The Tuneables is an award-winning children's music education DVD and CD series designed to teach the key building blocks of music at a critical time in a child's development. Sponsored by the Music Intelligence Project, this fun, interactive program engages children in songs and activities that provide a foundation of music understanding and growth in intellectual development. Ages 3-8.
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Blog » Developing a Sense of Tonality
Developing a sense of tonality helps to improve singing in tune, playing an instrument, learning new music, and developing an appreciation of great music. Readiness for developing this sense begins as soon as very young children begin hearing and performing music.
A sense of tonality is an understanding of how the pitches in music are organized around one note of the musical scale—the tonal center. Children develop a sense of tonality as they learn the sound and names of tonal patterns, recognize those patterns in songs they sing and musical compositions they hear, and recall them when performing a new song or creating a song of their own. One common tonality is “Major,” which uses the tones “Do,” “Re,” “Mi,” “Fa,” “Sol,” “La,” and “Ti” and where “Do” is the tonal center, or home tone.
When performing and listening to music, young children become immersed in the flow of melody and harmony and develop an expectation of how the tones from the scale are used to form a song or musical composition. For example, children develop a sense that a song in major tonality sounds “right” when it ends on “Do,” the tonal center. Or, children develop a sense that certain combinations or patterns of tones, like “Do – Mi – Sol” or “Do – Ti – Do,” sound right when they appear in expected orders or places in song melodies.
Children should be given opportunities to practice hearing, performing, recognizing, and recalling common tonal patterns occurring in their music. This practice is best approached through a program of music instruction that introduces tonal patterns in a logical sequence using age-appropriate activities.