Students get to see what they hear and hear what they see in Rattle and Rumble.

Suggested resources and activities


By Susan Searle

Becoming a Literate Musician

When children are learning to read at around age four or five, they are already reasonably fluent in their own mother tongue. They understand what is said to them and can communicate their own thoughts and needs at their own level.   They use their language skills to make sense of written text; they know how the words will sound and what they mean.

To enter into the world of written language opens new brain pathways and leads the child into a rich heritage of literature and  knowledge. 

Reading music fluently grants the musician greater freedom in the world of music; he is not dependent on music pre-recorded by another musician, but can interpret written music himself.  To read music and hear it internally is to engage in higher order thinking.

Music reading takes place in the same way as language reading.  First, we immerse the child in a repertoire of songs appropriate to his vocal skills and developmental stage.  These form the framework on which all musical concepts will hang.  Gradually, the elements of musical literacy, both rhythmic and melodic are introduced and practised in as many ways as possible, to develop a deep and intrinsic knowledge.

The aim is to have children (and all musicians) develop the ability to translate the musical symbol into sounds, without reference to an instrument, so that he hears what he sees on the page.

"We should read music in the same way that an educated adult will read a book:  in silence, but imagining the sound." 

Zoltan Kodály 1954