Friday, April 11, 2008

REVIEW: A Note for Children: an Imaginative Journey into Music

By Cheryl M.Reifsnyder, Ph.D.

(Reviewer and 1st place winner in the children's division
of the 2007 PPWC Writers Contest.)

Styled as a friendly letter from a worldwide traveler, A Note for Children introduces children to the whimsical land of “Treble Clef.” There, author Linda Hannah Young creates appealing and memorable characters who demonstrate a variety of simple rhythmic notations—such as the quarter note, Mr. Crotchet, who only walks (walk-walk-walk-walk,) and the half note, Ms. Minim, who only slides (sli-ide—sli-ide.) The imaginative character descriptions are coupled with colorful, computer-enhanced watercolor visuals and simple memory aids that will help children to learn and remember the meanings of different types of rests, notes, and more. Each concept is accompanied by a simple song that lets children experiment with their new music knowledge.

The book’s playful characters and stories grew from Young’s ten-plus years’ experience teaching music. Through story, she translates abstract musical concepts into appealing language and examples that children will understand and remember. Parents and educators will find this book an invaluable tool for introducing children to the basics of music notation. For students ready for additional challenge, the text is sprinkled with more advanced concepts and symbols to explore. Accompanying features include simple songs that reinforce learning points and a glossary of musical terms. The book’s end hints at a broader world of music, still awaiting the reader’s discovery.

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