Quite often children and adults express that they are not “musical”, simply because they cannot read standard musical notation. Yet, standard musical symbols are merely one type of visual metaphor for musical sound, and there are many other possibilities for representing that sound.Thischapter examines possible parallels between how children develop invented spellings (whole-language approach) and their invention of musical notations.Music listening mapscan be considered an intermediary step toward reading standard music notation because they give students the opportunity to create their own symbol systems. These maps are visual metaphors that can be teacher- or student-generated, and they employ nonstandard, alternative music symbols to represent features of a music listening example. The tools engage students in both general music and performance ensemble settings. Student narratives and video excerpts on the companion website provide examples that offerpractical application ideas for using these tools. Teacher strategies for developing listening mapsfor the music classroom and in rehearsals, as well as additionallistening lesson ideas, conclude the chapter.
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