Sunday, November 25, 2012

Mnemonics of the Universal Break

Djembe teacher Bruce Harding suggests that students use language to help remember rhythmic patterns:

Bruce uses the mnemonic phrase "this is a universal break" as a memory aid, but mentions that other teachers suggest "chocolate milk and potato chips".

In improvisational and non-notational based musical styles, mnemonics are the standard method for communicating about music. In an Irish session, for example, one musician might ask another "Do you know the jig that goes dee diddely diddely dey?". Or a Turkish davul-zurna duo might discuss a rhythm like dumtek tekdum tekteke before starting a dance tune in 4/4 time.

Oxfam Education has made a lesson plan for teaching music to 14-16 year olds that focuses on traditional mnemonics as an aid to learning in African and Indian drumming traditions. You can download the lesson plan from their web site.

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