same class is new for me.

THANKS!

Barb said: Sep 29, 2011
Barb Ennis
Suzuki Association Member
Cello
678 posts

I have my beginners put their fingers down as a block to help with hand position. There are arguments for starting with independent fingers because that’s where you want to end up, but I prefer the block. I think having the 3 down helps to support the 4, as well.

I’m not sure if in the process of getting the block some might start by walking their fingers up, but I don’t TEACH them to do it.

Hoping to hear more on the issue from more experienced teachers. It seems to me to be more natural/easier to put all fingers down at once than walking up.

I also start the scale from all fingers down (Monkey climbing DOWN the ladder first), as is found in Suzuki Cello book 1.

I supplement with Cello Time Joggers, and it teaches open strings, then adds one finger at a time, in the order of 1—3- 4. I found that if I tried to have a child play a 1 before they do the blocked hand, the finger may be on the right note, but the hand shape isn’t usually good. If you use an independent 4 for your cellos, make sure they are not pointing the rest of their fingers up in the air! :-)

Barb
Music Teachers Helper—for individual teachers
Studio Helper—for entire music studios or schools

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