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Today I had my Kodaly Method peer teaching assessment task. I was pretty happy with my performance. I had a few bumps and hesitations but I only messed up my Curwen hand signs once and overall I think I did pretty well. I still feel like I am a bit fuzzy with my understanding of Kodaly, which I think will probably impact on my mark a bit, as I felt like I was just repeating my Orff assessment, with added hand signs. I think I need to clarify Kodaly and my understanding of its stages and principles in my own time to really understand the method for what it is, rather than just as 'Orff with Hand Signs'. I taught a song I wrote myself about my dog (which I am now realising goes against the principle of performing traditional folk tunes in Kodaly) based primarily around the 'sol - mi - sol' motif used in the early stages of Kodaly, and intended to teach the note 'la'.

I singled out the note by having the class sing every note but 'la', and taught them the hand signs as well. I finished quite early, which means I probably would have had time to incorporate a game into my assessment, but overall I am happy with what I presented. ​The Guitar practice has continued, however I have not made as much progress this week as I had hoped - I haven't managed to finish learning all the chords, but my strumming (without singing) has improved a lot I think, so I hope (once I have the rest of the chords ready) that I can learn some new songs before next week.

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This week was spent consolidating the chords I have learned so far, and just brushing up on the skills I have been building since the start of the semester. This includes changing chords smoothly, and maintaining my strumming patterns. I think my chord changes are improving - they are still a bit chunky and hesitant, especially when I am moving to chords C or G, but are mostly coming together. My strumming is improving - I no longer get caught on the strings when I am strumming upwards and I'm finding it a lot easier to lock in with a pattern, though I still find it really difficult to maintain the strumming pattern while singing. I'm not overly concerned about this as it isn't required in the assessment task, however it is still a skill I would like to have because I think it will be useful in the future. I tried to play through a series of songs this week, just for the fun of it, but also to practice sight reading the chords and to have a wider repertoire in my head. Song choices included:

  • Copious amounts of Taylor Swift​

  • A Team - Ed Sheeran

  • Photograph - Ed Sheeran

  • Beds are Burning - Midnight Oil

  • I Was Only 19 - Redgum

  • Little Talks - Of Monsters and Men

  • Stone Cold - Demi Lovato

  • She Taught Me To Yodel - Frank Ifield

  • And more!!

In the following two weeks I want to try finish learning all of the chords and have them memorised so I have time to really become comfortable with them before the exam. I do have my Kodály exam next week and will be busy preparing for that, but hopefully I will have all the chords under my fingers shortly.

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"For the next technique for strumming without a pick you are going to again put your 1st finger and thumb together like you are holding a pick. But unlike the “pretend pick” method you are not going to extend the last segment of your 1st finger beyond your thumb. Instead they will be fairly even with each other. Then you will use your 1st finger fingernail to strum down, and your thumbnail to strum up."

Bradshaw, S. (2019). Strumming Without a Pick. Retrieved from

I'm having some difficulty with strumming. I'm not using a pick, so I'm having trouble with the positioning of my hand. So far I've worked out that it has something to do with my nails, and that I should have a loose, wrist. I've discovered that this technique is referred to as 'Fingernail Thumbnail Strumming', as you use a single fingernail to strum down and the thumbnail to strum up.

I think I have the position right (maybe), but perhaps I'm not being gentle enough, as my nails keep getting caught on the strings when I strum up. I also still have difficultly maintaining a consistent strumming pattern, especially when changing chords and singing along because my focus shifts, and my coordination abilities are close to non-existent. So, in order to remedy this situation, I decided to return to chords I am already pretty comfortable with, and a song I already know pretty well, so I can practice coordinating chord changes and strumming, as well as having a sing along. Enter Ed Sheeran.

I See Fire - Ed Sheeran Zorxx. (2019). I See Fire Chords (ver 4) by Ed Sheeran. Retrieved from

Download File I See Fire Recording

And as a bonus, this piece also includes a Am7. I've managed to vary the pattern a little bit throughout, and hopefully with time this will even out and become more stable. My chord changes are becoming smoother, but still need work, and I really need to work on the singing, because it really throws my strumming pattern!

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