16. December 2014 · Comments Off on A.A. = Add Articulation · Categories: Teaching

Sometimes I put an “A.A.” marking on a student’s assignment. If I see no articulation on printed work it’s fun to let them do their own. I have found that some will do a consistent pattern throughout, while others do something different every measure. I tell them they get to choose any articulations they want, as long as it’s not all slurred or all tongued.

One interesting thing that I’ve noticed since I’ve started this practice is a gender difference. I’ve had several girls articulate every measure differently. Not all girls do it that way, but I’ve never had any boys do that. I am fine either way, but I do tell those that go into full crazy different articulation mode that they then have to also play the darn thing! Some can. Some can’t. (As you can see, I also have them give me a metronome marking.) I’m guessing from how I described things you can identify the gender of this student … yes?


Why do I do these things? Several reasons:

  • I want them to get to be creative.
  • I want to see if they are really even opening their lesson books.
  • I want them actively involved in their music making.
  • I want them to learn how to properly put in articulations (we did discuss how the slurs on this could be misread.
  • I want them to get into the habit of using pencil on music!

Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes I see no marks at all on the music and I do wonder if the book has been opened at all.

I did inform the student today that the work was going to be be featured on my blog. No, I won’t name the student: I don’t feel comfortable naming students without parents’ permission. (Of course if that young oboist and parents read this they can let me know if they are okay with my putting the name here. After all, the student could be listed as this work’s arranger!)

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