Music teachers we spoke to for this story have different takes as to whether the DepEd video that has gone viral recently properly and correctly explained the lesson on “Rhythmic Patterns.” The video, intended for elementary school students (the graphics says “Elem, Music 5”), and posted on YouTube last December 21 by the education department, had already been deleted—but not before it went viral and caught the attention of music graduates and teachers.
Joonee Garcia, a Music graduate from the University of the Philippines, was quite direct in her Facebook post, telling DepEd, “YOU GOT IT WRONG.” She was pertaining to the manner that the values of each musical note was explained through a series of claps. “We hold half and whole notes,” she says, explaining the pauses that should come after the first beat. “We do not clap them through. What the teacher is in effect doing here is clapping the steady beat.”
The pronunciation slip-up also didn’t escape her keen sense of hearing. “It’s ‘four four.’ Four fourths is a fraction. Which is actually what you wrote in place of a time signature,” Garcia pointed out.
ANCX consulted music teachers to get their take on the matter. And it sounds like the topic is quite complex for an ordinary student to grasp, especially if the teacher attempts to discuss everything in a very short video.
“Medyo tama at mali siya dyan sa whole note na yan,” says Francis de Veyra, a music teacher and the musical director of the funk and soul group Brass Pas Pas Pas. He says it’s difficult to explain the whole note in terms of clapping. “Ang usual na ginagawa ay isang clap lang then continue counting pa din sa 1-2-3-4. Tinamad na lang siya mag-explain pero tama naman na whole note gets four counts pa din.”
Ysauh Plete, who used to teach music for several years, says she also sees nothing wrong with the video. “[The teacher] was just showing the beats per note kaya siya nagka-clap. I used to do that too in my class para mas madaling maintindihan ng kids,” she says.
Plete, who used to teach grades 4, 5 and 6 students, says kids usually get confused with the beats per time signature, “so for me, [the clapping] is the simplest way to teach the counts.”
Raquel Ciriaco, who has over two decades of experience in teaching music, admits she felt “disturbed” with the way the particular lesson was explained in the DepEd video.
“Di ko na napansin ang pag-pronounce ng words [ng teacher]. Ang napansin ko talaga yung mismong pagtuturo nya. As a music teacher, nalulungkot ako sa mga batang makakapanood nyan,” she says.
Ciriaco, also a UP graduate, taught music at OB Montessori, Reedley International School, Fountain International School, and Global Leaders International School, before recently focusing on singing for a band called 6th Element Ensemble.
According to her, the values of the notes in the DepEd video were correct. But the way it was taught—through continuous clapping—made it all wrong since the lesson being taught was Rhythmic Patterns. “Tama yung sa apat na quarter notes, apat na clap. Pagdating sa half note, dinalawang clap nya, when dapat yung first beat lang ang kina-clap, then magka-count ka ng 1 and 2.”
She says instead of clapping, the teacher could have used percussion instruments such as a tambourine or a triangle—instruments that resonate—to sustain the sound of a whole note. “Hindi naman nasu-sustain ang sound ng one clap. Kaya mali yung video talaga.”
Ciriaco says what makes this lesson more confusing to students was the fact that the teacher introduced two different topics—the value of the notes and rhythmic patterns—in a single lesson, when it should be taught one at a time. She says unlike academic subjects like math, music is skill-based. “Before you take up rhythmic patterns, you should first master the value of notes. Ang rhythmic patterns kasi, application yun ng value of notes na itinuro mo previously.”
The former music teacher says she appreciates the fact that the teacher in the DepEd video projects well onscreen, and that the instructional materials and sound were good. “Sumablay lang in the way the teacher taught the lesson, which was the whole point of the video.”
Ciriaco, a mother of four, says she’s hoping DepEd could consult music experts and fix the video so that students, as well as parents, who are struggling with online learning, can learn their music lessons properly.